Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef stretches just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula all the way down to Honduras. It's the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere and half the length of the Great Barrier Reef (the world's largest). Also commonly referred to as the Great Maya Reef, it’s a must-see for nature and wildlife lovers.
Visitors to Playa del Carmen can easily arrange a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Snorkeling and diving tours typically pick you up from your resort or hotel and transport you to a boat. You’ll be taken out to the reef and provided with all the equipment you need to jump in and start exploring. See the colorful, live reef and the tropical fish, sea turtles, rays, and other marine life living among it.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a must-see for nature and wildlife lovers and first-time visitors to Playa del Carmen.
Choose a snorkeling or diving tour with hotel pickup and drop-off included.
Bring biodegradable sunblock that won’t damage the reef, and tote a bathing suit, towel, and change of clothes.
How to Get There
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef lies off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the easiest way to reach it is on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour from Playa del Carmen. The reef is also easily accessible from the shore on the island of Cozumel.
When to Get There
As with all of the Riviera Maya, the reef can be visited year-round. Arrive early in the morning if you want to beat the crowds, especially during the winter high season. Other times of year are less crowded. Wet weather is likely from May to October.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya
While in Playa del Carmen, set aside some time to explore more of the Riviera Maya. Stretching from just south of Cancun all the way down to Tulum, it’s home to eco-parks, Maya ruins, and hidden cenotes (subterranean pools). Travelers who want to avoid the hassle of renting a car or navigating public transport can opt for a tour that includes round-trip transportation.
- Cave of the Sleeping Sharks
- Isla Mujeres
- Cirque du Soleil Joya
- Mayan Ruins of Coba (Zona Arqueológica de Cobá)
- Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida)
- Cenote Chaak Tun
- 3D Museum of Wonders
- Fundadores Park (El Zócalo)
- CoCo Bongo Playa del Carmen
- Xplor Park
- Rio Secreto Nature Reserve
- Kantun Chi Ecopark