Best Snorkeling in Mexico
What makes Mexico such a great snorkeling destination is that is has one coast in the Pacific Ocean and the other along the Caribbean Sea. You can snorkel along either coast in many different sites that will leave you in awe at the breathtaking underwater world that the Mexican waters have to offer. The great thing about Mexico is that you can visit the area year round! The weather is always warm and as long as you avoid the heavy rain season from the end of June to October, you will likely see hot days and balmy nights. The bright sun and calm waters make Mexico a prime destination for snorkeling.
Places for Snorkeling in Mexico
There are so many places to snorkel in Mexico. Some are right off shore. Some you will need to access by boat. Some are in the middle of large, crowded beaches. Some are well off the beaten path, accessed only by narrow, rocky roads. Here are a few areas, sorted by location for you to ponder as your snorkeling destination while vacationing in Mexico. There’s enough here that you could even plan a whole trip around snorkeling in Mexico! Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed.
You can snorkel Punta Cancun right from the beach. The waters here are teeming with tropical fish and you will be able to see gorgeous coral heads, as well as butterflyfish, damselfish and many others. Another option for snorkeling in Cancun is to charter a boat to Puerto Morelos or Isla Mujeres. Tour operators that go to these sites offer the chance to swim with dolphins, which make these areas a great spot for snorkeling in Mexico. The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is also located in Cancun and Isla Mujeres, and is one of the top underwater attractions in Mexico. This area is protected which gives you great views of healthy corals that you might not be able to see elsewhere.
Playa Del Carmen
Another location along the Caribbean Sea is Playa del Carmen. The best snorkeling in Playa del Carmen is from a boat, so you’ll need the budget to charter a boat or take a guided tour. The reefs surrounding this area are ideal because they have a maximum depth of 15 feet so you will have great views into the underwater world. Something about Playa del Carmen snorkeling that you may not know is that some of the best snorkeling is inland. That’s right. Cenotes are massive sinkholes located inland that are filled with freshwater, and Cenote Park offers the chance to snorkel these unique areas. Some of them even have small fish or eels in them!
Cozumel is an island located off the Yucatan Peninsula. The gorgeous Mayan Coral Reef is here, located off the Caribbean Sea coast near the Cozumel resort area. It is the second longest reef in the entire world, falling behind only the massive Great Barrier Reef. This area can be snorkeled by people of any experience level, as the depths are shallow and you can see the vibrant corals and tropical fish right from the surface. Check out the Iron Coasts, which are rugged, but teeming with stunning, colorful corals. The eco-park Chankanaab is also another good destination. There is a small admission fee, but you can spend the entire day there exploring the gorgeous reefs and fish. If you’re looking for a smaller area to snorkel that won’t take the entire day, check out Dzul Ha, which offers diverse and abundant marine life, and can be explored in just a few hours.
You can find vendors renting snorkeling gear all along the docks in the town square of Acapulco, called Zona Dorada. A small island near Caleta and Caletilla beaches, called Isla de Roqueta, is a great place for snorkeling in Acapulco. You can charter a boat (some are glass-bottomed) from Caletilla. Puerto Marques is another top snorkeling location in Acapulco, and in both areas surrounding Acapulco, the waters are filled with fish, sea turtles, stingrays and jellyfish.
Tulum is the remnants of an ancient Mayan city and generally draws tourists for its archeological ruins. Visitors usually don’t know that the Riviera Maya offers amazing snorkeling opportunities too. Soliman Bay is the main gateway to a variety of snorkeling sites. You can commonly find starfish, manta rays and urchins here. Yalku is just north of Soliman Bay and is perhaps the most spectacular snorkeling spot in the area. It is a great place to swim with massive Loggerhead turtles while taking in the scenic views of coral and tropical fish.
Another great thing about Mexico is that it is easy, and fairly affordable to access. You can fly into a variety of major airports throughout the country, including the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Cancun International Airport in Cancun, the General Rafael Buelna International Airport in Mazatlan and the Cozumel International Airport in Cozumel. There are many more options; these are just to name a few. No matter where you choose to fly into Mexico, make this a trip you won’t forget and partake in some amazing snorkeling in Mexico!