Playa Del Carmen Snorkeling
…a.k.a. Skin Diving…
I say most, because I guess it’s possible that you could be the unlucky guy who gets stung or bit by something.
But besides that, it can be an amazing and colorful experience.
And there are a few different ways to “do it right.”
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Snorkeling Experience
To put it as simply as possible, you can go through a company like Edventure Tours, which I’ve heard does a pretty good job of making it a great experience.
Or if your more audacious, you can just walk right in yourself – literally.
Depending on which area you visit for snorkeling, you could have the option to just rent your gear at a shop and help yourself to the water and fish.
(But make sure you don’t touch any of the animals you see or feed them, because there are hefty fines for that sort of thing.)
If you go through a tour operator, do your research first.
I’ve heard stories of guides feeding the fish to get them to swarm.
Aside from being prohibited, this can also cause a tourist swarm, which is far less pretty.
The Best Areas To Go Snorkeling
If you’re in the Playa Del Carmen area, just catch a bus, taxi or “colectivo” (a shared taxi) to the spot.
Then, find yourself a gear shop to buy or rent what you need, and get into the water.
Word on the street is that the best area – whether you hire a tour operator or not – is Akumal.
I’ve never heard a bad review of that place.
Another good option is the Yal-Ku lagoon, which is usually recommended for beginners.
Both Yal-Ku and Akumal are accessible right from the shore, as is a third option, Puerto Morelos.
This one is a small fishing town on the beach and you can see a lot of sea grass in its waters.
There are also tons of tropical fish varieties, although you won’t see any sea turtles there.
If you don’t mind a short boat trip, there are more options a little further out from the shore.
These are typically better for scuba diving.
But it’s possible to find some shallower areas for snorkeling.
Just make sure the guide or captain knows which activity you’re there for.
Finally, as if you didn’t have enough choices already, you can go the park route.
Xel-Ha is Playa Del Carmen’s best ecological park specifically designed for snorkeling.
If you don’t mind a park experience rather than the natural ocean exploration, then this can be a good option as well.
What You’re Likely To See Underwater
But that might be part of it.
Some areas are known for their variety of sea creatures, and the consistency of their presence.
But then again it’s possible that some weather phenomenon may have interrupted their movements or numbers.
It also simply might be a bad time in the day for catching the fish.
If this is a concern for you, it might be a good idea to consult a tour operator for advice.
But regardless, the species that you’re likely to see range from schools of brightly colored fish, to sea turtles, sting rays, eels, and lobsters.
The last two are admittedly more rare.
Some areas also have some incredible coral reefs that are just teeming with life.
Personally, I prefer the reefs.
But any of the areas that I’ve mentioned in and around Playa Del Carmen are a good bet.
What You Can Expect To Pay
And the truth is, it doesn’t have to cost much at all.
If you go through a tour operator, especially one that involves a boat ride out to the site, then you’ll obviously pay more.
I’ve heard that the prices for these can vary, also depending on the time of the year that you go.
But many companies will stay around $50 for a 3 or 4 hour excursion.
The most expensive option would be an ecological park, such as Xel-Ha, which charges $119 for adults and $59 for kids.
Of course, this gets you an all day, all-inclusive pass to the entire park with snorkeling equipment included.
The least expensive options are the areas where you can just go into the water yourself, right off the shore.
The entry fee for these places stay around $5 (can’t beat that.)
And the only other costs involved are transportation to the spot, and any equipment that you need to buy or rent.
What To Bring With You On A Snorkeling Trip
The obvious ones are money and a form of identification.
But also make sure you’re prepared to be out in the sun and stocked with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, etc.
Tourists sometimes forget that in Mexico, you’re closer to the equator.
That sunburn shows up a lot faster than you might be expecting in these parts.
As a final word of wisdom from someone who knows his stuff and has been there and done that – don’t forget a camera!
Unless you plan to go through a tour company and know that they take along a professional photographer (some do), then get yourself a waterproof camera and bring it along.
Snorkeling makes for some of the best photo opportunities.
And surely your friends back home are just dying to be impressed and ready to be jealous of your awesome adventure.
Lots of love,