Cancun snorkeling is some of the very best in the world and discovering the underwater world is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun. The Riviera Maya coast is protected by the Mesoamerican Reef system, an incredible stretch of coral reaching from the north at Isla Contoy to Honduras 1000 kms away to the south. With beautiful coral gardens and a huge variety of tropical marine life, snorkeling in Cancun is truly the experience of a lifetime.
Cancun is the ideal spot to learn to snorkel, the crystal clear waters and experienced tour guides make for a delightful experience.
So, you’ve never been snorkeling before? Not a problem! With a few tips and a bit of practice you’ll be a pro in no time at all.
Snorkel in Cancun 101: Equipment and Snorkel Tips
By law, you must wear a lifejacket if you are to snorkel in Cancun (the reef is a protected marine reserve). This is not only for your safety, but to protect the delicate eco-system that is easily damaged by humans. Lifejackets must fit SNUGLY, if it’s too loose it will ride up around your face as you swim and will make it very uncomfortable to try to move around.
Try on more than one size before you enter the water and ensure that the life jacket is nice and tight and not going to rise up to your ears and inhibit your movements.
Your snorkel mask is your window to the fascinating world you’ll find underwater. There are a variety of snorkel masks available, but in general they’ll have a clear glass lens and a plastic “skirt” that will cling tight to your face to prevent water getting in.
Before entering the water, be sure to check the fit of your mask and make adjustments with the strap (or ask a guide for assistance).
Pull your hair back and don’t allow it to get between your skin and the mask as it will lead to leaks. In general anyone with long hair will probably want to pull it into a ponytail to have the best possible views underwater. Masks tend to fog up when going from the heat of the sun to the relative cold of the water, this can be avoided with a quick saliva rinse (yep, spit in that mask!) or a coating of dish soap.
If your mask fills with water while snorkeling, do not remove it completely, just lift up from the plastic nose piece, dump the water and reset the mask.
Snorkeling tubes are really an ingenious little invention, such a simple tool to breathe underwater! Cancun snorkeling tours generally provide a brand new snorkel tube to each guest and it’s often a take home souvenir. Your tube is attached to the strap on your mask and you can adjust the position by sliding it up or down. Your lips will create a seal so you can breathe through the tube, slight pressure from your teeth will hold it in place but be sure you are not clenching, relax!
If you get water in the tube, you can try to blow HARD to get it out or remove the piece from your mouth and pour the water out.
Snorkel fins come in a variety of styles, the most important thing is the fit. Too loose and they’ll fall right off, too tight and you’ll find yourself with blisters. Once you’ve got your fins on, you’ll want to walk BACKWARDS on the boat or beach to avoid viral videos of your hilarious fall. Your fins are what will propel you through the water (not your arms, they should be straight ahead of you or placed in the small of your back). As many Cancun snorkel tours are done in very shallow water, you really need to ensure a smooth kick to avoid stirring up sediment and whatever you do, DO NOT STAND ON THE CORAL! A good snorkel kick is slow, gentle, smooth and with the whole leg moving from the hip, not just little kicks from the knee down.
Snorkeling in a group can be challenging, try to keep an eye on where your everyone is and keep your kicks away from faces and no splashing!
It won’t take long at all to find your snorkeling groove. Relax, feel the flow and follow the instructions of your guide and captains. Never, EVER touch the coral or pick up any sea life, snorkeling is a “look don’t touch”’ experience. Avoid using sunblocks or chemicals on your skin, best to wear a long-sleeved rash guard to avoid contaminating the delicate eco-system.
If you are nervous in the water or unsure of yourself, stick close to the guide and they’ll lead the way and lend a hand when necessary.
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