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The best snorkel

Puerto Morelos, a charming and still typically Mexican fishing village.

The Puerto Morelos Reef is part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second-largest reef system that stretches along the coast of Mexico. Vibrant corals and rich marine life are guaranteed since the area is a nature reserve.

Its coral reef, listed as a Marine Park and stretching for miles in parallel with the coast, is probably the most beautiful and best preserved in the Riviera Maya. On the nearby reef and seagrass, you will see rays, turtles, barracudas and dozens of other fish species.

The Puerto Morelos reef can be divided into two areas. The barrier reef, about 400 meters from the shore, which you can identify from the beach because of the waves breaking there (a white line), and the area between the beach and the reef, made up of seagrass of varying depths.

The seagrass beds are the best place to spot green sea turtles and several species of rays, including southern stingray and eagle ray.

When approaching the barrier reef, the sea bed is more and more covered in coral. Some areas have been colonized by purple sea fans swaying in the current. Look for flamingo tongue snail, particularly elegant little gastropods feeding on the sea fans.

Nearer the reef, the coral is denser. You will soon spot superb elkhorn coral beds touching the surface of the water. This reef-building coral is vital to life in the Caribbean reefs. It is fragile and strictly protected, so you must not touch it.

The coral area is the richest in fish with groups of dozens of sergeant major, shoals of French grunt, butterflyfish and parrotfish. As you make your way along the coral beds, you are likely to spot an ocean triggerfish or an impressive great barracuda lurking beneath the water surface.

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