Tucked away along Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya coastline lies a protected paradise for snorkelers, divers, and outdoor adventurers – Garrafon Natural Reef Park. Spanning over 647 acres of vibrant coral reefs, crystal lagoons, and white sand beaches just offshore from Playa del Carmen, Garrafon offers a perfect blend of natural wonder and heart-pumping fun.
A Protected Marine Reserve
Established in 2006, Garrafon Reef Park protects over 40 species of coral and 500 species of tropical fish that inhabit its lush underwater ecosystems. As part of the world’s second-largest coral system – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – conservation is a top priority. Strict capacity limits and patrols ensure the land and marine environments remain pristine.
The three main reef formations of Garrafon include:
- Fringing reefs hugging the shoreline
- Offshore barrier reefs running parallel to land
- Over 50 patch reefs dotted sporadically offshore
Snorkelers and divers can easily spot vibrant species like parrotfish, angelfish, blue tang, and even nurse sharks and sea turtles amongst canyon-like coral walls.
Eco Adventure Awaits
While the stellar reef snorkeling and diving draws ocean enthusiasts from around the world, Garrafon offers no shortage of ways to enjoy its protected paradise above and below the water’s surface.
Snorkeling and Diving
With visibility exceeding 100 feet on calm days, the snorkeling and scuba diving at Garrafon is world-class. Rent equipment or join a half-day snorkel tour to enjoy Garrafon’s underwater splendor. Certified divers can join thrilling wall dives or explore sunken statues on tank dives with experienced guides.
Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding
Paddle your way around towering mangroves and deserted coves on sit-on-top kayaks or stand-up paddleboards perfect for beginners. Search for tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, and more as you explore Garrafon’s mostly hidden lagoons and inlets.
Zipline Adventure Park
Take the adventure to new heights on Garrafon’s multi-level zip line course! Soar over gardens, swim holes, and jungle tops as certified guides lead you across bridges and 10 exhilarating zip lines perfectly suited for first-timers.
Beach Club and Pool
When you’re ready to relax, enjoy beachside food and drinks under swaying palms at Garrafon’s Beach Club. The stunning infinity pool offers incredible views of the turquoise Caribbean waters beyond.
Getting to Garrafon
The park’s convenient location just 4 miles from Playa del Carmen makes getting to the adventure a breeze. Shuttles run continuously to help visitors without rental cars make the quick 10-minute trip.
With coveted protected status safeguarding its spectacular coral reef and mangrove ecosystems, Garrafon Natural Reef Park offers the best of Riviera Maya’s natural and adventure attractions in one easily accessible location. Come discover for yourself why it remains one of the region’s most beloved eco-parks.