The beaches of Cancun are known for being breathtaking and under the surface of the water there is a different world which is just as impressive. Snorkeling is a perfect way of exploring the ocean and its inhabitants. You don’t have to be a strong swimmer and need no prior training for this operation.
The Meso American reef is paralleled on the coast of the Mexican Caribbean and is second in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef only. The reef begins on the northern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula around Isla Contoy, extending about 700 kilometers down south along the coast to Honduras ‘ Bay Islands. There are many excellent snorkeling spots from Cancun, of course, where you can enjoy vivid and vibrant corals, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life. Mangroves and cenotes are also available for discovery. Here are some of the best places on your journey to Cancun to snorkel.
MUSA: Cancun’s Underwater Museum
An underwater museum can sound like a wacky idea but these underwater sculptures are good for the environment: they consist of reef-friendly materials and encourage natural coral development and also lead to minimizing visitors ‘ effects on various dive sites in the region. The galleries were established in 2009 at three sites: Punta Nizuc, Punta Sam and Manchones. The first two snorkellers will experience on the sea, Manchones, near Isla Mujeres, is generally suggested as it’s too dark for SCUBA divers to see from the water. Plan a trip to MUSA or reserve a snorkeling tour with Total Snorkel Cancun in the Underwater Museum of Cancun.
The best place to snorkel in the hotel area in Cancún is in Punta Nizuc, the most southern point of the snorkeling region between the Med Cancun Club and Nizuc Resort, if you don’t want to go far to get to your snorkeling spot. Sadly, if you stay at one of the above-listed resorts, you will have difficulty accessing overland, and you can, therefore, make the best decision to make your Nizuc Riff Snorkeling ride with Aquaworld, which involves a Nichupte Lagoon speedboat tour before going to Punta Nizuc for some snorkeling. A floating platform is there, which you will use when visiting the coral and you can also see some of the works of MUSA, including the artist Elier Amado Gil’s “Understanding.”
A small town 12 kilometers south to Cancún, Puerto Morelos. The reef is closer to the shore and the snorkeling conditions are usually good. Whether you rent a car or catch an ADO shuttle, you can travel to Puerto Morelos yourself, and snorkel your own riverside, between Amar Inn Hotel and theDay&Night Beach Club. Stay in the area indicated by the protection of people. Sea turtles, sharks, barracudas, tiny, colorful fish, and coral can be seen. There are several travel companies that offer excursions, including Cancun’s Snorkeling Reserve in Puerto Morelos, should you choose to go on an excursion that provides transport from your hotel and cruise rides further out of the coast.
Xel-Ha is a natural water park owned by the same Xcaret Park service. It is situated only 65 miles south of Cancun, where freshwater bays and lagoons enter the ocean and provide a unique setting for marine life. This is an ideal place to spend a whole day snorkeling, diving in the cenote and even jumping off a cliff (if you dare!) on the inner tube of a lazy river. There are also lockers and blankets, showers, changing rooms and restaurants at Xel-Ha.
Cozumel Island is renowned for being the first dive destination in Mexico and is a great snorkeling spot as well. You can take a ferry from Playa del Carmen, 12 miles away from the shore, to get there or enter a day ride. Several nice opportunities to snorkel are found on the coast. Cozumel Sands on the west side of the island provide usually calmer seas and more activity on the shore (in front of the mainland). There are several parks with unique opportunities of snorkeling, including the Chankanaab Reserve, the only underwater coral reef in the country.
The island of Isla Mujeres is a little bigger than Cozumel off the edge of Cancún’s Caribbean coast. Snorkeling here can best be done by sailing— the Isla Mujeres Cooperative is an excellent way — and you can even take a tour to see a whale hawk dive (between May and September). If you snorkel from the water, Garrafon Reef Park or from the bridge to Mia Reef Hotel are the best places to go.
Akumal village is situated about 62 miles to the south of Cancun and is well established as a place for swimming with sea turtles. From the water, you should snorkel yourself — gaze at the seagulls to see the turtles feeding. Give them their space once you see them and take in the view from a distance. Hire a guide at the Akumal Dive Shop to improve your chances of spotting sea tortoises and other sea creatures. In Akumal, visit the Yal-Ku lagoon, a peaceful lagoon that brings together seawater and fresh water.