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Best Places to Snorkel in Mexico

Girl Snorkeling in Mexico
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Mexico is one of the best places to snorkel in the world. Its located in a warm climate that sea life flock to and the Mesoamerican reef flows through.

The Mesoamerican reef is the largest reef in the western hemisphere and the second-largest in the world.

This all leads to exceptional snorkeling conditions to see lively, diverse, colorful marine life. There is arguably no better place in North America for snorkeling than Mexico.

When visiting the country, snorkeling is a must-do activity.  So with all these great spots to snorkel while you are on holiday, where are the best places to snorkel in Mexico… That is what we are here for and what we are going to answer. 

Parrot Fish in Oaxaca

Best Time of Year to Snorkel in Mexico

Mexico is a great place to snorkel year-round. However, the absolute best time to snorkel varies depending on which part of the country youre in. 

The best time of year to snorkel in the Caribbean Sea on the Yucatan Peninsula is between November and May because the rainy season is from June to October.

However, the coolest water temperatures are from November to January and range from 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conversely, the warmest ocean temperatures are from June to August and range from 79 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Along the Gulf of California, April to October is the best time of year to snorkel. Since Mexico is a large country, the best time of year to snorkel can range greatly depending on where you’re staying.

Before your trip, run a quick google search on the area you’re visiting to check the snorkeling conditions.

What You Need for Snorkeling in Mexico

Snorkeling is a super accessible activity because it doesnt require much equipment. All you need for snorkeling is a bathing suit, goggles, and a snorkel.

Additional items you may want include a life jacket, water shoes, or fins.

You can bring your own snorkel equipment to Mexico, but there are many places to rent gear. If you go on a guided snorkel tour, gear is often included for free with your ticket, and sometimes your snorkel is even a souvenir! 

Best Way to Snorkel 

The easiest way to snorkel is to find good locations just off the beach. This means you can walk right up and swim out to snorkeling spots just off the beach. Its super accessible for anyone to partake in and doesn’t cost any money if you’re doing it completely on your own. 

The other option for snorkeling is to go on a tour. Tons of tour companies in Mexico will take you to all the best snorkeling spots that you may not be able to find on your own.

Some will take you offshore snorkeling, but you also have the opportunity to go on snorkel tours that will take you by boat to some great spots.

This is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy some fantastic snorkeling. 

Best Places to Snorkel in Mexico

Keep reading for a list of the best snorkeling locations throughout Mexico. 

There are fantastic snorkeling spots throughout Mexico in several different bodies of water: the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and even cenotes!

So no matter what coastal part of Mexico youre visiting, youre bound to find a good snorkel spot. The cool thing, too, is the sea life varies between the different bodies of water.

So if you ever have the chance to snorkel all the bodies of water that touch Mexico, you absolutely should.

Below youll find at least one recommended place to snorkel along each of the bodies of water in Mexico. 

Tropical Fishing swimming

1. The Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean Sea is arguably the best place to snorkel in Mexico because it has tons of coral reefs and rich sea life.

The best places to snorkel in the Caribbean Sea area in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Every coastal town along the Riveria Maya has top-notch snorkeling. So if youre visiting this area, it wont be hard to find.

Also, Quintana Roo is where the Mesoamerican Reef flows through which just adds to perfect snorkeling conditions. 

Turtle Swimming

2. Akumal

Akumal is arguably the most popular and well-known place to snorkel in Mexico. Here you can snorkel with turtles if you go on a guided tour.

Youll have the opportunity to spot tons of fish, stingrays, and turtles during your snorkeling experience in this bay.

The only downside is its always pretty busy, but its well worth it. The shallow seagrass provides a source of food for many sea animals close to shore, so its a great spot for offshore snorkeling.

There is also a coral reef not too far out where marine life likes to hang out so you don’t have to go very far from shore.

Cozumel Beach Hut

3. Cozumel

Cozumel is an island just off the coast and across from Playa del Carmen. Its one of the best snorkeling spots, with the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System running right under the island.

The island can be accessed by ferry, boat, or plane and is a beautiful, secluded place to vacation.

Chankanaab Park is a great snorkeling spot where you can swim and snorkel in the lagoon. You may even see dolphins, sea turtles, and more.

There are many other great snorkeling places both offshore and by boat tour on the island. Want more ideas on where to snorkel in Cozumel?

Cancun Underwater Museum

4. Cancun

Cancun is a large city in Quintana Roo and is a fun place to vacation. On top of being an enjoyable destination, its also a great place to snorkel.

If youre snorkeling here, you must visit MUSA, the worlds largest underwater museum.

There are more than 500 sculptures, all made of material that promotes corals’ growth, which has led to an artificial reef. 

5. The Gulf of California

The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, is as far away from the Yucatan Peninsula as possible.

Still, it also has some awesome snorkeling opportunities. There are tons of coves along the Baja California peninsula that provide great snorkeling spots. Its even been quoted the Worlds Aquarium.”

6. Esperito Santu Island

One of the best snorkeling spots on the Gulf of California is the island Esperito Santu. It can be reached by the city of La Paz.

Various snorkeling tour companies will take you out here to explore. The coral reefs and rock ledges provide a habitat for sea life.

You may also spot dolphins, whales, and rays. You can also snorkel in La Paz where there are also good opportunities to see marine life.

7. Cabo Pulma Marine Park

The reef at Cabo Pulma Marine Park is 20,000 years old and is full of abundant sea life.

You may run into sea turtles, eels, whales, sea lions, and other unique sea animals during your snorkeling journey.

Its even possible to snorkel straight from shore without having to take a boat to all the best spots. This means you can snorkel freely or you can go on a guided tour so you have all the options.

Fish swimming in tropical reef best place to snorkel in Mexico

8. The Gulf of Mexico

Touching the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico is also a great place to snorkel. Veracruz is an elongated state of Mexico along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Its a great tourist destination with amazing beaches and incredible snorkeling and diving opportunities. 

9. Cancuncito

Cancuncito is named after Cancun, meaning little Cancun. It is full of fantastic beaches and not full of the crowds like Cancun is.

Cancuncito is located in Heroica Veracruz, and you can only get to it by boat or by renting a jet ski.

Once there, its a great place for swimming, snorkeling, and diving because its located in the Veracruz Reef System. Its only about 30 minutes from the Port of Veracruz and well worth the trip.

10. La Isla de Enmedio

Another hidden treasure is Isla de Enmedio which is also part of the Veracruz Reef System. The island is located across from Boca del Rio, which is an excellent place to vacation.

The island is accessible from Alvarado, about an hour’s drive from Boca del Rio. Once youre on Isla de Enmedio, its an excellent place for snorkeling along with the reef system.

Youll see tons of colorful and diverse marine life. 

11. The Pacific Ocean

Finally, the last body of water you can snorkel in while visiting Mexico is the Pacific Ocean. While this body of water may not be as famous in Mexico for snorkeling, it’s still a great option, and depending on the time of year, you can even snorkel with Whales migrating.

Los Cabos, Mexico

12. Los Cabos

Los Cabos is a trendy vacation spot and a great snorkeling destination. One of the best spots to snorkel in Los Cabos is Pelican Rock at Lands End, an iconic and often photographed place.

In addition, Los Cabos is located on the very tip of Baja California Sur, where many sea animals pass by to get to the Sea of Cortez. This makes it a great place to spot a ton of marine life. 

13. La Entrega

La Entrega is located in the state of Oaxaca on the Pacific Ocean. Its a nice, calm, sheltered area which makes it ideal for snorkeling.

The water is also shallow, so its an excellent place for families.

Playa La Entrega can be busy because there is a coral plate right offshore that people love to explore, but its well worth it.

The coral reef is super accessible straight from the shore. All you need is your equipment or find a nearby rental place and get out there and enjoy all of the colorful sea life. 

Snorkeling in Cenotes, Tulum

14. Cenotes

The only place in the world cenotes are found is on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Theyre formed from sunken bedrock, which creates pools of fresh groundwater.

Cenotes can be completely underground caves, open pools of water, or semi-open. They are awesome for snorkeling in and give you a completely different experience than snorkeling out in the ocean. You will see completely different wildlife, rock formations and visibility since the water is fresh and not salty.

The water in cenotes averages 75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

Theyre an exciting place to swim, but theyre also a wonderful freshwater snorkeling spot where you can see unique underwater life.

Some of the best cenotes to snorkel scattered all over Riviera Maya include Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, Casa Cenote, Jardin Del Eden, and Aktun Chen.

These are just a few of the cenotes out there worth exploring, but ultimately you can snorkel any cenote you visit and try to see what you can find.

There more than likely wont be a ton of fish to see, but its still an extraordinary experience to see the eerie underwater world of cenotes.

If you happen to vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula, snorkeling in a cenote is a MUST.

Conclusions on Snorkeling in Mexico 

There are tons of places to snorkel in Mexico, and the good news is that you can find great snorkeling all over the large country.

There are four bodies of water that touch Mexico and the sea life varies in each of the bodies of water, so if you have the chance, you should snorkel them all.

No matter where youre staying along the coast in Mexico, youll be able to find a great spot to snorkel.

So get out there and enjoy the colorful, diverse, and abundant sea life all around the shores of Mexico.

Do you have a favorite place to snorkel in Mexico that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.

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