As you visit the Caribbean for an unforgettable vacation, you’ll want to make the most of your snorkeling experience. The Mexican Caribbean is an ocean of possibilities when it comes to water activities, you can go Snorkeling in Cancun to anywhere in the Riviera Maya. So for your convenience, here are 10 things you need to know before snorkeling in the Caribbean.
1. What does “snorkeling” mean?
The word “snorkeling” comes from the German word ‘Schnorchel’, meaning air intake. This term was used as early submarines used a tube to get fresh air into the submarine without surfacing. Today, while the masks are called goggles, the breathing tube took the name snorkel.
2. You can fly after snorkeling
Some people, when they think about snorkeling, they think about scuba diving, attributing scuba diving effects and recommendations to snorkeling. For example, some people may think that due to snorkeling you are supposed to wait at least one day to fly.
In reality, the condition that scuba divers get from breathing in compressed air and ascending too rapidly can be painful, and in severe cases fatal as nitrogen bubbles form in the blood and tissues. This limits the time scuba divers can fly. But as there is no use for additional breathing equipment, you don’t need to worry about it if you go snorkeling.
3. For as long as you hold your breath
The snorkel does not provide any assistance when you’re underwater, the snorkel is made so you can see underwater and breathe as long as the tube pops out of the water. In case you want to swim a little deeper, you can practice repeated diving and breathing exercises to increase your breathing abilities. Despite this, you will be underwater, without a snorkeling tube, as long as they can hold their breath.
4. No training needed
If you want to do snorkeling, you don’t need any training, you don’t even need to know how to swim! You should feel confident in the water, you’ll always be wearing a lifejacket and the guides will be there to help you through the tour. Learning the security measures is key, this will help you wrap your mind around the experience and what to expect. If you decide to practice on the shore, it will help you learn correctly how to breathe and move from the start, many people never bother to do so or don’t think about it. Having basic swimming skills is definitely recommended though, but keep in mind it is harder for some to coordinate their breathing while using the snorkel, just be patient.
5. Kids can enjoy snorkeling!
As a water activity, snorkeling is a fun and active way to spend the day in, and one of the coolest things about it is you don’t have to be specially trained or certified in it, as you would for other water sports. This makes it an activity for all ages when visiting the Caribbean. Just be patient and as we said before, take your time so everyone feels comfortable breathing underwater. Don’t feel pressure, you can also take deep breaths and use only the goggles to enjoy the tour.
6. Swimming isn’t Necessary
If swimming isn’t something you’re great at, you can trust your life jacket or some floating device that your guide provides you. Snorkeling does not require you to be a great swimmer, it does make it easier, but as the waters are shallow, you’ll be able to see everything too. Most snorkeling companies, like Cancun Snorkeling, have snorkelers using a life vest while in the water just to be safe.
7. You Can Snorkel in the Rain
You may be surprised to find you can snorkel in all kinds of weather, including when it rains. The breathing tube from a snorkel mask typically has a splash guard that channels water away from it, leaving you free and clear to “breathe” underwater. Just keep in mind that if it’s heavy rain, your guide might suggest rescheduling due to the strong currents.
8. Need to be cautious with fish
Because of the movements a snorkeler makes, most fish will see us as a threat. They’ll think that we’re a predator and they will act accordingly. This means that fish may very well consider you dangerous and try to hide from you. If you move around too wildly, fish may be very difficult to find. It’s best to swim without any excess motion and keep a fair distance from any marine life. Fish will generally not touch a snorkeler. Instead, they’ll just swim around like they normally do.
9. Take care of coral reefs
One of the most important things to remember is to never touch coral reefs or any other marine life. Attention to this, you snorkel only to observe, not to touch!
We know it can be tempting, all the colors and different shapes of coral, but make sure to never touch or step on them. Be careful what’s below you when you try to stand up, and be aware of your fins. If you need to rest regularly, consider using your lifejacket floating in a horizontal way. Fins can be quite bulky and therefore extend your overall length quite a bit. It’s not uncommon for snorkelers to accidentally hit a coral reef when they’re not paying close attention.
All this is to help preserve the coral reef and marine life. Coral is very sensible and is highly protected by law and independent organizations.
10. There are designated areas to snorkel
Certain locations in the Caribbean offer a protected area for snorkelers. These days, more and more people are aware of the importance of protecting the remaining coral reefs. When you snorkel in these areas, the fee you pay will go towards preserving the local marine life and ecosystem. Of course, this does not limit you to snorkeling on the shore, which you are allowed to do on any beach. In addition, these locations usually provide a guide. They are able to show you exactly where a wide range of fish take shelter. Not only will this enhance your experience, but it also makes it less time-consuming to find the best spots to snorkel.