Top 4 Tips to Snorkeling in San Jose del Cabo

Are you looking to add a little adventure to your vacation this year? Do you love taking in the sun while getting a glimpse of life below the pristine, tropical waters? If so, a trip to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula should be on the top of your list. With some of the country’s most impressive beaches and marine life, locations such as San Jose del Cabo Baja California attract visitors from around the world, largely due to the region’s superb underwater activities.

Home to what famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau deemed the “aquarium of the world”, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) boasts some of the globe’s most exuberant snorkeling sites. So, where is San Jose del Cabo located exactly? Why, Baja California of course! Starting at San Jose del Cabo in the north and running to Cabo San Lucas in the south, this 18 mile (29 kilometer) stretch known as the Los Cabos Corridor provides visitors the opportunity to witness the sea’s most extraordinary and remote wonders. With dolphins, sea lions, manta rays, whale sharks, and nearly 900 species of exotic fish, San Jose del Cabo and the Sea of Cortez are sure to teach its visitors a valuable lesson – the best way to observe a fish is to become a fish.
The good news – snorkeling is an activity that is easy to learn and that requires no special training or expensive equipment. This makes it the perfect underwater activity for all ages and fitness levels. However, before you take the “dive” and purchase your plane ticket, here are a few things to consider when planning your vacation to the beautiful San Jose del Cabo.

1. Anyone Can Witness Life Below the Surface

The greatest part of snorkeling is that anyone can do it. Whether you plan to pack up the entire family, or come for a romantic get-a-way with your significant other, snorkeling is a great option for adding a little excitement and adventure to your travels. Defined by the dictionary as the “practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, swim fins, and a breathing tube known as a snorkel”, snorkeling is not only fun, but quite relaxing.

You will do more floating than swimming while you snorkel, and unlike scuba diving, you are confined to staying on the water’s surface. This makes it the perfect activity for all ages and experience levels. Not to mention, the amount of marine life you can witness by simply floating in the open waters makes it one of the simplest activities that exposes you to life below the surface.

2. Being Properly Equipped Makes A World of Difference

There is little that can sour your snorkeling experience like having equipment that doesn’t fit. Comprised of a diving mask, swim fins, and a breathing tube (snorkel), snorkeling equipment allows you to swim while breathing with your face and body submerged underwater. The inability to do so properly, especially for young or beginning participants, can cause panic and hysteria. Afterall, no one likes bubbles and water seeping into their mask. Tour companies will be sure to complete an equipment check prior to going out to the open waters.

However, if you know that you are going to be doing a lot of snorkeling during a particular trip, it is highly recommended to purchase your own equipment. This can help to prevent issues during the excursions. After making sure your equipment fits properly – hit the pool and do a test run! Becoming acquainted with how to breathe out of a snorkel prior to your excursion can help to take away some of the initial anxiety you may feel. Remember – practice makes perfect. Once you’re all set, it’s time to experience the sea and witness the spectacular marine life that San Jose del Cabo has to offer.

3. Shallow Waters, Deep Appreciation

The Sea of Cortez is home to some of the most mesmerizing marine life our world has ever seen. With snorkeling activities available both up and down the shoreline and in deep, offshore waters, it’s best to review options prior to selecting your excursion. If you’re a rookie, do not attempt to snorkel where there is a strong current. Your best bet is to pick a spot that has calm, clear waters.

This may mean declining the many offers you are bound to receive by local companies who wish to get you on board their boat for an excursion out at sea. While this is tempting, it’s wise to begin with a relaxed beach. Once you become more experienced, you can always venture out a little further on a guided boat tour. Plus, some of the best snorkeling in Cabo is located just off of its many miles of pristine beaches.

When snorkeling at the beach you’ll need your own gear. If you didn’t purchase your own gear, gear rental is available at multiple locations, including your hotel, local pharmacies, and dive shops. Below are a few of the most well-known and accessible beach locations near San Jose del Cabo. Perfect for those who prefer shallow waters while gaining a close-up look of the region’s vibrant marine life, these locations are sure to impress.

Playa Chileno

Located approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) to the south of San Jose del Cabo, and one of Mexico’s cleanest beaches, Playa Chileno is especially great for snorkeling. Surrounded by sea walls and calm waters, this destination is great for exploration. Equipped with restrooms and palapas, it makes for a great family location. However, a number of cruises and snorkel excursions stop in the bay, creating a rather busy environment. The good news – tours usually last only around 45 minutes. This is a great time to take a break and lay on the soft, sandy beach. This location’s crowds do not take away from its truly breathtaking views. With vibrant flora and fauna found at the western end of the bay and at its offshore reefs, snorkelers are sure to witness diverse marine life including sea turtles, manta rays, sea fans, and hundreds of tropical fish.

Playa Santa Marí­a

One of the best snorkeling sports located a bit further south from San Jose del Cabo along the Los Cabos Corridor is Playa Santa María. With quiet surroundings and eye-catching rock formations, this location is one-of-a-kind. While other locations in the Cabo area can experience rougher waters due to weather, the water here is usually calm and clear. These tranquil, crystal waters are home to a variety of friendly tropical fish, including cowfish, eagle rays, parrot fish, and numerous urchins. A recent addition to this site, a modern restroom and outdoor shower area, has made this location another ideal spot for beginners and families.

Palmilla Beach

Situated just 4 miles (6 kilometers) south of San Jose del Cabo is the beautiful Palmilla Beach. Here you can enjoy a peaceful swim with your family, soak up the sun, and witness diverse marine life. This snorkel spot, which spreads out for over a mile, is home to calm waters that invite you in to relax and explore. With gorgeous surrounding scenery comprised of some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the region, this location is a must-see. Awarded the International Blue Flag Certification, Palmilla Beach’s waters are so clear that you’re sure to see marine life from near and far – very far! One thing is for certain – even though these beach waters may be shallow, they give you a deep appreciation for life below the surface.

4. All Aboard!

For those looking to up their adrenaline levels while snorkeling, or to have excursions reserved and organized prior to arrival, Cabo boat tours are a fantastic option. These tours switch it up by taking passengers to the most popular snorkel spots both offshore at nearby beaches and further out at sea.


It remains as clear as the Sea of Cortez – San Jose del Cabo excursions are an absolute must when visiting the region. With crystal clear waters, world-renowned marine life, unparalleled beaches, and 18 miles (29 kilometers) of endless shorelines Los Cabos in Baja California, Mexico is one of the top destinations for underwater activities such as snorkeling and diving. All that stands between you and this unforgettable experience is a little bit of research, gear prep, and a one-way plane ticket. Let’s be honest, once you experience the beauty of Los Cabos, you won’t want to leave.

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