7 Best Spots to Go Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres

Whether you want to swim with turtles or just in the mood for some water activities, there are plenty of great spots for snorkeling in Isla Mujeres.

This little island has some pretty amazing beaches and snorkeling spots, but finding them can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look.

Read on to find out more about the most popular spots to go snorkeling in Isla Mujeres and what you can expect when you get there!

1. MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art)

The MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art) is the world’s largest underwater museum, located off the southern coast of Isla Mujeres.

This submerged museum was created by Jason deCaires Taylor with the intent of serving as an artificial reef to preserve marine life.

This underwater exhibition features sculptures and models of over 470 pieces of art and is one of the most famous underwater museums in the world, offering something that is priceless to see.

Snorkeling at about 30 feet above, you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful pieces of art in a truly unique setting.

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playa norte, isla mujeres

2. Playa Norte

Playa Norte is one of the best spots to go snorkeling on your own without taking a boat.

This amazing beach has crystal clear water and no currents.

Visitors can snorkel and spot exotic fish just by swimming 200 feet into the water.

Although the abundance of marine life can’t be compared to a snorkel trip taken by boat, it’s still a great way to explore the underwater world and spend a sunny day by the sea with your new marine life friends.

Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tour

Boat tours are the best way to see the amazing underwater life in Isla Mujeres.

Experienced local guides will take you to the best spots on the island for anyone who wants to take a closer look at the area's underwater wonderland.

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3. Garrafon de Castilla

This unassuming hotel on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres is one of the best spots where you can snorkel on your own.

The entry fee per person is only $5 USD + gear rental – it’s worth every penny!

This site is home to many species of marine life, including different types of colorful fish and coral.

Water shoes are recommended as the beach is very rocky and sharp.

Tip: Swim your way to the left side of the beach towards the docks at Garrafon Reef Park.

4. El Farito (Lighthouse Reef)

El Farito (also known as Lighthouse Reef) is one of the most popular spots for snorkelers in Isla Mujeres.

Located just 5 minutes off the coast of Isla Mujeres by boat, it’s easy to get to and offers some fantastic opportunities for people who are looking to explore life underwater.

This snorkeling spot is unique because it has a small abandoned lighthouse as its centerpiece.

Because the waters are so shallow (about 10-15 feet in depth), it’s a great location for kids to practice snorkeling.

For the more adventurous, a diving tour will take you down to “Virgin of El Farito”, an underwater sculpture that was submerged in 1966 to protect the local fishermen.

5. Manchones Reef

If you’re in the mood to enjoy some snorkel time in the water, the Manchones Reef is a must-visit location.

This site features shallow waters and calm currents, making it perfect for families or inexperienced snorkelers.

The clear waters make for excellent visibility and unparalleled photo opportunities, and it’s home to large schools of tropical fish, colorful corals, rays, and barracudas.

Part of the Manchones Reef also overlaps with MUSA, hosting 2 famous sculptures from the art museum.

But that’s not all! See if you can spot the “Cross of the Bay” – this impressive underwater sculpture was submerged in honor of those who have lost their lives at sea.

6. Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Garrafon Natural Reef Park is a stunning marine park that sits on the southern end of the island, and home to some of the most stunning coral and marine life you’ll find in Cancun.

With a maximum depth of 12 feet, it’s perfect for beginners who are just learning how to snorkel.

The reef itself isn’t just beautiful; Garrafon is also part of the longest reef in the world and provides an important habitat for marine animals.

With over 1000 ft of reef to explore, this eco-friendly park offers a wide variety of opportunities for adventure and discovery.

Be sure to go snorkeling at this incredible destination.

7. El Meco Reef

El Meco is a small reef that can be found off the north coast of Cancun and is a paradise for beginner snorkelers.

Similar to the sculptures at MUSA, artistic figures were placed here for reef conservation, creating an oasis for the marine life that would have otherwise left in search of food or shelter.

The shallow waters of El Meco is one of the best snorkeling spots in the area and you’ll find countless marine species that call it their home.

Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tips

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Can You Snorkel Off the Beach in Isla Mujeres?

You can go snorkeling on your own but the experience is mediocre since the reef isn’t close to shore.

The best snorkeling you’ll find in Isla Mujeres is by taking a snorkeling boat tour.

With that being said, there are some parts of the island that offers a decent experience if you want to snorkel from the shore.

Playa Norte is a gorgeous beach with calm waters and crystal clear visibility. If you swim towards Hotel Playa La Media Luna, you’ll come across a bridge that connects the Mia Reef hotel.

There’s a small reef to the south – it’s a great spot for beginners as it’s not very deep and there’s a good variety of fish you can see here.

Another spot you can snorkel off the beach is at Garrafon de Castilla. Booking a tour isn’t necessary and the entry fee is very low. You can either bring your own gear or rent on-site.

How Much Is Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres?

A snorkeling tour in Isla Mujeres will cost about $70 USD for a full day.

These packages generally include:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • All you can eat lunch buffet & unlimited drinks
  • Fully sanitized snorkel gear

Note, dock fees and Marine Park Federal Tax are not included and paid separately ($15 USD per person).

If you’re visiting between May and September, whale shark season is in full swing. These small group tours cost approximately $129 USD per person.

Does Isla Mujeres Have Good Snorkeling?

Isla Mujeres is home to the second-largest reef in the world, the Great Mayan Reef (also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef).

Perfect for beginners and those with more advanced skills, this reef is a great way to explore the underwater world and experience new sea life.

The marine biodiversity is vibrant, with beautiful coral reefs as well as turtles, rays, and loads of tropical fish.

It’s safe to say that snorkeling in Isla Mujeres is definitely worth your time.

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