Did you know that the Riviera Maya is home to the world’s second largest coral reef? This is only one of the reasons why snorkeling should definitely be on your bucket list when visiting Playa del Carmen. Live an unforgettable adventure in its colorful world offshore or explore magical underground rivers. Here are the snorkeling highlights of the Riviera Maya.
1 Cozumel – The Classical
Be prepared for a world class snorkeling experience! One of the most well-known and extraordinary spots on Cozumel are the Palancar Reef and the Columbia Shallows. Admire tropical fish dashing through the colorful reef, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and magnificent underwater gardens, canyons and caves. If you prefer going without a tour and like shore snorkeling, we recommend Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park, located inside Cozumel’s National Marine Park. Besides of the beautiful reef and the animals inhabiting it, the underwater statues make it a special experience.
2 Akumal – Place of the Turtles
You definitely can’t talk snorkeling without mentioning Akumal. Mostly famous for its abundance of sea turtles, it’s also a peaceful, picturesque town with a gorgeous white sand beach and some really good places to eat. If you want to see sea turtles up close, go to Akumal Bay. Another recommendable spot is the beautiful Yal-Ku Lagoon. Its calm waters make it the perfect place to snorkel with kids or beginners. Expect to see parrot fish, rays, barracudas and many other sea creatures.
3 Cenote Chaak-Tun – For Adventurers
Escape the heat and the crowded beaches to a secret underworld, realm of the Mayan god of rain. The Mayans believed that cenotes are portals to communicate with the underworld, and once you plunge into this magical underground world you’ll understand why it held them in awe. Chaak-Tun is just a 15 minute car ride from Playa Palms Beach Hotel. The spelunking cavern might not be the perfect place if you’re claustrophobic, but if you dare to enter this new world, an unforgettable experience is guaranteed. Swim in the cenote’s crystal clear, fresh water and discover its spectacular formations. An experienced tour guide will lead you through the caverns and explain you all the interesting details.
4 Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA – For Art Lovers
Be prepared for a unique snorkel excursion, discovering the surreal underwater world created by sculptures of the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The Cancun Underwater Museum features over 470 submerged statues, some solitary, others in groups, each representing different aspects of the human race. It shows the relation of modern art with man and the environment. See how numerous species have started making the underwater museum their home. The sculptures are slowly showing more and more coral growth, what makes the Cancun Underwater Museum the biggest artificial coral reef in the world.
5 Xel-Ha – Discover and Relax
If you’re looking to explore Riviera Maya’s underwater world, but also want to get a drink or two and relax, this is the perfect place for you. Xel-Ha is formed by a beautiful inlet that creates a multi-channel fresh water estuary. Over 90 marine species make their home here, including the parrot fish, barracuda and sea turtles. Also, if traveling with a group or your family, Xel-Ha offers activities for everybody’s interests. Even if you can’t swim, in Xel-Ha you can walk in the sea using the sea trek technology, a helmet that allows you to breathe comfortably. Read here for more information about Xel-Ha.
Ask our concierge or our staff at the front desk at Playa Palms Beach Hotel if you want more information or to reserve a tour.