Since the Puerto Morelos reef is protected you must go with an experienced, certified guide. Otherwise you will be turned away or kicked out of the water. If you are caught fishing we have heard you go straight to jail. We opted to use the tour and guide services of the Snorkel Shop in Playa del Carmen located on 28th Street between Flamingo Ave and Kool Beach Club, since this is also where we purchase all our high quality, reliable snorkeling equipment.
The Snorkel Shop picked up Allan and I along with 2 friends at our door in a van and whisked us away in relative comfort to a small beach side restaurant in Puerto Morelos which would be our starting base. We pre-ordered lunch off the menu, since it's included in the tour and so it would be ready upon our return from the water. On a small boat we boarded with mandatory life vests and were escorted a few hundred feet off shore to water with a relative depth of 7 feet. Along with 2 guides and a photographer who would later provide us with a CD of our adventure, we were accompanied into the water and instructed to stick together, as it was easier to point out interesting sealife, to take photos and to control what we were doing in this protected marine environment.
What struck me most was the plethora of fish. In other reefs you might see one or two colorful fish; here you can see dozens. Purple fan coral spread across the sea bed like an inviting pathway to the unknown. We saw a squid roughly the size of a football with shimmering silver exterior which lit up like a New York billboard. The guides also pointed out large black moray eels hiding in holes within the coral. We also held a small, sparkling sting ray which felt warm and squishy.
After a while swimming we boarded the boat and headed to another, shallower part of the reef where we spent a while snorkeling in similar water, except here the coral formations were larger and more intriguing. Each one invited us to swim and explore their aquamarine communities. By the end of the tour we were all snorkeled out and ready to feast on our delicious beach side lunch while musing over a wonderful afternoon. The lunch included guacamole, ceviche and an entree like grilled fish or chicken fajitas. The food was scrumptious and the ceviche was some of the best we have ever eaten, and this is coming from someone who typically does not like it.
Our afternoon snorkeling at the Puerto Morelos Reef has been one of our favorite activities thus far. We would highly recommend the service of the Snorkel Shop on 28th Street near Kool Beach in Playa del Carmen (www.thesnorkelshop.com). The guides were knowledgeable and bi-lingual, van was clean and comfortable, tour was exceptional and overall service very pleasing. Please remember to mention North American Standards when booking. We will surely we venturing from our cocoon in Playa del Carmen to visit Puerto Morelos again.
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|Allan before the dive|
|Lots of fishies|