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There are three places to snorkel in the Zihua/Ixtapa area. They are Playa Las Gatas, Playa Coral and Playa Manzanillo.
Playa Las Gatas: This area is reached by taking the water taxi from the Zihua pier across the bay. You can buy your ticket at the office at the base of the pier for $40.00 peso's. Remember to save the second half of your ticket for your return trip. The cove is lined with many restaurants and you can rent snorkel equiptment for $4.00usd. It's usually less crowded than Playa Coral and the cove is protected from the open ocean. Credit cards are not accepted at Playa Las Gatas
Playa Coral: This area is reached by taking the water taxi from Playa Linda, just north of Ixtapa. It is also $40.00 peso's and again save the second part of your ticket. There are many restaurants located here. Playa Coral is on the backside of Ixtapa Island and is a very short, easy walk. It is usually very crowded which makes the water murky and not as clear as Playa Las Gatas. This cove is open to the ocean currents which can make snorkeling a little rough. Credit cards are not accepted at Playa Coral.
Playa Manzanillo: This area is by far the best place to snorkel. It can only be reached by boat and is very primitive. There are no restaurants or bath rooms. There is nothing there except great snorkeling. There is a good chance that you will be the only people there enjoying the beautiful cove and it's clear water. It can best be described as a calm cove with a coral shelf that extends around most of the bay, populated by tropical fish. You may see many varieties of local marine life including wrasses, ells and rays. Visability varies with the season from 15-40 feet. A sharp eye may find sea horses among the coral. Colors in this part of Mexico tend to be less vivid than the Caribbean, but life abounds and the reefs are diverse and interesting.
Tours to Playa Manzanillo can be arranged through:
www.juliostours.com Cost is $150 total for up to 6 people and includes all snorkel equiptment.
www.picantecruises.com Cost is $79.00 + $7.00 for snorkel equipment per adult person. Children under 12 are $59.50 each + $7.00 for snorkel equipment.