Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (2023)

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (1)

When visiting many people want to know where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen. This is reasonable since we are on the ocean and have some excellent spots nearby. Here is a complete guide to where you can snorkel. This guide has everything from the ocean to cenotes where you can go.

Snorkeling off the coast of Playa Del Carmen

The ocean waters off Playa Del Carmen are beautiful and tempting to dive in with a mask and snorkel. What will you see snorkeling off the beach in Playa Del Carmen? Much of the water is blue and empty with just sand bottom. There is one close spot where you can go snorkeling in Playa De Carmen.

On the north end of Playa Del Carmen just past CTM Avenue otherwise know as 46th Street. There is a reef just past where boats park (see photo below). In the photo below you can see the dark area where the reef is.

It is possible to snorkel from the beach to the reef. However it is best if you have a float with you not only for support since it is a distance but also for visibility. This can be an active area with boats.

Snorkeling here should not be done by first time snorkelers and care should be taken navigating the boats.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (2)

Cenotes near Playa Del Carmen to snorkel in

Cenotes are formed when ground water wears away the limestone and creates a pool of water. Some cenotes are open and some still have a cavern roof. These fresh water spots can be great for snorkeling because the visibility is clear usually and you don’t have any waves to worry about. So what cenotes are the best places to snorkel? Here are a couple cenoteswe recommend.

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Cenote El Jardin del Eden

We like this cenote for snorkeling because it is open, it has varying depths, fish, plants and interesting things to see. You can see our short video here of this cenote and just how amazing it is to snorkel there. You can read more about going to Cenote Eden in our article here and see our long video with more details.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (3)

Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino are two cenotes right next to Cenote Eden. These two cenotes are also open cenotes and beautiful. You can still snorkel in them and enjoy the crystal clear waters. There is just a little less space than Cenote Eden.

Casa Cenote

Casa Cenote is further down the coast from Playa Del Carmen near Tulum. What makes Casa Cenote so nice for snorkeling is the clear water. It is also large enough to have kayaks in. The setting is in the mangroves and near the ocean. In fact after you snorkel there is a restaurant across the street where you can eat. The restaurant is on the ocean with great views.

Other cenotes for snorkeling in the area

Most cenotes are nice to snorkel in because the visibility is so clear. For a list and map of where other cenotes are, see our guide here tocenotes close to Playa Del Carmen.

Snorkeling tours from Playa Del Carmen

Snorking the reef in Puerto Morelos Tour

The reef off of Puerto Morelos is well known for snorkeling. This area is just about 30 minutes north of Playa Del Carmen. There are tours that can take you here for a half day adventure. You can see a short video here of snorkeling in Puerto Morelos and a longer video and our article here.

There is also this company that does snorkeling tours off the coast of Puerto Morelos.

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Catamaran tours with snorkeling in Puerto Aventuras

Do you want to sail up the coast of the Riviera Maya and get a chance to go snorkeling in a remote spot? This tour combines several things for you. Below are two companies that do this tour. The companies are a little different so we suggest you read about them before choosing one.

Fat Cat Catamaran

Fat Cat uses their 45 ft. boat to sail you up the coast from Puerto Aventuras. Once you arrive at the reef, they give you snorkel gear and fins. There is a guided swim around the reef.After snorkelingthereis an open bar on board and a bagged lunch offered.

For more about the Fat Cat Catamaran tour see our article here which also includes a video of this tour.

Catamaya Catamaran

Catamaya has a 65 ft. catamaran that sails from Puerto Aventuras as well. This tour takes you up the coast and the to a reef to snorkel. After you snorkel this tour has four options for lunch like steak or lobster. There is an open bar as well. You can seeour video in our article on Catamaya Catamaran tour. Best of all our readers get 10% off this tour with the code in the article! This will get you the best price for this tour and we are happy to offer it.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (4)The reef where the catamaran boats take you to snorkel.

Private Tour to Tulum reef

Yes Tulum has a beautiful reef just off the coast. Most people don’t know this because there are not large tours that go there. So this is something of a hidden gem. The snorkeling is good and you will see a lot of coral and fish here. It took us a while to discover it and it was only because of a private tour we went on. Absolute Adventure Mexico is a private tour company that can take you here as well as cenotes in the area. You can see the full article and video in the link here to Absolute Adventure Mexico. This is one private tour company we recommend.

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Xel Ha snorkel park-the mother of all snorkeling

Xel Ha is a huge park where you can snorkel all day.The parkis an inlet from the ocean where the fresh ground water flows into the ocean. Here you can see tropical fish and snorkel all day! This area is huge. You start at the beginning the of the “river” in a mangrove area and then have the entire inlet, caves and other places to explore.

Xel Ha park is an all day activity and all inclusive. Your entrance includes all food and drinks (including alcoholic drinks). Xel Ha is open daily from 8:30am-6:00pm. For tips on getting the best deal on tickets, our video and everything you need to have a great day in Xel Ha, see our article here.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (5)

Other places to go snorkeling near Playa Del Carmen

Yal Ku Lagoon for snorkeling

Yal Ku Lagoon is a small inlet from the ocean that is like a mini Xel Ha. This natural area is open to the public in Akumal. You can come here by yourself or with a tour.

At Yal Ku Lagoon you can pay for admission and bring your own snorkel and mask or rent them. For more about visiting the Yal Ku Lagoon in Akumal see our article here.

If you would like to take a snorkeling tour to the Yal Ku Lagoon you can check out this tour below. A tour is easier for most people to get here. You need to really have a car to visit Yal Ku Lagoon because it is far off the highway and not really accessible by public transportation. With a tour you get transportation, guide and snorkeling equipment.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (6)

(Video) Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (7)

Snorkeling off Isla Mujeres

The waters off Isla Mujeres offer great snorkeling. A snorkel trip with a local guide can be easily arranged when you arrive on the island. Here is our article about snorkeling with the Cooperativa Isla Mujeres. These trips are very affordable and make for a great day trip from Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.

Not only can you see some shallow water reefs, you can also see the Musa Museum of over 470 underwater statues that create an artificial reef.

Where to go snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen and nearby - Everything Playa Del Carmen (8)

Buying snorkel equipment in Playa Del Carmen

If you are coming for a week or even staying longer and want to purchase your own equipment, it is fairly easy. If you are looking for recreational quality snorkeling equipment, Walmart or the other grocery stores in Playa Del Carmen are a good source. Here you can buy a mask and tube from around $20USD-$45USD.

If you want to buy professional equipment we suggest going to one of the dive shops in Playa Del Carmen.

Do you have questions or comments about snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.


Where is the best place to snorkel in Playa del Carmen? ›

The 4 best snorkel sites in and around Playa include:

Akumal. Puerto Morelos. Puerto Aventuras. Jardin del Eden.

Can you snorkel from shore in Playa del Carmen? ›

Although you can put on your snorkeling gear and snorkel anywhere in Playa del Carmen, there really isn't much to see along most of the coast. The one exception is to the south of Playacar. You will need to go right to the end of the beach where it gets rocky and swim out.

Where to buy snorkel gear Playa del Carmen? ›

Can I buy snorkel gear in Playa del Carmen? - Travel Yucatan. Yes there are many dive-shops and sporting goods stores throughout. Visitors can also find this type of gear at Sam's Club, Walmart and other similar stores.

Where can I snorkel with turtles in Playa del Carmen? ›

If you want to go swimming with the turtles in Playa del Carmen, just go to Akumal beach like normal and find a place to sit, preferably down away from the entrance and the scam “guides.”

Is snorkeling better in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel? ›

Cozumel vs Playa Del Carmen Snorkeling

Cozumel wins this one hand down! Famous all over the world for its first-class snorkeling experiences, the reefs, and lush marine life are incomparable. People from all over the world flock to Cozumel every year to go diving or snorkel the reefs that surround it.

What should you not do while snorkeling? ›

Do not touch corals, fish or turtles. The only thing you can touch safely is sand and rock and water (that means with your fins also). Read our snorkeling etiquette page for learning how to develop skills for taking a break in the water without having to stand. Don't use harmful sunscreen.

Is snorkeling included at beaches Resorts? ›

Beaches Resort-An Overview

It is all-inclusive in the most literal sense. Everything is paid for. Scuba diving, Hobie Cats, Snorkeling, Tennis.. anything.

Where do you put your snorkeling belongings? ›

While we recommend belting a waterproof box to you while you snorkel for your valuables (ID, money, credit cards, cell phone, keys, etc.), we normally leave our shoes, towels, inexpensive sunglasses, hats, snorkel bags, sunscreen, etc. on the beach well above the water line.

Should you bring your own snorkel gear? ›

A good way to go about it is to purchase your own mask and snorkel, which usually don't take up too much luggage space. This option also neatly addresses any concerns you may have about hygiene since you don't have to worry about anyone else having used your gear.

Should you bring your own snorkel gear to Mexico? ›

Snorkeling will only be operated with brand-new snorkel tubes, properly packaged, Each component is kept covered in its own storage bag. You are allowed to bring your own. You can rather keep it or destroy it when the activity is finished. It is established as prohibitive the use of saliva to defrost the mask.

What time of day is best for snorkeling? ›

In most locations, snorkeling in the morning is best because the waters are calmer and the winds are fairly smooth and calm. Many experts believe that the ideal snorkeling conditions exist when you have a gentle westerly wind, warm water, and a low tide.

What is the best color to wear when snorkeling? ›

Many factors determine the contrast-ability of your equipment, such as time of day, quality of water, shadows across the water, etc. For the most part, the lighter your gear the more contrast it will have. If you are wanting to blend in, blue or black would probably be your best bet.

Which reefs are closest to the shore? ›

The most common type of reef is the fringing reef. This type of reef grows seaward directly from the shore.

What are the 2 types of snorkel? ›

Two popular styles include the dry snorkel and a semi dry snorkel. Both are fantastic for keeping water out of your mask, but they are both used quite differently. Depending on how you want to snorkel, you'll want to pick a snorkel tube suited for your preference.

How far are coral reefs from shore? ›

Most Snorkeling Reefs are located under 300 yards from the shore.

How long should you stay under water when snorkeling? ›

In most cases, we don't recommend diving underwater for any more than 2 minutes with a full face snorkel. Even if you are an experienced snorkeler who is going out in perfect conditions, we don't recommend diving for more than 2 minutes.

Can you touch sea turtles while snorkeling? ›

Look, Don't Touch

Attempting to touch marine animals, like otters, seals, dolphins, sea turtles, or manta rays could seriously injure them, cause them to flee, or evoke aggressive behavior, using up the precious energy they need to perform basic life activities.

Which beach has turtles near Playa del Carmen? ›

Xcacel beach lies 30 miles south of Playa del Carmen, and a further 2.5 miles south of Akumal, between Chemuyil and Xel-Ha Park. The entrance to this turtle sanctuary/cenote is on the northbound side of the highway.

Where is the best place to snorkel with turtles? ›

Below you'll find a list of 11 amazing places in the world to dive and swim with these amazing creatures in their natural habitats.
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. ...
  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia. ...
  • Ari Atoll, Maldives. ...
  • Maui Island, Hawaii. ...
  • Marsa Alam, Egypt. ...
  • Sipadan, Malaysia. ...
  • Cook Island Marine Reserve, Australia.

Is snorkeling good in Playa del Carmen? ›

With its close proximity to some of the most incredible coral reefs in the world, Playa del Carmen is an amazing destination for snorkeling and underwater activities.

Can I brush my teeth with water in Playa del Carmen? ›

You can use the tap water to brush your teeth, however, do not drink the tap water. Drink water and lots of it.

Should you wear socks while snorkeling? ›

Open Heel Fins

You can wear them both barefoot or with socks/shoes. If you decide for the latter then it's probably best to go for some neoprene socks (if you're not allergic) or even some water shoes. Socks or shoes have the advantage that they keep your feet warm.

What is first important things to remember while snorkeling? ›

Choosing a good location is especially important for first-time snorkelers. Pick a place that doesn't have a strong current or big waves. You'll also want to make sure the water is clear enough to see through. It's better to start out snorkeling at a beach rather than out at sea on a boat.

Should I wear a shirt while snorkeling? ›

Rash Guard - If you're going to be snorkeling in warm water, opt for a rash guard or swim shirt rather than a wetsuit. This will protect your skin from the sun and other irritants while keeping you cool and comfortable. Fin Socks or Swim Shoes - If you want to protect your feet, you can bring swim shoes or fin socks.

Where is the safest place to snorkel? ›

These amazing dive sites are great places to plan a scuba or snorkel trip to remember!
  • The Big Island, Hawaii.
  • Palau, Micronesia.
  • Palawan, The Philippines.
  • Solomon Islands.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
  • Isla Holbox, Mexico.
  • The Maldives.
  • Coral Gardens, Belize.
Mar 12, 2018

Do you breathe through your nose when snorkeling? ›

Breathing with a traditional snorkel mask comprises of having the snorkel tube in your mouth that remains above the waterline. You breathe through the tube as you view the reefs through shallow waters. With a full-face snorkel mask that covers your entire face, you can breathe through both your nose and your mouth.

Do you breathe in and out of snorkel? ›

Safe Snorkel Breathing Tips

Breathe slow and deep: Place the mask on your face and the snorkel in your mouth and breathe in and out through the tube. Breathe slowly, deeply and cautiously with your mouth through your snorkel. It is important to take slow, deep breaths to flush air from the tube.

What to do with your stuff while snorkeling? ›

How will you keep them dry when you snorkel, kayak, swim, etc? Store them in a floating waterproof carry case or dry sack. You can search for waterproof cases and dry sacks online.

What do you wear on your feet when snorkeling? ›

Water shoes are available in many different fabrics. If you prefer really warm feet it's best to go for a neoprene fabric. The small layer of water between your foot and the shoe will provide a warm sensation. They work just like a wetsuit.

Should you wear jewelry while snorkeling? ›

Items such as jewelry or watches reflect light well, which can seem like a distressed animal to the shark. So make sure to avoid wearing the watch or jewelry while snorkeling.

Do you need gloves for snorkeling? ›

Even though gloves are not a necessity for snorkelers, they provide a few advantages. Keeping your hands warm and protected are the two main reasons why some people prefer to wear a pair.

Do you need boots for snorkeling? ›

Dive boots and fin socks

Will you need to walk over any rough or rocky terrain to get to your snorkeling site? If yes, then you'll be better off with a pair of booties and open-heel fins! For full-foot fins, you can wear a thin neoprene fin sock instead of going barefoot if you wish.

Should you bring water shoes to Mexico? ›

Should I bring water shoes? Do pack a pair of water shoes, you will use them in most water activities. If you forget bring them, there are several places to buy them in Cancun.

What should I not bring to Mexico? ›

Items Not Allowed in Mexico:
  • Guns or ammunition. ...
  • Pepper spray.
  • Lethal knives and machetes (anything over 8” is not allowed)
  • Live predator fish.
  • Totoaba fish (fresh or frozen)
  • Turtle eggs.
  • Poppy seeds or flour of poppy seeds.
  • Marijuana, medicinal marijuana, marijuana products, marijuana seeds or spores, or marijuana extracts.

How do you snorkel for beginners? ›

Beginner Snorkeling Tips for First-Timers
  1. Don't go alone. ...
  2. Make sure your goggles fit. ...
  3. Make sure your fins fit too! ...
  4. Snorkeling is more floating than swimming. ...
  5. Make sure to keep your snorkel above water. ...
  6. Relax. ...
  7. Don't touch anything.
Aug 12, 2019

Do fish touch you when snorkeling? ›

Getting Over the Fear of Fish

SEA LIFE aquariums can be found all over the world, just to give you an example. But maybe there's another one nearby. Remember that when you're snorkeling, fish aren't interested in touching you.

Can you snorkel if you are a weak swimmer? ›

So, Can One Snorkel Without Being Able to Swim? The short answer is YES. Essentially, snorkeling is a surface sport that involves mostly floating and requires very little (if any) actual swimming.

How deep do you swim when snorkeling? ›

With snorkel masks, you can descend up to six feet underwater without issue. However, your snorkel mask may fill up with CO2 and make it difficult to breathe. As a result, you shouldn't go deeper than six feet or even stay in the water for more than 25-30 minutes.

What color should you not wear snorkeling? ›

Since sharks see contrast colors, anything that is very bright against lighter or darker skin can look like a bait fish to a shark. For this reason, he suggests swimmers avoid wearing yellow, white, or even bathing suits with contrasting colors, like black and white.

What is the best color swimsuit to wear in the ocean? ›

Neon yellow, green, and orange swimsuits were the most visible beneath 18 inches of open water. All other colors disappeared quickly. In open water, bright, neon colors, including orange, yellow, and lime green, fared best.

What are the 3 largest reefs? ›

The Florida Keys Reef Tract is the third largest living coral barrier reef system in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System off the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Does Playa del Carmen have good snorkeling? ›

With its close proximity to some of the most incredible coral reefs in the world, Playa del Carmen is an amazing destination for snorkeling and underwater activities.

Where can I see sea turtles in Playa del Carmen? ›

Xcacel beach lies 30 miles south of Playa del Carmen, and a further 2.5 miles south of Akumal, between Chemuyil and Xel-Ha Park. The entrance to this turtle sanctuary/cenote is on the northbound side of the highway.

Is snorkeling included at beaches resorts? ›

Beaches Resort-An Overview

It is all-inclusive in the most literal sense. Everything is paid for. Scuba diving, Hobie Cats, Snorkeling, Tennis.. anything.

How do you avoid seaweed in Playa del Carmen? ›

In 2022, most of the beaches had no seaweed by October 15, 2022. But if you're visiting Playa del Carmen in seaweed season in, it's possible to avoid seaweed problems in Playa del Carmen by staying at the Xcaret Hotel Arte (adults-only) or Xcaret Hotel (family-friendly).

What is the best month to go to Playa del Carmen? ›

The best time to visit is between December and March when the weather is most settled. The hottest month of the year is May with an average daily maximum of 33 C and an average low of 23 C. The coolest month of the year is January with an average daily maximum of 27 C and an average low of 20 C.

How much money do I need per day in Playa del Carmen? ›

This all depends on the person, where they live, the activities they enjoy and other daily things. However, the average person will spend $30 USD per day in Playa del Carmen. This comes to about $900 USD per month, including groceries, transportation, rent, bills, and others.

Is it better to snorkel at high or low tide? ›

Snorkeling is best at low tide. Low tides often result in shallow pools, allowing you to have a close and clear view of the marine life. Although the type of tide is important, other factors like wind, rain and currents play an important role as well.

What is the best beach in Playa del Carmen without seaweed? ›

Top Tip: Punta Esmeralda is a curved bay sheltered from the open sea, and thus receives less sargassum seaweed than other beaches in Playa del Carmen. If you're visiting during the sargassum season, which runs roughly from April to August, this might be the best place to swim in seaweed-free water.

What is the main strip in Playa del Carmen? ›

As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico, 5th Avenue Playa del Carmen – “La Quinta Avenida” to locals – is 22 blocks of high-end retailers, bars, restaurants, local shops, cafes, and much more. 5th Avenue is essentially Playa del Carmen's Main Street.

What is the quiet beach near Playa del Carmen? ›

Punta Esmeralda Beach is known as the hidden local beach in Playa del Carmen. This undeveloped beach is perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds, relax and unwind. At Punta Esmeralda Beach, visitors will find a natural cenote that flows into the Caribbean.

What time of day is best to see sea turtles? ›

—the best time to spot sea turtles coming on the shore is midday, typically from around 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What time of day do turtles come to shore? ›

Most nesting sea turtle species come ashore at night, alone, and often during high tide. Some species, such as the Kemp's ridley, nest during the day and generally emerge from the ocean by the hundreds to lay their nests in a mass nesting event called an arribada or arrival.

What is the best time of day to see sea turtles hatch? ›

Hatchlings usually wait until night to emerge from the nest. Emerging at night reduces exposure to daytime predators. Studies have shown that some nests will produce hatchlings on more than one night.


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