Snorkeling is one of the best ways to get up close and personal to the scenic world of the underwater. Lucky for us, Mexico offers more than 9,000 kilometers of coastline with warm white sands and clear blue waters. Like most tropical island countries, Mexico has perfect beach weather throughout the year, and it is full of lively reef ecology to explore.
Grab your fins and mask, and let us dive into the best all-inclusive resorts for snorkeling.
Everything you will learn here
- Best Places to Snorkel in Mexico
- 1. Akumal Bay in the best place in Mexico for snorkeling
- 2. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Mahahual
- 3. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Cozumel
- 4. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Cenote Dos Ojos
- 5. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez
- 6. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Museo Subacuático Arte
- 7. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Huatulco
- 8. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Isla Contoy
- 9. Snorkeling in Mexico’s La Paz
- 10. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Parque Nacional Arrecife Puerto Morelos
- 11. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Sayulita
- 12. Playa Las Gatas
- Best Mexico Snorkeling Wrap-up
Best Places to Snorkel in Mexico
In view of unblemished natural beauty and scenic beach resorts, few places in the world are bountiful than the Gulf of Mexico.
We cover some of the best locations to visit for a superior snorkeling experience in the Gulf of Mexico.
1. Akumal Bay in the best place in Mexico for snorkeling
In the Mayan language, Akumal means place of turtles, and this is due to the hundreds of turtles who migrate every year to hatch their eggs on the warm white sands of Riviera Maya.
If you have ever wanted to swim with sea turtles, this is the place for you. More than just a turtle populating area, Akumal Bay is a well-known destination for surfers and divers alike.
Whether you are a snorkeler or a diver, you will appreciate seeing green turtles feed on the large seagrass beds.
Akumal Bay enjoys calm, clear, warm water, beautiful beaches, and tropical weather that is ideal for snorkeling. It is best to make prior arrangements before visiting Akumal Bay because a lot of people come to enjoy this lifetime experience of the best snorkeling in Mexico with sea turtles.
2. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Mahahual
Also known as Majahual, Mahahual is a modest, slow fishing village located on the Mexican Caribbean coast. Majahual is famous for being one of the finest destinations for snorkeling in the Caribbean.
One outstanding feature of Majahual is that it has an extended reef covering over 1,000 kilometers off Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala. The distance between the reef and the coast is approximately 400 meters.
Due to the shallow waters near the coast, most people who visit this site use a kayak as a transportation mode. Seagrass is a common sight in this area, a breeding point for many exotic fish species.
Reef accessories and mangroves are part of the seagrass ecosystem in Majahual.
3. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Cozumel
In Mexico, Cozumel is one of the best destinations for diving and snorkeling. As a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea, Cozumel is a popular adventurers’ destination known for its breathtaking sights, scuba diving, and hospitality.
(Try reading about other Best Resorts to Snorkel in the Caribbean)
Anyone visiting Mexico will get to know about Cozumel’s magnificent snorkeling experience due to its clear waters and closeness to the reef of Mesoamerica.
Cozumel is about 48 kilometers long and about 16 kilometers wide, offering one of the best underwater viewing conditions, especially at Chankanaab Park or Punta Sur.
In case you forget to carry your diving equipment, there is no cause to worry as there are dive shops all over the place. You can rent snorkel gear and hire a guide to explore the sights and beauty of Cozumel in detail.
If you choose this destination, be prepared to swim next to seahorses, butterflyfish, fire coral, and a few shrimps.
4. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Cenote Dos Ojos
The topography of the Yucatan Peninsula is mostly limestone, which makes up for the flat porous terrain. At Cenote, there is a vast volume of cenotes, also known as natural sinkholes. The term cenotes is a borrowed word from the Mayan language.
Cenotes offer an utterly different snorkeler experience because they are generally freshwater, offering a whole range of aquatic life not present in the oceans.
As a tourist destination, Cenote Dos Ojos is one of the well-known cenotes for snorkeling. In Spanish, the name Dos Ojos means 2 eyes, and the name comes about because Cenote Dos Ojos is made up of 2 sinkholes linked by a long, narrow cavern.
Although you will see a few aquatic life at Cenote Dos Ojos, the water is crystal clear, allowing you to see wildlife such as bats, birds, iguanas, among many others. Also, you will have an opportunity to see stalagmites and stalactites.
5. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez
Jacques Cousteau, a famous underwater explorer, once nicknamed the Sea of Cortez as nature’s aquarium due to its fascinating beauty. This waterbody separates Mexico’s mainland and the Baja California Peninsula.
The Sea of Cortez is a sight to behold, thanks to the diverse sea life available to explore. One of the unique things you can experience here is snorkeling and swimming next to sea lions, among other aquatic life.
Despite the extraordinary sights here, there are a few locations where you can enjoy snorkeling and swimming. Such locations include Isla Espiritu Santo and Cabo Pulmo.
6. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Museo Subacuático Arte
Museo Subacuático Arte is a perfect blend of adventure and art. Museo Subacuático Arte has an artificial reef with over 500 monuments hidden over 25 feet below the ocean’s surface.
These sculptures were dropped in the ocean base to support the growth of seaweeds and corals. The artificial reef promotes the formation and growth of natural reefs while protecting them from strong currents.
Whether you prefer viewing these monuments by snorkeling above them or by diving up close, they are going to offer you a remarkable experience. Without a doubt, Museo Subacuático Arte is one of the best underwater museums in the world.
7. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Huatulco
The waters of Huatulco are home to some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. In Huatulco, you can experience a wide range of skin diving and snorkeling sites.
Although most of these sites will require you to travel by boat safely, there are several sites you can commute by land to enjoy the satisfaction of going off the beach.
Located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Huatulco comprises a string of beautiful bays, mostly undeveloped but excellent for diving and snorkeling.
The best place to go snorkeling in Huatulco is La Entrega, a location endowed with a rocky side at its bay with a lot of aquatic life.
You can also choose to take a boat ride and discover some pristine beaches near the Huatulco National Park.
8. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Isla Contoy
Isla Contoy is situated some 29 kilometers north of Isla Mujeres, a location where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea meets.
If you are traveling by boat, it will take about 2 hours to arrive at Isla Contoy, a journey worth your time.
The number of tourists visiting the island is limited to 250 people per day to minimize the effects of negative tourism on the virgin location that is habitat to some 150 bird species. Isla Contoy is also home to 3 extinct species of sea turtles.
You can choose to stop at Ixlache Reef for a snorkel expedition as you make your way to Isla Contoy. Ixlache Reef is a coral ecosystem that is bustling with life. Here you are guaranteed to see all manner of tropical fish such as nurse sharks and sea turtles.
You might want to make prior arrangements as few tour companies are permitted to take visitors around the island.
9. Snorkeling in Mexico’s La Paz
La Paz is an outstanding location where you experience the beauty and wonder of the Caribbean while diving and snorkeling with whale sharks.
The largest fish in the world, the giant whale shark, likes to feed at the Sea of Cortez. This is a location about 15 minutes away from La Paz. Other rare fish species such as the grey whale, blue whale, and humpbacks also prefer feeding in the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez.
As the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, La Paz is located in the southern area of the Lower California peninsula.
10. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Parque Nacional Arrecife Puerto Morelos
Also known as Puerto Morelos Reef Park in English, the Parque Nacional Arrecife Puerto Morelos is an area that is protected by national park regulations, leaving it in mint condition as possible.
Tour companies and guides are required to be cleared and certified by national park officials, while divers are mandated to buy wristbands before entering the parking area. The proceeds collected are used to protect the ecosystem of the park.
Due to its proximity to the barrier reef, the Parque Nacional Arrecife Puerto Morelos offers fascinating snorkeling views.
The park has excellent hospitality, hotels, water sports facilities, and dive shops.
11. Snorkeling in Mexico’s Sayulita
Situated approximately 40 kilometers northwest of the crowded and hectic beaches of Puerto Vallarta, the village of Sayulita offers the ideal gateway for surfers and individuals who are looking for some peace.
You can catch an enormous wave at the isolated Playa Carricitos, or if you are an amateur, you can enrol for a surf session at one of the many Playa Sayulita’s surf schools.
When you need a break from the sand, Sayulita offers some of the exquisite cafes and shops Mexico has to offer.
12. Playa Las Gatas
Playa Las Gatas (named after cat-whiskered nurse sharks that once lingered there) is a protected cove in Guerrero, México. Its high fish population, and calm, shallow water, make it an ideal site for beginner snorkelers and kids.
Interestingly, according to urban legend, the Playa Las Gatas has a reef that was built by a Tarascan king to form a haven from the waves and create a sheltered area for his daughter. However, you can sometimes see surfers catching waves around the entrance to the bay.
Playa Las Gatas is also known for its massive, sunken Jesus statue. You will find many taking underwater photos with “Jesus.”
If you get bored of snorkeling, you can kayak or parasail. The beach has many seafood eateries, and you can rent equipment and hire a guide nearby. Overlooking the beach is a beautiful lighthouse. Ask for help getting there as the path is not apparent. It’s worth it, however, as the view of the coastline is spectacular!
You can get to Playa Las Gatas either by footpath or by water taxi. It is easily accessible, and taxis run often.
Some other amazing Snorkeling Spots around the world:
Best Mexico Snorkeling Wrap-up
Whether you are looking for your very first underwater experience or you are a professional snorkeler, Mexico offers a wide array of exciting snorkeling sites for you to discover. And now that you have the down-low on the best snorkeling spots in Mexico, it is time to plan your trip and start packing your bags.
Visit any of the best snorkeling resorts in Mexico’s Riviera Maya and get your opportunity to enjoy some of the most colorful and vibrant corals combined with a luxurious vacation in the most beuatiful places imaginable.
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