Whether you want to swim with turtles or just in the mood for some water activities, there are plenty of great spots for snorkeling in Isla Mujeres.
This little island has some pretty amazing beaches and snorkeling spots, but finding them can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look.
Read on to find out more about the most popular spots to go snorkeling in Isla Mujeres and what you can expect when you get there!
1. MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art)
The MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art) is the world’s largest underwater museum, located off the southern coast of Isla Mujeres.
This submerged museum was created by Jason deCaires Taylor with the intent of serving as an artificial reef to preserve marine life.
This underwater exhibition features sculptures and models of over 470 pieces of art and is one of the most famous underwater museums in the world, offering something that is priceless to see.
Snorkeling at about 30 feet above, you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful pieces of art in a truly unique setting.
2. Playa Norte
Playa Norte is one of the best spots to go snorkeling on your own without taking a boat.
This amazing beach has crystal clear water and no currents.
Visitors can snorkel and spot exotic fish just by swimming 200 feet into the water.
Although the abundance of marine life can’t be compared to a snorkel trip taken by boat, it’s still a great way to explore the underwater world and spend a sunny day by the sea with your new marine life friends.
Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tour
Boat tours are the best way to see the amazing underwater life in Isla Mujeres.
Experienced local guides will take you to the best spots on the island for anyone who wants to take a closer look at the area's underwater wonderland.
3. Garrafon de Castilla
This unassuming hotel on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres is one of the best spots where you can snorkel on your own.
The entry fee per person is only $5 USD + gear rental – it’s worth every penny!
This site is home to many species of marine life, including different types of colorful fish and coral.
Water shoes are recommended as the beach is very rocky and sharp.
Tip: Swim your way to the left side of the beach towards the docks at Garrafon Reef Park.
4. El Farito (Lighthouse Reef)
El Farito (also known as Lighthouse Reef) is one of the most popular spots for snorkelers in Isla Mujeres.
Located just 5 minutes off the coast of Isla Mujeres by boat, it’s easy to get to and offers some fantastic opportunities for people who are looking to explore life underwater.
This snorkeling spot is unique because it has a small abandoned lighthouse as its centerpiece.
Because the waters are so shallow (about 10-15 feet in depth), it’s a great location for kids to practice snorkeling.
For the more adventurous, a diving tour will take you down to “Virgin of El Farito”, an underwater sculpture that was submerged in 1966 to protect the local fishermen.
5. Manchones Reef
If you’re in the mood to enjoy some snorkel time in the water, the Manchones Reef is a must-visit location.
This site features shallow waters and calm currents, making it perfect for families or inexperienced snorkelers.
The clear waters make for excellent visibility and unparalleled photo opportunities, and it’s home to large schools of tropical fish, colorful corals, rays, and barracudas.
Part of the Manchones Reef also overlaps with MUSA, hosting 2 famous sculptures from the art museum.
But that’s not all! See if you can spot the “Cross of the Bay” – this impressive underwater sculpture was submerged in honor of those who have lost their lives at sea.
6. Garrafon Natural Reef Park
Garrafon Natural Reef Park is a stunning marine park that sits on the southern end of the island, and home to some of the most stunning coral and marine life you’ll find in Cancun.
With a maximum depth of 12 feet, it’s perfect for beginners who are just learning how to snorkel.
The reef itself isn’t just beautiful; Garrafon is also part of the longest reef in the world and provides an important habitat for marine animals.
With over 1000 ft of reef to explore, this eco-friendly park offers a wide variety of opportunities for adventure and discovery.
Be sure to go snorkeling at this incredible destination.
7. El Meco Reef
El Meco is a small reef that can be found off the north coast of Cancun and is a paradise for beginner snorkelers.
Similar to the sculptures at MUSA, artistic figures were placed here for reef conservation, creating an oasis for the marine life that would have otherwise left in search of food or shelter.
The shallow waters of El Meco is one of the best snorkeling spots in the area and you’ll find countless marine species that call it their home.
Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tips
Can You Snorkel Off the Beach in Isla Mujeres?
You can go snorkeling on your own but the experience is mediocre since the reef isn’t close to shore.
The best snorkeling you’ll find in Isla Mujeres is by taking a snorkeling boat tour.
With that being said, there are some parts of the island that offers a decent experience if you want to snorkel from the shore.
Playa Norte is a gorgeous beach with calm waters and crystal clear visibility. If you swim towards Hotel Playa La Media Luna, you’ll come across a bridge that connects the Mia Reef hotel.
There’s a small reef to the south – it’s a great spot for beginners as it’s not very deep and there’s a good variety of fish you can see here.
Another spot you can snorkel off the beach is at Garrafon de Castilla. Booking a tour isn’t necessary and the entry fee is very low. You can either bring your own gear or rent on-site.
How Much Is Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres?
A snorkeling tour in Isla Mujeres will cost about $70 USD for a full day.
These packages generally include:
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
- All you can eat lunch buffet & unlimited drinks
- Fully sanitized snorkel gear
Note, dock fees and Marine Park Federal Tax are not included and paid separately ($15 USD per person).
If you’re visiting between May and September, whale shark season is in full swing. These small group tours cost approximately $129 USD per person.
Does Isla Mujeres Have Good Snorkeling?
Isla Mujeres is home to the second-largest reef in the world, the Great Mayan Reef (also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef).
Perfect for beginners and those with more advanced skills, this reef is a great way to explore the underwater world and experience new sea life.
The marine biodiversity is vibrant, with beautiful coral reefs as well as turtles, rays, and loads of tropical fish.
It’s safe to say that snorkeling in Isla Mujeres is definitely worth your time.
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The marine biodiversity is vibrant, with beautiful coral reefs as well as turtles, rays, and loads of tropical fish. It's safe to say that snorkeling in Isla Mujeres is definitely worth your time.Can you rent snorkel gear Isla Mujeres? ›
You can also rent water toys, kayaks and snorkeling gear. Playa Posada, which runs along west side of town, is usually less crowed than Playa Norte but the water is not as shallow and clear.Can you snorkel Musa Isla Mujeres? ›
One of the first things to check off the bucket list is to go snorkeling Isla Mujeres and visit the MUSA snorkeling site, home to vibrant corals and lots of marine life. You can join us in this snorkeling tour if it is your first time or as an experienced snorkeler.When can you see whale sharks in Isla Mujeres? ›
During the summer. The summer temperatures of the water in the Mexican Caribbean attract the whale shark to different areas of this coast. Therefore, summer is considered the best season to swim with the whale shark in Isla Mujeres. More specifically between the months of May and August.How deep is the underwater museum in Isla Mujeres? ›
In the waters of the Caribbean Sea of Isla Mujeres you will find incredible sculptures at a depth of 30 feet, a unique aquatic gallery in the world.Can you see turtles on Isla Mujeres? ›
Isla Mujeres we have 3 of the 7 species of sea turtles: the Green Turtle, the Loggerhead, and the Hawksbill. The turtle mating season is from May to June. From July to October you can spot turtles on the eastern beaches of the island, slowly digging nests in which to lay their eggs.Is Isla Mujeres worth a day trip? ›
The Perfect Isla Mujeres Day Trip
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful, lively, and affordable destination. And although it's a perfect day trip, it's also definitely worth spending more than a day here. If you do decide to stay longer, there's a wide range of hotels, resorts, and rental apartments on the island.
You should plan to spend around M$1,971 ($99) per day on your vacation in Isla Mujeres, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, M$617 ($31) on meals for one day and M$468 ($23) on local transportation.Where are the underwater statues in Isla Mujeres? ›
Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) is one of the largest and most ambitious underwater art attractions in the world. Located near the island of Isla Mujeres and the coast of Punta Nizuc in Cancún, the museum features over 500 permanent life-size sculptures created by Jason deCaires Taylor.Where is manchones Reef Isla Mujeres? ›
The Manchones Gallery of the MUSA is located about 1km southwest of Isla Mujeres. There are dozens of half-day or day tours to go snorkeling there, mostly departing from Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
The Ixchel Goddes in Isla Mujeres and its relation with the name of the island. Among all the Maya deities, there is Ixchel, the goddess of love, fertility, water, and the moon, you can find several temples for her on the old Maya territory and one of them is located in Isla Mujeres.Do you need a wetsuit to snorkel in Cancun? ›
Exposure protection – A wetsuit will be necessary in Mexico, even in the most tropical locations like Cancun and Cozumel.
Cancun, Mexico is home to the Great Mayan Reef. The coastal waters of Cancun offer some of the best snorkeling anywhere on Earth. You can swim out right from your hotel beach to snorkel, but you are likely to see more of the seafloor than sea life.Do you need to know how do you swim to snorkel? ›
You don't have to know how to swim to snorkel, but feeling comfortable in the water can make the experience much more relaxing and enjoyable. Non-swimmers can use floatation aids like snorkel vests to keep them afloat and snorkel in shallow areas where swimming is not required.Are there great white sharks in Isla Mujeres? ›
More than 170 great whites have been identified in the island's bay. Because you'll be using surface supplied air (hookah) instead of scuba tanks, this adventure is open to both divers and non-divers alike.How much does it cost to swim with the whale sharks? ›
RedBalloon's whale shark experiences start at just $395 for the Whale Shark Swim and Snorkel Tour with Lunch and Photos in Exmouth, WA. You will also find a swim with whale sharks cruise with lunch from $415 or a private whale shark swim and snorkel tour for up to 20 people from $7,800.Are there sharks near Isla Mujeres? ›
The Isla Mujeres, situated just 13 km off the coast of Cancun, is one of the world's best places to swim with whale sharks. In addition to the peaceful whale shark, there are around 80 other shark and ray species in the region, including potentially aggressive species like the bull shark, tiger, and Shortfin mako.Can you snorkel at underwater museum? ›
There are several ways to explore the Cancun Underwater Museum. These include scuba diving, snorkeling, and a glass-bottom boat tour.Where are the underwater statues? ›
The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park as it is known, is home to several of the sculptor's creations, and is the world's first underwater sculpture park. It is located off the West Coast of Grenada.How much does it cost to go to the underwater museum? ›
The diving (non-certificate and certified) 5-hour tours from Cancun cost between $90 USD and $145 USD per person. From Isla Mujeres, prices range between $115 and $155 USD.
A nest of circa 115 eggs (see question 10) will typically hatch anytime between 50 and 60 days after the nest is laid, but it could be five days on either side (rarely more). Hatching typically occurs between 9 pm and 5 am. Nature does not perform to a human timetable.What time of year do turtles lay eggs in Cancun? ›
Cancun's Turtle Program
Sea turtle nesting season goes from May to September. Female turtles migrate from feeding areas and lay an average of 3 nests per season. Cancun is privileged to have four of the eight turtle species: loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, Mesoamerican river turtle and the leatherback turtle.
At night, between May and October, female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand on any beach, from the most popular blue flag beaches in Cancun to random sandy spots hidden throughout the Riviera Maya.What is the best time of day to go to Isla Mujeres? ›
January through April is considered the best weather with little to no rain and an average high of 84 degrees. May through September are the rainiest months with the highest humidity, most visitors need A/C at night.Can you drink the water in Isla Mujeres? ›
Isla Mujeres has an extensive water purification system but no one on the island drinks the water from the tap. Bottled water is readily available at all Restaurants, Hotels and grocery stores. There is no problem brushing your teeth using tap water and don't worry if you swallow a bit in the shower.Is there seaweed in Isla Mujeres? ›
Yes! Isla Mujeres, like all the other beaches along Mexico's stunning coastline, has a seaweed problem.Do I need pesos in Isla Mujeres? ›
The Mexican peso is the standard currency used in Mexico. Everyone in Cancun and on Isla will take US dollars or Mexico pesos. Foreign coins are of no value in Mexico and can even be considered offensive so please do not leave them as tips.Is Isla Mujeres crowded? ›
The Beaches Are Different. Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Americas, and because of that, it can be pretty crowded during the high season.What is Isla Mujeres known for? ›
One of Mexico's “Magic Towns,” Isla Mujeres is known for its relaxing atmosphere and slow island pace, where travelers come to shut off and tune out. You won't find many cars on the tiny island, which stretches less than 5 miles long and a third of a mile wide.Is it worth visiting Isla Mujeres? ›
Among all the amazing things you can do if you travel to Cancun, visiting Isla Mujeres is a must! A small island located a few miles off of Cancun's pristine coasts, in the state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres (the island of women) is one of the top favorite destinations for beach-lovers.
One of Mexico's “Magic Towns,” Isla Mujeres is known for its relaxing atmosphere and slow island pace, where travelers come to shut off and tune out. You won't find many cars on the tiny island, which stretches less than 5 miles long and a third of a mile wide.How long is the boat ride from Isla Mujeres to Isla Contoy? ›
The transportation from Isla Mujeres to Isla Contoy by boat takes less than 30 minutes. Remember before arriving at the island. You can snorkel and enjoy a coral reef, where there is a sunken ship with multicolored fish. Really a natural wonder!Is it safe to drink the water in Isla Mujeres? ›
Food & Drinks
The water on Isla Mujeres is actually pumped in from Cancun hotel zone, which means that it is probably the cleanest water in Mexico, but it still not safe to drink.
Snorkeling is definitely better off Cozumel - much more variety and more places where you can snorkel from the beach. Isla is fairly limited, However it will be a lot quicker to get to Isla Mujeres than Cozumel from Cancun.What does Isla Mujeres mean in English? ›
Isla means “island,” and mujeres means “women.” So the title given the land was “Island of Women.” It has since been shortened to simply, “Isla Mujeres.” The temple of the goddess Ixchel was situated on the south side of the island and was used as a lighthouse for ships.Is there seaweed in Isla Mujeres? ›
Yes! Isla Mujeres, like all the other beaches along Mexico's stunning coastline, has a seaweed problem.Is Isla Mujeres crowded? ›
The Beaches Are Different. Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Americas, and because of that, it can be pretty crowded during the high season.Does Isla Mujeres have cenotes? ›
Cenote Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
For experienced divers looking for adventure, try a thrilling dive in the crystalline waters of one the many cenotes just a short distance from Cancun. Cenotes are also a great place for some relaxing snorkeling and swimming.
You should plan to spend around M$1,971 ($99) per day on your vacation in Isla Mujeres, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, M$617 ($31) on meals for one day and M$468 ($23) on local transportation.How do I get to Contoy? ›
You can only visit Isla Contoy through a boat tour company as there is no way of reaching the island on your own. To preserve the island's lush natural habitat, it has a limit of 200 guests per day. Most tours offer roughly the same package, so you can choose the one that is most convenient for you.
The only way to get to Parque Nacional Isla Contoy is on a guided tour from Cancún or Isla Mujeres. The national park limits its capacity to 200 visitors per day, with permission parceled out to a limited number of approved tour operators.Can you brush your teeth with the water in Mexico? ›
Residents in Mexico may brush their teeth with tap water, but they'll rinse and spit, careful not to swallow. As a tourist, you may be better off taking the precaution of using bottled water to brush your teeth, and do try to remember to keep your mouth shut when you shower.Do I need pesos in Isla Mujeres? ›
The Mexican peso is the standard currency used in Mexico. Everyone in Cancun and on Isla will take US dollars or Mexico pesos. Foreign coins are of no value in Mexico and can even be considered offensive so please do not leave them as tips.Is it safe to walk around Isla Mujeres? ›
OVERALL RISK : LOW. Isla Mujeres' area is quite safe. A number of crimes not so high here compared to other parts of Mexico. Any crime showdowns are rarely direct at tourists.