The Riviera Maya offers some of the world’s the most accessible snorkeling opportunities along the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world.
Beautiful white sand beaches fringed with coconut palms are a stunning backdrop to the stunning Caribbean Sea with its shimmering blues and green colors, teeming with spectacular aquatic life and coral reef.
Swim with the sea turtles in Akumal Bay
An obvious and increasingly famous destination for both experienced and first-time snorkelers is Akumal Bay, home to many Green and Loggerhead Sea Turtles. In the Mayan language, Akumal means the place of the turtles, and it is difficult to not see at least one here. Even though many turtles you see might be banded with identification tags, they are all still wild animals in their natural habitat. Admire them from a respectable distance, take photos, and but please do not touch them.
Newly enacted regulations are in place to protect the sea turtle population.
Explore Yal Ku Lagoon – Where Rainwater Meets the Sea
Yal Ku is a beautiful inland lagoon in Akumal where fresh water from surrounding cenotes collects into a gorgeous, natural waterway populated by many freshwater and saltwater fish, and surrounded by mangrove jungle. Teeming with many species of aquatic life. Angelfish, Blue Tangs, and Sargent Majors are common here and stingray sightings are common. Beneath the mangroves in the underwater caverns and crevices, Lionfish and urchins can be found, as well as many freshwater species.
There is an entry fee for Yal Ku, and services here are very convenient. You’ll find lockers which rent for a very small fee, as well as restrooms and snack food.
Dos Ojos – “Two Eyes” into the Mayan Underworld
Located just north of Soliman and Tankah bays, Dos Ojos is one of the most popular snorkeling and diving cenotes in the region. This cenote was featured in the IMAX film Journey Into Amazing Caves. You’ll pay a small entrance fee and drive about 2 kilometers to Dos Ojos cenote. Don’t be surprised to see divers in the parking lot either returning or heading in with their gear, and in the water below you as you gaze down through your mask. You’ll marvel at the litany of rock formations, dark tunnel entrances and fish. After you work up an appetite, grab a bite at one of the snack shops on site and kick back into one of the several hammocks hanging around.
What lies just offshore is a national treasure
Since 1998, the waters off Puerto Morelos have been designated as a Marine Park, a protected area where you must snorkel with an accredited guide, and you must wear a life jacket. Finding a guide is very easy, they are located all along the beach here. After a 10-minute boat ride and a short briefing from your guide, you’ll find yourself gliding in aquamarine, gin-clear water with countless tropical fish, looking down on some of the most beautiful coral formations in the world. Tour lengths vary, but the average time in the water is 1.5-2 hours. Getting around Puerto Morelos is easy, as the entire town is only a few blocks, with a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops.
Looking for more ways to have fun? Check out other ways to play in the Riviera Maya.