The birth of the Yucatan Peninsula’s Cenotes & Underground Rivers

Yucatan Peninsula: land of cenotes and subterranean rivers

Did you know that the YUCATAN PENINSULA has more than 7 THOUSAND CENOTES and CAVERNS that are connected to each other by SUBTERRANEAN RIVERS?

Throughout millions of years, the water FILTRATION advanced the erosion of the CALCAREOUS SOIL of the region leaving it full of holes and caverns (like a gruyere cheese) and resulting in one of the most spectacular and interesting NATURAL PHENOMENA. The cenotes are unique formations that only exist in the Yucatan peninsula!

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The Yucatan Peninsula and the beginning of the Cenotes

The Yucatan Peninsula, as we know it today, and the beginning of the cenotes are the result of the COLLISION OF A METEORITE, approximately 66 million years ago in the Gulf of Mexico and the northern part of the Peninsula.

The impact was so great (equivalent to the energy released by 100 atomic bombs) and the temperature of the meteorite so high that it unleashed mega tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and a cloud of dust and ashes that covered the sky for several years, generating a greenhouse effect and causing the destruction of 75 percent of life on the planet, including dinosaurs.

The shock propelled rocks and sediments from the subsoil and the sea to the surface. The impact generated so much heat that all these materials melted and mixed with each other forming a flat layer of limestone 120 meters beneath the surface and giving life to what we now know as the Yucatan Peninsula.

The evidence of this event is what is known today as the Chicxulub crater. It is under 600 meters of sediments in the depths of the sea and jungle. The investigations from the group of geologists that discovered the crater in 1978 indicate that the formation of the first cenotes and subterranean rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula are related to the impact of this meteorite. Along its outer ring, we see the formation of water and air basins that made up the first network of underground caverns, today known as the “Ring of Cenotes”.

El anillo de cenotes de la Península de Yucatán.

The cenotes, underground rivers and beaches of the Riviera Maya

The Yucatan Peninsula is flat and hides large cavernous systems in its subsoil. The whole region is connected by subterranean rivers, most of them have not been mapped because of their difficult access, but there are explored sections like the cavernous systems of Dos Ojos, Sac Actum and Ox Bel Ha where diving is possible. These systems have more than 300km of caves, it is estimated that the entire Yucatan Peninsula has thousands of kilometers of these formations that constitute the largest underground river and tunnel system in the world. Thanks to its smooth character (the highest points of the Peninsula are only 30m above sea level), the water runs great distances without obstacles, between caverns, crossing the entire peninsula until it flows into the Caribbean Sea.

Cenotes are natural water deposits formed by the erosion, advanced over millions of years, of the subsoil limestone. They are pools in the jungle, caves or caverns flooded and connected by large underground river systems, fed by rainwater and the entrance of sea water to underwater tunnels. It is important to note that the Cenotes only exist in the Yucatan Peninsula, because here the limestone is near the surface, is very porous and has a great thickness; in other places of the planet there are similar caverns that are several kilometers underneath, but they are unreachable. The cenotes of the Riviera Maya have crystalline waters and are easily accessible.

When, after thousands of years of filtration, the walls or roofs of an underground cavern are too thin to support themselves, a collapse occurs and with the new opening a cenote is born.

Like the Cenotes, the Riviera Maya Beaches are unique because they are the result of the erosion of the limestone that has been carried, for millions of years, to the coast through the underground rivers that flow into the sea. That is to say, the sand of the beaches of the Riviera Maya comes from the calcareous stone, which does not contain minerals, that is the reason why it does not burn the feet. The sand of other beaches contains silicon and that is why it boils. Have you ever noticed that the sand of the Riviera Maya never burns?

The Cenotes we like the most

There are different types of Cenotes, open-air cenotes that are pools of water with constant movement through underground channels; semi-open caverns; closed caverns that can only be reached through underground rivers; cylindrical Cenotes with huge walls; and lagoons.

When traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula be sure to visit these Cenotes:

Caves or Caverns

This type of Cenote is closed at the top and has a small opening that allows you to enter through the jungle and in other cases through underground rivers. Depending on the size of the cave there are sections where you can swim or float quietly, without the need to dive and there are others where the water is 4 or 5 meters deep. In some caverns it is possible to walk both in and out of the water; in all you can find unique rock formations, millions of years old: stalactites and stalagmites. Each cave is unique, but they are all beautiful and a great adventure.

Sistema de ríos y cuevas subterráneas

Open Cenotes

Outdoor cenotes are one of our favorites, one of the oldest and closest to the coast, commonly known as “open air cenotes”. They are pools of crystalline water in the middle of the jungle, incredible and unique places to experience nature. These cenotes are for having fun, refreshing and connecting with the earth; in them you can dive, swim and snorkel. In some of them there are zip lines, in all of them you will take incredible photos.

Cenote al aire libre, o abierto.

Cylindrical cenotes and large vaults

These Cenotes are special because they are located in the center of the Yucatan peninsula, where the surface is about 20 or 30 meters above sea level. As all Cenotes are connected by underground rivers that flow into the sea, the water level of a cenote is always below the surface, at sea level. When the roof of these vaults’ collapses, holes in the shape of cylinders are left, with walls of up to 30 meters. These vaults have to be entered through small openings on the surface, sometimes with ropes.

Cenote cilíndrico.

The cenotes are the most beautiful and impressive landscapes of the subsoil; connected by subterranean rivers, they create a network of ecosystems so complex that even today they keep secrets about the evolution of the planet and the origin of life on earth. For the Mayans the cenotes were sacred, they represented portals of access to the world of the dead, in the underworld. Today they are a source of water and life for the communities of the Riviera. In addition, they are exceptional places to enjoy nature, swimming in fresh and crystalline waters.

Coba & The Jungle

The Secret of Coba

The inscriptions on the walls, stelae and stone panels of this archaeological site hide the secrets of this ancient Mayan city. Archaeologists have deciphered the meaning of its name, Coba, is the place of “chopped water”, or the “humidity of water”. The reason for its name is that this archaeological site is surrounded by 5 lagoons and is deeply immersed in the jungle. The beauty of Coba lies in its elusive and narrow paths that make their way, like a labyrinth, through dense undergrowth and lead, to surprising discoveries. Its pyramids, among them the highest in the Yucatan Peninsula, have been little intervened, they preserve the traces of the passage of time and their intimate relationship with nature. Coba tastes of discovery and hides spectacular views.

Coba's trails.

The Ancient Mayan City

The Mayan city of Coba prospered among 5 great lakes, which were an essential source of its greatness. By the year 600 A.D., the city extended over 70km2 and was connected with other cities and regions by paths of seashells that were illuminated by the moonlight, known by the Mayas as sacbé (white road), these illuminated streets were used at night to avoid the heat of the day. One of them, 100km long, flowed all the way into Chichen Itza. With 50,000 inhabitants, Coba became the most important economic and political center of the neighboring villages, there came to be a network of more than 50 roads. The city acquired its imperial dimensions between 600 and 1000 A.D., communication networks were built, buildings and relations were strengthened with the populations in the Gulf Coast, Coba came to dominate the entire northern Yucatan Peninsula and had links with Teotihuacan in central Mexico.

The city prospered thanks to the control of inter-regional trade (said to control the port of Xel-Há) and ample access to abundant water resources. However, it declined from A.D. 1000 onwards as a result of a frontal dispute with Chichen Itza over regional preponderance; eventually, Coba would be defeated. The political importance of this city of lakes declined, but it remained an important spiritual center.

At the arrival of the Spanish invasion in Yucatan, circa 1550, Coba had already been abandoned. The city was rediscovered in 1843, but it was not until 1972 that the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) began developing the area to facilitate access for visitors and researchers. Coba is one of the main cities of the ancient Mayan empire in Yucatan, but it is still hidden in the jungle, offering everyone who visits it the opportunity to rediscover it for the first time.

Discovering Coba

Today Coba attracts more and more visitors eager to climb the highest pyramid in the Riviera Maya, to explore the jungle and look at the lagoons of the ancient city; Lake Coba, full of crocodiles, can be visited and crossed by zip-line! Just 47km from Tulum, it is now an accessible site and within walking distance of spectacular cenotes, several tour services offer tours to the ruins and cenotes, it is a perfect combination. Also, very close by, you can visit a nature reserve where it is possible to see spider monkeys.

Coba differs from other archaeological sites because the visit here is more intimate and enigmatic, the jungle immersion is total, and can be done by bicycle! (by biketaxi, better known as the Mayan Limousine, or pedaling on your own). The narrow dirt roads, bordered by the jungle, lead to the main temples, to the Astronomical Observatory (where the Mayas studied the sky with a precision unmatched for the time) and to the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the highest in the peninsula (42m, 20m higher than the Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza), one of the few that can still be climbed, and from where, after climbing its 120 steps, you will have an spectacular panoramic view; the Riviera Maya is flat, so there are no obstacles on the horizon (Read our blog about cenotes and subterranean rivers to find out why there are no mountains on the Yucatan Peninsula: link).

Birds of diverse plumage can be spotted on the trails, and if you’re lucky, you can see spider monkeys hanging relaxed from the branches. On the way you have to let yourself be surprised, be attentive to the fauna of the jungle and the ancient structures and stelae that appear among the undergrowth, there are more than 6,000 structures devoured by the relentless passage of the years and the extension of the jungle. Also, framed by large trees you will find the Ball Games; The Church, the second highest structure in the city (24m high); and the Conjunto las Pinturas, one of the last structures built in Cobá, where you can still be seen traces of the original paintings at the entrance to the altar.

Pro tip: The best place to see spider monkeys is Punta Laguna, an ecological reserve 20 min. from the archaeological site of Coba.

More than 1,000 inhabitants of Mayan origin still live in and around Coba. In the town of Tres Reyes there is an ecological village (Pac Chen) that can be visited. Here the past and the present come together on the shores of a lagoon and several cenotes that you can also explore. Coba is an adventure like no other archeological site in the Riviera Maya, the proximity and freshness of the jungle accompany you in the search for ancient treasures, if you pay enough attention, you can steal from the jungle a glimpse of that imperial city that we are still discovering today.

Pro tip: When you visit Coba, start your day at dawn, arrive when the doors open and enjoy the freshness of the jungle intimately, without people, and after visiting the site refresh yourself in a cenote. After 11am the temperature and humidity can be overwhelming.

Information for Your Visit to Coba

Regular schedule: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00 hours

Price: 75 pesos

Special Hours: You can enter the site before 08:00, from 06:00, and after 17:00, until 19:00 by paying an entrance ticket of $252.

How to Get There: ADO has trucks departing from Tulum ($95) and Playa del Carmen ($160). For the more adventurous there are colectivos ($30-$60) that depart from the Plaza Municipal of Tulum, they can also be taken from Playa Del Carmen and Cancun (From Cancun, will make stops in Playa del Carmen and Tulum). If you rented a car you can arrive through the federal highway 109 that you take from Tulum, and you must turn left at the first roundabout (the parking lot is worth $40). Another option is to take a private tour, usually include transportation to the ruins from any city on the Riviera, guide and other activities, is the best option to discover hidden places.

The marvel of Chichen Itza’s equinox

There isn’t a more astonishing spectacle in Peninsula de Yucatan that the equinox in Chichen Itza. The wisdom and technology of the Mayan culture unveil with splendor the change of season, twice every year the sun delineates a snake out of light over “El Castillo” of Chichen Itza.

Discover how the Mayan cosmovision is related to this natural spectacle, and how it reflects its brilliant culture.

The equinox

An equinox is the moment of the year when the sun forms a perpendicular angle with Earth’s equator, at this point, day and night last the same all over the world. The equinox marks the change of season, the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It occurs twice a year; first in spring, between the 20 and 21st of March; then in autumn, between the 22nd and 23rd of September.

The spectacle of the Feathered Serpent

In the Mayan culture this was a phenomenon that, among other things, represented the harvest, due with the arrival of the autumn’s equinox. But today, this event evokes the advanced Mayan knowledge in astronomy, architecture and mathematics.

In Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, “El Castillo” (pyramid dedicated to Kukulcán, the Feathered Serpent) is the stage of a magical spectacle you must experience live.

With every equinox, the afternoon light, moments before sunset, traces a snake slowly sliding down through the west alfarda (the prehispanic railing) of the north staircase, seven inverted triangles of light descend upon the base of the staircase, where the serpent head (that represents Kukulcán) is lightened… A chilling visual illusion.

The drawing of light was discovered thanks to the 1927 restauration of the temple, before this intervention, “El Castillo” was covered by the jungle. The first one to sight the marvelous appearance of the light snake over the staircase was Jean-Jacques Rivard, in 1969. The light effect is no coincidence, is by design; actually, the same effect is to be found on other Mayan temples of the region, but nowhere as in Chichen Itza.

Symbolically, the Feathered Serpent merges the sky, the earth and the underworld; day and night. As well, this deity was the one thought to have given the calendar to men, therefor its close relationship with the study of time and the universe in the Mayan world.

A temple and a calendar: the Mayan cosmology

For 45 minutes, the lights glide towards the base of “El Castillo”, sliding down its 365 steps, which represent the days of the year, and the beginning of a new era. This type of ceremonial temple was constructed with the clear purpose of staging the Mayan cosmology, and their profound study of the cosmos. To witness this moment, in which centuries of history are binded, it’s like standing on the borders of time, space and history while intimately watching the Mayan world. Don’t miss your opportunity, live this magical and shivering moment.

Playa del Carmen: local tips for a local quest

Playa del Carmen (or simply ‘Playa’ as we call it) is not a typical resort complex or tourist destination. Playa is vibrant, funky and fun. Due to its regional importance and international recognition, it offers a wide variety of cultural activities. Playa is the heart of the Riviera Maya – a small sophisticated bohemian city, it was recently voted the cleanest municipality in Mexico and it is pedestrian and cyclist friendly. There is no shortage of activities to enjoy, ranging from the simple pleasure of reading a book on a beach to letting your hair down on the dance floor or taking a jungle expedition. For all these reasons, if you visit Playa you will find it difficult to leave.

Twenty years ago Playa del Carmen was just a sleepy fishing village, visited only by adventurous tourists from Cancun who stopped briefly before taking the passenger ferry to Cozumel. Now, it boasts a population of more than 175,000 permanent residents and 115,000 tourists per day, more than 500 restaurants (some of which are internationally renowned), world class boutique hotels and five-star resorts, spas, galleries, bookshops, and music clubs. All of which is testament of the special allure of the Mexican Riviera. In short, Playa has it all.

Location and getting around 

Located between Cancun and Tulum, Playa sits at the very heart of the Riviera Maya, making it a good ‘base camp’ for exploring the many different areas and activities along the coast.

Getting around Playa is relatively cheap and efficient, with taxis seldom costing more than $8 USD, and shared taxis (colectivos) costing just pennies. If you are downtown everything is within walking or biking distance. It can be fun to rent a bike or scooter for a day or two and take an occasional

If you are travelling with your family or a large group, or plan on taking a road trip to different points along the Riviera you might want to consider renting a car. Remember buses and colectivos will also take you anywhere along the coast and there is always the option of an organized tour.

Quinta Avenida and Night Life

If Playa is the heart of the Riviera Maya, then La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue, or simply “La Quinta”) is the heart of Playa. The exciting vibe of this pedestrian street is palpable in every corner. Parallel to the beach, the street is filled with sounds, you will feel inside the Tower of Babel: people speaking English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, and of course the universal sounds of laughter, music and Mariachis!

It is here on La Quinta (or close by) where you will find the bulk of eating, drinking, shopping and entertainment activities. In the mornings, La Quinta is quiet and perfect for a morning stroll (or a jog) and a good breakfast. In the evening, restaurants, bars, cafes and shops come to life. At night, it fills with both dinner and partygoers. If you are looking for good party, you can’t miss the nightlife on Calle Doce (12th Street).

In La Quinta you will find jewelry stores, souvenir shops, clothing outlets, Cigar stores and many attractions that fit all styles and budgets. Thursday evenings, local artists display their work on the street, from Avenida Constituyentes to Calle 32; this open art gallery called Caminart is a great opportunity to find an original work.

The food Scene

In Playa, Mexican and foreign chefs bring both creativity and authenticity to their menus. Whether it’s Mexican, Italian, French, Cantonese, Thai, Mediterranean, African or Arab, there is plenty of choices, and in all price ranges. Additionally, Playa hosts several food and wine festivals each year, with internationally recognized chefs and wine experts.

If you are looking for authentic and delicious Mexican food, you’ll find a wide variety of local restaurants with various regional specialties, including traditional Yucatecan dishes, fresh seafood, and high-end Mexican cuisine. Also, don’t miss out on traditional Mexican street food, this is where the bold flavors and colors of Mexico really live. From traditional tacos al pastor to succulent cochinita pibil, if you’re for tacos, go to our favorite taqueria, La Floresta, you won’t be disappointed. For an off the beaten path culinary experience go to Avenida Treinta (30th Avenue) and Avenida Constituyentes where you will find cheaper traditional restaurants.

Activities

No matter where you’re staying, no matter what your interests are, and no matter what your budget is, in Playa you can fill your days with as little or as much activity as you like. Every type of water sport is available, such as jet skiing, kayaking, and kite surfing, just to name a few. All beaches are public, and many beach clubs have swimming pools and restaurants, so if your idea of a busy day is lounging, eating, drinking, and reading a book, this is the place for you.

Need more options? You can take an organized tour, visit cenotes and underground rivers, ride a horse on the beach, explore ancient Mayan ruins and archeological site, sail, dive, ride an ATV through the jungle or visit one of the islands.

Lodging 

There are places to stay to meet any budget in and nearby Playa. These options include luxury all-inclusive resorts, traditional hotels, boutique hotels, motels, hostels, apartments, condominiums, villas, and vacation homes for rent.

Traditional Arts and Crafts 

In Playa there are lots of tourist shops where you can pick up souvenirs, ranging from the classic coffee mug or t-shirt to truly unique works of art. The ancient Mayans were skilled artisans, carving in both wood and stone. And while much of Mayan history has been lost to time, this artisanship still survives in the forms of precious fabrics (hamacas, huipiles, skirts), carvings of mystical figures, ceramic vases, bejuco decorations, traditional dresses, ceremonial masks and Mayan calendars.

Every third Saturday of the month, Parque La Ceiba hosts a tianguis (flea market) where, among many other cultural offerings and organic products, local artisans sell their works. If you’re looking for something unique and not available in a typical souvenir shop, this is the place to browse. The park is child friendly, hosts shows and workshops, food and soft drinks are sold and there’s no admission fee. Check our section on Events and Festivals for more information.

In a Nutshell 

Even though Playa is growing, it is not a mass market glass-towered tourist Mecca like Cancun, here you will access to an authentic and safe Mexican experience, because of its delicious food, rare artisanship, vibrant nightlife, relaxing beaches, friendly locals and tons of adventurous expeditions, Playa has a charm and a magnetism that pulls people in and makes them smile for no particular reason.

SNORKEL TIPS FOR BEGINNERS!

If you are spending your NEXT VACATION in the RIVIERA MAYA you have to snorkel in at least one of its beautiful  BEACHES, REEFS, CENOTES and/or UNDERGROUND RIVERS.

The YUCATAN PENINSULA has a unique geological composition. Its LIMESTONE, together with its TROPICAL WEATHER and BIODIVERSITY, have created one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL ECOSYSTEMS in the world and you cannot miss the opportunity to skornel here.

If you are spending your NEXT VACATION in the RIVIERA MAYA you have to snorkel in at least one of its beautiful  BEACHES, REEFS, CENOTES and/or UNDERGROUND RIVERS.

The YUCATAN PENINSULA has a unique geological composition. Its LIMESTONE, together with its TROPICAL WEATHER and BIODIVERSITY, have created one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL ECOSYSTEMS in the world and you cannot miss the opportunity to skornel here.

What is snorkeling?

Snorkeling is a water sport that consists of swimming on the surface, using a mask and a tube to breathe – this tube is called a snorkel. It is one of the favorite activities in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum because it gives the opportunity to appreciate the underwater world and to have fun without a complicated equipment or training, as in diving.
In the Riviera Maya its important to know how to snorkel because it will allow you to explore its amazing cenotes, discover stalactitis, and stalacmities in underground rivers, and see colorful fish in its many coral reef. The best part is that with some basic skills, the right equipment an adventurous spirit your first experience can be incredible.

So if you are a fan of aquatic life, but have no experience in snorkeling, just follow these little tips and enjoy the Riviera Maya to the fullest:

What is snorkeling?

Snorkeling is a water sport that consists of swimming on the surface, using a mask and a tube to breathe – this tube is called a snorkel. It is one of the favorite activities in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum because it gives the opportunity to appreciate the underwater world and to have fun without a complicated equipment or training, as in diving.

In the Riviera Maya its important to know how to snorkel because it will allow you to explore its amazing cenotes, discover stalactitis, and stalacmities in underground rivers, and see colorful fish in its many coral reef. The best part is that with some basic skills, the right equipment an adventurous spirit your first experience can be incredible.

So if you are a fan of aquatic life, but have no experience in snorkeling, just follow these little tips and enjoy the Riviera Maya to the fullest:

Swimming technique

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to swim or float, it is not necessary to know – you will have a life jacket and a guide that will assist you at all times. Since you don’t want to miss anything all you need to know is how to move from one place to another and for that we will teach you this technique:

Float horizontally on the water, incline your hips, point your head to the bottom of the water, and start moving your legs.

If you are ready for more and you want to explore the bottom, do the same technique and additionally raise your legs pointing to the sky and start moving your legs. This movement will allow your body to submerge more easily.

Swimming technique

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to swim or float, it is not necessary to know – you will have a life jacket and a guide that will assist you at all times. Since you don’t want to miss anything all you need to know is how to move from one place to another and for that we will teach you this technique:

Float horizontally on the water, incline your hips, point your head to the bottom of the water, and start moving your legs.

If you are ready for more and you want to explore the bottom, do the same technique and additionally raise your legs pointing to the sky and start moving your legs. This movement will allow your body to submerge more easily.

Breathing

The secret of snorkeling is in breathing so don’t forget to breathe. You need to relax so that your body can adjust and get used to breathing in a tube when you are underwater.

The equipment

If you want a pleasant experience, safety should be your priority, that’s why you must take special care on how to use the equipment:

Breathing

The secret of snorkeling is in breathing so don’t forget to breathe. You need to relax so that your body can adjust and get used to breathing in a tube when you are underwater.

The equipment

If you want a pleasant experience, safety should be your priority, that’s why you must take special care on how to use the equipment:

The fins

When buying or try on the fins at a tour make sure they aren’t too loose or too tight. And very important, don’t put them on until you’re in the water, because it’s hard to walk with them.

When storing the equipment make sure the fins are not bent as they can easily lose its shape and this deformation can become permanent.

The tube

The snorkel tube will let you breathe while your body is in the water. Remember to relax and breathe through your mouth. The tube must be pointing towards the sky. The quality and material of the tube will make a big difference, better quality tubes will have a more comfortable mouthpiece and most importantly, it will not allow water to come in. This is why a good equipment ensures a good experience.

If you are in a tour don’t forget to ask your guide if the equipment is clean and disinfected.

The mask

When putting on the mask make sure the strap is just below the middle point of your skull and make sure it is tight enough. Check that no air is entering the mask.

The most important part of the mask is the skirt or rim. Good masks have skirts made of high-quality silicone. This material is softer and adapts better to the shape of your face. A good mask will prevents water from leaking. Also, good masks use tempered glass since its harder to scratched, it doesn’t tarnish and it makes your visibility fully transparent.

Extra tips:

To avoid mask fogging, rub use toothpaste on the glass before entering the water. Yes! but it is not enough to just spread it, you must rub the entire surface of the lens for five minutes (if the mask is new) or  one minute if it’s used.  The reason why this works is because the mask has a plastic protector that the toothpaste removes without damaging or scratching the glass.

If, while snorkeling, water enters in the tube you must come back to the surface, look up so that the tub is pointing down and then blow to get the liquid out.

When you finish snorkeling don’t forget to wash your equipment with fresh water. Saltwater will damage your equipment.

Taking pictures in these beautiful places will give you one of the best memories of your vacations. If you can bring a waterproof camera or a protector for your cell phone you won’t regret it. Underwater pictures are amazing!

The fins

When buying or try on the fins at a tour make sure they aren’t too loose or too tight. And very important, don’t put them on until you’re in the water, because it’s hard to walk with them.

When storing the equipment make sure the fins are not bent as they can easily lose its shape and this deformation can become permanent.

The tube

The snorkel tube will let you breathe while your body is in the water. Remember to relax and breathe through your mouth. The tube must be pointing towards the sky. The quality and material of the tube will make a big difference, better quality tubes will have a more comfortable mouthpiece and most importantly, it will not allow water to come in. This is why a good equipment ensures a good experience.

If you are in a tour don’t forget to ask your guide if the equipment is clean and disinfected.

The mask

When putting on the mask make sure the strap is just below the middle point of your skull and make sure it is tight enough. Check that no air is entering the mask.

The most important part of the mask is the skirt or rim. Good masks have skirts made of high-quality silicone. This material is softer and adapts better to the shape of your face. A good mask will prevents water from leaking. Also, good masks use tempered glass since its harder to scratched, it doesn’t tarnish and it makes your visibility fully transparent.

Extra tips:

To avoid mask fogging, rub use toothpaste on the glass before entering the water. Yes! but it is not enough to just spread it, you must rub the entire surface of the lens for five minutes (if the mask is new) or  one minute if it’s used.  The reason why this works is because the mask has a plastic protector that the toothpaste removes without damaging or scratching the glass.

If, while snorkeling, water enters in the tube you must come back to the surface, look up so that the tub is pointing down and then blow to get the liquid out.

When you finish snorkeling don’t forget to wash your equipment with fresh water. Saltwater will damage your equipment.

Taking pictures in these beautiful places will give you one of the best memories of your vacations. If you can bring a waterproof camera or a protector for your cell phone you won’t regret it. Underwater pictures are amazing!

Enjoy and have fun!

The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and to have fun. We hope these tips make your first-time snorkeling something easy and fun.

And please take care of the environment, don’t damage the corals, don’t move stones and don’t bother any of the species. Snorkeling is not a contact sport, it is a window to another world, of which we have the happiness of being spectators.

Enjoy and have fun!

The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and to have fun. We hope these tips make your first-time snorkeling something easy and fun.

And please take care of the environment, don’t damage the corals, don’t move stones and don’t bother any of the species. Snorkeling is not a contact sport, it is a window to another world, of which we have the happiness of being spectators.