Costa Maya is a major cruise port and many cruisers arrive on this small town's shores with dreams of exploring Mexico's Caribbean coast with a snorkel, fins, and a mask. Fortunately, some of the best snorkeling in the region can be found here whether you stick to the shore or head out by boat to the second largest barrier reef in the world.
The Great Mayan Reef is located just 10 minutes off shore, and many people make sure they get themselves signed up for a tour so that they can experience the reef for themselves. There are a few dive shops in the area that offer this service, as well as some boat charters that an take you there as well. When you arrive you'll be treated to healthy, nearly pristine coral reef teeming with vibrant and vivacious sea life.
If you decide to stick close to the shore, renting a snorkel kit and going on your own, you'll be equally as satisfied with what you'll encounter thanks to numerous shallow reef beds where plenty of rainbow colored fish make their home. The beach in downtown Mahahaul is especially great for snorkeling because it is protected by a reef and sand bar that runs the entire length of the beach. This means the waters are always calm and free of undertow so even young children can give the sport a try. In fact, most of the beaches in the southern part of town have the same protected, calm nature.
If you're looking for a place offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to contact Mahahual Dive Centre. From shipwrecks to coral reef, there is a wondrous world to be discovered under the sea, and this dive center can't wait to help you explore -- even when you prefer snorkeling to diving. They are located in Mahahual, in the central part of Costa Maya.
Another place catering to snorkelers is Tequila Beach Tours Watersports. The tour departs from the El Faro Beach Club and guests enjoy 20 minutes of snorkeling before the arrive at the snorkel site which is protected reef. The tour guides will show you the beauty of the reef and point out all of the various fish. The tour includes your gear, bottled water and soda, a life jacket, and a multi-lingual tour guide.
A third place to consider is Toucan Watersports. Though this tour operator has a number of different excursions available, their snorkel tours are almost always booked well in advance. They have great guides and access to some unbelievable underwater sites that you won't want to miss. They're situated in the northeastern part of Costa Maya.
The chart below shows information with regard to 5 companies that offer snorkeling services.
|Costa Maya Cruise Snorkel Excursion||--||0.5 mi. East of Central Costa Maya|
|Costa Maya Tours Snorkeling||(813) 435-3148||Central Costa Maya|
|Mahahual Dive Centre||(983) 203-2992||Mahahual, Central Costa Maya|
|Tequila Beach Tours Watersports||(983) 117-3519||Mahahual, Central Costa Maya|
|Toucan Watersports||--||1.5 mi. Northeast of Central Mahahual|
For more information about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out our detailed discussion of snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Today, thanks to the government making a point to protect the reef, and the miniscule amount of tourism when compared to other destinations like Cancun, snorkeling in Costa Maya is ideal. As the word gets out, if people don't continue to care for the marine world here, however, that could change in a very short period of time. The timing is perfect for your snorkeling adventure in Costa Maya, ensuring that you get to see this town's portion of the reef system before even more people find out just how amazing it is.
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