13 Best Cancun Snorkeling Tours You Must Do in 2023
Whether you are an avid snorkeler or want to try it for the first time, in this post you will find some of the best Cancun snorkeling tours to join on your next visit.
I live in Cancun and snorkeling in those pristine waters is one of the things I love the most!
Everyone knows how beautiful the beaches are in Cancun, with white sand and turquoise waters, but many people do not realize how beautiful what lies beneath the water is too.
The waters off the coast of Cancun are home to part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef- here you will find coral, sponges, and a ton of different marine animals.
The crystal clear water in Cancun makes it a great spot to snorkel because you can easily see the life below you.
You do not want to miss out on seeing this, so keep reading to learn about the best Cancun snorkeling tours.
Best Cancun Snorkeling Tours
Booking a tour is a great way to go snorkeling. Some of the best coral reef snorkeling is located off the coast, and you need a boat to take you there.
Snorkeling off a boat is a safe way to snorkel because you will have a guide in the water with you and the captain and boat stay close, in case you need assistance or want to get out of the water.
Plus, snorkel guides are experts at spotting sea life and know the best places to take you- so you will see more than if you snorkel alone!
Some of the best snorkeling tours in Cancun combine snorkeling with other great activities, such as visits to the ruins, trips into the jungle to check out cenotes, and ziplining!
These tours help you make the most of your time by combining several fun activities into one! Here are the best Cancun snorkeling tours:
1. 5-in-1 Cancun Snorkeling Tour: Swim with turtles, reef, Musa, shipwreck, and cenote
4.5 ⭐️ 944 Reviews
See it all with this five-stop snorkeling tour. You will go to a shallow coral reef, check out the underwater statues at MUSA- the underwater museum, go to an area known for having sea turtles, swim over the top of a shallow shipwreck full of life, and snorkel in a cenote!
This tour is great for both experienced snorkelers and nervous, or first-time snorkelers. The patient guides will help everyone have a great time. This tour lasts 3 and a half hours.
2. Luxury Catamaran and Snorkeling Tour: Lunch & Open Bar Onboard and Visit to Isla Mujeres
4.5 ⭐️ 2,010 Reviews
Enjoy a relaxing day on this luxury catamaran tour. You will board the catamaran and cruise along the beautiful Cancun coast to Isla Mujeres.
On your way, you will stop at a coral reef to go snorkeling to see colorful fish and marine life. Back onboard you will enjoy an open bar and gourmet lunch before arriving at Isla Mujeres.
There you can take a guided tour or explore on your own. You do not want to miss visiting the famously beautiful beaches there, plus the best places for shopping and the best restaurants in Cancun.
Your tour ends with a relaxing sail back to Cancun. This tour lasts 5 and a half hours.
3. Viator Exclusive Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves
5 ⭐️ 2,784 Reviews
Experience some of the best attractions in the Cancun area on this exclusive combo tour. You will start your day with a visit to the seaside Tulum ruins.
There you will enjoy learning about the ancient Mayan site that overlooks the turquoise Caribbean waters.
Next, you will head to the beach where you will hop on a boat to take you to a nearby coral reef.
There you will have time to leisurely snorkel while looking for turtles, rays, and tropical fish.
You will then head deep into the jungle to a cenote where you will get to swim in the freshwater and check out the rock formations.
Your tour includes all transportation, and a buffet lunch, and lasts about 8 hours.
4. Jungle Tour Adventure: Speed Boat Tour and Snorkeling (Shared Speed Boat)
4.5 ⭐️ 1,006 Reviews
Enjoy two water adventures on this speed boat and snorkeling Cancun tour.
Before driving the two-passenger speed boat you will get a safety briefing and instructions from your guide.
You will then drive through spectacular mangrove canals and the Nichupte Lagoon.
You will then slow down the pace with a relaxing snorkel at Punta Nizuc. There you will see colorful marine life and underwater statues.
Your tour includes all snorkel gear and bottled water and lasts 2 hours.
5. Reef and Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour in Cancun
4.5 ⭐️ 884 Reviews
See the best of the underwater world of Cancun on this snorkeling tour.
You will receive your snorkel gear and a full safety briefing, including tips to make sure you have fun, before heading out of the marina.
On this small group tour, you will visit four different snorkel spots: a shallow coral reef full of marine life, a subaquatic art gallery with statues, an area that is popular for turtle sitings, and a shipwreck full of sea life.
On your tour, you will have the chance to see corals, turtles, rays, and lots of colorful fish.
This tour is great for beginner or nervous snorkelers, as well as experienced snorkelers, and lasts 3 and a half hours.
6. Small-Group Snorkeling with Whale Sharks tour in Cancun & Riviera Maya
4.5 ⭐️ 589 Reviews
Enjoy the chance to swim next to a whale shark – the world’s biggest fish! You will depart from the marina and explore the waters off the coast of Cancun looking for whale sharks.
Once your captain spots them, you will have the chance to snorkel next to them while they feast on plankton in the water.
The plankton also attracts dolphins, turtles, and manta rays, so you may get lucky and see them too!
After snorkeling, you will stop at the famous Playa Norte beach on Isla Mujeres to relax and eat lunch.
Your tour includes a naturalist guide who will teach you about whale sharks and two jumps in the water to swim next to them.
It is a small group tour with no more than 10 people in a group and lasts 7 hours.
7. Half-Day Sailing Trip to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
4.5 ⭐️ 324 Reviews
Spend time snorkeling and exploring Isla Mujeres on this half-day sailing adventure. You will leave from the Cancun marina and head to a coral reef to snorkel.
There you will get to float in the water and look for colorful fish and creatures.
You will then continue sailing to Isla Mujeres while enjoying snacks and drinks.
Once you arrive at Isla Mujeres you will have free time to explore the island. You will then enjoy great views while you sail back to Cancun. This tour lasts 5 hours.
8. Whale Shark Tour from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Riviera
5 ⭐️ 495 Reviews
Experience the thrill of snorkeling next to a whale shark.
You will start your day with a light breakfast before heading out into the waters off the coast of Cancun looking for whale sharks.
On the way, you may spot turtles, dolphins, and manta rays!
You will then get to swim next to these amazing creatures as they slowly move through the water feeding on plankton.
After snorkeling with the whale sharks, you head to coral reefs where you can snorkel.
You will finish your day with a stop at Isla Mujeres to relax and eat lunch before returning to Cancun. This is a seasonal tour from May to September, it lasts 8 hours.
9. Jungle Tour & Snorkel at Punta Nizuc Reef, Underwater Museum
4.5 ⭐️ 138 Reviews
Explore the mangroves on a high-speed boat and experience Punta Nizuc snorkeling on this jungle tour in Cancun. You will get to drive yourself through lush mangroves in a speed boat.
Then you will get to hop into the water and snorkel at Punta Nizuc. There you will see coral reefs, marine life, and the underwater museum. This tour lasts 2 and a half hours.
10. Combo Adventure Tour: Snorkel, Zipline, ATV, and Cenote with Transportation
4.5 ⭐️ 122 Reviews
Enjoy a day of adventure with this combo tour. Your first stop on the tour is at the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park.
You will take a short boat ride out to the coral reef where you will see colorful coral and lots of marine life.
From there you will head into the jungle where you will get to drive a 4-wheeler ATV perfect for adventure lovers through a jungle path.
You will then fly over the trees on six ziplines and walk across three interactive bridges.
Lastly, you will splash down into the refreshing cenote water and get to swim around and see the rock formations. The tour includes snacks and bottled water and lasts 7 hours.
11. Tulum Ruins Cenote and Swimming with Turtles
4.5 ⭐️ 177 Reviews
Experience the best of the Riviera Maya with this tour. You will start your day at Tulum’s beachfront ruins where your expert guide will teach you about this ancient walled city.
From there you will go into the jungle to visit Cenote Zemway.
There you can swim in the refreshing, crystal water. Your last stop will be at Akumal Bay, an area famous for its sea turtle population.
There you will snorkel in the calm waters above the sea grass where turtles live. Your tour includes a box lunch and lasts 11 to 12 hours.
12. Jet Skiing, Snorkeling, and Parasail
4.5 ⭐️ 74 Reviews
Enjoy some of the best water activities the area has to offer with the combo tour. Your tour begins on a snorkel boat where you will visit several different spots.
You will have the chance to see coral reefs, the underwater museum, and a shipwreck surrounded by marine life.
Next, you will go parasailing and sail high in the air, enjoying views of Cancun. You will finish your tour with a fun ride on a shared jetski. This tour lasts 4 and a half hours.
13. Isla Contoy Eco Adventure
4.5 ⭐️ 108 Reviews
Visit the pristine beaches of Isla Contoy through this adventure tour. You will depart from the marina in Cancun and make a quick stop at Isla Mujeres.
There you will have free time to stroll around or visit the beach before sailing to Isla Contoy.
Isla Contoy is an ecological reserve that is strictly protected by the Mexican government.
Off the shores of the island, you will snorkel at Ixlache Reef where you can see turtles, rays, and tropical fish.
On the island, you will have time to relax, go on a nature hike and eat a grilled lunch before returning to Cancun. This tour lasts 8 hours.
Best Cancun Snorkeling Spots
There are countless great snorkeling spots near Cancun. You will be amazed by what is underneath the water- the area is filled with coral reefs and sea life!
The ideal snorkel spot is shallow, so you can get a close-up view of the sea life and have clear water.
Combine these two things with a sunny day, and you will have a great time snorkeling. Here are some of the best snorkeling spots in the Cancun area:
👉🏽 MUSA – The Museo Subaquatico de Arte is an underwater museum in Cancun. It is made of hundreds of sculptures that were sunk in 2010 to create an artificial reef.
These structures sit on a shallow, sandy bottom, making them ideal for snorkelers to visit.
Today the structures have a substantial amount of coral and sponge growth on them which attracts fish and wildlife. It is a great spot for snorkelers of all skill levels!
👉🏽 Punta Nizuc – Located off the coast of the southern part of the Cancun hotel zone, Punta Nizuc has coral reefs as well as some statues that are part of the underwater museum.
Punta Nizuc is a short boat ride from the coast and full of sea life. You can spot different corals and sponge species, sea turtles, and fish!
👉🏽 Manchones Reef – Manchones Reef is located in the calm waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres. You can get there on a boat tour leaving from Cancun or Isla Mujeres.
There you will find colorful coral reefs that are filled with wildlife- keep your eyes open for shiny barracuda that frequent this area! Manchones Reef is near the underwater museum so you will also see some statues while snorkeling there.
👉🏽 Dos Ojos – Great snorkeling in Cancun is not limited to the ocean. You will be amazed at the rock formations when you snorkel in cenote Dos Ojos.
This cenote is ideal for snorkeling, you will swim in semi-dark tunnels where you can appreciate the sun shining through cracks in the ceiling.
If you want a snorkeling experience that is unique to the Yucatan Peninsula, you do not want to miss this.
👉🏽 Akumal – Located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal is famous for snorkeling to visit the sea turtles that live off its shores.
When you snorkel there you will follow your guide into the calm water from the beach and look for the resident turtles that live in the grassy areas.
👉🏽 Cozumel – If you are serious about snorkeling, you should consider taking a day trip to Cozumel. There you will find crystal-clear water and impressive coral formations.
You can take a boat tour to snorkel on the famous Palancar and Colombia reefs where you can see turtles, rays, and sharks as well as colorful fish.
Preparing for a Cancun Snorkeling Tour
Want to take a snorkel tour on your next Cancun visit? Here are a few things to consider when signing up!
📌 What is the best time to snorkel in Cancun?
You can snorkel all-year round in Cancun. The winter months of November to April have consistently sunny weather, making them great for snorkeling.
These months are the most popular with tourists, so expect to share the boat/reef with other visitors. You will want to book your snorkel tours in advance to make sure they do not sell out.
The summer months of May to October are considered the rainy season, and the chance of getting rained on goes up.
Thankfully, a little rain will not ruin your snorkel tour. Firstly, you will already be wet!
Second, the darker skies that come with a rainshower can help you see aquatic animals that are usually more active at night.
You will have a better chance of seeing lobsters and crabs moving around during the day if it is raining!
📌 What to bring for a Cancun snorkeling day trip?
Your tour operator will provide all the snorkeling equipment you need for your tour. If you are a serious snorkeler and have your own gear, you are welcome to take it with you.
You will also want to take sunglasses, a hat, and clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
A rashguard is a great idea while you are in the water to keep the sun from burning your back.
If you have a small waterproof bag it is a great idea to take it on the boat to protect your phone and wallet from splashes.
If you are doing a day tour that includes other stops, you may want to take a towel and dry clothes to change into. Lastly, you will need to take some cash with you to tip your guide at the end of the tour.
📌 How much does a Cancun snorkeling tour cost?
It depends on what else your tour includes. If you sign up for a half-day boat tour that will take you to different snorkel spots, you can expect to pay around $70.
If you want to go on a luxury catamaran cruise or a tour that combines snorkeling with an adventure park, Mayan ruins, or other aquatic activities, you can expect to pay more.
These tours often include transportation, food, and entrance tickets to several sites and can cost around $130 or more per person.
Frequently Asked Questions about Snorkeling in Cancun
Is Cancun good for snorkeling?
Yes! The water off the coast of Cancun is part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world!
These reefs are home to countless coral, sponge, and marine animal species.
But, what makes snorkeling in Cancun extra special is the clear water that lets you gaze down on the coral reefs.
Where can I snorkel for free in Cancun?
You can snorkel for free off the beaches in Cancun.
The safest beaches for swimming and snorkeling are along the top part of the hotel zone, once you go further south the water becomes rough with strong currents.
However, the areas with sandy bottoms are not always the best for finding marine life. You will find more sea life closer to the coral reefs.
If you do snorkel from shore make sure to be careful of the currents and carry a surface marker buoy so boats can easily spot you.
If you want to shore snorkel, it is a good idea to go to Puerto Morelos. There you can snorkel in the buoyed area.
Are there coral reefs in Cancun Mexico?
Yes! Off the shores of Cancun, you will find coral reefs that are part of the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef.
This is the second-largest barrier reef system in the world! The reefs are home to corals, sponges, and tons of fish and sea life.
Can you snorkel off the beach in Cancun?
You can snorkel off the calm beaches that make up the northern part of the hotel zone; however, you might not see a ton of sea life.
These areas often have sandy bottoms, and wildlife tends to live closer to coral reefs or on rocky shorelines.
If you do shore snorkeling make sure to pay attention to your surroundings and be careful of currents.
That said, you never know what you can come across if snorkeling and you could see some great stuff.
Where can you swim with turtles in Cancun?
The best place to swim with turtles is in Akumal. Located south of Playa del Carmen, Akumal has calm waters and you can snorkel from the shore.
The bottom is full of seagrass and lots of turtles make this area their home.
Final Thoughts: Cancun Snorkeling Tours
Cancun has great snorkeling, and the best way to experience it is on a snorkel tour.
You need to take a boat to get to the best snorkeling reefs, plus you will have a guide to show you all sorts of marine life.
There are snorkel tours that will take you to several different snorkel spots if you want to maximize your time in the water.
Or, you can sign up for a tour that combines snorkeling with other activities and attractions.
Whatever you decide to do, you do not want to miss the chance for some great snorkeling in Cancun.
About the Author
Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!