You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to snorkeling in Mexico.
No matter where you stay you’re sure to have some truly world class snorkeling right on your very doorstep!
With year round favorable conditions, Mexico’s underwater world offers a vast array of unique places to explore.
From vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins and sea lions, plus Mexico’s exciting and unique fresh water cenotes!
Here’s our list of beaches & reefs that are the best snorkeling Mexico has to offer.
Check it out!
Cozumel is one of the most popular scuba destinations in the world, but it also offers some of the very best snorkeling in the world too.
This small island located just off the shore of Playa Del Carmen should be right at the top of your list if you’re keen to experience the best snorkeling in Mexico.
Whether you’re here for a day trip, or are spending a few days in one of Cozumel’s beautiful resorts, you’ve got plenty of options for different beaches and reefs to explore.
The best snorkeling is concentrated along the Western coast and there lots of options for amazing snorkeling directly from the shore.
But for the very best snorkeling in Cozumel you’ll want to hop on a boat tour for a short trip to one of it’s many offshore coral reefs.
What really makes Cozumel the best snorkel spot? Well as with any world class snorkel spot it’s many reasons..
The water clarity here is insanely clear, with visibility easily reaching up and even surpassing 100 feet on a clear sunny day.
As well as it’s beautifully clear (and wonderfully warm) waters you can also expect to see a huge abundance of marine life, some of which includes;
Butterflyfish, damselfish, seahorses, moray eels, angelfish, parrotfish, barracudas, sea turtles, stingrays, puffer fish, crabs, shrimp, many other tropical fish and a vast amount of different coral species.
Cenote Dos Ojos [Tulum]
Mexico is home to literally thousands of cenotes (fresh water sink holes), which make for truly unique exploration that is not to be missed.
Cenote Dos Ojos (translating to two eyes) is one of Mexico’s most popular, (and one that I have visited myself).
It’s name is in reference to the shape of the cenote itself, being two large sinkholes that are connected to each other by long corridor.
The jaw dropping water clarity here is a sight to behold. The visibility is so clear that it allows you to see right to the bottom in places where you can wave hello to the divers that you’re sure to see down there!
When snorkeling Cenote Dos Ojos you’ll see very little (if any) life in the water. The main attraction is the geological wonder of the cave itself which is covered in interesting stalactites and stalagmite formations.
There is still plenty of wildlife within the area however. The ceiling of the cave itself is home to many bats, and in the surrounding area you may find snakes, iguanas and… tarantulas.
Akumal Bay is one Mexico’s best snorkel spots if you want to see Green Sea Turtles.
Located on the Riviera Maya between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal Bay is a gorgeous mile long stretch of perfect white sand, with crystal clear blue waters.
The green turtles come to Akumal to graze on the seagrass beds, rest, and the beach itself is also a turtle nesting area.
The wonderful thing about snorkeling Akumal Bay is that you are all but guaranteed to see turtles, and plenty of them! (Remember to maintain a respectful distance when snorkeling with sea turtles)
To snorkel with the turtles is by guided tour only and between the hours of 9am to 5pm. When we were here we booked our tour directly through our hotel (Moon Palace, Cancun) and were picked up and dropped off right from our doorstep.
Snorkel gear will also be provided but as always I recommend investing in your own snorkel gear for the very best experience!
When the water is nice and calm, (which is much of the time), this is a really good area to snorkel for families and people of all snorkeling abilities.
As well the sea turtles, there is also a colorful coral reef that’s teeming with tropical fish just a little further out offshore and you might even see stingrays and spotted eagle rays here.
Whale Sharks [Isla Mujeres/Yucatan Peninsula]
During the months of June to September a once in a lifetime experience is located just off shore from the Yucatan Peninsula – Snorkeling with whale sharks.
The whale sharks migration during the summer months brings them to these warm plankton rich waters in order to feed, which they do right at the water’s surface making snorkeling with them the perfect up close encounter.
The opportunity to swim with whale sharks is a rare one that can only be experienced in a few places throughout the entire world.
The main departure point for the whale shark tours is Cancun, but most boat tour operators will offer pick up and drop off from hotels all around the Mayan Riviera.
Plus, whilst you may be there to get up close and personal with whale sharks, you may even get to see other exciting marine life like manta rays too.
Some tours also include a stop off to snorkel in Isla Mujeres as well, where you may also get the experience Cancun’s underwater museum…
Cancun [Museo Subacuático de Arte]
The Museo Sub Subacuático de Arte is one of the very few underwater museums in the world, therefore the chance to visit this amazing underwater installation is not one to be missed.
It consists of just over 500 sculptures in total which are located between Punta Nizuc (x30 sculptures) and Manchones (x473 sculptures), and they can be explored via snorkeling, scuba diving, or by glass bottom boat.
The depths of the sculptures at Manchones are between 8-10 meters deep so these ones are best viewed by scuba divers.
At Punta Nizuc though the depths range between 2-4 meters deep making this area ideal for snorkelers to enjoy.
There are around 30 structures in this area in total, and as well as the underwater architecture to enjoy, the sculptures have also formed their own artificial reef.
This artificial reef provides an environment for coral to grow and fish to inhabit, so as well as seeing these cool underwater structures, there’s a fairly decent amount of marine life to see here as well!
Huatulco National Park
Huatulco is located on the Pacific Coast in the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca
Within Huatulco National Park there are nine small picturesque bays that are completely unspoilt and make perfect for snorkeling.
Since Huatulco is a UNESCO protected reserve the marine life here is able to thrive, and the area is home to schools of colorful fish, as well as some much larger species like rays, dolphins and whale sharks if you’re willing to venture out a little further off shore.
The best snorkeling spots as usual is via a boat tour where you’ll be taken to an off shore reef, but there is still some really good shore snorkeling as well.
La Entrega nearby offers excellent shore snorkeling. This beautiful bay is well protected and has a small reef to explore, plus, it’s calm waters make for perfect conditions for all levels and abilities.
Cacaluta Bay is one such area that is accessed via boat tour and allows you the opportunity to see rays, dolphins, whale sharks and even humpback whales.
Overall Huatulco is a wonderfully quiet and peaceful area is free from the large groups of tourists that can overpopulate some of Mexico’s best snorkel spots on its Caribbean coast.
A wide range of other outdoor activities can also be enjoyed here such as; surfing, paddleboarding, fishing, scuba diving, hiking and biking.
Cabo Pulmo National Park [Sea Of Cortez]
Cabo Pulmo National Park is located on the East coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, and is home to the only hard coral reef in the Gulf of California.
Being only a 2 hour drive north from Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo can easily be explored as part of a day trip.
At one point, the reef here was on the verge of dying and life being completely extinguished due to overfishing, but thanks to the interventions put in place and becoming a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005, the reef has since thrived and become one of the best places to snorkel in Mexico.
This busy and thriving reef is estimated to be 20,000 years old! And, as usual the best way to explore this area is by joining a snorkeling tour.
The Cabo Pulmo reef provides a home for as many as up to 800 species of marine animals!
It’s regular visitors include whale sharks, humpback whales, giant rays, and you will even have the opportunity of snorkeling with sea lions!
La Paz is located on the Baja California Peninsula, and just under three hours drive North of Cabo Pulmo
La Paz is another one of Mexico’s best snorkeling spots for swimming with whale sharks.
Private charters are forbidden from taking people out into these areas and so you will have to join a guided tour, which is only a 15 minute boat ride from La Paz’s Malecon (promenade)
A stroll along La Paz’s 3 mile Malecon shouldn’t be missed either. Including a sculpture of Jacques Cousteau who called Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, “the worlds aquarium”
The nearby small islands of Espirito Santo and Isla Partida are also only a short boat ride away, and being designated national parks, also offer the opportunity for some amazing snorkeling.
On the trip over to them you may even see dolphins, rays and whale sharks, and then upon arrival you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel with playful sea lions!
Best Time To Go Snorkeling In Mexico
Mexico is the perfect destination if you love the water as it’s gorgeously warm Caribbean sea is one that can be enjoyed year round.
Weather wise the best months to visit Mexico are between November and March. These months are the driest and whilst it is still beautifully warm it isn’t ridiculously hot and sticky.
Because this is the peak season (December and January in particular are the busiest), then you can expect to pay a lot more and for the crowds to be at their peak.
To experience the best snorkeling in Mexico then the dry season is a great time to visit as the water has better visibility now than during the rainy season.
From June to October is the rainy season. It will be hot humid and sticky during these months with storms being most likely in August, and September and October the most likely for Cyclones.
The water will be at it’s warmest (84°F/29°C water temp on average), but the visibility in the water may not be as clear thanks to the rain.
It will be cheaper to visit during these months and the crowds will be way less dense too. It’s also whale shark migrating season so if you want to sea whale sharks in particular then this is the time to visit.
The cenotes have a constant year round temperature of around 75°F/24°C so if you’re visiting during the hot humid months of July and August, a cool swim in the cenotes would be a good choice!
Marine Life Snorkeling In Mexico
Mexico is one of the best destinations in the world for snorkeling.
This is thanks to it’s year round warm waters which are beautifully clear, but most notably for the huge array of different marine species that you can see when exploring here.
Just a small portion includes; Whale sharks, dolphins, sea lions, eagle rays, stingrays, sea turtles, nurse sharks, angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, grunts,
I hope you found this guide to the best snorkeling in Mexico useful, and that it’s given you some inspiration on some of the amazing places you can explore.
Why not check out our other destination guides as well for some more snorkel inspiration!