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Snorkeling in Riviera Maya and Costa Maya

If you have never snorkeled or been diving before, the Riviera Maya is the place to start. The Riviera Maya is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the longest underground river system, and freshwater cenotes.

Explore the spectacular underwater world of the Mexican Caribbean. This diversity, found nowhere else in the world, offers many opportunities to explore the underwater world and enhance your vacation with snorkeling or scuba diving.

Ocean Snorkeling

Experience the exquisite beauty of snorkeling in the Caribbean. With numerous locations along the coast to choose from, immerse yourself in the vibrant underwater world and discover the wonders beneath the crystal-clear waters.

Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a first-timer, the Caribbean offers an unforgettable snorkeling adventure like no other.

Snorkeling in the Riviera Maya is as easy as that. The Mexican Caribbean is home to 400 fish species, 100 coral types, and endangered species of both corals and fish that are hard to see anywhere else.

Riviera Maya dive centers are happy to teach you to snorkel if you are a beginner, conduct personal guided tours of the best snorkel locations or rent your snorkel gear for your own snorkel excursion.

Cenote Snorkeling

See what lies beneath the surface of these jungle freshwater pools. You will be amazed at what you see both above and below the water. Snorkel the cenotes is an unforgettable adventure.

The cenotes make up part of the eco-diversity in this region of Mexico.

Cenote snorkeling is great for everyone. Cenote snorkeling is easier than the sea. Cenotes provide natural ledges, and smaller snorkeling areas and you can drive or walk to a local cenote, a boat is required.

There are entrance fees at each location, and prices vary depending on the property owner. Snorkel gear can be rented at some cenotes but not all, so if you need gear you may want to rent it at a local dive center before you venture out.

If you are not a confident snorkeler, take a tour first, learn from your guide, and use a life jacket. Then venture off to one of the many cenotes in the area and discover more about these underground river systems.

You can visit a few cenotes in one day or take a quick break to unwind and cool off in a nearby cenote for an hour.

Travel up the Cenote Road near Puerto Morelos to view a few cenotes. Take a tour through Aktun Chen Natural Park where you will find wet and dry cenotes. Or just pop into Casa Cenote in Tankah Bay for a quick dip, a snorkel, and some beach time after.

Snorkeling Highlights in the Riviera Maya

There are some unique off-the-shore snorkel spots that will make your snorkeling a little easier and a whole lot more enjoyable. If you want to see fish and coral the reef offshore of any local beaches is perfect to explore.

Some of the best snorkeling is done by boat, as the Mesoamerican Reef is located half a mile to a mile offshore. Local dive centers, catamaran tours, and independent snorkel guides are happy to take you on a tour of their secret spots.

Akumal: Turtles can be seen every day off the beaches of Akumal, and not just one. You will see a few on a good day, and many on a great day. Fish and coral can be viewed as well, but Akumal is the place of the turtles.

Playa del Carmen has a small portion of the reef off the shore of Coco Beach, a popular snorkel place that is close to shore. Boat tours will take you to shallow snorkel spots that have great coral and lots of fish!

Xpuha Beach has a few coral clusters where you can see indigenous fish and coral types. These areas are not technically part of the Mesoamerican reef but they are still full of great things to see!

Paamul Beach, located only a 20 km drive from Playa del Carmen (direction Tulum), has a larger reef system close to the shore where you can see not only fish and corals, but lobster, rays, and larger fish types.

All of these locations have boat tours that will take you to larger Mesoamerican reef snorkel spots. We encourage you to try both so you get a well-rounded view of the secrets that lie under the surface of the sea.

Snorkel Safety Tips and Rules

If you choose to venture out on your own into the Mexican Caribbean, keep these safety tips in mind.

The sea is a beautiful place, but it has its own agenda. The sea off the shores of the Riviera Maya is calm, clear, and glorious but if you are unfamiliar with the territory, or not sure of your skills, the sea can be a challenge.

  • Never snorkel alone
  • Wear a life jacket in case you snorkel too far
  • Check that your snorkel gear is in good condition, and fits well.
  • Have a surface buoy so water vehicles and boats and see you.

Busy beach areas have a lot of boat and water vehicle traffic so you need to stick out in that big, vast ocean.

Have Fun Snorkeling and Do It Safely

Oceans and seas make up 73% of the planet. The Riviera Maya is a great place to learn to snorkel and an even better place to experience the underwater world. Master your skill or learn a new activity in the clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean.

Take an underwater camera with you so you can show your friends and family all the great stuff you saw!

Oh, and one last thing. Help us protect our reefs! Do not stand on, or touch the corals. Refrain from grabbing or handling marine life, including the turtles. And remember to wear biodegradable sunscreen.

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