Fr0m the Gulf of California to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico boasts some of the world’s best snorkeling. Whether you’re looking for endless stretches of powder white sands, epic shipwrecks or secret cenotes, you’re bound to find it in this colourful country. Looking for the best places for snorkeling in Mexico? We’ve rounded up the best of the best to save you the effort.
Where are the best places for snorkeling in Mexico?
Opened in 2009 in Quintana Roo, MUSA is the world’s largest underwater museum. The artifical reef features over 500 sculptures from some of Mexico’s most prominent artists, as well as impressive international names. Each of the statues has been constructed from coral-friendly materials to help stimulate coral growth and reduce the impact of visitors to other prominent dive sites. Punta Nizuc forms part of the museum too.
The Pacific Coast might not have the reputation of the Caribbean coast for snorkeling, but it does benefit from being far less developed. Huatulco National Park is one of the largest protected marine areas in the country. The waters are teeming with parrotfish, needle fish, sardines, grouper, snapper, angelfish, manta rays and eagle rays. You’re also likely to bump into dolphins and migrating humpback whales between December and March too. The beaches here are some of the cleanest in the country too. Paradise.
Akumal is one of Mexico’s most famous snorkeling spots. Located on the Mayan Riviera, it’s one of the best places in the country to swim with green turtles and stingrays. There are two areas to explore: the seagrass beds (which are popular with visiting turtles and rays) and the barrier reef, which is home to shoals of grunts, blue tang, parrotfish and butterflyfish, as well as yellow stingrays and spotted eagle rays.
Just note that you’ll need to keep at least three metres between you and the turtles here and you’ll need to stick to the underwater trail with a guide too.
Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, 60 miles from Los Cabos, boasts pristine beaches, three living reefs (including the only hard coral reef in North America) and crystal clear waters. Known as the ‘jewel’ of Baja California’, the park is packed with schools of tropical fish and playful colonies of sea lions. You can play with the big fish too; it’s popular with whales and dolphins.
This isolated beach is named after the ‘whiskered’ nurse sharks that once used to live here. They’ve long gone, but there’s still plenty to see beneath the surface. Snorkelers can scope out rocky coves for schools of angel and pufferfish and sail out to see the underwater statue of Jesus buried 30-ft below the surface of the water.
If you’ve tired of Mexico’s sparkling coastline, a trip to a cenote could be just the ticket. Cenotes dos Ojos is one of the Yucatan’s most popular sinkholes and it’s ripe for underwater adventures. It comprises two pools or ‘eyes’ (Ojos), with incredible water visibility and spectacular light effects that bounce off the cavern walls.
Or, for a more secretive cenote experience you could try Casa Cenote. Just 10 km north of Tulum, this cenote is popular with underwater photographers due to the quality of its natural light. The pool stretches 250 metres from the jungle into the ocean, encompassing mangroves teeming with newly-hatched fish and several natural caves.
Cozumel might be a popular popular stop-off for Caribbean cruises, but it’s easy to avoid the crowds underwater.Head to the south and west coasts for the best snorkeling conditions as the northern and eastern shorelines tend to have rough waters and stronger undersea currents. On an average day, you should bump into turtles, stingrays and sea stars.
We’re not the only ones who favor it either, Jaques Cousteau, the famous oceanographer, named it as one of the best places in the world to dive. The Chankanaab Park also boasts the world’s only inland reef.