When snorkeling is discussed most people familiar with Mexico mention Akumal since it is close to the Mesoamerican Coral Reef which is the second longest reef in the world. This reef provides a perfect habitat to various species of fishes and marine life.
But what is not well known is that the Mexican Pacific coral reef is also a great snorkeling destination. This can be attributed to the fact that whole region of Riviera Nayarit is somewhat overshadowed by bigger and well known destinations such as Riviera Maya or the neighboring Puerto Vallarta. Though Riviera Nayarit is making news, it is still not a busy place. This is a boon in disguise as the snorkeling spots in the Riviera Nayarit are still relatively untouched unlike Akumal where large crowds and rampant commercialization has put the whole reefs and fishes in serious jeopardy. Riviera Nayarit has a big population and variety of aquatic species which make snorkeling even more worthwhile for snorkelers. The coral reefs of Riviera Nayarit are narrow fringing reefs which are known to be dense and well-developed and are almost 20-feet thick. Such reefs provide marine life a perfect habitat to thrive. Fringing reefs are found in shallow waters. Since the reef is closer to the shore, the snorkelers don’t have to swim out too far to view fishes. For this reason, Nayarit is known as the best destination for snorkeling in western Mexico.
Since, there are a number of snorkeling destinations in Riviera Nayarit we have selected the top 5 snorkeling spots which any avid diver would love:
Playa Chacalilla: Chacalilla Beach is an idyllic beach with forest and palm trees and blue water. It is located north of the town of Chacala which is a beach town in Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Once known for shrimp and lobster fishing it has transformed itself as a small but a prominent center for snorkeling in the region.
Playa El Anclote: El Anclote Beach is one of the 2 beaches accessible to the public in Punta de Mita. It is quite a popular destination with a lot of hustle-bustle. Rock jetties break the waves and the shore is shallow and perfect for surfing beginners. Snorkelers can book tours to The Marietas Islands which are a group of small islands formed by volcanic activity. It has some very unnatural caves, cave formations and a diverse marine life comprising of dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, whales and tropical fishes. A snorkeler’s delight!
Playa Los Ayala: Located in the Los Ayala town which is the smallest in the Jaltemba Bay. One of the beaches here is Playa Los Ayala which has calm blue waters with palm trees lining it. It has a perfect setting for a relaxed afternoon. It is a smallish beach measuring just 1 km. Some of the activities favored by tourists here are snorkeling, sailing, surfing and swimming with dolphins.
Playa de los Muertos: Playa de los Muertos or the ‘Beach of the Dead’ is one of the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta situated in the southern part of downtown Vallarta. It is also a gay friendly spot. Locals love to throng this place. A lively place, it is also a good spot for snorkeling.
LasGemelas: Las Gemelas (or the Twins) are a pair of twin crescent shaped beaches. These small beaches about 100 meters have fine white sand and turquoise blue water. They are located south of Bucerias and Nuevo Vallarta near the Los Arcos National Marine Park.