Top Spots For Playa del Carmen Snorkeling 2018

cenote snorkeling

One secret that many people don’t realize is that for a great Playa del Carmen snorkeling experience you don’t need to travel very far out of Playa!

There’s so many great places in and around Playa for a snorkeling that it can be overwhelming trying to decide which to try. I will provide you with my current review for 2018 to understand your options and decide if you would rather try to do something guided or on your own. Something local or a little out of town. A cave and cavern cenote experience or are you in search of sea turtles? Let me start off with the 2 best spots and why:

  1. Playa del Carmen Reef Snorkeling
  2. Cave and Cavern Cenotes

Playa del Carmen Reef Snorkeling

In my opinion, this is the best snorkeling experience in Playa. Just a short boat ride off the coast of Playa to the reef area and you are certain to see all kinds of exotic fish, sea turtles and sometimes manta rays. Although it is not far off the coast of Playa it is best to do this with a guide who can take you directly to the best spots on the reef. It is possible to do solo reef snorkeling just off  Coco Beach in front of the Canibal Royal  Beach Club. I would not recommend this for inexperienced snorkelers, however, because to swim out to the reef area you will need to pass through a boating area. I had a good friend who used to enjoy spearfishing in this spot and claimed it was teaming with fish and sea life.

Every time I have taken a guided tour to the reef I have seen sea turtles and new fish I had not seen before and always loved it because it was easy and close to home.

Cave and Cavern Cenotes

I have heard that there may be as many as 7000 cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula area, many not yet discovered! You may already know that there are 2 different kinds of cenotes. One is the Swimming Hole type like the Jardin of Eden which is a popular destination for swimmers and snorkelers. I really like this cenote as a swimming hole but actually prefer the cavern type for snorkeling and exploring.

In the cavern cenote tour from the The Snorkel Shop you get to visit the best local cenotes that are close by but not everyone knows about. You will see amazing underwater rock formations and chasms along with the spectacular stalactites and natural beauty of the location. I would recommend Jardin of Edin for people who like to swim and the snorkeling is not that important, and perhaps a guided tour in one of Playa’s cave or cavern type cenotes if you really want an incredible adventure.

Ok so you might be wondering what are the spots that I do not recommend anymore to people for snorkeling in and around Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya? Well perhaps to say these are the worst is a little strong but I will explain why I do not like either of these two spots now in 2018.

  1. Akumal
  2. Cozumel

Akumal

Some years ago, Akumal used to be an incredible place to go see the giant sea turtles swimming in their natural habitat on any given day. Sadly, as with many natural places here in the Mayan Riviera greedy tour operators tried to exploit this by putting thousands of people in the water and trampling the natural habitat of the turtles. Now in 2018 a lot of  the turtles have been scared off but if you go early in the morning before a lot of other people arrive and stir up the water, limiting visibility, you will glimpse these amazing sea animals. Luckily, now in 2018 there are restrictions in place to protect the turtles and commercial tours to snorkel with the turtles have been limited. It is still possible to go solo without a guide and try to find the turtles but has become very complicated with vendors trying to trick you and tell you have to rent life jackets or buy a tour.

Akumal snorkeling

Akumal

Remember, no matter what you are told by those on the beach trying to make money, you are allowed to enter the water and look for the turtles. I don’t recommend Akumal anymore to people because it is certain you will be harassed and not certain you will see sea turtles. I also feel like these poor turtles should be left alone after being bothered so much and It’s pretty easy to find turtles in a sea or reef guided snorkel tour. There is also Yal Kul Lagoon located in Akumal which is a nifty spot to visit for swimming and snorkeling, although don’t expect to sea any turtles or much fish there.

Best Playa del Carmen Snorkeling Tours

Community Tours Sian Ka’an  is a community company that has been working within the reserve and local communities for 15 years. They offer 10 different tours and on this occasion we visit Muyil. It should be noted that this Tourism company will become the first Carbon Neutral community operator in Mexico through the implementation of good environmental practices that were announced within the framework of its 13th anniversary.

Just 20 minutes from Tulum is Muyil, this place offers a unique experience, not only the magic of the archaeological zone in the middle of the jungle or its different lagoons that are connected by channels, Muyil is more than that, the energy that keeps this place is unique.

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An expert guide will walk you through the different paths that connect the beautiful forest and from which the different temples stand out. Some of them have not yet been fully restored. This site is currently one of the most important in the reserve.

The Archaeological Zone of Muyil has several different types of Mayan buildings, each building tells us a little more about this great civilization. “El Castillo” is the highest structure of the north-central coast of Quintana Roo and is 17 meters high, according to some research this place was built in two stages.

One of the particular features of “El Castillo” is that in the upper part of it is “la torre”, a part adorned with stones simulating thorns.

This interesting Mayan archaeological zone is located within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It has been an important site of ceremonial discoveries that were part of the Mayan rituals.

After discovering a bit more of the history of the Mayas, you will cross an interpretive trail, where you will be able to observe different flora and fauna characteristic of the area. Zapote, cohechen and ficus, is only part of the flora that houses this jungle. In addition to that you can see up close different water outlets from which emanates fresh water springs.

The best way to have a panoramic view of the jungle and the lagoon that connects with the Caribbean Sea is to climb the viewpoint that is located at the end of the trail. Surprise yourself with all the gifts that nature will give you! After doing this tour, you will arrive at the lagoon. The first sight to this one is impressive, its blue tones that contrast with the green of the forest is unique.

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A boat will take you to this part of the adventure, stroll along the connecting channels and discover another part of the ruins. This site is perfect to follow the course swimming and learn more about the fauna and flora that inhabits the place, letting you take the flow.

On the way through the canals, we could observe some orchids, different types of plants and fish that inhabit this beautiful place.

Without a doubt Muyil was a unique experience, it has the perfect mixture between cultural and adventure, and the majestic landscapes that give us this natural place are enchanting.

 

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Muyil is a part of the  Maya Ka’an destiny.

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About the author…

Laura Torres is a Psychologist with experience in digital marketing and human resources, passionate about tourism, advertising, gastronomy, cultural diversity and extreme sports such as diving with sharks and sky dive. Lover of independent cinema, literature, writing, photography and music. Creative and curious to experience new things constantly. She has directed digital marketing strategies for different brands in Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos. She has been a social network consultant for more than 30 brands in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos, among them The Baja California Sur Tourism Promotion Trust, the Tourism Promotion Trust of the Riviera Maya, the Association of Hotels of the Riviera Maya and the Association of Real Estate Professionals of Playa del Carmen.

Follow her on twitter!  @BeSocialEdu

Soliman Bay is a hidden place in the Mayan Riviera that lies between Tulum and Akumal. Departing from Playa del Carmen, it is located about thirty minutes to the south. A perfect location for a quick escape from the city.

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You can practice some sports like snorkeling, paddleboard, kayak or simply enjoy the coexistence with nature and feel the Caribbean breeze that runs through your veins.

The Riviera Maya has been a tourist destination of international stature that has been placed in the lists of preferential destinations in Latin America and in the world. Many of its natural features, such as the color of its sea, thin, fine sand, cenotes, jungle, reefs, marine and wild life, place it in the panorama and in the traveler’s favorite destinations. In 2013, 4.1 million tourists were received and the number is increasing every year.

The weather conditions are very good most of the year where temperatures oscillate from 24C-25C.

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Soliman Bay is located in a residential community where there are luxury cabanas, bungalows or villas on the shore of the bay. At the end there is a local restaurant where the palm trees give it a tropical Caribbean look. The chamico restaurant, a Yucatecan owner who has been in this area for years, can prepare a fried fish, ceviches, the typical guacamole that you can accompany with beer or fresh tropical fruit juices.

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How do you get to Soliman Bay?

If you are coming from Cancun, take the federal highway in the direction of Tulum. Just before arriving in Tulum is the restaurant Oscar & Lalo. On the next return return north and take the right lane. You will find a sign with the name of Bahía de Soliman, there turn towards the sea and you go all right until you hit the Chamico Restaurant.

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Look At Soliman Bay From Above!

 

Would you like to have more information? Please visit locogringo website.

About the author…

Laura Torres is a Psychologist with experience in digital marketing and human resources, passionate about tourism, advertising, gastronomy, cultural diversity and extreme sports such as diving with sharks and sky dive. Lover of independent cinema, literature, writing, photography and music. Creative and curious to experience new things constantly. She has directed digital marketing strategies for different brands in Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos. She has been a social network consultant for more than 30 brands in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos, among them The Baja California Sur Tourism Promotion Trust, the Tourist Promotion Trust of the Riviera Maya, the Association of Hotels of the Riviera Maya and the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals.

Follow her on twitter! @BeSocialEdu