Snorkelling has to be at the top of your list of things to do in Cancun. After all, the Mexican seaside resort town hosts some of the most incredible diving spots, including an underwater museum, vibrant reefs teeming with myriad marine life, and shallow waters that are ideal for first-timers. Here is everything you need to know about snorkeling in Cancun.
Cancun Marine Life
Cancun is situated in the Yucatan Peninsula, whose warm waters host over 500 kinds of fish and around 65 types of corals. From June to August, whale sharks come to feed around the islands of Holbox and Contoy, and you can see them up close while snorkeling or diving underwater. Though enormous, they are generally harmless.
Cancun’s waters are also home to rays, dolphins, barracudas and turtles. Some of the most striking fish species include parrotfish, butterfly fish, and triggerfish. Swimming alongside these otherworldly creatures is an experience of a lifetime. When you’re not occupied with the queen conches and stingrays, take some time to appreciate the bird life of Cancun’s beaches and islands.
Snorkeling in Cancun
Many resorts in Cancun have their own private stretches of beach and reefs, where you can comfortably go snorkeling. However, undertaking an excursion to nearby islands and reefs will reward you with richer experiences.
Close to Zona Hotelera is Punta Nizuc, whose reefs come alive with corals, algae, turtles, starfish, and lobsters. The stretch also has 16 underwater statues. The fishing island of Isla Mujeres also lends itself to glorious snorkeling trips. Sea turtles are often spotted in the Manchones reef. A must-do while in Cancun is snorkeling in the Underwater Museum, where over 470 life-sized sculptures create a mystical environment. The museum has two sections, and is an eco-project intended to preserve the natural reefs and habitats of the marine creatures. Also consider going on an excursion to Cozumel Island for its shallow waters, large array of tropical fish, and colorful corals. Other fantastic diving sites within access from Cancun are Akumal, Tulum, Isla Contoy, and Puerto Morelos.
You will also find natural sinkholes in Cancun, which are called ‘cenotes’ and are great for swimming and snorkeling. Cenotes are formed when porous limestone collapses, and leaves the fresh underground water exposed. There are also beautiful lagoons and inlets for those who aren’t ready to brave the ocean.
Some people own their own snorkeling gear, which includes a mask and a tube for oxygen. But you can also rent the gear in Cancun. Do bring along an underwater camera if you own one, or rent one before your excursion so you can capture the wondrous views. Remember to use biodegradable sunscreen to protect the reefs and marine life.
Scuba diving lets you go deeper (up to 40 feet under) and therefore, requires an oxygen tank, along with a fitted diving suit. Snorkeling is usually easier than scuba diving, but if you’d like to try the latter, you can always do a four-hour course, after which you can dive with a professional instructor.