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Mexican Riviera - Best Snorkeling?

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Which port is best for snorkeling in the Mexican Riviera? Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, or Cabo.......and where?

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I would honestly say there is no "best" on that itinerary.  In fact, we live in Puerto Vallarta for part of the year and, although we are avid snorkelers, do not even bother bringing our own equipment to PV.   If you want good snorkeling you might want to think "Caribbean", Australia,  or the South Pacific.  When we fell in love with Puerto Vallarta we quickly realized that living there meant forgoing both snorkeling and gorgeous beaches.

 

Hank

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Again with Hank.There really isn't any even mediocre snorkeling on the west coast of Mexico. The water tends towards more cloudy. Far better snorkeling in other locations.

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The snorkeling was never great on the Mex Riv, and then the hurricanes stir up all the debris and sand.  Like Hank, I don't even bring my equipment.  I do bring my mask, though, because it has a prescription lens, so I can see in the water.

 

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We're going farther south on our Panama Canal cruise so will be trying to snorkel in Huatulco.

I am spoiled and want Caribbean warmth in the ocean and some coral.

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We had some great snorkeling in Cabo, the sailing tour we did took us to Santa Maria Cove where we snorkeled and had lunch and drinks. Great snorkeling and really calm as the cove is protected. The water isnt' as warm as it was when we snorkeled in the Caribbean but it was really nice. There was a paddle board as well so used that around the sailboat.  We also saw whales and had dolphins swim along side the boat while we were sailing.. Magical day to say the least   https://cabosanlucascruiseexcursions.com/excursions/cabo-private-sailing-charters/

 

We didn't snorkel in PV so can't give you a comparison but we would do this one again definitely

Edited by TMR2
submitted before i finished writing

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 11:41 AM, TMR2 said:

We had some great snorkeling in Cabo, the sailing tour we did took us to Santa Maria Cove where we snorkeled and had lunch and drinks. Great snorkeling and really calm as the cove is protected. The water isnt' as warm as it was when we snorkeled in the Caribbean but it was really nice. There was a paddle board as well so used that around the sailboat.  We also saw whales and had dolphins swim along side the boat while we were sailing.. Magical day to say the least   https://cabosanlucascruiseexcursions.com/excursions/cabo-private-sailing-charters/

 

We didn't snorkel in PV so can't give you a comparison but we would do this one again definitely

Thank you!  We booked a pirate ship snorkel thru Princess and was getting discouraged until I read your post.  

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I am not sure if it is practical for a cruise ship visit, but Cabo Pulmo offers good snorkling for the west coast of Mexico.

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On 1/23/2019 at 3:51 AM, HellooKitty said:

Thank you!  We booked a pirate ship snorkel thru Princess and was getting discouraged until I read your post.  

Can you please report back in on this pirate ship thingie when you get back? We're going in March and I don't know if it sounds fun or kitschy (or both).

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On 1/23/2019 at 4:51 AM, HellooKitty said:

Thank you!  We booked a pirate ship snorkel thru Princess and was getting discouraged until I read your post.  

Pirate ship snorkel? Through whom? 

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18 hours ago, jerseygirldawn said:

Pirate ship snorkel? Through whom? 

We booked ours through the Princess cruise website.  Their excursions are very well organized!  You won't regret it! 

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On 2/5/2019 at 1:09 PM, Yukonjake said:

Can you please report back in on this pirate ship thingie when you get back? We're going in March and I don't know if it sounds fun or kitschy (or both).

Hi!  The snorkeling was fun!  The whole experience was fun.  Their excursions are very well organized.   This particular pirate ship excursion had unlimitedalcoholic drinks, cookies, juice, soda, chips, guac, and salsa.  Equipment looked fine (tho we brought own own).  Overall, I would do this again!

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Researching Mazatlan....   mixed reviews.  Taking my gear, and i know it won't be Hawaii or The Caribbean, but have plenty of time at port to try snorkeling out.  Anyone have good details about snorkeling Mazatlan?  I see there is a reef, but not many specifics as to where, "further away north" and "far away over there" are the most detailed report i saw.   Deer and Bird island i've seen mixed reports on, but seem to be the two popular places to snorkel.  Anyway, respond if you have any good or detailed info about these areas, and the best snorkeling in Mazatlan area!

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2 hours ago, talltyson said:

Researching Mazatlan....   mixed reviews.  Taking my gear, and i know it won't be Hawaii or The Caribbean, but have plenty of time at port to try snorkeling out.  Anyone have good details about snorkeling Mazatlan?  I see there is a reef, but not many specifics as to where, "further away north" and "far away over there" are the most detailed report i saw.   Deer and Bird island i've seen mixed reports on, but seem to be the two popular places to snorkel.  Anyway, respond if you have any good or detailed info about these areas, and the best snorkeling in Mazatlan area!

We were just there last week.  Doesn't look like there are beaches within walking distance from the port.  But I could be wrong.  Sorry not too helpful.  

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On ‎1‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 3:51 AM, HellooKitty said:

Thank you!  We booked a pirate ship snorkel thru Princess and was getting discouraged until I read your post.  

 

15 hours ago, HellooKitty said:

Hi!  The snorkeling was fun!  The whole experience was fun.  Their excursions are very well organized.   This particular pirate ship excursion had unlimitedalcoholic drinks, cookies, juice, soda, chips, guac, and salsa.  Equipment looked fine (tho we brought own own).  Overall, I would do this again!

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm gonna look at that again!

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I know the snorkeling isn't as good as other parts of the world, but since we are going there anyway.... wondering if anyone has done the Marietas Island tour? It looked like it might be fun for other reasons, such as Whale and Dolphin watching, or even Manta rays? Has anyone done this recently that can weigh in?

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On 2/10/2019 at 9:36 PM, talltyson said:

Researching Mazatlan....   mixed reviews.  Taking my gear, and i know it won't be Hawaii or The Caribbean, but have plenty of time at port to try snorkeling out.  Anyone have good details about snorkeling Mazatlan?  I see there is a reef, but not many specifics as to where, "further away north" and "far away over there" are the most detailed report i saw.   Deer and Bird island i've seen mixed reports on, but seem to be the two popular places to snorkel.  Anyway, respond if you have any good or detailed info about these areas, and the best snorkeling in Mazatlan area!

We used to live in Mazatlan and I don’t think there are any decent snorkeling spots there.  We tried snorkeling once off Isla de Venados (Deer Island) based on what the locals recommended and we thought it was a total waste.  If you have snorkeled anywhere else in the world, you will find the snorkeling in Mazatlan mediocre at best. 

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On 2/16/2019 at 9:33 AM, tequilasunrise said:

I know the snorkeling isn't as good as other parts of the world, but since we are going there anyway.... wondering if anyone has done the Marietas Island tour? It looked like it might be fun for other reasons, such as Whale and Dolphin watching, or even Manta rays? Has anyone done this recently that can weigh in?

I realize I'm a bit late in replying, but just in case you haven't left yet or there are others who are interested in an opinion, I'll share it here.  The Marietas Island shore ex we took with Princess Cruises was the WAY too choppy.  Nothing against the cruise line (we love PCL) or the vendor - their boat was clean and we felt safe - but the water was crazy choppy and I got so very seasick.  Snorkeling was impossible and I don't think one person got off the boat.  This was in 2013.  Last October we were sailing Mexico again and chatting with a lovely couple. They mentioned snorkeling at Marietas Island on that cruise and I asked about it. They said it was awful - SO choppy - everyone was seasick and they were miserable.  

 

So that kind of sealed the deal for me. We'd wanted to give Marietas another try, but I think we'll pass from now on.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/26/2019 at 8:38 AM, ciship said:

What port was this?

Marietas Island is off the coast from PV (Puerto Vallerta).

 

We will be snorkeling in Cabo in 2 weeks.  I will update.  Jaques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez "the world's aquarium." 

Edited by 1964IceCreamLady

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Did Chileno Bay in Cabo via excursion through Princesses.  The fish were ok, water was murky, it was windy that day.  The catamaran was fun, we got close to the Arch for photos, bought the pro photos which were great, good drinks after snorkeling that had the ladies dancing to classic rock tunes, the crew were great and good light snacks.

 

Did not do any snorkeling in Mazatlan, it was too windy, and wanted to chill out on stone beach, which is great.  Letys is a great place for food and beers.

 

In PV, we got an Uber for about $12 and went south to Mismaloya, and  hired a boat to take us to the large rock formations close by, $12 per for about an hour, not the clearest of water, but saw more fish and a better variety then Cabo, including two large sting rays.  Mismaloya is a cool little bay, but the current/waves/undertoe was too strong for kids to swim past knee deep waters, and it drops off fast.

 

Guessing Sea of Cortez will result in better snorkeling, so interesting in hearing back from you!

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 I guess to logistically challenging but it there would be nice for cruise ships to dump Cabo San Lucas and add Huatulco. Cabo San Lucas has the coldest ocean and weather and the worst swimmable beaches in Mexico. Cabo San Lucas to me is also one of the most expensive places I have been to in Mexico. Maybe all of North America. There is no value in Cabo San Lucas and being hounded by timeshare sales people and vendors on Medano beach is no fun.

 Huatulco has some great snorkelling from the shore. 100 dive sites in town and one of the cleanest places you will see. Green Globe Certification and the only resort destination in Mexico that has it. Taxis only cost 30 pesos to go anywhere in town and 75 pesos by taxi will get you to about 20 beaches.  

 Huatulco has by far the warmest weather and warmest ocean and great snorkelling from the shore. 

 Come on cruise ships, dump Cabo San Lucas and add Huatulco.

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2 hours ago, CRiverCruiser said:

 I guess to logistically challenging but it there would be nice for cruise ships to dump Cabo San Lucas and add Huatulco. Cabo San Lucas has the coldest ocean and weather and the worst swimmable beaches in Mexico. Cabo San Lucas to me is also one of the most expensive places I have been to in Mexico. Maybe all of North America. There is no value in Cabo San Lucas and being hounded by timeshare sales people and vendors on Medano beach is no fun.

 Huatulco has some great snorkelling from the shore. 100 dive sites in town and one of the cleanest places you will see. Green Globe Certification and the only resort destination in Mexico that has it. Taxis only cost 30 pesos to go anywhere in town and 75 pesos by taxi will get you to about 20 beaches.  

 Huatulco has by far the warmest weather and warmest ocean and great snorkelling from the shore. 

 Come on cruise ships, dump Cabo San Lucas and add Huatulco.

 

If it worked logistically and financially, they would do it. For a 7 day cruise, it is very far south. Just because you are promoting Huatalco doesn't mean it would actually work.

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On 4/7/2019 at 4:30 PM, CRiverCruiser said:

 Cabo San Lucas has the coldest ocean and weather and the worst swimmable beaches in Mexico.

 

And you know this because you swam all over Mexico?

 

On 4/7/2019 at 4:30 PM, CRiverCruiser said:

Cabo San Lucas to me is also one of the most expensive places I have been to in Mexico. Maybe all of North America.

 

Really? So you've never been to San Francisco or NYC? How does that even make sense?

 

I get you really, really like Huatulco, but hyperbole isn't helpful to anyone.

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Posted (edited)

I have traveled quite extensively and have been to New York and San Francisco several times.  $80  US taxi ride from the airport to Cabo. Going just a few miles is $15 US. Going into a bar $10 for a simple drink $70 for a meal and I'm not talking watered down drinks and fries at Medano beach. Golf $200 a round.  Average June ocean temperatures according to seatempurature.org,.  Acapulco and Huatulco 29.7 C / 85.5 F. Ixtapa 29.4 C/ 84.9 F,  Cancun 28.4 C/ 83.1 F,. Puerto Vallarta 28.4 C/ 83.1 F,. Cabo San Lucas 23.1 C/ 73.6 F.   In Huatulco I am swimming in the ocean or non heated swimming pool before 8 am in the winter time  just to cool off.  Try that in Cabo San Lucas without a wet suit.

Edited by CRiverCruiser
Spelling errors.

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