13 Best Snorkeling Spots in & Around Playa Del Carmen

Are you an underwater explorer looking for the most epic snorkeling experience around Playa Del Carmen?

Look no further! This blog has you covered with 10 spots guaranteed to deliver a memorable adventure.

Whether you’re searching for tranquil spots or racing to observe schools of colorful fish, each of these locations offers something unique to explore.

Get your snorkel equipment ready, because it’s time for an underwater excursion you won’t soon forget!

1. Xel-Ha Park

Xel Ha is the ultimate spot for snorkeling enthusiasts near Playa Del Carmen. Its large open park holds a whole world of tropical fish waiting to be discovered!

From mangrove river spots to caves in the inlet, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking out a little aquatic adventure.

If you have your own transportation, it’s about a 40-minute drive from the city.

Otherwise, you can book a full-day Xel-Ha tour with roundtrip transportation included.

2. Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos translates to “two eyes” in Spanish and is an appropriate name, as this cenote has two caves that interconnect and form two pools.

Despite being largely uninhabited by marine life, the surrounding area more than makes up for this with a lush jungle filled with bats, birds, lizards and many other creatures.

If you’re up for swimming and snorkeling there, be sure to move carefully in order not to break the stunningly beautiful but delicate stalactites and stalagmites- the true stars of Dos Ojos!

Cenote El Sueno
Cenote El Sueno

3. Cenote El Sueño

If you thought that the picturesque sunny beaches were the only beauty that Playa del Carmen had to offer, think again.

Underneath the land lays an old world waiting to be uncovered – a subterranean river system lush with limestone rock formations and cenotes!

Afterwards, you’ll get to snorkel at Yal Ku Lagoon, a spectacular mix of seawater and freshwater.

Transport is included in this half-day experience, so you don’t have to worry about missing this adventure!

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4. Snorkel with Turtles in Akumal

Ready for an up close and personal experience with turtles? Akumal is the most accessible place to do it!

Just 25 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen, this little beach town isn’t known for being “Turtle Town” for nothing.

With so many sea turtles in the area, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get a glimpse of at least one.

Not just turtles, but manta rays and spotted eagle rays frolic in these inviting waters too.

5. Coco Beach

For adventurers who seek the best snorkeling near Playa del Carmen, there’s a hidden gem just offshore: Coco Beach.

Before you explore this spot, be warned that it’s not suitable for inexperienced snorkelers – you’ll have to brave a lengthy 200-meter swim to reach the Chun-Zumbul reef in deep waters.

And we highly recommend that you don’t wade in without bringing a float.

But if you’re up for an aquatic challenge, then snorkeling here could bring you face-to-face with an array of spectacular sea creatures – the coral beds are abuzz with surgeonfish, foureye butterflyfish, and French angelfish (if you’re lucky!).

Make sure you stay close to the inner side of the reef as your swim parallel to Coco Beach – your efforts will soon pay off!

6. Tulum

Tulum is a picturesque area that boasts one of the best snorkeling spots in Mexico with the famous Great Mayan Reef system – it’s practically calling your name.

If you book a snorkeling tour, you’ll have the chance to swim amongst brilliantly colored corals, gigantic barracudas, and if you’re lucky – even turtles!

7. Cenote El Jardin Del Eden

If crystal clear waters, lush Mayan jungle and eye-catching stalagmites sound like your ideal day out, then Cenote El Jardin Del Eden is definitely for you!

Located in Playa Del Carmen and often dubbed the best cenote in the area, it promises a spectacular underwater adventure.

You can explore a magical underwater world filled with bright-colored tetras, damselfish, and mini catfish swimming around unique deep caves.

If you’re lucky, you might even get some bonus entertainment from the garra rufa fish – they’ll personally groom your feet by feeding on the dead skin!

If you don’t mind a little commute to paradise and paying a small fee, you won’t regret making a stop here.

Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel

8. Cozumel

Pack your fins and go on an adventure of a lifetime; Cozumel is widely renowned as one of the best snorkeling spots in the world and offers pristine clarity and visibility.

On this snorkel tour, you’ll get to explore three beautiful locations, each filled with marine life like rays, turtles and even nurse sharks!

With Cozumel less than 30 minutes away from downtown Playa del Carmen by ferry, it’s a quick day trip worth exploring.

You can even take it up a notch by booking this snorkel excursion on a fully transparent boat!

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9. Yal-Ku Lagoon

Yal-Ku Lagoon is a great spot to start snorkeling, situated a few miles north of Akumal and protected by a strip of land.

Kick back and relax in the tranquil waters while you take in all of the tropical fish, rays and other marine life.

Even better yet? There’s a cool mix of saltwater and freshwater that comes straight from an underground cenote!

Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or just starting out, Yal Ku Lagoon is the perfect spot for your next underwater adventure.

10. Puerto Aventuras

Puerto Aventuras is a marine paradise that’s rarely overcrowded, which makes it perfect for a more private snorkeling adventure.

A man-made reef was installed here to drive in aquatic life, including brilliantly coloured tropical fish.

Just a bit further from the faux reef is the Mesoamerican Reef; swim alongside magnificent brain coral and other exotic aquatic species.

The best way to get here is by walking through the Omni hotel, located right next to the downtown main square – you can’t miss it!

11. Puerto Morelos

Make your way to Puerto Morelos, a sleepy fishing town that has great snorkeling thanks to its close proximity to the reef.

Book a half-day snorkeling tour and you’ll be swimming alongside tons of marine life, ranging from manta rays to seahorses. If luck is on your side, you may even catch a glimpse of sea turtles!

Don’t worry if swimming isn’t your strong suit – thanks to the shallow waters, you’ll still be able to explore the coral reef and its vibrant colors without having to swim too far past your comfort zone.

Afterward, you can spend time wandering around the fishing village, have lunch at a beach club, then hop on back home with round-trip transportation included. Easy peasy!

12. Playa Xpu-Ha

Playa Xpu-Ha is the place to be – just 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, and you can just snorkel off the shore!

You haven’t experienced tropical paradise until you’ve snorkeled between patches of coral and if you’re lucky, swim alongside sting rays and turtles.

Of course, proceed with caution; don’t swim too close to the shallow areas, you might damage the coral and run the risk of a painful surprise!

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13. Playacar Beach

Playacar is one of the best beaches to snorkel offshore near Playa del Carmen.

With the rocks bringing many tropical fish, crabs, octopi and Caribbean spiny lobsters, you don’t have to swim too far out to experience the beauty of Playacar Beach’s serenity.

If you’re lucky, you may even get a selfie with a friendly stingray or two!