Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

The snorkeling is best at Punta Nizuc, Punta Cancún, and Playa Tortugas, although you should be careful of the strong currents at Tortugas. You can rent gear from many of the diving places as well as at many hotels.

Scuba diving is popular in Cancún, though it’s not as spectacular as in Cozumel. Look for a company that will give you lots of personal attention. (Smaller outfits are often better at this than larger ones.) Regardless, ask to meet the dive master, and check the equipment and certifications thoroughly. A few words of caution about one-hour courses that many resorts offer for free: such courses do not prepare you to dive in the open ocean—only in shallow water where you can easily surface without danger. If you’ve caught the scuba bug and want to take deep or boat dives, prepare yourself properly by investing in a full certification course.

Aqua Fun. Sign on with Aqua Fun for a two-hour tour of the mangroves that includes snorkeling at the Punta Nizuc reef. Tours go daily at 9 am, noon, and 3 pm; advance reservations are required. Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, 77500. 998/885–2930. M$953.

AquaWorld. If you want to visit the underwater museum, AquaWorld runs both snorkeling excursions and scuba trips to the site. Dive explorations of boat wrecks are also organized. Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 15.2, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, 77500. 998/848–8327. Snorkeling trips M$610; dive trips from M$881; wreck dives M$1043.

Marina Punta del Este. Located right in front of the Grand Park Royal Cancún Caribe, Marina Punta del Este has dives that last from 3½ to 4 hours. If you need a lesson, daily ones begin at 9 am and 1 pm. Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 10.3, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, 77500. 998/883–1210. Dives from M$1030.

Scuba Cancún. Tomás Hurtado, who has more than 60 years of experience, operates Scuba Cancún. His outfit specializes in diving trips and offers PADI instruction. Playa Langosta, Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, 77500. 998/849–7508. Dives from M$840.

Solo Buceo. In addition to PADI instruction, Solo Buceo offers one- and two-tank dives; special twilight dives are scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday. Blvd. Kukulcán, Km 9.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Quintana Roo, 77500. 998/883–3979. Dives from M$881; instruction from M$1423.