Been To Akumal? Now Try These 5 Snorkeling Spots In Mexico

Akumal Snorkeling

Photo compliments of photographer Micheal Hall

5 Great, Must-See Snorkeling Destinations In Mexico (Other than Akumal) – Dive on in!

From green sea turtles to moray eels, anemones to manta rays, the waters off Mexico’s vast shoreline offer its visitors more than enough terrific snorkeling sites. Akumal is of course the best place to snorkel but you have few more choices in Mexico.

The best part about snorkeling is that it does not involve any specialized training or pricey equipment. With some basic swimming skills, you are qualified to begin your underwater adventure in one of these excellent Snorkeling Spots in Mexico:

Snorkeling In Cozumel, Mexico

The island of Cozumel is one of Mexico’s superior snorkeling destinations. Cozumel is globally renowned for its high-quality diving, and on many of its shallower dive sites, snorkelers can see plenty of corals and sea life from the surface because of its crystal-clear waters with a 100-foot visibility! 200 yards from west-central Cozumel, Paradise Reef is brimming with sea life, along with spotted moray eels and seahorses. The colorful corals of this 20-40 feet deep reef are intersected by sandy channels and surrounded by eelgrass. A good way to access it is on a boat snorkeling trip. The Cardona Reef, with a depth of 25-40 feet and mild currents, also makes for a superb snorkeling site. Adorned with big coral heads and interjected by rock and coral overhangs, this reef is a haven for snapper, glasseye and cardinal fish. Another popular snorkeling site in Cozumel is Dzul Ha, which is 10-15 feet deep. The area is inhabited by lots of lobsters and crabs, along with camouflaged sand rays, flounder, and parrot fish.

Snorkeling In Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Located eight miles off the coast from Cancun, the island of Isla Mujeres offers snorkelers a rainbow of Caribbean sea life and corals, as well as an occasional lucky chance to see some of the largest fish in the sea. The reefs off Isla Mujeres are packed with a diversity of marine life, such as moray eels, schools of blue tang, angelfish, crabs, snapper and amberjack. In Isla Mujeres, visitors can also snorkel with the whale sharks. Between June and September each year, whale sharks and manta rays migrate into the waters off Isla Mujeres. These colossal sea creatures come to the area to feed on plankton and fish eggs, and hence are calm and safe to snorkel with. Built opposite the prime tract of the island’s coral reef, the Garrafon Reef Park is the centre for shore snorkeling in Isla Mujeres. Visitors can also opt for snorkeling boat tours to visit sites that are difficult to reach from the shore, such as Los Manchones and El Farito. Another snorkeling attraction in Isla Mujeres is the Underwater Museum of Art. Note Of Warning: The bull shark is also sometimes spotted in the waters of Isla Mujeres. This aggressive creature is a known to be a man-eater, so snorkelers should move out of the water if they see an 8- to 10-foot long shark with a blunt snout.

Snorkeling In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A resort town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta’s beaches and offshore islands feature the clear waters and marine life that make for some exciting snorkeling sites. Shore snorkeling sites are accessible to independent snorkelers and do not require joining a tour. Majahuitas is a covered cove with a beach, which can be accessed by land. But some of the best snorkeling sites in Puerto Vallarta can be found around the islands in the Bay of Banderas, as the reefs here are overflowing with marine life such as puffer fish, damsels, noisy parrotfish, plus lobsters and octopi hiding in the corners, holes and gaps which are lined by corals. Snorkelers will also see soaring eagle rays and mysterious sea turtles and might even have a close encounter with dolphins. The lucky ones may even be able to spot a humpback whale. Playa El Anclote, on the north end of the Bay of Banderas, is a popular snorkeling beach.

Snorkeling In Manzanillo, Mexico

Situated along the Pacific Ocean, Manzanillo is a port city in the Mexican state of Colima. Most of the distinguished scuba diving locations that Manzanillo is noted for also make excellent places to snorkel. From healthy hard-coral reefs and warm water marine life in the sheltered waters of Santiago Bay, to alluring wild creatures making merry in the warm water of Elephant Rock, Manzanillo always has something exciting to offer to even the most experienced snorkelers. Tourists throng to the three primary beach zones of the area – Playa Salagua, Playa Azul and Playa las Brisas. The beaches on the nearest bay alongside to downtown Manzanillo also have ideal conditions for snorkeling.

Snorkeling In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is regarded as the snorkeling, scuba diving and sport-fishing capital of the world. The neighboring waters of the Sea of Cortez have plenty to offer, including, underwater canyons, the only living coral reef in western North America, a submerged ship, and an array of marine life like sharks, swordfish, manta rays and around 350 other sea creatures. Bahia Santa Maria, located in a horseshoe-shaped cove, is quite a popular snorkeling site. Santa Maria Bay, a natural marine park, is also a superb site and snorkelers will be able to see the famous Los Cabos Arch, Lover’s Beach and the various rock formations. The open-style catamarans render a solid and unruffled sailing experience on the Bay of San Lucas.

Top 8 Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

For all of those living in Playa del carmen or Cancun, Mexico seems to be a perfectly normal and safe place to live. But after news of drug related violence in the country in the recent years, a common question posted by travelers is: ‘Is Mexico a safe country to go to?’ The answer is yes, if you know where to go and do your research well. So before you dismiss a vacation to Mexico this year, take into account our list of the 8 top safest places to visit In Mexico (there are quite a few other contenders as well!), in terms of safety, charm and attractions. Also, none of these 8 Mexican getaways feature on the US State Department’s warning list.

Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Loaded with entertainment, plentiful cultural offerings, a bubbling street life, history and an year-round spring-like climate, there is no doubt that Mexico City is one of the most fascinating cities in the world! Twenty years ago, the city was regarded unsafe, but successive local surveillance, like a widespread presence of police and security cameras, has made it safe for residents and visitors. With an increasing population of over 8 million, Mexico City is considered to be the cultural, political as well as the financial capital of Mexico. The tourist attractions of this city are quite different than those offered by the country’s beach destinations. This ancient city has Aztec canals (Check about Xochimilco Cancun Park), pyramids, revived colonial buildings, elegant eateries and a whole lot more. The downtown area, known as Zocalo, is the best place to take in the historic sites and it gives you an idea of the essence of the city. Palacio Nacional (The Presidential Palace) lies on the east side of the Zocalo whereas the Catedral Metropolitana is located on the north. Government offices are located south whereas the west side of Zocalo is lined with jewelry shops and extravagant hotels. The streets are full of vendors selling all sorts of knick-knacks. A conventional Mexican night begins at 10pm, and keeping up with this tradition, Mexico City parties until the wee hours of the morning.

Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Though it encountered severe political disturbances in 2006, the city of Oaxaca has recovered completely and today is regarded as a safe area for travel. Oaxaca has the vivacious vibe of a small Mexican town coupled with a rich cultural history. Visitors can expect to be pleasantly surprised with the spontaneous fiestas on the streets. Oaxaca also offers stunning Pacific beaches with world-famous surfing opportunities, an acclaimed art scene, beautifully designed laurels and an interesting shopping scene. For some exceptional finds, head to the street markets of Oaxaca that sell everything from unique crafts and artwork to mouthwatering Oaxaca chocolate and mole sauces! The city also boasts of an impressive range of cuisine and accommodations, from classic and economical to contemporary and stylish.

Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

One of the safest and cleanest cities in Mexico, the colonial city of Merida is located four hours inland from Cancun. With its many hotels and restaurants, hidden courtyards, tropical gardens, cultural attractions and lively shopping scene, Merida is not just an underestimated additive to a beach vacation, but is a destination in its own right. The city looks and feels the best on weekends, when the historical center – a setting of 17th-century cathedrals made from Mayan bricks – shuts out all vehicles and transforms into this lively place with open-air stages, taco stands and much life. Merida is encircled by world-famous Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, which is 74 miles to its east, Uxmal, which is 50 miles southeast and Dzibilchaltun, which is just nine miles away.

Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Near the southern tip of Baja California, the tiny Mexican town of Todos Santos is a haven for surfing, fresh seafood and ravishing scenery along the Pacific Ocean. There are a good deal of places here to have a drink in a laid-back sort of a way, so enjoy your beer against the gorgeous setting of golden sand beaches and the serene, turquoise waters. A couple of hours from Cabo, this easygoing, little beach town also has a thriving art scene. With splendid beaches and tiny taco stands, Todos Santos is safely secluded from any sort of crime or violence negating the question, “Is Mexico safe?”. For your next Baja trip, if you wish to escape the crowds, live off the grid, have the most genuine experience, but still be on the beach, Todos Santos would be worth considering.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Located in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is a stunner, without any traces of drug violence. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, the magical town of San Miguel de Allende does not have gorgeous beaches like the other popular Mexican resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, or Los Cabos, but has that something to make tourists fall head over heels in love with it! So much so, that most visitors decide to revisit the place while many others plant to settle here permanently! No wonder then that expats contribute to 20 percent of the town’s population.

This irresistible city, famous for its rose-tinted turrets, is full of pretty guesthouses, handicraft shops, 17th-century churches and botanic gardens. San Miguel de Allende’s snug lifestyle, cobblestoned appeal, splendid restaurants, perfect weather, intriguing architecture and a healthy art scene make it extremely easy for newcomers to settle in also contribute to making vacationers have a fantastic time.

Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

A 2-hour drive from Mexico City is Puebla, a colonial wonder city, long known as one of the safest cities of the country. Loaded with cathedrals, monasteries, forts, battlefields and a magnificent museum displaying ancient artifacts, Puebla is famous for its culinary contributions and its ‘talavera’ pottery. History- lovers will be delighted to visit the city’s architectural marvels. The publicly accessible bell tower of Puebla Cathedral, at 226 feet, is the tallest bell tower in Mexico and is filled with historic frescoes and offers an extensive view of the city. Other colonial churches to visit in Pueblo’s center include the Temple of San Francisco and the Temple of Santo Domingo. Must-see museums include the Museo Amparo and the Museo Poblano de Arte Virreinal. (for more museums in Mexico, click here)

Playa del Carmen

Undeniably the most chic and popular spot on all of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is most famous for its beaches, shopping and nightlife. Quinta Avenida or the 5th Avenue is this touristy town’s main street and is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, take-away tacos and vendors selling souvenirs and knick-knacks. Just a short walk from the main beach, this area bounces back to life after sunset. You can dance the night away in one of Playa’s nightclubs, have a quiet drink in one of the lounges, bargain with the vendors or just stroll around doing some people watching. The reefs of this town are excellent, and offer good diving and snorkeling opportunities. The town is conveniently located and allows easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Coba and other praiseworthy destinations.

Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

A small and safe colonial city with a thriving cultural scene, Guanajuato is brimming with character. 30 minutes from León’s Bajio Airport, Guanajuata is a ravishing hill town featuring magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, brightly colored homes on steep hillsides and tree-lined plazas. This city is best known for its Festival Cervantino – a 3-week long international arts festival held every October, featuring world-class opera, music, dance, theatre, orchestras, mariachis, street performance, visual art and films. Another must-see in Guanjuato is the Museo de las Mumias, a museum at the city cemetery, which exhibits approximately 100 mummies.

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