Snorkeling is a fun activity that involves swimming on or under the water, while wearing the basic gear of a mask, a breathing tube called a snorkel, and fins to make it easier to move through the water. In some parts of the world snorkellers wear a wet suit to keep them warm, but the Bay of Banderas is generally warm enough year round for most people to simply snorkel in their bathing suits. Novices or those not comfortable swimming often wear a life jacket or PFD to keep them buoyant, conserve their energy and build their confidence in the open water.

The sport of snorkeling is one of the most popular and affordable water sports participated in by visitors and residents alike. The cost of the equipment is relatively inexpensive should you wish to purchase your own, but most people either rent it, use the equipment available at their hotel or resort, or give it a try as it is an "included" activity during many of the day cruises in the bay. As well as being fun, snorkeling is also popular as no special training or more sophisticated equipment is necessary, such as is necessary if you want to go scuba diving for the first time.

The advantage of going snorkeling while enjoying a local day cruise or private charter, is that the boat captains know the best snorkeling spots and also often send some of their crew members into the water with the guests, to guide them to the most interesting spots, point out and identify natural trivia and to guide and support novices to the sport. Prime snorkeling spots in Banderas Bay can include coral reefs, islands, caves and interesting plants and animals.

The crew on the day cruises, also know how to attract fish to the area, which makes your underwater view a lot more interesting even if you choose to swim on the surface of the water. These larger tour operators often insist that life jackets are worn by those snorkeling, but some have “professional” vests in which you can adjust the amount of air in balance with your desired buoyancy level.

Beginners often swim along the top of the water with their mask on the surface, while they gain confidence breathing through the snorkel. More advance participants dive down moving quickly through the water by taking advantage of the fins or flippers on their feet, while holding their breath and/or breathing out slowly. According to Wikipedia, newer “high tech” snorkels have a sump in the mouthpiece to allow a small amount of water to remain in them that won’t be inhaled when the snorkeller breathes in and some also have a one-way output valve in the sump that drains the sump when it fills with water. Some of the newer models feature float-operated valves to keep water out of the tube when submerging.

If you love the water, then you certainly must experience snorkeling if you have the opportunity. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience.