Playa del Carmen is an eclectic and popular vacation hub that offers a rich blend of Mexican and Caribbean culture, 75 miles of white sandy beaches and an incredibly rich and diverse natural environment that offers a range of exciting options that visitors can explore and enjoy. As part of the now world famous Riviera Maya, an area that stretches north to south from the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Morelos to the coastal paradise of Tulum, it has enjoyed intense growth during the last decade and has fast become one of the world’s most popular spots for beach vacations.
However, beyond the sun and sand and very tranquil Caribbean breakers lies an underwater world filled with a colorful variety of marine fauna and coral reefs that will impress even the most experienced traveler. Here are some reasons why getting wet must top anyone’s list of things to do while visiting Playa del Carmen:
1. During the winter months fo January to March, sailfish arrive just off the surrounding waters of nearby Isla Mujeres (approximately 5o miles to the north). These remarkable fish are one of the fastest fish in the sea and have been recorded at speeds as high as around 70 mph. Experienced operators run tours that allow snorkelers the opportunity to watch these magnificent creatures race by as they feed on sardine “bait balls.”
2. Sea turtles have been swimming our oceans for millions of years. The coastline of Riviera Maya is an important nesting area for the green turtle and loggerhead turtle that from May until September come to shore to nest and lay eggs. The abundance of these beautiful creatures almost guarantees regular sightings either from above while swimming and snorkeling, or below while scuba diving.
3. Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas), also known as the Zambezi shark, are commonly found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers. This imposing animal grows up to 8 feet in length and can weigh up to almost 300 pounds. The bull shark’s diet consists mainly of bony fish and small sharks, including other bull sharks, but can also include turtles, birds, dolphins, crustaceans and rays. During the winter months of January through April experienced scuba diving operators take tours down to the sandy floors of the Riviera Maya (to easy depths of around 90 to 100 feet) where visitors can sit and view the sharks in their natural habitat.