Is It Safe to Snorkel in Cancun?

Snorkeling is one of the everyday water activities in Cancun, and it’s because you’ll find some excellent snorkeling spots in the city. However, if your concern is safety, you may wonder if Cancun is a safe place for snorkelers, especially for first-timers. 

It is safe to snorkel in Cancun, but it’s best to be cautious since you’ll be snorkeling in the open sea. As such, it’s always best to avail a snorkeling tour with a certified company. This way, you can enjoy snorkeling while still being safe within the company of professional guides.

In general, there are no other options for snorkeling in Cancun other than with a certified snorkeling tour company. Still, while it’s safe to snorkel in Cancun and even safer with guides, you may need some tips and other information about Cancun snorkeling.

Thus, in this article, we’ll cover some safety tips when snorkeling in Cancun, along with some basic information such as spots and best time, and even answer some common questions about this matter.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Is It Safe to Snorkel in Cancun

5 Safety Tips When Snorkeling in Cancun

1. Always stay on either side of the boat

When snorkeling in Cancun, stay on either side of the boat so the guide always has eyes on you. Don’t go behind the boat as the motor is located there. 

When hopping on or off the boat, do it on either the left or right side. This way, the boat captain can see who hops on or off.

The guides will accompany you in the water and will keep you safe. As such, it’s always best to snorkel with a guided tour, as it will make your snorkeling experience safe and enjoyable. 

2. Don’t take off your life vest

Even if you know how to swim, always keep your life vest on, and don’t take it off unless your guide says it’s ok. Safety is a priority; the life vest will ensure your snorkeling experience doesn’t lead to something we don’t want.

3. Don’t touch or disturb marine life

While this one’s not a safety tip for you, it’s designed for the safety of marine life. Snorkeling always aims to see the beautiful marine life beneath the waters. As such, you shouldn’t touch any living creature. 

In the Riviera Maya, there is no danger when snorkeling, but you must remember that this is a natural environment. As such, you must be responsible for avoiding potential damage by touching reefs or scaring away the marine life below.

4. Don’t continue in case of bad weather

Some tour operators would prefer to continue even during bad weather. Although you have a guide, staying safe and rescheduling is still best. Besides safety, you’ll enjoy some snorkeling experience when you’re doing it under sunny weather and within calm waters.

5. Stay calm and follow instructions

If it’s your first time snorkeling or you’re new to swimming, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed and scared. However, the first thing to remember is to stay calm and follow instructions. 

If you feel scared, you can always ask your guide to lead you back to the boat. However, when you’re with a guide, you’ll have an orientation before going to the snorkeling spot.

Thus, rest assured that you’ll be wonderful and capable of snorkeling even before heading to the snorkeling spot.

Safe Snorkeling Spots in Cancun

Cancun’s an upscale city filled with commercial establishments along its shores. As such, there are not many spots to snorkel near the coast. However, if you’re looking for some nearby snorkeling spots, here are the best three within or at least near Cancun.

Punta Nizuc 

Punta Nizuc is a small snorkeling spot located in the southern part of Cancun’s shores, and it’s close to Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Here, you can find an offshore reef area home to various types of marine life.

In this area, you can find marine animals such as turtles, starfish, lobsters, and other types of sea creatures living within the corals and algae of the sea.

It’s a great place to snorkel, especially if you bring kids. You can find many tour packages in the city offering a snorkel tour in this area.

Isla Mujeres

If you’re up for some island adventure, Isla Mujeres is a short boat ride away from Cancun, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling.

This island is generally a fishing island that attracts tourists every day. It’s a small island that’s only 5 miles in length and half a mile in width. As such, it’s possible to explore it within a day.

Now, the snorkeling spot on the island is the reef named Manchones. This reef is located a short distance off the coast. Besides this, you’ll find numerous other snorkeling spots on the island. 

Here, you can usually see sea turtles roaming around and other types of marine life. As such, it’s best to bring your underwater camera if you want to record some wonderful snorkeling experience. 

The Cancun Underwater Museum: MUSA

MUSA - Cancun Underwater Museum of Art - Car

When it comes to snorkeling spots, the Cancun Underwater Museum is one of the best. This spot is divided into two main areas, consisting of more than 470 sculptures. 

Over the past few years, the underwater statues of Silent Evolution have slowly been submerged in Manchones Reef. 

As an eco-project, Cancun’s museum offers a break for the natural reef and provides a living environment for fish and other reef species.

Is Shark a Danger for Snorkelers in Cancun?

One of the common fears of snorkelers is the possibility of sharks attacking. Cancun generally has sharks, but it’s pretty rare for them to attack and hurt snorkelers and other tourists who enjoy water activities in the seas. 

Thus, a shark attack shouldn’t hold you back from snorkeling in the city. Also, you have guides to help you snorkel; they know the safe spots, so don’t worry about it. Finally, if you want to know more, we have an article for you to read: Does Cancun Have Sharks?


Overall, Cancun is a safe place for snorkeling, offering some of the best snorkeling spots in entire Mexico. But, of course, snorkeling in Cancun means you’re doing so in the open sea. As such, it’s always recommended to be cautious during the entire activity.

We hope you enjoy your snorkeling experience in the city with the safety tips we have for you. But, as always, keep in mind that you’ll be best off snorkeling when you’re in the company of professional guides. This way, you can stay safe while still enjoying your time seeing the beautiful marine life beneath the waters of Cancun.

Besides snorkeling, you can do other activities in Cancun. To know more, read: What To Do In Cancun?

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