Find your ideal underwater adventure
Scenic Isla Mujeres offers a variety of aquatic attractions for tourists and residents alike. Below are just a few of the most popular undersea destinations to get your family into the spirit of snorkeling.
Located on the southern side of the island, Garafon Park makes up for its lack of sandy coastline with abundant fish and clear waters. Whether your activity of choice is snorkeling or swimming, the spot is sure to be a family favorite. The park was revamped many years ago after the reef was damaged by severe storms and careless divers; in the healthier new environment, the coral and other water life thrive more and more every year. In spite of the steep park entrance fee, tour boats bring a large number of visitors from Cancun, resulting in large crowds during peak hours.
Punta Sur at Isla Mujeres, home to Garafon Park, is located at the island’s southernmost end. The area is well known for its picturesque reefs and dramatic cliffs, which include an ancient Mayan temple and boast the highest elevation of the Yucatan. Offering spectacular views of the island, these cliffs are one of the highlights of Punta Sur.
With a coral reef perfect for beginner snorkelers and children, Garafon Beach is a great choice for water-loving families. The gentle currents make snorkeling easy, and much hands-on fun can be had feeding the colorful fish.
The Manchones Reef
Close to the Cuevones and Banderas reefs, the Manchones Reef offers clear, calm waters – perfect for beginners and enjoyable to seasoned divers as well. Located just off the Isla Mujeres shore, the Manchones Reef is a can’t-miss destination for a relaxing afternoon of snorkeling.
There are many options on Sac Bajo for the family in search of aquatic fun. The site is comprised of a peninsula with a reef, perfect for the snorkeling enthusiast. Some of the more popular attractions on Sac Bajo include:
Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm
Isla Mujeres is a protected laying ground for giant sea turtles between May and September. After the turtles lay their eggs, the eggs are put into pens to protect them from predators. Newly hatched baby turtles are kept in tanks until released back to the sea by local school children. Located on Sac Bajo, the Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm is funded by donations from the Mexican government and private donors.
A small amusement park with sister parks in other parts of the Caribbean, Dolphin Discovery provides enclosed areas that enable swimmers to frolic with dolphins. Located on the northwest side of Sac Bajo, the park is located between the Casa Maya Hotel and Vacation Club International. Representatives are on hand to check in visitors and direct them to the ferry that will take them to the park.
A natural water park, El Farito is located 1500 meters from the island, boasting a lighthouse in the middle of an amazing reef. Visitors can view the beautiful marine fauna and dive to visit the Virgin of El Farito, which was submerged in 1966 to protect fisherman. Visitors and fisherman alike worship her with flowers, coins, and promises. The reef boasts a wide variety of fish and coral formations. Perfect for beginner divers, the turquoise blue waters also attract advanced snorkelers in search of a relaxing dive.
Typical snorkeling prices vary from site to site. As an example, Sac Bajo offers the following pricing for their guests:
- 2-hour tours: $35 for 2 reefs
- Half day: $350 for 2 reefs (lunch $5 extra)
- Full day: $600 (includes snorkeling, fishing, and lunch onboard)
Groups of ten or more guests are guaranteed to have opportunities to swim with the whale sharks, and private tours are perfect for professional photographers who need more time and larger staging areas. Private tours may include fruit trays, soft drinks and water, and lunch served on the beach of Isla Mujeres. The average cost for a private tour is $1100.