Where Is the Best Snorkeling in Cancun?

Find the best snorkeling in Cancun and discover a whole new underwater world at these great sites in one of Mexico’s most popular destinations.

Cancun is one of the best places in the entire world to go snorkeling. Not only will you enjoy crystal-clear blue seas, but you’ll also get to experience the Great Mayan Reef, which is teeming will all sorts of extraordinary sea life.

best snorkeling in cancun

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Where To Find The Best Snorkeling In Cancun

No matter your preference or skill level, there’s plenty of snorkeling in Cancun. Find the best snorkeling in Cancun and discover a whole new underwater world at these great sites.

Cancun Underwater Museum

The Cancun Underwater Museum offers some of the best snorkeling in Cancun, and it’s unlike anything else you’ll probably see in your life. This fantastic underwater art installation is the brainchild of Jason deCaires and contains nearly 500 statues that you can swim right up to.

cancun underwater museum best snorkeling

It’s right off the coast of Cancun’s Isla Mujeres and is a popular tourist destination that many snorkeling tours visit. However, one of the most exciting aspects of the Cancun Underwater Museum is how the statues appear from above the waves and underneath the surface.

Additionally, deCaires constructed his statues out of rust-resistant material so that you can see all of the unique features of each figurine. If you’re planning to visit Cancun, you should check out this spectacular and unique snorkeling site.  

Garrafon Natural Reef Park

If you’re interested in seeing amazing animals and reef life, get to Garrafon Natural Reef Park. It’s a small slice of the Great Mayan Reef, teeming with different animals, and the waters around the park are relatively gentle, so it’s a good snorkeling spot for all skill levels.

Image by Garrafon.com

Although beginners will love Garrafon Natural Reef Park, advanced snorkelers and strong swimmers won’t want to skip it either. Thanks to the clear Caribbean waters surrounding the reef, you’ll have an unparalleled chance to see everything under the water in 20/20 vision.

Plus, you can combine your snorkeling adventure with other water sports, like sea kayaking, boating, swimming, or even zip-lining. 

Punta Nizuc

Punta Nizuc is another place to see amazing sea creatures and incredible coral reefs, making it one of the best snorkeling spots in Cancun. As with many of the sites on our list, Punta Nizuc boasts clear waters, so you’ll be able to see everything in sharp focus while basking in the warm waters right around Cancun.

best snorkeling in cancun at punta nizuc

Plus, Punta Nizuc is relatively close to the heart of the city and is an excellent pick for both novice and experienced snorkelers. One of Punta Nizuc’s biggest draws is its tropical fish population. If you have an underwater camera, you’ll definitely want to bring it to capture pictures of these brightly-hued creatures.

Thanks to its proximity to Cancun, Punta Nizuc is an excellent place to grab a quick snorkeling trip in the morning or afternoon while still leaving time for you to explore the city later in the day. 

Isla Contoy

Although Isla Contoy is a little bit farther away from Cancun, it’s worth visiting while you’re in the area. Once you arrive, you’ll see what all of the fuss is about. Unfortunately, Mexico limits the number of people who can visit this gorgeous island, so book your ticket well in advance. You can also go with a particular tour company.

isla contoy best snorkeling in cancun

Isla Contoy is notable because it straddles the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, so there are plenty of creatures from both waters right around its coast. Snorkelers could see animals that they might not catch anywhere else, like colossal sea turtles, zebrafish, and colorful reef animals.

If you are only planning on making one snorkeling trip during your time in Cancun, Isla Contoy might give you the best bang for your buck.

Moonlight Bioluminescence Snorkeling Tour

If you’re unfamiliar with Cancun, pressed for time, or simply want to see the best of the best, it’s worth booking a tour. Fortunately, there are plenty of snorkeling tours in Cancun where you can see impressive reef life, tons of animals and learn about the maritime history of this incredible part of the world.

best snorkeling in cancun mexico

Although the vast majority of snorkeling happens during the day, there’s still fun to be had in the sea after the sun sets. The Moonlight Bioluminescence Snorkeling Tour is an excellent option for people who want to see the glittering bioluminescence on the ocean’s surface and discover all sorts of new and exciting sea creatures.

Common sightings include squid, lobster, and eels. Very lucky snorkelers might even be able to see a giant sea turtle or an elusive octopus. Plus, there’s something nearly magical about swimming through beautiful bioluminescence. 

Xel-Ha Park 

For some of the best snorkeling in Cancun, head to Xel-Ha Park, where you can swim deep into an underwater cave, see interesting corals, and find tons of bright tropical fish at every turn. 

Additionally, there are plenty of exciting things to do on dry land at Xel-Ha Park, too, so you can make a fun day of it. As a park, Xel-Ha has more structured fun, like a lazy river, so it’s a good spot for kids. 

best snorkeling in cancun

Don’t let the structure fool you; there are still plenty of wild things at Xel-Ha Park. Lucky visitors might even get to spot monkeys or jaguars. Also, since fish use Xel-Ha Park as a natural conduit to get to the Caribbean Sea, it’s an excellent place to immerse yourself in nature while not worrying about currents or other problems you might encounter in the open ocean.

Since Xel-Ha Park tends to be pretty popular, it’s a good idea to get there early and avoid weekends if possible. This way, you’ll have more of the park to yourself.


If there’s one famous spot for snorkeling in Cancun, it’s got to be Cozumel. Cozumel is a gorgeous island that’s an easy day trip from the city, and it’s teeming with all sorts of fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. Cozumel has plenty of draws, but one of the top ones is probably its idyllic location right at the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. 

You’ll see animals that you might not spot anywhere else in the balmy seas around Cancun, including giant graceful manta rays, jellyfish, and of course, tons of tropical fish. It’s also a good snorkeling destination for people of all skill sets, as the waters tend to be reasonably calm.

Although visiting Cozumel takes roughly a day, it’s well worth it. You’ll see what all of the fuss is about the second that you dip below the waves.

Dos Ojos Cenote 

Cenotes are one of the top reasons why people visit Mexico, and Dos Ojos Cenote is a fabulous example of why they’re so popular. It’s a little bit outside of Cancun, but it’s worth the drive because of the exceptional visibility within the cenote itself and the flurry of sea life that you can see.

snorkeling in cancun

Cenotes are sinkholes that form naturally, and they’re popular places for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Dos Ojos Cenote gets its name from the two distinct openings that make it up, so there are plenty of places for you to explore, even on the surface of the water.

You can also make your snorkeling trip at Dos Ojos Cenote as easy or challenging as you want by exploring various parts of the cave system or staying closer to the surface. No matter what you opt to do, you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time.

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Book A Snorkeling Tour In Cancun

Final Thoughts: Best Snorkeling in Cancun

Snorkeling is one of the top reasons why people pack their bags and head to beautiful Cancun. There are plenty of incredible snorkeling destinations, parks, and cenotes to check out reasonably close to the city itself.

So, if you love the water, want to see some fantastic animals, and have the time, try to book several snorkeling trips, including one daytime and nighttime trip. You won’t be disappointed!

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