Yucatan Strait: geography, attractions, interesting facts

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Yucatan Strait: geography, attractions, interesting facts
Yucatan Strait: geography, attractions, interesting facts

In the waters of the Yucatan Strait, off the very Mexican coast, at Cape Catoche, you can see countless flocks of frolicking stingrays. These are East American bullheads, which seem to soar on huge wings in the silence of the ocean. Where is the Yucatan Strait located? What are its features, and what interesting facts are associated with it? This is detailed in the proposed review.


Strait on the map

Yucatan Strait is a place where a huge amount of water moves and currents are formed that determine the climatic conditions of entire continents. It is located between Cuba and the peninsula of the same name, with which its name is associated. The strait is a connection between the Gulf of Mexico in its southern part and the western Caribbean Sea.

Its extreme points are Cape San Antonio (the westernmost part of the island of Cuba) and Cape Catoche (the westernmost point of the Yucatan). The distance between them is 217 km. The strait is characterized by largedepths. The deepest place - near Cuba reaches 3 km. The waters here are very saline, over 36%, and the temperature is high. In summer it reaches 29 °С, and in winter - 25 °С.

Several currents

Shot from space

The current of the same name passes through the Yucatan Strait. It is directed from east to west. Then it gradually deviates to the north and goes in a large arc from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. Gradually, it turns into Florida.

This current is relatively fast, during the year it drives large masses of water. This contributes to the fact that the level of the Gulf of Mexico rises, thereby causing a flow from it through the Strait of Florida. And this, in turn, causes the formation of the Gulf Stream.

There are two more currents in the strait, their scale and strength are somewhat smaller. One of them is the Cuban countercurrent. It is moving in an easterly direction. The second is the Yucatan countercurrent, which moves south under the Yucatan and pumps a relatively small amount of water into the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico.


Yalahau Lagoon and Holbox Island are located west of Cape Catoche. Approximately in this area, the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. A diverse ichthyofauna lives here. So, in this place the largest accumulation of whale sharks in the world's oceans.

They come here from all parts of the Atlantic and stay together for half a year. On the island of Cuba, on the opposite side of the Yucatan Strait in North America, arecoastal lands that are part of the Guanacabibi National Park. It is one of the largest in the country. And the bottlenose dolphin lives in its coastal waters.

Caribbean Gate

Holidays in the Yucatan

This strait is relatively short. Its length and width are related as one to four. In ancient times, the island of Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula were connected to each other. This is indicated by the underwater ridge. It stretched out across the Yucatan Strait.

The latter is also called the Caribbean Gate. Indeed, a huge number of ships pass through it, here is one of the busiest movements in the world. The strait is considered practically safe. The smallest depth of the navigable part is below one kilometer. At the same time, it is wide enough for the flow of ships to be intense. In order to avoid accidents, international maritime treaties significantly restrict fishing and netting here.

Mexican Cancun is the largest port in the strait. It is located in the state of Quintana Roo and belongs to the world's leading resorts. One third of all tourists visiting Mexico come here. There is a hurricane passage zone in the strait.

Natural Attractions

There are a number of attractions in the Yucatan Strait. It's about:

  1. Cape Katoche.
  2. Mujeros Islands, Cozumel Holbox.
  3. Reserve "Yum Balam".
  4. Kontoy Island National Park and Ornithological Reserve.
  5. Laguna Yalahau in Mexico.
  6. Cape San Antonio andGuanacabibe National Park in Cuba.

Next, here are some interesting facts about the strait.

Curious facts

Formation of a hurricane

You can name the following:

  1. Off the coast of Cuba, in the eastern part of the strait, during the exploration of the oil shelf in 2001, underwater structures were discovered, the origin of which has not yet been reliably explained. They are called the Cuban Underwater City. They look like regular geometric formations. These are pyramids of stone and ring formations of massive blocks. The total area is two square meters. km. The depth of the location is 600-750 meters. Some scientists believe that this is a city built by the Mayans or the Aztecs, others think that this is a natural creation.
  2. The Cuban peninsula of Guanacabibe, which overlooks the strait, was one of the last refuges for the Indians. They fled to the island from the Spanish conquistadors. Back then, dense forests in the tropics were a reliable shelter for them.
  3. The stingray East American bullhead is a very peculiar inhabitant of the local waters. It is called so because of its appearance. It has a flattened snout with two small bumps on it. The length of his carcass approaches two meters. This stingray gathers in flocks of up to several tens of thousands of individuals. Divers from all over the world come here to see it.

We hope you found this article useful.

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