The coast of Cancún is famous for being the starting point of the Mesoamerican reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world. You will be able to snorkel in one of the best places in the world!
Take advantage of your vacation in Cancún to have an extraordinary snorkeling experience. You can snorkel on the coral reef, swim with a whale shark, see sea turtles in Tulum or admire the nocturnal marine life in a bioluminescent bay!
What are the best places to go snorkeling in Cancún?
Punta Nizuc & Underwater Museum
Punta Nizuc is the southern end of the Nichupté lagoon. In the Punta Nizuc area, there is the coral reef and it is one of the most accessible from Cancún. Nearby there is also the underwater museum: a museum built on the seabed with dozens of statues on which corals were born. This is a great place to snorkel and one of the most accessible places to do scuba diving.
Isla Contoy is a wild island located 20 miles from Cancún. The island is an ideal destination for a snorkeling tour because it is a protected nature reserve: you can snorkel on the coral reef with a boat tour. Being a protected nature reserve, many land and marine animals live on the island of Contoy.
Isla Mujeres is located a few miles from Cancún and is an ideal place for snorkeling. The island is very popular with tourists and many catamaran trips are heading to Isla Mujeres, which includes at least one stop above the reef for snorkeling.
Cozumel island is a large island located in front of Playa del Carmen. There are several amusement parks and beach clubs on the island, but the most exciting part is certainly the coast. You can reach the coral reef and snorkel.
Akumal is a village located about 80 miles south of Cancún. Its bay is a protected reserve because many sea turtles live there. The name Akumal in fact, means: "place of the turtles". Here you can snorkel with a good chance of seeing sea turtles.
Holbox island is another island where you can snorkel on the coral reef. The island is quite wild and not too visited by tourists. The tip of the far end of the island, called Punta Cocos, is where you can go snorkeling at night, because the water turns glowing blue due to the bioluminescence of some organisms in the water.
Tulum is a pre-Columbian Mayan town built within the Tulum National Park. The water near Tulum is very crystal clear and is perfect for a snorkeling session. Here too, it is possible to spot sea turtles. Also, the Mayan ruins of Tulum are worth a visit.
Puerto Morelos is a village located between Cancún and Playa del Carmen. Less than half a mile from the coast, there is the coral reef of Puerto Morelos, which is also a national park. This location is less crowded than the areas near Cancún and can be a good option for quiet snorkeling.
Sian Ka'an Reserve
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is located near Tulum, south of Cancún. The reserve is home to a lagoon ecosystem rich in flora and fauna, where you can spot dolphins, sea turtles and various species of birds. Here, too, you can snorkel on the coral reef.
What are the best snorkeling tours from Cancún?
Coral Reef and Ship Wreck Snorkeling Tour in Cancun
This tour is mainly focused on snorkeling activity. The tour takes you to 4 different areas where you can snorkel.
The first stop is made on the coral reef, where the water is shallow and you can snorkel easily. The second stop is made at the underwater museum.
The third area visited is where sea turtles often swim - you'll have a high chance of seeing them! The final snorkeling area is at a sunken shipwreck that is now covered in underwater flora.
Snorkeling equipment, guide, transportation, and hotel pickup are included in the tour.
Cozumel 1 Day Snorkeling Tour from Cancun
Set sail for Cozumel Island, where crystal clear water and coral reefs offer fantastic snorkeling conditions.
The tour includes transportation from Cancun to Cozumel Island and a glass-bottom boat tour to the reef and snorkel. The snorkeling tour will last a good 2 hours. You will also have free time to explore the island of Cozumel and its beaches.
Cancún: Jungle Adventure by Speedboat and Snorkeling
Set off on a speedboat to explore the Nichupté lagoon. Navigate through the channels formed by the mangrove jungle until you reach the coral reef of Punta Nizuc. Here you can start the snorkeling session, which includes a visit to the MUSA, the underwater museum.
Bioluminescent Night Snorkeling Tour in Cancun
This snorkeling experience is truly unique! You will go snorkeling at night, in a laguna illuminated by the bio-luminosity of the sea.
You will be equipped with all the snorkeling equipment and a diving lamp. At the first stop of the activity, you will see a living coral reef, where there will be octopuses, morays, lobsters, crabs and squids. You will swim in a second area where you can see sea turtles and manta rays! Finally, by turning off the lights, you will notice that millions of particles in the sea will begin to glow with bioluminescence around your body.
Whale Shark Snorkeling Half-Day Tour from Cancun
This snorkeling tour is another thrilling experience to try. You will swim alongside a whale shark!
The tour begins with hotel pick-up and boat transport to where the whale sharks live. There, the snorkeling experience with the whale shark begins. Whale sharks are completely harmless to humans, but they can be impressive in size - they can reach up to 13 meters in length!
After 2 hours of snorkeling, the boat tour will continue to Playa Norte of Isla Mujeres, where you will enjoy a typical lunch and free time before returning to Cancun. The encounter with the whale shark is available from May to September.
Snorkeling in Tulum and visit to Chikin Ha
The coast of Tulum is one of the best-preserved natural places in the Yucatan. The beach and coral reef are protected as a national park. So it's undoubtedly a great idea to visit Tulum for snorkeling!
The tour begins with transportation from Cancún to Tulum, where the boat tour will depart towards the coral reef. The coral reef is truly exceptional in this area: you can snorkel in crystal clear water full of sea turtles!
The tour continues with lunch and a visit to Chikin Ha, a Mayan cenote with underground caves. Explore the area on a guided tour before returning to Cancún.
Snorkeling Adventure at Puerto Morelos Coral Reef National Park
Your tour begins with hotel pickup and transport to Puerto Morelos Port. Before the snorkeling activity, you will receive all the information regarding the safety procedures and regulations of the National Park.
Then you can enjoy an hour and a half of snorkeling activity on two different places of the reef. After snorkeling, you can relax and enjoy a good buffet lunch at Native Park Snorkel Beach Club.
Contoy island eco-adventure with snorkeling
Sail the Mexican Caribbean on a sailboat toward Contoy island. The island is the only virgin island in the Mexican Caribbean and a protected ecological reserve. The protected ecosystem is perfect for snorkeling: you can explore the coral reef of Ixlache as well as visit the small wild island with a certified guide.
The tour continues with seafood lunch and a stop on Isla Mujeres, before returning to Cancún.
What types of snorkeling tours are available in Cancún?
Group snorkeling tour
The easiest and cheapest way to snorkel in Cancún is with a group experience. Group snorkeling tours are perfect for inexperienced people who need a guide, as well as sea transport. Groups are usually small, around 10-15 people.
Private boat tours with snorkeling
If you want to have a personal and private experience, you can reserve a private snorkeling tour. This way, you will have a guide and a boat reserved for your group and you can customize the itinerary and the duration of the stops for snorkeling.
How much do snorkeling tours cost in Cancún?
There are many types of snorkeling tours in Cancún and the price depends a lot on the distance to the destination and the duration and the tour operator.
- The cheapest snorkeling tours cost between $ 45 and $ 70 per person and are directed to Punta Nizuc or Isla Mujeres.
- Snorkeling tours to Contoy and Holbox islands cost between $ 100 and $ 150.
- Snorkeling excursions to Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Morelos or Sian Ka'an Reserve cost between $ 50 and $ 140.
What other water and sports activities can you do in Cancún?
Cancún offers tons of opportunities for lovers of water activities. Snorkeling is certainly one of the best activities to try in Cancún, but there are others.
The most popular water activities are boat trips, jet ski rides, diving, flyboard and diving with the whale shark.
Many terrestrial outdoor activities are worth trying, such as ATV tours, zip lines, horseback riding or adventure parks like Xcaret and Xplor.
Where do snorkeling tours from Cancún start?
Most snorkeling tours in Cancún offer hotel pickup included in the price. Therefore, you will not have to worry about getting to the meeting point, but you will have to communicate your hotel name and address to the tour operator.
Even if few, some activities start from a predetermined meeting point, which is usually the port. You can reach the meeting point easily by taxi.
What is the duration of a snorkeling tour from Cancún?
Snorkeling activities vary in duration depending on the destination and what other activities are included.
- The shortest snorkeling tours reach Punta Nizac or Isla Mujeres and can last from 3 to 6 hours.
- Many snorkeling tours reach destinations further from Cancún, such as Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Tulum or Akumal and last a full day.
When is the best time for a snorkeling tour from Cancún?
Thanks to Cancún's tropical climate, it's always possible to snorkel in the warm Caribbean waters. Any time of year is a good time for snorkeling, although the dry season, which runs from November to May, is certainly the best time. During the wet season, there may be more rainy days, but snorkeling is still practicable.
If you are interested in swimming with the whale shark, the best time is from May to September.
Here are some travel tips to better enjoy your snorkeling experience.
- If this is your first time snorkeling, pay attention to your guide's instructions.
- Book the snorkeling tour as soon as possible, so you can be sure to find the activity available for your chosen day.
- Remember the sunscreen: the sun in the Caribbean is strong and the tours last several hours.
- Remember that you will visit protected natural places. Be careful not to damage the reef.