One of the best destinations for snorkelers new or seasoned, is Cozumel, Mexico. Just the mention of a vacation in Cozumel brings visions of warm clear waters and perfect weather, of 80 plus degrees all year round.
An easy journey for most to make, the island of Cozumel, located in the eastern Caribbean, is only 7 miles across beautiful waters from Playa del Carmen. Cozumel is part of the Mayan Riviera, just south of Cancun. The area has so much to offer for everyone, the rich Mayan history can be appreciated by a visit to the nearby ruins of Tulum.
Scuba divers continually rank Cozumel between the 3rd and 5th best diving spots in the world. So it is reasonable to expect that the snorkeling will be awesome too. Sea life is abundant and more than 200 different species of aquatic life inhabit these beautiful coral reefs. A special treat is getting a glimpse of the elusive Splendid Toadfish found nowhere else in the world.
The shy Splendid Toadfish lives in the shelter of the corals, but its distinctive colors may give away his hiding spot. With vibrant yellow fins and unusual patterns of white and dark strips, he is a snorkelers treat not to be missed.
Cozumel’s east coast is protected from large storms, fast currents and sea swells that islands further out in the ocean will experience. The calmer waters also encourages delicate plants, coral and sea life to inhabit the area without harmful currents that make it nearly impossible to inhabit other areas.
What Is The Area Like?
Not to be missed are the ruins of Tulum, just down the coast from Playa del Carmen. These are the most impressive and by far the largest Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula. Visitors will experience breath-taking views from cliffs over 15 meters high, that overlook the Caribbean’s azure blue waters below.
Several lagoons can be found in protected areas like Chankanaab lagoon, this area offers pristine clear waters, undamaged coral reefs for snorkeling and shallow diving areas that are abundant in sea life.
What Do I Need?
Make sure that you get a mask with good visibility, one that provides a view of more than just straight ahead. The larger your view within the mask the more enjoyable your experience. You may want to shop around before you go and invest in a comfortable mask. Having your own mask is a good idea even if you are a beginner, sometimes rental masks leak or fit uncomfortably.
What Makes Cozumel Great For Snorkeling?
The position of the island, in relation to the ocean flows and the distance from the mainland, is an important factor in providing great snorkeling. The area attracts sea life, home to over 230 species of magnificent aquatic creatures, the clear water is perfect for high visibility and seeing beautiful arrays of colors.
With over 100 to 200 feet of visibility at any given time, it is not uncommon to come home with stories of swimming side by side with beautiful, yet shy, sea turtles.
The gentle currents sweep the water clean and filtered, keeping the coral healthy with nutrient rich waters. The clearer and brighter the water, the more visible the colors and surroundings are for taking underwater pictures and enjoying the environment on your snorkeling adventure.
For this reason it is also the drift diving capital, allowing one to drift in a slow-moving current of 1 to 2 knots. Drift diving is quickly becoming a popular activity in such areas.
How Deep Is The Water?
The lagoons average around 20 feet deep which give a snorkeler a superb view while still surface swimming. You will encounter friendly fish and see an environment that can usually be seen only at deeper depths in other places around the world. Meaning you will experience what may usually require scuba gear, but you will only need a snorkel and a good mask.
Yet another attraction for snorkelers is the San Francisco Reef. Its appeal offers sandy underwater stretches of around 50 yards each and smaller reefs under 50 feet high. This can give the snorkeler the experience of diving off larger under water reefs within the comfort zone of a shallower dive.
What Kind Of Experience Will You Have Snorkeling In Cozumel?
Consistently ranking as one of the top vacation destinations in the world, Cozumel has something for divers, snorkelers and cruise ships patrons. Cozumel has everything to offer a beginner snorkeler as well as a seasoned diver.
To list the reasons why you will have the best time ever snorkeling and visiting in Cozumel would take several articles, but it’s agreed that simply the location, the people, the water and the weather make Cozumel one of the best places to snorkel.
Whether snorkeling for your first time or returning to Cozumel after years of experience, it is an experience you will be talking about for years to come.
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