Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos Mexico

The small village of Puerto Morelos definitely becomes more and more celebrated among tourists who seek a relaxed place in the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico to enjoy the sun and excellent diving, snorkeling opportunities that the Marine Park can offer. If you are interested in staying in the area or coming to spend a day here during your Riviera Maya vacation, read on to learn where to go snorkeling in Puerto Morelos and what to see underwater!

How and where to snorkel in Puerto Morelos?

The Puerto Morelos Reef is part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second-largest reef system that stretches along the coast of Mexico. Vibrant corals and rich marine life are guaranteed since the area is a nature reserve. Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos Marine Park will give you the opportunity to observe healthy ecosystems featuring many different soft and hard coral types, as well as various creatures from small sea slugs to rays, lemon sharks if you are lucky. Basically, you have two options here: snorkeling from the shore and taking a boat trip to the main reef.

Shore snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

Due to safety reasons, it is not allowed anymore to swim directly to the outer main reef from the shore the as it was before. Although the main reef offers the widest variety of corals and marine life, you find a lot of things to see if you just snorkel from the shore, and of course, this option is free.

To find out where to snorkel in Puerto Morelos from shore, look for the buoy line in the water while standing on the beach that suggests the safe swimming zone. Our Puerto Morelos snorkeling map below shows exactly the spot we mean. Technically the best place to snorkel is the area between Hotel Amar Inn and Day & Night Beach Club.

Puerto Morelos shore snorkeling map
Puerto Morelos shore snorkeling area

The water is shallow, depends gradually and the sea bottom is covered with seagrass. Watch out, this is a perfect place to spot rays and turtles that often come to feed here! Swim towards the open water (but stay inside the buoys for your own safety) to find coral patches. Here the water is about 4-6 meters deep, and current can be strong, therefore we recommend snorkeling here for confident swimmers only.

Wearing a life jacket is not a must if you stay in this area. You can rent fins and mask at the dive shops on the beach, but we recommend bringing your own snorkel set due to practical and hygienic reasons.

Puerto Morelos snorkeling tour

Should you decide to discover the main reef and signing up for a boat trip, it won’t be too difficult to find one since there are countless tour operators along the Puerto Morelos Beach offering their services. A trip costs around 25 USD with equipment and snorkeling vest included in the price (that is a must on such tours). The boat takes you to the reef that lies about 500 meters offshore. For maximum comfort, you can book a complex Riviera Maya Snorkeling trip that includes everything that you need for a day full of underwater adventures!

Puerto Morelos Reef
Puerto Morelos Reef

Note that the Puerto Morelos snorkeling trips are enjoyable only be calm weather conditions. If the wind is strong, sea is choppy we don’t recommend taking a trip to the main reef due to strong currents and low visibility. If the weather is not so nice, just try snorkeling from the shore within the buoys!

Tip: when staying in the area, Tulum snorkeling places are also worth exploring! If you have time, make sure to arrange a trip to the nearby island and go snorkeling in Cozumel too where the water is crystal clear and full of life!

Coral and fish species to see

Now you know where to snorkel in Puerto Morelos but you might ask what will you see exactly? The Puerto Morelos Reef, as we mentioned is part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef and a protected area. You will snorkel above hard coral formations including Brain, Staghorn and Elkhorn corals. The sandy sea bottom is home to soft coral species like Black Sea Rods, Bent Sea Bonds and colorful Sea fans.

Corals - Puerto Morelos
Coral, fish and a stingray in Puerto Morelos

You will be mesmerized by the colorful tropical fish: Parrotfish, big shoals of Blue Tangs just to mention a few. If you just snorkel from shore, you won’t find big coral formations rather smaller pinnacles built-up from hard corals. The amount of fish is amazing close the shore as well, Barracuda groups, shoals of French Grunt, Atlantic Spadefish are cruising around. We spotted a Porcupinefish too, watch our Puerto Morelos snorkeling video to see him! You have a good chance to meet turtles and rays in the shallow water!

Tip: Do you like corals but want to see something different under the sea? Don’t miss out snorkeling in the Underwater Museum while staying in Cancun – Mexico!

How to get to Puerto Morelos

The village is gaining popularity among tourists who prefer quiet holidays rather than staying in huge resorts. This small-town still keeps its traditional charm despite the recent developments. It lies halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. If you have a rental car, it is only a 20-30 mins drive from Playa or from Cancun. Other options are taking a private taxi, ADO Bus or the local collectivos.

Are you considering staying in Puerto Morelos? Check hotel availability and rates here:

We highly recommend visiting this lovely town for just a day, or even spend a longer period here. Although we stayed in Playa del Carmen, we definitely did not regret taking the time for a Puerto Morelos snorkeling day trip. It was definitely one of the highlights of our Mexican vacation, and to be honest, we liked it more than Akumal Beach if it comes to the beach and marine life.

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Puerto Morelos Lighthouse

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

2 thoughts on “Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos Mexico

  • 2019-10-30 at 20:07

    We will be in Cancun for 5 days, we are currently planning a trip to Xel ha, Isle Mujeres, and Cozumel. We have one day that we are thinking about going to Puerto Morelos and either snorkel from shore or take a basic snorkeling tour as you mentioned around $25USD. Based upon our current plan, what snorkeling adventure makes more sense. We have about 4 hours to spend there.

    • 2019-10-30 at 21:59

      Hi Jeff,

      Yes, it is definitely a good idea to go to Puerto Morelos. If you are lucky and the sea is calm, you can snorkel from the shore (there are nice corals and plenty of fish to see, you just need to swim around and find the area) or take a boat to the big reef. And the beach is nice as well. In case of rough sea, I would go to one of the nearby cenotes and spend the time there.
      Hope this helps, have a nice holiday 🙂


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