10 of the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in Cancun

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're a beginner or you have your diving certification.

If you're 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, runs along the entire Yucatan Peninsula and right past Cozumel, It's also the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The warm waters of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea are the ideal place to explore what lies below the surface.

Other popular places to snorkel or dive on the Yucatán Peninsula are cenotes (natural sinkholes). The peninsula has an extensive freshwater underground river system and the ground is made of porous limestone. So, cenotes were formed when the limestone collapsed and the groundwater was exposed, a phenomenon that's unique to this region.

Lagoons and inlets are also common here and are wonderful places to explore if you don’t feel comfortable in the open ocean.



There is something mysterious, haunting and romantic about a shipwreck. You can't dive down to the Titanic, but the C58 Minesweeper Wreck Dive is only about 80 feet below the surface and is accessible by boat from Cancun. It's an old Navy vessel...  Read More



Punta Nizuc is an isolated beach located at Kilometer 24 at the south end of Cancun's Hotel Zone. There is plenty of public parking or you can take the bus and get off at the last stop, which is across the street from the Westin Regina. Be sure...  Read More

Cave of the Sleeping Sharks
Photo courtesy of DanSchmitt/iStock


About 50 years ago, Isla Mujeres resident Carlos Garcia Castilla found a cave deep in the waters off of the island. Inside the cave he found many sharks that appeared to be sleeping. These days, divers frequently visit the cave to witness its...  Read More



This eco-park is part of the Experiencias Xcaret family (Xcaret, Xplor, Xenotes, Xoximilco). Xel-Ha boasts the "largest, most beautiful natural aquarium in the world." You can swim in grottos & cenotes (natural sinkholes)and see local sea...  Read More



This beautiful Yal-Ku Lagoon is located in Akumal, which is approximately 65 miles south of Cancun on Highway 307. It's connected to the Caribbean Sea, which means you can see barracuda, parrot fish, stingrays and sea turtles, but its waters are...  Read More



This is one of Cancun's most unique attractions. The Underwater Museum (MUSA) is made up of hundreds of sunken statues sculpted by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The statues have begun to grow coral. This benefits the environment in two ways: by...  Read More

Cenote Dos Ojos
Photo courtesy of Simon Dannhauer/iStock


Cenotes, or natural sinkholes, are a phenomenon unique to the Yucatan Peninsula. These pools, some completely underground and some open, are connected by an underground river system and are filled with cool fresh water, perfect for escaping the...  Read More



Akumal is known as the "place of the turtle" and is made up of 3 bays: Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay and Aventuras Akumal Bay. There are both shallow and deep reef dive sites, most only a few minutes from shore by boat. Depending on the site, you...  Read More

National Reef Park of Puerto Morelos
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse


The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef in the world, runs parallel to the Yucatan Peninsula. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the only reef that is larger. At the National Reef Park of Puerto Morelos, the reef is...  Read More

Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park
Photo courtesy of eaglerayjoel/iStock


Cozumel, a snorkel and dive mecca, is an island located approximately 11 miles off the coast of Playa del Carmen and is home to the second largest coral barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. There are both shallow...  Read More


Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin