26 January 2011
Mexico: Take the Plunge
Snorkel, swim and Scuba dive on Mexico's Riviera Maya.
You don't need to take along your own oxygen to have remarkable experiences out on the water that laps Maroma. With just a snorkel, fins and mask you can see many fish similar to those you would discover while Scuba diving. The most extraordinary snorkeling, though, is in the shimmering blue pools of freshwater, known as cenotes, that dot the Yucatan Peninsula.
Out in the BlueGo deep-sea fishing for marlin and barracuda or take a sunset cruise along the coast. Many guests rate swimming, and even stroking, dolphins the highlight of their visit.
Created some 6,500 years ago by rainwater seeping through and eroding the limestone, cenotes are holes in the ground - often in the middle of the jungle - that act as entrances to an underground river system made up of some 400 miles of interconnected passageways. They are found nowhere else in the world, but you can get to many just a short drive from Maroma Resort and Spa, which offers a luxury package that can include cenote snorkelling for experienced divers. Among the best spots close by are Dos Ojos, Cenote Azul and Chikin Ha. In addition Aktun Chen comprises truly spectacular caverns and has the added bonus of being only recently discovered.
More great snorkelling - this time under open skies - can be enjoyed at Xel-Ha, where a vast array of tropical fish swim in crystal-clear lagoons. This network of channels also embraces an ancient archaeological site similar to that at Tulum.
Out in the great undulating sea, several companies invite you to snorkel with whale sharks, which pass near the Yucatan on their migratory route between May and September. At about 45 feet long, these are the largest fish in the world, but despite their unnerving name, they only eat plankton and have no teeth. Spend time paddling along with these beautiful creatures and you can truthfully say you've swum with sharks.
By Jeannie Ralston, a US-based writer for many international publications.
What are your top tips for enjoying the waters around Maroma Resort, both out at sea and inland?