Monday, January 7, 2013

Snorkling Tips on Isla Cozumel

Snorkeling is the most popular activity in Isla Cozumel. Whether visiting from the Riviera Maya on a day trip, arriving via cruise ship, or simply vacationing on the island, snorkeling is a "Must Do" while in Cozumel. The fantastic marine life coupled with warm, transparent water is truly a lifetime experience. It's safe for practically all ages and you can put into it as much, or as little effort as you wish. It's also an economical activity which can be a part of your day on the island.
The marine life on the island is incredible, especially with the fish so friendly as they are. The water is warm all year round and crystal clear. You're sure to see wonders that you've never seen before and you're definitely going to experience a change in your surroundings. The most important thing is that you're ready to have fun!!

To assure you of a good time, here are some simple tips for a great snorkeling experience:

The Equipment
Mask, fins and snorkel. If you have your own equipment, bring it on your trip. That way you'll save time adjusting straps and making sure your rental gear is a good fit. Just make sure that your equipment is in good shape. A safety vest is mandatory on tours. Safety vests are a much lighter and simpler version of a typical life vest found on airplanes. Most tours will include all the gear as part of the excursion. Once you receive your gear, inspect it carefully. Check for any tears or holes, including your mask and fin straps.

Now let's start with the mask and snorkel. Place the mask on your face without pulling the strap over your head. Sniff a little air in through your nose. If the mask sticks to your face, then you know you have a good seal and no water will leak in. If the mask falls off immediately, try repositioning it a little higher or lower on your face. If that doesn't work, ask for another mask until you get a good seal. Next, adjust the mask strap so that it firmly holds the mask on your face but not too tight. The snorkel may feel a little odd since most people aren't used to a mouthpiece. The snorkel goes on the outside of the mask and is held through a mask attachment. Insert the entire mouthpiece in your mouth but don't bite the prongs too hard.

There are two kinds of fins. The covered heal type and the strap type. With the covered heal type, just ask for ones with your shoe size. With the strap type, just adjust the strap. In both cases, your fins should fit snugly but not too tight, otherwise you're likely to end up with a blister. Make sure your fins feel comfortable. While in the water, use a kicking motion by bending your knees. To avoid splashing, your fins shouldn't come out of the water while swimming.

As for the safety vest, it goes over your head like a horse collar and they generally have two straps; one around your back and another between your legs. Again, not too tight! Your snorkeling guide will help with any necessary adjustments.

As for all your equipment, don't be embarrassed ask to try another mask or set of fins until your find a good fit. After all, there's nothing worse than being distracted by uncomfortable equipment while trying to enjoy the marvelous underwater scenery of Isla Cozumel.

Keep your mask from fogging:
Often the biggest distraction for beginners is mask fogging. There are several ways to keep your mask from fogging but all must be done prior to entering the water. Most commercial operators will offer anti fogging liquid. It has a liquid dish washing soap texture to it. Squirt a small amount onto the glass on the inside of the mask and rub it throughout the glass surface area. Another practical method which is always unhand is saliva. Yep, saliva. Just spit into your mask lens (the glass) and rub. That's it. Yet another method is to bring along a travel size bottle of baby shampoo and use similar as the anti fogging liquid.

Now we're ready to enter the water. Almost.
Listen to your snorkel guide. Safety is always of the utmost importance. Your snorkel guide is familiar with the reefs of Isla Cozumel. He knows which way the current is running and in Cozumel the current can very strong. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. It makes snorkeling from a boat nearly effortless as long as you don't try to swim against the current. The boat will actually follow the group from one end of the reef to the other. All you have to do is stay with your group and especially the snorkel guide. It's also a good idea to have a buddy and maintain close proximity to each other. Pick your buddy before you're in the water. The biggest dangers in the water include boat traffic, leg cramps, changing weather conditions and jellyfish stings. Shark bites or attacks from other marine life are extremely rare and practically nonexistent. If you encounter danger or if you just don't feel well, advise your snorkel guide immediately or wave at the captain so he may bring the boat to pick you up. You may want to inflate your safety vest for easier floatation until you're back onboard.

Once in the water, relax and enjoy the scenery. Swim using your fins and not your arms. Remember to keep your fins in the water and avoid excessive splashing. Breathe calmly and stay close to the group. There will be marine life everywhere, even if you don't see it right away. Some fish are curious and like to look at you up close. Other fish and bottom dwellers may be harder to spot. Look at the bottom, around corals, sea fans and sponges for fish, lobsters, octopus, stingrays, etc. Also remember to look laterally into the surrounding area. That's where you're likely to spot the larger animals such as sea turtles and dolphins.

Now let's go snorkeling!
Make sure to book a snorkeling tour with a reputable company. This will make a big difference in service, rental equipment, and the boat. By booking online you'll know what to expect and you'll avoid unwanted surprises. Cruise ship passengers beware: expect to pay upwards of $90.00 usd if booked through your cruise ship line. Online reservations are always recommended and prices at around $40.00 usd.

Links to online snorkeling tours and more:
Book an online Snorkeling Tour here. Three reefs with a certified guide. Soft drinks and beer included.

Snorkeling from shore as one of many activities during a full island tour. Experience all the highlights of Isla Cozumel in a complete island tour that includes Mayan ruin, wildlife reserve, lighthouse, beach, snorkeling, lunch and much more

Scuba Diving Experience for Beginners. If you want to go beyond snorkeling, this is your best option. You'll go through a training session followed by a FREE one tank Scuba diving boat trip. Includes full equipment.

Scuba Diving for Certified Divers. Enjoy a two tank boat dive on a world famous reefs. Fast boat option available.

Visit IslaCozumelDayPass.com for more tours and activities.

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