Just off the Caribbean coast of Mexico lies the immense Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, known throughout the world for its captivating wildlife like stunning coral, starfish, sharks and more. When snorkeling in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean, you’re sure to spot all kinds of marine life that will capture your attention, including a wide variety of spectacular fish. Below are just a few of the hundreds of Caribbean fish species that can be found off the coast of Mexico.
One of the most colorful fish in the Caribbean Sea! The vibrant parrotfish are usually found around the region’s coral reefs, and they’re covered in spectacular tones like blue, pink, gold and green. Their colors and patterns will change throughout the different stages of a parrotfish’s life, and their name comes from their parrot-like beak formed by numerous teeth. The feeding habits of parrotfish even help create the Caribbean’s amazing islands and beaches – they use their teeth to eat pieces of coral, then excrete the coral as sand.
These eye-catching Caribbean fish are known for their bright colors and beautiful stripes, and they look like a smaller version of the well-known angelfish. Butterflyfish spend most of their life around coral reefs, and range in color from intense blue to bright yellow and everything in between, often with dark stripes across their eyes. They spend their time pecking away at coral, sea anemones and rock, adding a pop of color to the fascinating marine life of the Caribbean reefs.
You’ll have to look carefully to spot these creatures while snorkeling! Due to their gray color and flattened body, stingrays are easily camouflaged on the sandy bottom of the sea. They feed along the ocean floor on small animals like shrimp, fish, clams and snails. There’s no need to be afraid of stingrays while snorkeling; these beautiful animals do not attack humans, and you will only get stung by a stingray if you step on one.
The largest fish in the world can be found in the deeper waters of the Caribbean. Whale sharks are a calm and peaceful filter-feeding shark that can reach up to 40 feet long. They’re known for their huge mouths and beautiful white spotted pattern all over their backs, and they stay in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean to feed on plankton from May through September. Snorkeling alongside these gentle giants is an experience you’ll never forget!
These crazy-looking creatures are easy to find in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean because of their distinctive red, white and black stripes and all-over spikes. Lionfish are not a native Caribbean fish, and despite their beautiful appearance, they have become an invasive species that is causing food chain problems in the local environment. Lionfish hunting has even turned into a popular local sport for divers in an effort to decrease the population of this species. Be careful never to touch lionfish when snorkeling – they are venomous to humans and can cause a variety of sicknesses.
On your next vacation in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, make sure to get out and explore the waters and coral reefs to see some of the area’s most spectacular Caribbean fish! Book your stay at Sandos Hotels & Resorts for an unforgettable stay in paradise, and dare to discover the area’s amazing marine life in person.