Traveling to the Riviera Maya and not exploring the seas around it is practically sacrilegious. To go snorkeling or diving is a definite must when visiting this part of the world, and to choose the right spot or the right tour can be very important.
Here are some suggestions for snorkeling tours in the Riviera Maya. I find these ones interesting because they are not the regular snorkeling tour where you just go on a regular boat to a regular reef (though reefs are seldom regular). These three tours offer something more, something different, and even something amazing!
Snorkeling with Whale Sharks
This is one of the most incredible tours ever. I had always been curious about it, seeing banners and ads all over my city, and when I finally went snorkeling with whale sharks it was all I had imagined and more.
For those of you who don’t know, whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. They are not actually whales, only their size is whale-ish. They can measure up to 40 feet (12 m) and feed on plankton, which is actually sort of whale-ish as well. Their mouths are enormous, around 5 feet (1.5 m) wide! But don’t worry, it only absorbs tiny fish and microscopic plants.
Anyway, back to the tour… It really is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had. It made me feel so aware of the wonderful variety life we have on Earth, how teeny tiny we are, and how much there is to care for!
You usually go down into the water only in pairs so as not to overwhelm the sharks (imagine having 20 flies swarming around you as you try to eat your salad instead of just 2!). The first time I went into the water, I turned to see this ginormous beautiful creature swimming peacefully but directly towards me with its big gaping mouth… You can imagine the thrill; I think I screamed into my snorkel. Fortunately, the guide is always around, telling you where to go and how to move so he simply gestured for me to slowly move back. I did, and marveled as the whale shark swam by me with the uttermost calm. They are slow, moving at around 3 mph, but still move faster than we do, so it went past me just like that.
Tulum – Akumal Tour
Of course, visiting the Riviera Maya is not only about beaches and snorkel, it can also be about culture. This tour is perfect for those who want to add some Maya to their trip, because it includes a guided visit to the awesome site of Tulum. This place is particularly beautiful because it is set right on the beach! It has incredible pyramids and unbelievable views!
After the cultural visit, comes the actual snorkeling. This tour takes you to Akumal, which in Mayan means “the place of turtles”. So, as you can probably imagine by that, it means you get to snorkel next to sea turtles! It’s one amazing thing to set baby turtles free into the wild with turtle release programs like the ones we’ve mentioned before, but it is a totally new kind of wow! to actually see turtles swimming past you and feeding peacefully next to the reef. That of course apart from spotting colorful fish, rays, and other water creatures you would think you could only find in a Jules Verne story.
Sea Safari Snorkeling Tour
To begin with, this tour takes you out on an inflatable speedboat, which is fun all by itself! Secondly, you go snorkeling to a beautiful and peaceful cove first, and then head to a more popular and lively reef: Inaah.
In this reef, you get to see not only the colorful fish and coral you can see in other reefs in the area, but also sea turtles and rays!
Marine life still dwells here in abundance, so please help us protect it by using biodegradable sunscreen and by not to wearing other products that may be harmful for it, like hair gel, body cream, or even makeup!
At the end of this tour you also get to have a delicious lunch on the beach, like other tours do, but you get to ride the inflatable speedboat one more time!
All in all, to actually experience any snorkeling tour is something we should not take lightly. We are truly lucky to be able to see all these animals in their natural habitat, simple visitors they allow to come into their homes. We must always remember this and be polite to them when we pay them a visit!
It’s really very simple, just follow my three basic rules for a responsible traveler:
1) always wear biodegradable products
2) never touch the animals
3) never ever destroy their homes. 😉
If you want to go on one of these awesome tours, just contact us!