Cancun and the Riviera Maya boast some of the most exciting places to scuba dive and snorkel in the world. From the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, to shipwrecks, and even an underwater museum, there is no shortage of amazing options for scuba divers and snorkelers, whether you are a beginner or you have your diving certification. If you are not certified to dive, but would like to try it during your vacation, you can take a short course (normally around 4 hours) that will allow you to dive to 40 feet, under the supervision of a certified scuba instructor.
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is home to 65 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish and is the second largest barrier reef in the world, runs along the entire Yucatan Peninsula and right past Cozumel, which is just a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. The warm waters of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea are the ideal place to explore what lies below the surface.
One of the most increasingly popular places to snorkel or dive on the Yucatán Peninsula is in its cenotes (natural sinkholes). The peninsula has an extensive fresh water underground river system and the ground is made of porous limestone. Cenotes were formed when the limestone collapsed and the groundwater was exposed. This phenomenon is unique to this region. Lagoons and inlets are also common and are wonderful places to explore if you don’t feel comfortable in the open ocean.