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Where to Snorkel in Cancun and Riviera Maya

by Yucatan Times
1 comment

The Riviera Maya in Mexico is home to beautiful turquoise waters holding a wide range of species and marine life worthy of observation. There is something for each kind of diver, from snorkeling tours in shallow waters to freediving in open sea. Depending on the tour and its location, discoveries may include stingrays, turtles, colorful coral reefs, and more.

When staying in or around Riviera Maya, you may want to snorkel in some of these spots which are reachable from most accommodations in the area and offer an authentic Cancun snorkeling experience:

Best Snorkeling Spots around Cancun

Punta Nizuc
A small stretch of sand located south of Cancun with amazing coral reefs. It is part of the great reef barrier which extends to the Yucatan coasts. Here, it’s possible to find manatees, turtles, and seaweed, as it is surrounded by mangroves and jungle.

The Underwater Art Museum Museo is home to sunk sculptures where lots of fish species inhabit. Plus, it is an impressive experience due to the vast number of art pieces.

Best Snorkeling Spots around Isla Mujeres

El Farito Reef
El Farito is considered a National Aquatic Park. It is located a kilometer and a half from Isla Mujeres, and it is a marine lighthouse nestled in a spectacular reef, from which it is possible to appreciate the marine fauna, and in its surroundings meet the Virgen del Farito, which was submerged in 1966 to provide protection to the fishermen, who adore and tribute her with flowers, coins, and faithful promises.

Playa Norte

Photo: Shane Benevento from Cancun Snorkeling

Next to the Mia Reef hotel, next to the wooden bridge that connects the beach with the hotel, at the height of the rocks, there is a lot of colorful fish, just ahead of where the rocks are, the waves break, and a beautiful natural pool, suitable for adults and children.

Best Snorkeling Spots around Puerto Morelos

Radio Pirata Reef
Arrecife Radio Pirata can be found in front of The Fives Hotel. It has a calm stream and it is considered an easy swim with good visibility.

Puerto Morelos Reef

Photo: Shane Benevento from Cancun Snorkeling

Puerto Morelos Reef is considered a National Park. It is home to protected species such as Elkhorn Coral, Staghorn Coral, Barrel Organ Coral, Loggerhead Turtle, White Turtle, Green Turtle, and Hawksbill Turtle.

Best Snorkeling Spots around Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen Reef
Variety of fauna and corals along with good visibility. Diving sites range from 5 minutes of navigation to 45 minutes away. Dives in Playa del Carmen Reef are suitable for all levels from beginners to the most expert divers.

Maroma Reef
Maroma Reef is an area full of diversity, with little current. Barracuda, octopus, and coral are popular here.

Best Snorkeling Spots around Cozumel

El Cielo

El Cielo – Photo: Shane Benevento from Cancun Snorkeling

El Cielo is a sandbank located 800 meters from the coast of Cozumel. It gets its name because of the numerous starfish that can be seen at the bottom when snorkeling here. It is near another area named El Cielito where it is common to see rays.

Palancar Reef
Located two kilometers from the south coast of Cozumel, Palancar is recognized as one of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world. It offers everything a recreational diver can dream of: healthy coral colonies, colorful fans, giant sponges, and an abundant variety of tropical fish. Its fascinating caves and pronounced abysses are one of the things that most amazes adventurers who come day after day to enjoy this natural wonder.

Columbia Reef
Columbia Reef is simply spectacular. With an impressive slope of the continental shelf almost 24m deep, this place is perfect for deep diving. Here it’s possible to find wonderful caves, tunnels, and caverns, as well as gigantic corals. Experienced divers should not miss the unforgettable experience of exploring this magnificent reef.

Consider that when snorkeling or diving, all products should be washed off your body (i.e. sunscreen, body lotions, moisturizers, etc.), in order to maintain ecosystems. Also, don’t pick coral reefs or starfishes, nor chase sea turtles or stingrays. The best way to snorkel is as a mere observer. This will also keep you away from trouble since wrong practices are penalized with tickets.

Now that you know these spots, there is no reason for you not to experience underwater life when in Cancun or Riviera Maya.

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1 comment

Troy April 9, 2022 - 7:58 am

These places all sound great. The article could be improved by telling the reader how to access the snorkel/dive sites.


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