Wandering through Mexico is a mesmerising experience, as ancient Mayan architecture sits next to villages offering Spanish-inspired arts and crafts, as well as some of the best cuisine in the world. Yes, it’s easy to lose yourself in Mexico’s storied landscape… yet below the waters lies even more to love.
Watching rainbow-coloured fish swim through the otherworldly coral formations of Mexico’s oceans is a magnificent experience. This is perhaps one of the most romantic destinations in the world, with plenty to capture the imagination (you can see a list of just some of the country’s diverse experiences here) and teach the curious traveller. Here are just three ways you can discover underwater Mexico.
Swimming in Mexico is no ordinary loll. Couples can try swimming with dolphins in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Dolphins are known for their friendliness and intelligence, and though you shouldn’t approach them in the wild (because it’s important to protect their natural hierarchies), organized swimming trips with reputable tours, like those listed here, are unforgettable.
If you are an adventurer and looking for more thrilling underwater animals, there is ample opportunity to swim with whale sharks. Whale sharks are by and large friendly, and distinguished by their broad flat heads and stippled spots. You won’t be guaranteed a sighting, but you stand a good chance of finding a whale shark off the secluded island of Isla Holbox, which lies off the Yucatan Peninsula. Just be sure the keep the legal distance of 30 metres from these animals.
Many of Mexico’s shores enable visitors to snorkel as the pure white sands hit transparent waters. One of the world’s top destinations for snorkelling is the Riviera Maya. The Great Maya Reef is the largest coral reef in the world’s Northern Hemisphere, and the 500 species of marine life that call it home make for truly phenomenal neighbours.
You can see a kaleidoscope of tropical fish swim right in front of your eyes, be transfixed by turtles gently making their way past the coral, and come face-to-face with the majesty of a manta ray—the large ones are females, and they flutter elegantly over the sand. Dolphins, sharks and even manatees can make an appearance, so stay attentive.
The Great Maya Reef is also the ideal place for you and your partner to enjoy a day of scuba diving. The fishing villages of old have transformed into a tourist hub of culture, sitting right next to the beaches where a variety of companies promote scuba diving adventures.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, has a list of beaches with the best diving sites, and Punta Cancun is at the top of the list. If you aren’t overcome by the coral reef itself, the communities of rays and sharks will definitely make this a holiday to remember. The waters are warm, which makes scuba diving in Mexico an even more pleasant experience.
These are just three ways you can see what Mexico’s waters have to offer. There are also a wide variety of other activities available above the ocean’s surface to help you discover its secrets. Surfing and paddle boarding can be fun ways to spend the day, and for the evening, consider a boat ride with dinner—is there any better way to truly appreciate the beauty of Mexico’s waters?