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Snorkel Tours - everything you wanted to know about Snorkeling
Are you looking for a marine adventure? Why not try snorkeling in Costa Maya, Mexico. The close proximity of the second-longest barrier reef, the Great Mayan Reef, along with the crystal clear, blue waters of the Caribbean sea makes Costa Maya the ultimate snorkeling destination in Mexico.
If this is your first time joining a snorkeling tour, you may be a little anxious. Don’t fret, you’re not alone. Everyone feels a bit intimidated by the open ocean. Even those excellent at swimming in a pool can get a bit nervous in the open water.
The best way to get comfortable before your snorkeling tour is to practice swimming with flippers, goggles, and a snorkel. Practice in a pool or in shallow water before your trip.
There are a few other things you also need to know and prepare for an unforgettable marine life experience. Let’s get you ready to experience the amazing marine wildlife in Mexico.
What Is Snorkeling?
I’m sure you already know this, but just in case… Snorkeling is an amazing way to explore marine life up close. It’s even better than the best aquarium experience you’ll ever have. If this is your first trip underwater, this adventure might be a bit daunting.
Fortunately, most snorkeling tours are done in calm, protected waters that are separate from the more extreme ocean currents. To participate, however, you’ll need some specialized equipment such as a snorkel, fins, and goggles (a face mask).
The snorkel will act as a breathing tube to allow you some fresh air while floating belly-down and observing the marine life below. Fins will help you to effortlessly propel yourself through the water while the mask will keep the water out of your eyes allowing you to see the stunning wildlife and coral reefs below.
Anyone can snorkel, but not everyone will have the same amazing experience. It’s important to prepare so that you will get the most out of your swimming trip. To start, get comfortable with the equipment.
Does Snorkeling Require Formal Training?
Unlike scuba diving, snorkeling doesn’t require any formal training, but there is a slight learning curve. It is advised to train yourself by doing research and practicing on your own before you go on a snorkeling holiday. Snorkeling can be surprisingly demanding even when you’re just floating on the surface of the blue Caribbean, Mediterranean, or Pacific ocean while observing the wildlife and coral reefs below.
For the best snorkeling experience make sure you’re comfortable with the equipment and fit enough to swim for one or two hours at a time. Drowning is a very real danger when snorkeling unprepared. Nearly half the tourist deaths on the island of Hawaii are from drowning. Many of which happened while snorkeling unprepared.
No matter which islands or any other snorkeling destinations you visit around the world, make sure you’re properly prepared for your swimming trip.
Choose Quality Snorkeling Gear
It’s extremely important to have the correct gear when planning to explore the deep blue ocean. You can rent your gear from the tour company, or you can get your own gear prior to any marine exploration tours. No matter what you decide to do, make sure your gear fits perfectly before you start your trip.
Why is this so important? Any gear that doesn’t fit properly can turn your snorkeling experience into a nightmare. You might find that your mask keeps filling up with water preventing you from watching the coral reefs and wildlife below without coming up to clear the water every five minutes.
Ill-fitting flippers may hurt your feet or even keep coming off. This can get extremely annoying, pretty fast, making your very first swimming tour downright unpleasant. Don’t go for the cheapest gear you can find. Something of quality will make this trip and all future swimming trips more pleasant.
Know How To Clear Your Mask
One of the biggest problems you’ll face while snorkeling is a foggy mask. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this pesky problem from occurring while you’re enjoying the coral reefs on the seabed. To solve this problem, buy an anti-fog solution for goggles or make your own by rubbing the inside of your mask with baby shampoo. You’ll thank me after the best snorkeling adventure ever.
You might also have to deal with a leaky mask. To solve this problem, make sure you shave your beard (if you have one) and get a mask that fit’s properly. If it’s to lose, you’ll find that it leaks quite badly. To clear the water, simply lift your head, tread water in one spot and quickly lift your mask to allow the water to drain out.
Know How To Clear Your Snorkel
Another pesky problem you’ll need to learn to deal with is water in the snorkel. This happens every time you dive or if a wave rolls over that you weren’t prepared for. Most snorkels have a valve that allows water to flow out the bottom. You can also get rid of the water by blowing hard on the snorkel.
Use Your Flippers For Swimming
Even if you find them to be more of a hindrance than a help when swimming, make sure to use your flippers. Flippers can get you out of some dangerous situations. It’s a good idea to practice swimming with flippers before you try to swim in the sea. Getting the hang of it will make you feel like you’re one of the dolphins in the sea and makes it much easier to explore the coral reefs.
If you try to swim without flippers, you’ll quickly notice how tiring it can be. Use your flippers to propel you forward instead of using your arms. If you need to get back to the boat quickly, flippers will help you to sail through the water. They make all snorkeling adventures much more pleasant.
Protect Yourself From Sunburn
Even though you might be pretending to be a fish in the water, it is still crucial to protect yourself against the sun. Getting burned on your first adventure wouldn’t be so great for the rest of your holiday.
If possible, use biodegradable sunscreen. It’s much better for the coral reefs, fish, sea turtles, and other critters you might encounter on the sea floor.
This might sound silly since you’ll literally be surrounded by a giant lake of water, but being a sea, you can’t drink any of it. Make sure you take enough fresh water to drink and stop to take a sip regularly to keep up your strength. Being dehydrated will cause you to feel terrible and spoil the rest of your adventures.
Don't Touch The Coral Reefs
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, not everyone understands how delicate coral reefs can be. A reef functions as an ecosystem that keeps many fish and other critters alive. Touching or otherwise interacting with a reef can cause a lot of damage. Coral, for instance, is already in jeopardy and doesn’t need snorkeling humans to accidentally damage them due to ignorance. Make sure you know what you can and can’t touch when snorkeling.
Don't interfere with normal wildlife behaviors
You might think it’s funny to scare a fish away from its meal or territory. This can cause undue stress and even cause the fish to go hungry. Imagine how stressed this poor critter will be if every group of snorkelers that comes through scares it away from its home. Not a great life right?
Go To The Best Snorkeling Destinations
If you want to have a grand snorkeling adventure, you should do your research into the best locations for such an activity. If you don’t go to where the marine wildlife is, you most likely won’t see any. There are several private beaches, a national park here and there, and a whole heap of public areas where you can plan a snorkeling trip around the world.
This includes the Philippines, Mediterranean Greece islands, Montenegro Fjords Baja Peninsula, and other locations around America and other countries. As long as there’s a bit of reef, you should be able to see some sea life. It’s best to dive in tropical areas with warmer sea temperatures, however, if you want to see very colorful and larger variety of fish and other critters.
When you visit a reef, it’s always a good idea to be as stealthy as possible. The boat, cruise, or yacht you come in on will also usually keep a bit of distance from the reef to not interfere with normal day-to-day activities on the ocean floor. When you swim closer, make sure to keep your distance from the stunning reef and don’t make any sudden movements that will scare the fish below. Some fish are extremely curious and might come to investigate what you are. Let them, unless they bite. Always pay attention to your surroundings to avoid potential dangers.
Don't Expect Too Much From Your First Time
The biggest mistake you can make when planning a snorkeling holiday is to hype it up too much. It’s better just to appreciate every experience instead of expecting too much and being disappointed. It’s okay to read up on the experiences of others, but keep in mind that they only share their rarest and most exciting experiences. What they say might not be the norm. In other news, make sure you plan ahead, get all your gear ready, practice beforehand, and choose a stunning destination for your first-ever snorkeling adventure.
Relax And Enjoy The Adventure
Last but not least, try to relax and enjoy your time out at sea. Not everyone gets to experience snorkeling. I know snorkeling can be quite daunting, but there’s no reason to fear it. Make sure you plan ahead, learn everything you can, have the right gear and a great tour guide and you’ll be just fine.
Frequently Asked Snorkeling Questions
Snorkeling trips with a qualified guide are much better than trying to go at them on your own. Tour guides have years of experience, know how to snorkel safely, know where to go, and can tell you more about the behavior of certain sea creatures. Overall, going out on a snorkeling tour is much more worth it and amazing than trying to snorkel in potentially dangerous areas on your own.
Costa Maya is a great location for snorkeling. The Great Mayan Reef is just a few minutes away from the coast which makes this location very accessible. This reef is the second largest barrier reef located in the crystal-clear blue water of the Caribbean ocean. Being so sheltered, this location is also a great place for beginner snorkelers to do their very first snorkeling tour.
No, Costa Maya and Cozumel are about 210 kilometers (130.5 miles) apart. Cozumel is another great location for snorkeling if Costa Maya is a bit far for you to travel.
Before you go snorkeling, make sure you have a mask that fits perfectly you’ll also need baby shampoo or defogging gel to keep the glass clear. It’s also important to know how to get water out of your mask and snorkel. Make sure you practice with all your gear before the big day.
The easiest way to keep your mask free from fog is to treat the glass. You can use baby shampoo, defogging gel, or even defogging spray to achieve this. Your tour guide might have some defogging solution on hand, so if you forgot to bring some, there’s no harm in asking.
There is a potential for danger, but when done right, snorkeling shouldn’t be too extreme. Make sure you practice swimming with your gear before your adventure, pay attention to the safety protocols and stay alert at all times to avoid potentially dangerous situations.