Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours

14 BEST Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours to Take in 2023

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Looking for the best snorkeling tours in Playa del Carmen Mexico? You’ve come to the right guide!

With its close proximity to some of the most incredible coral reefs in the world, Playa del Carmen is an amazing destination for snorkeling and underwater activities.

As a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen, I’ve been able to personally experience most of the snorkeling spots in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

MY TOP PICK

Tropical Fish on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

⌚️ Don’t have time to read the full article?

The best snorkeling tour in Playa del Carmen is this Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves Tour with over 2,500 5-star reviews!

In this post, I’m sharing my top recommendations for the best Playa del Carmen snorkeling tours, as well as snorkeling tips, and all the essential information you need to know.

Ready to find out the best Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour for you? Let’s get started!

Akumal Snorkeling Tour from Playa del Carmen

Top 3 Picks: Best Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours

#1 TOP PICK
Tropical Fish on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves

✅ All Inclusive
✅ 2,500 5-Star reviews

#2 PICK
El Cielo Cozumel Snorkeling Tour

El Cielo Snorkeling Tour in Cozumel

✅ Starfish
✅ Turquoise water

#3 PICK

Best Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours

These are the best snorkeling tours Playa del Carmen has to offer:

1. Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves

Tropical Fish on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 2,500 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 8 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

This Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves Tour is the perfect way to explore both ancient Mayan history, go snorkeling, and see the natural wonders near Playa del Carmen.

You’ll get to see the best of the region in just one day starting with a guided visit to the Tulum Mayan Ruins followed by reef snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea.

While snorkeling, you’ll likely get to see a variety of marine life such as sea turtles, sting rays, and tropical fish all in their natural habitat.

We loved our tour! We learned a lot about Mayan culture at the ruins. Snorkeling was amazing and we saw sea turtles and sting rays. But our favorite was the Xtun Cenote! We had so much fun!

–WHITNEY (Read more REVIEWS)

After, you’ll get to explore Cenote Xtun, an underground cavern cenote filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll feel like you’re trekking through the Mayan underworld!

Plus, this tour includes door-to-door transport from  hotels in Playa del Carmen, entrance fees, a buffet lunch, all equipment, and a bilingual guide.

Booking is easy, it’s all-inclusive, and with more than 2,500 5-star reviews, this is the top-rated Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour!

Tulum Ruins

What’s included in the Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves Tour:

  • Guided tour of the ancient Mayan Ruins of Tulum
  • Coral reef snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea
  • Visit to Xtun Cenote
  • Bilingual guide
  • Round-trip air-conditioned transportation with hotel pickup from Playa del Carmen
  • Equipment required for water activities
  • Lunch
  • Bottled water

2. El Cielo Snorkeling Tour in Cozumel

El Cielo Cozumel Snorkeling Tour

⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 420 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 4 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

With its crystal clear waters and incredible coral reefs, Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling in Riviera Maya!

The most popular snorkeling spot on Cozumel is at El Cielo, a shallow sandbar known for its abundance of starfish.

Meaning “Heaven” in Spanish, the water at El Cielo is so clear, you won’t believe your eyes!

Booked last minute and so happy we did! The Lupe crew was fantastic and it was hands down the best snorkeling we have been on. Lots of turtles, star fish and sting rays!

–Jacqueline (Read more REVIEWS)

On this El Cielo tour, you’ll also get to snorkel at 2 different coral reefs–Palancar and Colombia–as well as visit a gorgeous beach called El Cielito.

I’ve been to El Cielo multiple times and it’s so memorable and one of the top things to do in Cozumel.

You can read my full El Cielo tour guide for all the details!

Note: This tour starts in Cozumel so you’ll need to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. You can read my Cozumel day trip guide for more detailed info–it’s very easy!

El Cielo Cozumel Starfish Snorkeling

What’s included in the El Cielo Snorkeling Tour in Cozumel:

  • Visit to Palancar and Columbia reefs, El Cielo Sandbar and El Cielito Beach
  • Guided snorkeling tour
  • Drinks: Beers, Water, Sodas and a Snack
  • Snorkel gear: Vest, Mask, New tube
  • Insured Shaded Boat
  • Experienced trained guides

⭐️ If you’re a family or have a larger group, then I highly recommend booking a private tour to El Cielo–it’s pretty epic and affordable!

3. Half-Day Sea Turtle and Cenote Snorkeling Tour

Sea Turtle on Akumal Snorkeling Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 545 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 5 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Located on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, Akumal is a small beach town where you can swim with sea turtles in their natural habitat directly off the beach.

The bay at Akumal is abundant with sea grass, which is what the sea turtles feed on and attracts them to the area–so you are pretty much guaranteed to see them!

From my experience, the best and most responsible way to visit Akumal is to book an Akumal snorkeling tour with professional guides that are committed to environmental protection.

The cenotes are such a cool natural phenomenon you have to see! Followed by snorkeling with turtles, you can’t go wrong. Our tour guide, driver and photographer were all spectacular and made this experience perfect. Highly recommend!

–Lisa (Read more REVIEWS)

On this half-day tour, you’ll get to swim with sea turtles in Akumal, followed by a visit to Xtun Cenote–a stunning underground cenote with other-worldly stalactites and stalagmites.

This all-inclusive Playa del Carmen snorkeling with sea turtles experience includes roundtrip transportation, all of your snorkeling equipment, a boat which takes you closer to the coral reefs, all entrance fees and taxes, and certified guides.

I’ve personally done this Akumal snorkeling tour and it was such an incredible experience getting to swim alongside sea turtles of all sizes right off the beach!

Akumal Snorkeling Tour from Playa del Carmen

What’s included in the Half-Day Sea Turtle and Cenote Snorkeling Tour:

  • Snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal
  • Visit to Xtun Cenote
  • Bilingual guide
  • Round transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle with hotel pickup from Playa del Carmen
  • All necessary equipment
  • Empanadas
  • Bottled water

4. Whale Shark Tour from Playa del Carmen

Whale Shark Tour Isla Mujeres Mexico

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 440 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 8 hours
📅 AVAILABILITY: May-September
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

If you’re visiting during the months of May-mid September, consider this bucket-list Whale Shark experience of swimming and snorkeling with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres.

The whale sharks arrive to Isla Mujeres every year during the time to feed on the plankton that blooms in the shallow waters off shore.

And while swimming with sharks might seem intimidating, rest assured the whale sharks are gentle giants and you’ll be in the company of knowledgeable guides.

An absolute MUST-DO! I will come back to Cancun JUST to do this tour!!! It was INCREDIBLE!! And the tour guide, captain, and first Mate were all top notch!!

–Alex (READ more reviews)

And after the thrill of the whale shark encounter, you’ll get to anchor at Playa Norte and enjoy a refreshing lunch of ceviche, guacamole, and drinks.

I’ve personally done this Isla Mujeres whale shark tour and it was so incredible–and not as scary as it sounds!

And with round-trip transportation included, it’s one of the best Isla Mujeres tours from Playa del Carmen.

Whale Shark Tour to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen

What’s included in the Whale Shark Tour from Playa del Carmen:

  • Whale shark snorkeling near Isla Mujeres
  • Anchor at Isla Mujeres’ Playa Norte
  • Continental breakfast
  • Water and soft drinks
  • Light lunch (ceviche and guacamole)
  • Snorkel equipment and life jacket
  • Round-trip air-conditioned transportation with hotel pickup from Playa del Carmen

5. Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel to Isla Mujeres

Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen

⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 1,700 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 5-7 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Located just off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a tiny island known for its unbelievably turquoise water, which it makes it great for snorkeling.

The easiest way to get there from Playa del Carmen is to book a catamaran tour like this Luxury Catamaran Sail, which includes round-trip transportation.

As one of the best catamaran tours in Playa del Carmen, this tour combines catamaran sailing, snorkeling, and free time on the island.

So you get time on the water but still get to visit Playa Norte (the most famous beach on the island) or explore the island on foot.

Experience was great! Snorkeling was fun! A person does need to be a good swimmer but we saw some colorful fish, statues and coral. We had a good lunch and drinks on board. Walked around the island and got some souvenirs. Staff was great!!

–Troy (Read more REVIEWS)

This snorkeling is somewhat quick so it’s a good option if you want a fun boat experience with a little snorkeling too.

Plus, lunch, and an open bar onboard are included so you can let loose and have an all-inclusive island adventure.

And since hotel pickup from Playa del Carmen is also included, you won’t have to worry about taking buses, taxis, and ferries if you were to go on an Isla Mujeres day trip on your own.

Isla Mujeres Playa Norte

What’s included in the Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel to Isla Mujeres:

  • Catamaran sail from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
  • Snorkeling
  • Free time to explore Isla Mujeres at leisure
  • Gourmet lunch
  • Open bar while onboard
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Life jacket
  • Docking fee
  • Professional crew
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off from Playa del Carmen hotels

6. Xel-Ha Adventure Park

Xel Ha Adventure Park

⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 350 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 6-8 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Located about 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha adventure park is one of Xcaret’s adventure parks, known for its water activities.

Situated around a stunning natural lagoon, Xel-Ha offers unlimited snorkeling, as well as thrilling water activities like the high-speed Scenic Lighthouse water slide, overwater ziplines, ropes challenges, cliff jumping, and a lazy river.

With multiple snorkeling stations around the park, you can simply grab a snorkel mask, life jacket, and fins and dive right in!

Amazing all inclusive water park! There were so many things to do! My group did the scenic bike ride to the river, did the lazy river and cliff jumps as well as the slide and snorkeling. The included buffet was excellent and had endless pina coladas! Definitely will return and recommend to others!

–FLoren (Read more)

You can then snorkel at leisure around the park’s natural lagoon teeming with colorful fish and tropical marine life.

Plus, it’s an all-inclusive park so you can enjoy unlimited food, drinks, and alcoholic beverages at the park’s multiple buffet restaurants.

Of all the Xcaret parks, Xel-Ha is my personal favorite and is incredibly beautiful and tons of fun–you can read my full Xel-Ha review for all the details!

Xel Ha Snorkeling

What’s included in the Xel-Ha Adventure Park Admission Ticket:

  • Unlimited snorkeling
  • Unlimited water activities (ziplines, water slide, lazy river, Adventure World)
  • All-you-can-eat buffet (Mexican and international cuisine)
  • Unlimited domestic open bar and soft drinks
  • Access to Children’s Playground
  • Life jackets, inner tubes and bicycles in designated areas
  • Lounge chairs, hammocks and rest areas
  • Use of lockers and a towel
  • Restrooms, changing rooms and showers

7. Snorkeling Tour at MUSA The Underwater Museum

MUSA Underwater Museum of Art Isla Mujeres

⭐️ RATING: 4.3 out of 5 Stars
🕘 DURATION: 4.5 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Isla Mujeres also has an underwater museum of art known as MUSA, which is full of giant underwater artificial habitats including art installations, human statues, and even a house and a car.

As one of the top things to do in Isla Mujeres, it’s best suited for scuba divers, but you can still get a cool experience on a snorkeling tour too.

A great trip. Samuel and the captain made our excursion a wonderful, exciting, informative and unique experience. The underwater museum was breathtaking. The snorkeling was great. The sea life and corals were beautiful. This was truly a great memory for me and my family. It is not to be missed on a visit to Cancun.

–Getyourguide Traveler (Read more REVIEWS)

On this MUSA snorkeling tour, you’ll get to snorkel at the Underwater Museum of Art, as well as the Manchones Reef.

You’ll get to see more than 400 life-sized statues submerged under the water, and you might get to see sea turtles and sting rays too.

⚠️ Note: This Isla Mujeres snorkeling tour departs from Cancun so you’ll need to factor in getting there from Playa del Carmen. Read my Playa del Carmen to Cancun travel guide for more info!

What’s included in the Snorkeling Tour at MUSA The Underwater Museum:

  • Snorkeling at the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA)
  • Snorkeling at Manchones Reef
  • Use of life jacket and lockers
  • Use of snorkel mask
  • Snorkel tube to keep
  • Water and sodas

8. Private Reef Snorkeling + 3 Cenotes + 5 Zip-lines + Mayan Lunch

Sea Turtle on Puerto Morelos Snorkeling Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 80 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 6 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Located about 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos is a small fishing town with an incredible coral reef right off shore.

Known as the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park, this coral reef offers shallow waters with abundant coral reefs and marine life.

The best way to experience the snorkeling in Puerto Morelos is on this private Reef Snorkeling tour, which provides a customizable all-inclusive experience.

And not only will get to snorkel in Puerto Morelos, but you’ll also get to visit Cenote Zapote Eco-Park, which offers incredible cenotes and some of the best ziplining in Riviera Maya.

We had an absolute fantastic experience on our private excursion with just our family of 6. We have experienced 20+ excursions all over the world and this was hands down the best one yet!

–JUSTIN (READ MORE REVIEWS)

I personally went on this tour with some of my blogger friends and it was one of my favorite private tours in Playa del Carmen that I’ve done!

The reef in Puerto Morelos is super impressive and the cenotes at Cenote Zapote are just stunning.

And since it’s a private Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour, it’s perfect for families or those looking to customize their experience.

You can read my full Cenote Zapote and Puerto Morelos post for all the details!

Puerto Morelos Snorkeling from Playa del Carmen

What’s included in the Private Reef Snorkeling + 3 Cenotes + 5 Zip-lines + Mayan Lunch:

  • Snorkeling at the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park
  • Visit to Cenote Zapote Eco-Park with ziplines and 3 cenotes
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Private tour guide
  • All fees and taxes
  • Bottled water
  • Use of snorkeling equipment

9. Magical Cenote and Paradise Lagoon Snorkeling Adventure

Underground Cenote Snorkeling

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 200 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 3.5 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

This Magical Cenote and Paradise Lagoon tour offers the unique opportunity to snorkel in both a cenote and a lagoon.

You’ll explore ancient underground rivers and limestone formations before diving into the captivating Yal Ku lagoon, where freshwater and seawater merge.

This was such a great experience and I highly recommend. The cenotes that Rene took us too were both so amazing. The first one with the fishes was incredible, and the second of the underground/cave one was breathtaking! This was worth it!

–Ronya (Read more REVIEWS)

Along with Playa del Carmen cave snorkeling, this half-day excursion includes hotel transport from select hotels, snorkel gear, and a professional guide to share insider knowledge.

Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Playa del Carmen’s cenotes and underground rivers, then discover a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and stunning coral formations at Yal Ku lagoon.

What’s included in the Magical Cenote and Paradise Lagoon Snorkeling Adventure:

  • Visit to an underground cenote
  • Snorkeling in Yal-Ku Lagoon
  • Bottled water
  • Snorkel gear
  • Professional guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (selected hotels only)

10. Catamaran Snorkel to El Cielo and Tortugas Beach Club

Cozumel Catamaran Snorkeling Trip

⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 180 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 4 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Experience the ultimate snorkeling adventure in Cozumel on this Catamaran Snorkel to El Cielo and Tortugas Beach Club.

You’ll step aboard a comfortable catamaran and set sail along the stunning coastline of Cozumel.

This multi-activity tour combines snorkeling at two impressive reefs, Palancar and Columbia, with a visit to El Cielo, a snorkeler’s paradise known for its vibrant starfish population.

Great day! The hosts were great, the ceviche was fantastic and the beer, margs & rum punch were superb! Saw dolphins, sting rays, starfish, and several other small fish. El Cielo was my favorite part. This is a must do tour while visiting Cozumel.

–Yvonne (Read more REVIEWS)

After your snorkeling sessions, you can chill out onboard the catamaran listening to music, and enjoying refreshing drinks, seasonal fruit, and freshly made ceviche.

This Playa del Carmen catamaran snorkeling trip continues with a visit to Tortugas Beach Club, where you can unwind and take advantage of the beach club’s water park, lounge chairs, and umbrellas.

Note: This Cozumel snorkeling tour departs from Tortugas Beach Club in Cozumel. You’ll need to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, followed by a quick taxi ride.

Tortugas Beach Club Cozumel

What’s included in the Catamaran Snorkel to El Cielo and Tortugas Beach Club:

  • Catamaran sail around Cozumel
  • Snorkeling at Palancar and Columbia reefs
  • Snorkeling at El Cielo
  • Visit to Tortugas Beach Club with water activities
  • Use of snorkeling equipment
  • Snacks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Soda/Pop
  • Bottled water

11. Five Cenotes Jungle Experience in the Riviera Maya

Cenote Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 145 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 5-6 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

For a different type of snorkeling experience, consider this small-group Five Cenotes Jungle Experience in Riviera Maya.

Rather than ocean snorkeling, you’ll get to snorkel at five different hidden and less well-known cenotes in Riviera Maya.

This was a great trip! It was a small intimate group which I really appreciated (6 adults total) and Fabio was a great leader. We saw so many spectacular cenotes and had plenty of time to explore all the tiny crevices of each cenote. Each time we were at a cenote, we were the only ones there.

–Lindsay (Read more REVIEWS)

On this Playa del Carmen cenote snorkeling tour, you’ll have a more intimate experience led by a professional guide who will share knowledge about the history and importance of these unique natural wonders.

And not only do you get to explore five different cenotes in a private atmosphere, but the tour also includes convenient transportation from Playa del Carmen and a delicious meal.

What’s included in the Five Cenotes Jungle Experience in the Riviera Maya:

  • Visit to 5 private cenotes
  • Playa del Carmen cenote snorkeling
  • Life jacket and goggles
  • Lunch
  • Transportation from Playa del Carmen
  • All fees and taxes

12. Yal-Ku Lagoon

Yal Ku Lagoon

⭐️ RATING: 4.6 out of 5 Stars
🕘 DURATION: 2-6 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Nestled near Akumal amidst the Maya jungle, Yal-Ku Lagoon is a beautiful natural lagoon that is a bit of a hidden gem.

This Playa del Carmen snorkeling spot is not very commercialized, so you’ll get to enjoy a natural environment without the crowds.

This place is great! Excellent food too at a good price. We rented a palapa for the day, had breakfast and lunch there, and of course the snorkeling was fantastic. Highly recommend!

–Andrew (Read more)

Admission tickets are very inexpensive and include snorkeling equipment such as a mask and snorkel, fins, and a life jacket.

Once you have your snorkeling gear, you’re free to snorkel at leisure around the lagoon. There’s also a small restaurant and palapas available for rent.

If you’re looking for a basic no frills snorkeling spot and a beautiful place to spend the day, Yal-Ku Lagoon is a great option!

What’s included in the Yal-Ku Lagoon Admission Ticket:

  • Entrance to Yal-Ku Lagoon
  • Snorkeling gear, fins, and life jacket
  • Showers and dressing rooms
  • Free parking
  • Free WiFi at the restaurant
  • Snack restaurant (additional cost)
  • Locker rental
  • Palapas available to rent

13. Sian Ka’an Adventure

Dolphin at Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 590 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 10 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

If you’re willing to travel a little further away, Sian Ka’an is probably one of the most remote snorkeling destinations in the region–but worth it for nature lovers!

Officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is located south of Tulum and is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico.

Due to its remote location, the easiest way to explore Sian Ka’an is through a guided Sian Ka’an eco-tour, which is a full-day wildlife expedition offering a small boat tour, snorkeling, and nature observation.

Amazing tour with Nikita as our guide. The reserve is magical. We saw birds, dolphins, crocodiles, turtles, many fishes. We cruised through the mangrove, went to the open Caribbean sea. Amazing!

–Fabien (Read more REVIEWS)

On the tour you’ll encounter a variety of wildlife including crocodiles, dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays, starfish, and native birds—all in their natural habitat.

I went on the Sian Ka’an tour from Playa del Carmen and found the snorkeling to be some of the best I’ve done in the region! You won’t be able to snorkel with dolphins but they take you to other designated snorkeling areas.

And because it’s so remote, you won’t find an obnoxious amount of other tour boats, so you really get the feeling that what you’re seeing is more preserved and unspoiled by mass tourism.

Sian Ka'an Snorkeling Tour from Playa del Carmen
Sian Ka'an Sea Turtle
Sian Ka'an Coral Reef

What’s included in the Sian Ka’an Adventure:

  • Guided eco-tour of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
  • Snorkeling (weather permitting)
  • Local guide
  • Boat with snorkeling equipment
  • Fruits, water and snacks
  • Lunch
  • Life vests
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (extra charge for Playa del Carmen)

14. Small-Group Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos Snorkeling

⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars (with more than 280 5-star reviews)
🕘 DURATION: 2 hours
🎟 HOW TO BOOK: Check prices and availability here →

Another more budget friendly option for snorkeling at Playa del Carmen is this Small-Group Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos.

Puerto Morelos is about 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen and offers some of the best snorkeling in Playa del Carmen.

Not far off the beach in Puerto Morelos, you’ll see colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, and other marine life.

Had a wonderful day on the water seeing several barracudas, schools of fishes, and a spotted eel. Snorkeling at Puerto Morelos Reef National Park was a great experience.

–Jean (Read more REVIEWS)

It’s also one of the most shallow snorkeling spots in the area, which makes it very easy to get an up close view of the reefs.

When I went snorkeling in Puerto Morelos, I saw tons of different fish, sea turtles, sting rays, and even a baby shark.

This tour doesn’t include transportation but you can easily take a taxi or colectivo from Playa del Carmen.

Puerto Morelos Snorkeling Boat

What’s included in the Small-Group Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos:

  • Snorkeling at the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park
  • National Park fees
  • Bottled water
  • Professional guide
  • Use of snorkeling equipment

More About Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen

Mexico’s Caribbean coast is home to the second largest coral reef system in the world known as the Mesoamerican Reef.

Only second to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the reef system starts north of Cancun near a remote island called Isla Contoy and spans for over 600 miles south all the way to Honduras.

If you’re not scuba certified, then snorkeling is a great option to get an up close view of the underwater marine life.

Here’s the basics on snorkeling in Playa del Carmen:

What is the snorkeling like in Playa del Carmen?

To be honest, the snorkeling in downtown Playa del Carmen is not really the best and you need to venture a little further away to visit some of the best snorkeling spots.

The best snorkeling spots can be found around the nearby islands (like Cozumel and Isla Mujeres) and coral reefs, a short distance away from the shoreline.

Can you snorkel off the beach in Playa del Carmen?

Yes, Playa del Carmen snorkeling off the beach is possible but you probably won’t see much.

While the region is known for its incredible beaches, most of the beaches in Playa del Carmen are not really suitable for snorkeling.

This is especially true of the beaches in downtown Playa del Carmen, which are often very crowded and congested.

You may see a few tiny fish but Playa del Carmen snorkeling from shore is not really worth it, unless you are near a coral reef.

However, if you’re staying at a resort in the Riviera Maya that’s not located in downtown Playa del Carmen, it’s possible it might be located on or near a coral reef.

Check with the resort as they might offer complimentary snorkel gear that can be used during your stay.

Beach in Playa del Carmen

What will you get to see while snorkeling in Playa del Carmen?

It’s never a guarantee what kind of marine life you will see on a snorkeling tour as visibility can change based on the sea conditions.

But when snorkeling near Playa del Carmen, you can typically expect to see colorful coral reefs, tons of different fish species of all shapes and sizes, sea turtles, stingrays, starfish, barracudas, and much more.

Sea Turtle on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

Should I book a Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour?

As I mentioned, you won’t see much if you try to snorkel off the beach so I would definitely recommend booking a snorkeling tour to get to experience some of the most impressive Playa del Carmen snorkeling spots.

A snorkeling tour will take you by boat to the best places for snorkeling with an experienced tour guide. It’s really the only way to access the Playa del Carmen coral reefs.

Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Excursion

About Playa del Carmen Mexico Snorkeling Tours

Here’s what to know about snorkeling Playa del Carmen tours:

What are Playa del Carmen snorkeling tours like?

Snorkeling tours in Playa del Carmen are great because they offer an all inclusive booking option that usually includes hotel pickup, boat transfers, life jackets, snorkeling gear, and a knowledgable guide.

It’s normally a half day or full day tour with some meals included.

Depending on which tour you choose, some even include additional activities and attractions like visiting cenotes, the Tulum Ruins, beaches, and party boats or catamarans.

Underwater Marine Life on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Excursion

What’s included in snorkeling tours in Playa del Carmen?

There’s a range of snorkeling tours available but most will include roundtrip transportation with hotel pickup, boat transfers, snorkeling gear, life jackets, snacks and beverages.

Some of the higher end tours might also include professional photos, full meals, and some alcoholic beverages.

How much do Playa del Carmen snorkeling excursions cost?

There are snorkeling tours available for every budget. Snorkeling tour prices vary depending on the location and experience but typically range from $50-$200 USD per person.

Keep in mind it is usually a full day experience with transportation included, which can be costly in the Riviera Maya.

Travelista Tip: If you have a group of 6 or more, consider booking a private Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour as the price is usually equivalent to booking individually.

El Cielo Cozumel Snorkeling Tour

Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Map

Here is a map of the best snorkeling spots near Playa del Carmen:

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What to Bring on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

Here are a few items I would recommend bringing on Playa del Carmen snorkel tours:

Must Haves

These are the must-have items you won’t want to go without:

  • Biodegradable sunscreen: The number one thing to bring on a snorkeling tour is biodegradable sunscreen. It’s so so important to use biodegradable sunscreen in order to protect and preserve the coral reefs. Most tour operators actually prohibit the use of regular sunscreen so if you need sun protection then it is a must have. You can pickup some on Amazon here.

  • Beach towel: Don’t forget to bring a beach towel to dry off after you get out of the water. It actually can get a little cold when you’re wet and cruising on the boat. These microfiber beach towels are great options because they are super light weight and dry quickly.

Nice to Have

These items are nice-to-have and will make your life easier but are not absolutely necessary:

  • Go Pro or waterproof camera: I would highly recommend bringing a GoPro (or the less expensive Akaso Brave) to capture your underwater experience. I always bring my GoPro and am constantly amazed by the picture quality.

  • Snorkel Set: If you’re concerned about cleanliness, you can always bring your own snorkel set instead of using the one provided on the tour. Sometimes the snorkel equipment is not the best quality and may not fit well so having your own will ensure the best comfort and a good fit.

  • Rash guard: I would also recommend bringing a rash guard, which is like a swim shirt to stay warm and also protect you from the sun without the need for sunscreen. Some snorkeling spots actually don’t allow the use of any type of sunscreen so a rash guard is essential if you need sun protection.

What to Wear on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

Here is what I would recommend wearing on a Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour:

  • Swimsuit: Whenever I go on a snorkeling excursions in Playa del Carmen, I always wear a one-piece swimsuit. It’s just so much more comfortable and provides much more coverage when you’re dealing with your lifejackets, putting on your snorkel gear, and getting in and out of the boat.

  • Swimsuit coverup: You’ll also want to wear a lightweight swimsuit coverup or shorts that can be easily removed when you’re ready to get in the water.

  • Flip flops: You’ll want to wear flip flops or sandals that can be removed easily as the tour guides will usually require you to take off your shoes as soon as you get on the boat.

  • Sun hat: I would also recommend wearing a hat but makes sure you have one with a wind lanyard or that fits very securely on your head as the wind will be strong on the boat.

  • Change of clothes: You’ll also want to bring a change of clothes so you can change out of your wet swimsuit before the ride back to your hotel or resort.
What to Wear on a Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour

Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tour Tips

Follow these tips to make the most of your snorkeling experience:

  • Book in advance: I would definitely recommend booking your Playa del Carmen snorkeling excursion in advance. Tours can fill up quickly and most tour companies like Viator offer flexible booking options so you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

  • Book a private or small group tour: If you can, I would recommend booking a private or small group tour. It can be a little more expensive, but I’ve always had a better experience with smaller tours where you really get to bond with the guides and other tour goers. Plus, there’s nothing worse than being in a huge mob of snorkelers bumping into you, scaring off the fish, and ruining your perfect underwater photo!

  • Bring biodegradable sunscreen: As I mentioned, don’t forget to bring biodegradable sunscreen. It’s absolutely essential if you need sun protection.

  • Bring cash for tips: This is something I often forget then feel terrible when I don’t any cash on hand to tip the tour guides. Make sure to bring some extra cash (dollars or pesos) to give the tour guides a little something extra. They work hard to deliver great experiences.

Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Playa del Carmen snorkeling trips:

Is Playa del Carmen good for snorkeling?

Yes, there are many fantastic coral reefs around Playa del Carmen, where you’ll get to see colorful fish and tropical marine life such as sea turtles, stingrays, and barracudas.

What is the best time of year to snorkel in Playa del Carmen?

Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen can be done all year round, as water temperatures are usually always warm enough for swimming. However, if you to snorkel with whale sharks, you’ll need to visit from May-September.

Are Playa del Carmen snorkeling tours worth it?

Absolutely! Snorkeling tours in Playa del Carmen offer an unforgettable experience and allow you to access remote coral reefs that you wouldn’t be able to get to on your own. Plus, most offer added conveniences like transportation, meals, and professional guides.

Can beginners snorkel in Playa del Carmen?

Yes, the waves around Playa del Carmen are usually calm and suitable for beginner snorkelers. Tours will cancelled and refunded if weather conditions become too rough.

Can you wear sunscreen snorkeling in Playa del Carmen?

No, regular sunscreen is not permitted on snorkeling tours. Some tour operators allow reef-safe biodegradable sunscreen, while others do not allow any type of sunscreen. In this case, you’ll want to wear a rash guard for sun protection.

Conclusion: Best Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours Guide

I hope this snorkeling guide was helpful in planning your snorkeling excursions while visiting Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya!

My top recommendation for the best Playa del Carmen snorkeling tour is this Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote and Caves Tour.

With over 2,500 5-star reviews, this tour is all inclusive and action-packed, and you’ll get to do some impressive reef snorkeling.

But no matter which snorkeling tour you choose, you’re almost guaranteed to see some marine life like tropical fish, sea turtles, and sting rays.

And it’s bound to be an unforgettable underwater experience!

Traveling to Mexico soon?

These are the Mexico travel resources I use and recommend:

🏨 Hotels: I always find the best deals for Mexico hotels and resorts on Expedia or Booking.com. If you prefer a vacation rental, check VRBO as they are often cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: I recommend using Skyscanner for the best Mexico flight deals. Be sure to sign up for their price alerts for your preferred travel dates.

🚗 Rental Cars: I like to use Discover Cars because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: I recommend booking a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation for the quickest and most hassle-free option!

🤿 Tours & Activities: I always use Viator or GetYourGuide for booking tours and activities in Mexico. You can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour for a full refund, plus they have excellent customer service if you were to have any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: After my Dad broke his hand in a taxi accident in Playa del Carmen, I always recommend buying travel insurance before your trip for added peace of mind! I recommend Travel Insurance Master for short trips or Safety Wing for digital nomads.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Don’t forget to add biodegradable sunscreen to your Mexico packing list! Regular sunscreen is prohibited when swimming in the ocean and cenotes in Mexico, so you’ll need to pack some biodegradable sunscreen for sun protection. I recommend Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is reef-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free.

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