Playa Del Carmen and Tulum Mexico Real Estate | SNORKELING WITH COZUMEL'S STARFISH

Laura Winfree laurawinfree 11 March 2013 0


After nearly eight years living in the area, I've been snorkeling many times throughout the Mexican Caribbean. I've had the chance to swim with stingrays at Cozumel, barracudas at Xel-Ha, sea turtles in Akumal, whale sharks at Holbox and tropical fish all over. It wasn't until this year, however, that I even knew we had starfish in the area.

My best friend organized a group weekend on the island of Cozumel for Carnaval in February, and she was dying to take us out to a spot called El Cielo for some snorkeling. Sunday morning, we booked a snorkeling tour from a little streetside travel stand in downtown Cozumel. A small glass-bottom boat took 12 of us south along the western coast of Cozumel toward El Cielo, a snorkeling location on the southwestern end of the island.


After about half an hour, we saw some starfish flash by window of the glass-bottom boat and we knew we were getting close. Finally our guide Jesus told us it was time to hop into the water, and the group wasted no time in strapping on our flippers and snorkel masks before jumping over the side of the boat.

As I put my face below the surface of the water, I was greeted by the sight of two starfish lying a few meters below me on the white sand of the ocean floor. I swam further along and started to see more and more starfish as our group got closer to the shore. It was easy to see why it's called "El Cielo" (meaning "The Sky") because of all its stars!

Jesus dove down to the floor and picked up a starfish for us to touch. I'd only ever seen dried up starfish at souvenir shops, and I'd always imagined that the live ones were softer. However, I was surprised to find out that live starfish are rock hard and surprisingly heavy, even underwater.


We spent the next half hour diving down to pick up starfish and put them back again. The crystal clear water and clean white sand made them easy to spot even in the deeper areas. Jesus informed us that March is the high season for starfish, so I'd love to go back! We also heard that there are many more starfish closer to El Cielo Beach, but the boats can't go into the shallow waters right by the coast. I'm already starting to imagine driving down to El Cielo Beach in March to see even more of these creatures!