A large number of coral islands line the 256 km of reef and offer opportunities for all types of water sports, including anglers, divers and snorkelers. The reef is home to over 350 species of fish. Along the Belize Barrier Reef are many small islands called Cayes. The best known are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Blackadore Caye and Long Caye, historically significant is St. George's Caye. The abundance of fish is also used for commercial fishing.
Some of the islands and reef sections are protected as a national park or marine reserve. These include the Bacalar Chico and Laughing Bird Caye national parks, the Great Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye national parks, South Wather Caye, Glover's Reef and Sapodilla Cayes reserves. These areas are listed by UNESCO in 1996 as World Heritage.