If you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure in Cabo, Mexico, snorkeling is our top pick.  The great thing about snorkeling is that it is a very beginner friendly activity (basic swimming skills are helpful).  Snorkeling in Cabo is world renowned for the incredible underwater world of the Gulf of California (also called the Sea of Cortez).  Cabo is short for Los Cabos – the two cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.  Los Cabos is where most visitors fly into, and many stay within the two Cabos for the duration of their visit.  There’s plenty to see and do in Cabo, but there’s also plenty of people.  We also love to explore the smaller towns along the coast in Baja Sur that have a more authentic Mexican vibe and are less busy.

We spent 2 months exploring the Baja Peninsula in our RV last winter, and once we heard about the phenomenal marine life and remarkable conservation stories of the area, snorkeling jumped to the top of our adventure list.  The Gulf of California was nicknamed the “world’s aquarium” by explorer Jacques Cousteau for its unique marine environment and astounding amount of marine life.  We had to check this out.

The Lowdown on the Best Snorkeling in Baja California

We asked around for the best spots for snorkeling in Baja Sur – we love getting the local perspective.  Several spots were recommended time and again, so we knew we had to check them each out.

Cabo Pulmo and La Ventana are two snorkeling hotspots on the Sea of Cortez – the eastern side of the peninsula. They are both within 2.5 hours drive of Los Cabos, and both are exquisite gems dotting the Gulf of California that mustn’t be missed. Snorkeling is good here year-round with waters clearer on less windy days and in summer months.

In the winter months, whale sharks dominate the scene in La Paz, a seaside town also situated on the Sea of Cortez with a special bay that serves as feeding grounds for these gentle giants in winter. La Paz is about a 2 hour drive from Los Cabos, and is one of the few places in the world (and one of the best managed!) where you can swim and snorkel with whale sharks.

But you don’t have to leave Los Cabos to snorkel, either. Cabo San Lucas is one of the 2 Los Cabos towns, and definitely holds it’s own with regards to snorkeling adventures right off it’s coast.

Baja Snorkeling Recommendations

Cabo Pulmo

If you are looking for the best snorkeling on the Baja Sur Peninsula, Cabo Pulmo is your place.  It’s just 60 miles north of Los Cabos and is well known for it’s protected National Marine Park and incredible sea life. We booked an unforgettable and very reasonably priced snorkeling trip with Cabo Pulmo Watersports, and in 2.5 hours we visited 4 different areas of the reef and marine reserve and spotted a ridiculous amount of sea life.  Sea turtles, magnificent schools of fish, sea lions, whales and more.  All snorkel gear and wet suits provided (wetsuits typically only needed in winter months).  Plus, you can feel good about booking this eco-friendly trip that is benefiting the ecosystem, marine life and local communities.  For more details on Cabo Pulmo snorkeling, check out our Cabo Pulmo snorkeling adventure and recommendations for booking your own!

La Ventana

If you’re looking to venture a little farther, spend a bit more time snorkeling, and check out other world-class outdoor activities like mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking and more, head to La Ventana.   We explored many snorkeling spots on our 6-hour snorkeling trip with a delicious lunch with Baja Wild.  Depending on what is in the bay that day, there may be opportunities to see whales, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, orcas, sea lions, and much more.  All snorkel gear provided.  Check out our La Ventana snorkeling adventure and how to plan and book your own. Another extraordinary adventure – reserve your trip online on TripOutside!

La Paz

A driving factor of Mexico’s whale shark conservation success (and the fact that they keep coming back every year) is that swimming with whale sharks in La Paz is a highly regulated activity to protect both the animals and the snorkelers. If you’re already in the La Paz area, you can book a conservation-minded adventure with a local marine biologist on board to learn all about these magnificent spotted giants while you snorkel beside them. If you’re staying in the Los Cabos area, you can choose a full day tour with transportation to La Paz and combine snorkeling with the biggest fish in the world with a stop in the quaint town of Todos Santos.

Los Cabos

If you’d like to stay within Los Cabos, there’s still plenty of stunning snorkeling spots in the area, plus kayaking, paddleboarding, scuba diving, hiking and surfing adventures!

Cabo San Lucas Snorkeling

If you don’t have much time or would rather not venture so far, there’s still plenty of incredible snorkeling right in Cabo San LucasSnorkeling tours will bring you to some of the best snorkeling in the area.  Whether you’re looking to swim alongside colorful fish in the shallow reefs or dive deeper to explore sunken treasures, Cabo San Lucas has it all. Santa Maria and Chileno Bay are particularly good snorkeling spots, and local experts swear by Pelican Rock. It’s a bit more of a secret gem, known for its teeming schools of fish and occasionally, sightings of majestic sea turtles. Our recommendation: get picked up at your hotel and experience snorkeling at two of Cabo’s best snorkeling beaches, plus a trip to Land’s End to see Cabo’s famous arch on the Beach Hopper Snorkeling Tour

Or take a guided kayak tour or paddleboard tour and paddle past unspoiled beaches to see the famous Arch, sea lion colonies, and Pelican Rock, where you will see why this area is called “the aquarium of the world”.   If it’s whales you are seeking, you can also combine a whale watching adventure with snorkeling at Pelican Rock – hotel pickup also included!

Map of Best Snorkeling Near Cabo

Our Final Take on Cabo Snorkeling

Whether you choose Cabo Pulmo, La Ventana, or Cabo San Lucas during your Cabo adventure, you will be delighted by the underwater world of the Gulf of California.  For purely snorkeling or diving, head to Cabo Pulmo’s enchanting coast.  If you want to combine snorkeling with other adventures like biking, wind sports and hiking, then check out La Ventana.  If you want to stay close by and let someone else do the driving, check out Cabo San Lucas’ snorkeling adventures.

With each snorkeling excursion, you’ll not only witness the beauty of Baja’s coastal treasures but also become part of the ongoing conservation efforts to protect these precious ecosystems, ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at their wonders.

Snorkeling Dos and Don’ts

  • Do observe marine life from a distance, without getting too close
  • Do bring a reusable water bottle – there’s too much plastic in our oceans already!
  • Do follow Leave No Trace principles
  • Do look for tour operators that promote Leave No Trace by not providing plastic water bottles, respecting wildlife, and not allowing participants to touch, feed or chase
  • Don’t ever feed any wildlife or marine life – human food is not good for them, plus they may become dependent on humans and not find food themselves
  • Don’t ever touch any wildlife or marine life – they are very sensitive and a human touch is not only terrifying but could make them sick or even kill them
  • Don’t touch coral – it’s very sensitive and it can cause irreparable harm
  • Don’t ever chase a wild animal or sea life, if they swim away please let them be

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