Best Snorkeling in Mexico | A Complete Tourist Guide

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and exciting history. With so much to offer, it’s not easy to decide where you should go first, but this guide will help you determine what area of Mexico is best suited for your snorkeling needs.

Riviera Nayarit

This area of Mexico is a top tourist destination full of lots of great hotels, restaurants, and plenty of activities. The best part about this area is that it has the lowest level of rainfall in all the country, which means it’s perfect for snorkeling because you will have bright sunny days nearly year-round.

Many people say they feel like they are on an island in this region because beaches are lining the coasts all around them.

There are many different types of fish to see here, including tropical fish, reef fish, aquatic species, mackerel, or even dolphins! Some popular places include Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta & Sayulita. Also, check out our list of the best all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.

Oaxaca – Guiengola, Puerto Angel & Coquimbo

If you are looking for some excellent scuba diving, then this is where you should go snorkeling with Whale Sharks.

You can find these fantastic creatures off the coast of Puerto Angel, and they are on their way south right before winter hits on their yearly migration route.

There is also some incredible whale watching here during December-April when they migrate back north to Alaska. Coquimbo bay has fantastic conditions for scuba divers because little tidal movement allows visibility up to 80 feet deep! Another popular place people like to visit is Guieng ola; there, you can see large groupings of Garibaldi known as the “Mexican National Fish.”

Baja Peninsula

This area has the most significant number of snorkeling spots in all of Mexico! This area is located right next to the Pacific Ocean, and it’s where you will find 2/3 of them.

It has beautiful year-round sunny skies with little rainfall or storms throughout the year, which means excellent conditions for snorkeling.

The water temperature varies depending on what time of year you visit but generally 65°F (18 °C) during winter and warmer in the summer around 70°F (21 °C). Other interesting facts about this region are that it has the longest coastline of all Mexico and it’s where you can find the world-famous La Bufadora in Cabo.

Oaxaca – Celestun & San Pedro Martir

This area is home to a lot of wildlife species, including both birds and mammals. It has one of the most extensive mangrove forests in all of Mexico, which provides a place for many species to live and feed. The main attraction is seeing the beautiful pink flamingos, but you can also find caiman, crocodiles, and turtles in this area.

Hidalgo – Huasca De Ocampo

This region has some of the best water clarity rates, with it up to 100 feet deep! This is most likely due to all the crystalline rivers that flow into the ocean here mixing things up.

You can snorkel right off one of its calm beaches, such as Playa Las Peñitas where you will see all different types of fish such as: angel fish, sergeant majors, butterfly rays, sea bass and more!

Nayarit – San Blas

This region is full of colorful Caribbean like colors due to the high mineral content in the water. You can see colorful sea fans, corals and great visibility which lets you see deep into the ocean. This area is also known as a “Paradise For Scuba Diving” because there are plenty of reefs to explore, and it has a small current allowing for free diving along with snorkeling.

Michoacan – Las Coloradas

Who wouldn’t want to go snorkeling on an island made up completely of pink sand? The best part about this place is that it’s not hard to access from any location in Mexico, so you don’t have to worry about going on some crazy long journey. The sand comprises crushed red coral fossils mixed with white fish scales, giving it that unique pink color. It’s also not recommended to go swimming here because the waves are powerful.

Jalisco – Puerto Vallarta

This place has the deepest waters in all of Mexico, reaching over 1,000 feet deep! The waters are so clear and clean thanks to its location far away from metropolitan cities. During winter, you can see Hawksbill turtles nesting on the beaches or traveling through the bay.

If you are lucky you can also spot a pod of dolphins, including Bottlenose dolphins, Spotted dolphins & even Pilot whales who love to swim through this area! Punta Mita is another place that has excellent snorkeling conditions with calm waters and spots where you can encounter turtles.

Mexico has so much great snorkeling locations to explore; no matter what region you visit, they will not disappoint!

Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos is a large Cenote located in Tulum Mexico on the Riviera Maya. The cenotes were formed from collapsed limestone caverns and have been famous for diving and snorkeling since Mayan times. In 1966, Jacques-Yves Cousteau made it famous who declared this one of the top 5 places to scuba dive in the world. Today it’s still very popular with divers and snorkelers despite its depth of 100 feet (30 meters).

The water in this area is known to be extremely clear and excellent visibility helps you see into the depths where you can spot animals such as nurse sharks, turtles, octopuses, eels, stingrays and more!

Calavera

Another popular snorkeling site is Calavera which has some unreal sunken Mayan vessels that you can explore. It’s located on the Caribbean side of Mexico and in order to get here you will need a boat or kayak. You will see sea life and plenty of corals, and other underwater structures such as shipwrecks and caves. This is an excellent place for pictures because the water clarity allows light to penetrate deep down, making it colorful.

Sian Ka’an

Tulum Ruins You can combine your snorkel adventure with visiting one of the unique places in Mexico: Sian Ka’an. This park is located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico and has some of the most diverse natural habitats in all of Mexico with many different species of birds, vegetation, and wildlife. If you are fortunate, you can spot whales, dolphins & turtles along with brightly colored fish!

Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita is a must-see location if you are snorkeling or diving for the first time because it’s an easy dive that beginner divers could manage. It’s not as deep as other cenotes reaching only 50 feet (15 meters) below sea level, which makes it ideal for those who have never been diving before. This cenote also has a unique feature called Aqua Nubes which are basically underwater curtains that make for some great photo opportunities.

Cenote Tajma Ha

Another famous cenote is Cenote Tajma Ha which is a little over 100 feet (30 meters) deep and has Mayan artifacts inside such as: ancient pottery, tools and more! There are also plenty of fish to see including: tarpons, groupers & eels. Every once in awhile you can spot larger sized fish like: jacks and barracuda as well as dolphins if you’re lucky!

Huatulco

The lesser known scuba diving destination of Huatulco is located on the Pacific side of Mexico and is famous for clear water with visibility up to 200 feet (60 meters). With over 60 cenotes to choose from, Huatulco is a perfect location to try snorkeling because you can easily find calm waters and plenty of fish! There are so many different types of fish here, including Moorish Idols, Parrot Fish, Angel Fish & even turtles!  

Playa Las Gatas

Scuba diver exploring the underwater cenotes in Mexico near Puerto Aventuras. Caves are dark and the light always gives different amazing ambient underwater.

If you are in the mood for something different you can always head down to Playa las Gatas which is located in Puerto Vallarta. This beach has very calm waters and also a unique rock formation called “El Arco” that makes for incredible picture taking opportunities! You will see plenty of fish, including sea bass, parrotfish, angelfish & even turtles.

Once you have tried snorkeling in Mexico, likely, you won’t want to go back home without trying it again! If you are looking for more activities while spending time on vacation, check out our travel blog for ideas. We would love to hear about your experience with snorkeling below so please leave us your questions and comments in the section below!

Nuevo Vallarta:

Nuevo Vallarta is unique because over 20 beaches surround it! Most of which allow you to take your car down onto the sand so you can enjoy all day picnics and sun bathing. There are also great food options close by so cooking isn’t necessary unless you really wanted too.

The Best Beaches in Nuevo Vallarta:

Playa de Oro Beach Playa de Oro (Gold Beach) is very popular for snorkeling, but only during the summer months. This beach has many rocks that get hidden underwater during high tide making it challenging for this location to be open year round, but well worth checking out if you love snorkeling! The fish here include: sea bass, parrot fish, angel fish & even turtles!

La Tovara Beach

La Tovara is a famous beach where you can go snorkeling year round. This spot has a reef that starts out at about 2 feet (1 meter) and drops down to about 20 feet (6 meters). You can easily see yellow striped hermit crabs on the sand during low tide and if you look carefully you might notice squid swimming in the water. This beach also has great places for having picnics along with amazing pink colored sunsets in the evening!

Cabo Corrientes:

This fishing village is known to be a pirates dream because it’s full of coves and hidden beaches! It’s the perfect place to try snorkeling if you are looking for somewhere unique.

Huatulco:

The lesser known scuba diving destination of Huatulco is located on the Pacific side of Mexico and is famous for clear water with visibility up to 200 feet (60 meters). With over 60 cenotes to choose from Huatulco is a perfect location to try out snorkeling, because you can easily find calm waters and plenty of fish! There are so many different types of fish here including: Moorish Idols, Parrot Fish, Angel Fish & even turtles!

Akumal Bay:

A little further down from Playa Del Carmen is a small village called Akumal. It’s a perfect place to go snorkeling because it has a reef that starts at about 4 feet (1.2 meters) and drops down to about 90 feet (27 meters). The beach itself does have some rocks so water shoes are recommended, but once you get past them the fish here are darling! You’ll see schools of Yellow Tail Snappers as well as other types of colorful fish. If you take your time you may even spot turtles during low tides, they like to come in closer to shore for some sunbathing. 

If you make it all the way down to Akumal you should also check out Xel Ha Park. This fantastic attraction is known for its great snorkeling opportunities, tree top zip lines and the best part… there’s no crowds!  

Puerto Aventuras:

Also on the east coast of Mexico near Tulum is Puerto Aventuras. It has a very secluded beach that you can easily walk down to with no rocks in the water at all. The fish here are plentiful and you’ll see many types of parrotfish as well as angel fish, but if you look carefully under some rocks you may even spot sea cucumbers or starfish. If you go at low tide, this location makes for perfect conditions to try your hand at scuba diving because it’s over 30 feet (9 meters) deep!

Cancun:

Of course, we had to mention Cancun as a place to go snorkeling because it’s known as the scuba diving capital of the world and is home to over 50 dive sites. The average visibility is around 100 feet (30 meters), which means there’s plenty of room for exploration. There are many types of fish here, including Angel Fish, Groupers, Butterfly Fish & even Moray Eels. Most notable at Costa Muertos reef with its schools of blue tangs and yellowtail snappers swimming all around you as you snorkel above them. 

Conclusion: 

Even though snorkeling is an excellent activity during any time of year, it’s best to pick your location wisely. In the summer months, you’ll want to choose a spot with calm waters and as few waves as possible.

If you avoid crowded beaches, this will also make the experience more fun because those are typically overpopulated with people trying to sell things or rent equipment from beachside stands.

It’s best not to feed fish either; they can get dependent on humans, which can cause problems if everyone starts doing it. If you’re out there willing to follow these rules & have a good attitude about being in nature, then snorkeling is going to be a fantastic experience for you!

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