How Does A Snorkel Work?

Snorkelling involves swimming underwater with a clear plastic mask and a tube to breathe through. This piece of equipment is known as a snorkel. You can actually watch the marine life by simply floating face-down on the surface. Without disturbing the underwater scenery. Or you can dive underwater and swim with the fishes.
How does a snorkel work? Read on…

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How does a snorkel work underwater?

Modern dry snorkels use advanced technology and are light and effective. A plastic cover over the top of the snorkel stops water from coming into the tube when the tube is above water. When going below water a mechanism simply seals the tube preventing any water from entering.
Purge valves allow you to expel any unexpected water from your tube with one deep exhalation letting you breathe normally once more.

How do snorkel masks work?

Snorkel masks have a closed mouth and nose section. And separate areas for breathing in and out. Exhaled air is taken via side channels rather than through the valve. This stops you from breathing on your own air again as the air goes out through the glass.
Silicone frames ensure a watertight seal over the entire face from chin to forehead. And as soon as your snorkel goes underwater the waterstop ensures no water can enter the mask.

Can you breathe underwater with a snorkel?

Breathing with a traditional snorkel mask comprises of having the snorkel tube in your mouth that remains above the waterline. You breathe through the tube as you view the reefs through shallow waters.
With a full-face snorkel mask that covers your entire face, you can breathe through both your nose and your mouth. There’s still a tube that’s actually connected to the top of the mask rather than your mouth. And a dry-top anti-leak seal prevents water from getting into your mask.

How to use a snorkel?

You need to make sure that your mask and snorkel are comfortable – a mask with an adjustable strap will ensure a good fit without leaking. The mask should seal around your eyes and nose.
Lay flat on the water face-down. Then gently bite on the mouthpiece of the snorkel letting your lips seal around it holding it in place. Take slow, deep breaths without panicking – you can hear your breathing through the snorkel barrel – simply get into a rhythm.
If you get water in your snorkel, hold your breath and submerge the end of the snorkel by putting your head below the water. Water entering the snorkel barrel can be blasted clear after you surface and quickly exhale through your mouth. Any excess water can be expelled with a second forceful exhalation.
If there’s too much water and you don’t have enough airlift your head out of the water and breathe out of the mouthpiece.


Do you need to know how to swim to snorkel?

Basic swimming skills will be needed if you are intending to go underwater rather than staying on the surface. Wearing fins will allow fast forward movement without disruption. And holding your arms closely by your side will help to stop any drag.
The correct snorkelling technique will power you forwards with downward strokes. Swimming at a steady pace without splashing will conserve your energy. And avoid scaring off the fish and annoying fellow snorkellers.

Unlike freediving, snorkeling is to be carried out on the very surface. Although both activities use same kind of eyemasks, the ones blocking the nose, snorkeling allows you to stay afloat and admire marine life closest to the surface. Freediving requires special training, so you can learn to hold your breathe and feel comfortable being underwater without the use of a tube or scuba tank. Most snorkelers try freediving at some point, as it is a more natural way to swim with fish and admire corals.

What is the difference between snorkeling and scuba diving?
The major difference between scuba diving and snorkeling is that scuba divers descend deeper underwater, while snorkelers remain near the surface. Scuba divers typically use tanks of compressed air and specialized gear such as wet suits, masks, and fins for their dives; however, snorkelers are only required to wear a snorkel mask and fins to enter the water. So if you want to go scuba diving in Tulum, in the cenotes, you’d need the full dive gear set, proper dive certification, and a dive guide. For snorkeling, you’d need no certification, just the snorkel mask, and for some cenotes like Dos Ojos for example, you need a guide for a snorkeling tour inside.


Our Favourite Snorkels Brand and Model Name Pros Cons Link
1. Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel Dry top design, flexible tube, good price point Might not be as durable as some other models Buy Now
2. TUSA Hyperdry Elite II Dry Snorkel Dry top, high flow purge, comfortable mouthpiece More expensive than other options Buy Now
3. Scubapro Spectra Dry Snorkel Comfortable mouthpiece, dry top, efficient purge valve Slightly higher price point Buy Now
4. Aqua Lung Impulse 3 Snorkel Comfortable, excellent water clearing system Might feel bulky to some divers Buy Now
5. Mares Ergo Dry Snorkel Dry top, ergonomic design, easy to clear May not fit smaller mouths comfortably Buy Now


Dive Masks Brand and Model Name Pros Cons Link
1. Cressi F1 Frameless Mask
  • Comfortable
  • Great field of view
  • Affordable
  • May not fit all face shapes
Buy Now
2. Scubapro Synergy Trufit Twin Mask
  • Trufit tech for comfort
  • Good field of view
  • May be pricey for some budgets
Buy Now
3. Aqua Lung Single Lens Dive Mask
  • Wide field of view
  • Comfortable
  • Easy adjust straps
  • Might not fit smaller faces comfortably
Buy Now


Snorkel with the Experts at Koox Diving & Adventures

Snorkel Tours in Cenotes Price Duration Let’s Go
Snorkel in Dos Ojos & Casa Cenote from Tulum $124 8am-1pm Book Now
2 Snorkel Locations Tours from Playa del Carmen $124 8am-1:30pm Book Now

A deposit of 50% would be paid upon booking to reserve your tour. Please make sure to pay the remaining 50% preferably in USD cash when you come to the shop at the time of the tour.
Please mind that we currently accept online payments only via PayPal – 6% transaction fee would be charged as part of the booking.

Get a Quote

Prices Include:Free Fins & Snorkel Rental
Transportation from the pickup point and back & all snorkel sites entrance fees
Meeting points available: our dive shops in Tulum, Playa Del Carmen and Cancun.
Eco bottle with water & light lunch – for 2 snorkel swims or more on the same day.
Professionally trained snorkel guide
All prices are per person, in small group of 4 people.
Prices are fixed, regardless of the number of people in the group.
Snorkeling requires swimming skills and no diving certification
For private snorkel tours, please contact us, so we can provide an exclusive offer for you.
Discovering local reef fish, sea turtles, and nurse sharks in the sea are just some of the delights when you snorkel in Playa del Carmen with Koox Diving teams. Arrange a snorkelling tour and explore the beauty of the Caribbean Sea and the secrets beneath.


Snorkel in Cenotes – Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote, Hilario and more

The crystal clear cenote water are home to fishes, crabs and even underwater lilies. There are more than 500 cenotes near Tulum and Playa del Carmen, formed millions of years ago, even when the Yucatan peninsula did not exist yet.
Cenote Dos Ojos
Dos Ojos is one of the most spectacular cenotes – we’ll take you in to see the bath cave and admire the longest underwater cave system in the world.

If you want to see what is a cenote and take a refreshing swim in these waters with incredible visibility, we invite you on a great adventure. Casa Cenote, Dos Ojos & Gran Cenote are among the most popular snorkel locations in Riviera Maya.

cenote hilario snorkel
Cenotes are quite popular photoshoot location, and there is no doubt why. Trust our knowledgeable guides, we know when it’s best to go and we can also bring a GoPro, so you can take the best photos.

Swimming with Whale Sharks – one of the best snorkeling experiences ever

Whale sharks come from June – Sept to swim and feed in the warm Caribbean sea waters near Cancun
Whale Shark snorkel tour

This is one of the most oath inspiring water adventures you can try. We really admire the gentle giants and try to see them at places where there are not many other boats. Whale sharks are just so calm and just feed and swim slowly around. Don’t miss this once of a lifetime opportunity.


Whale Shark Snorkel Day Tour (June-Sept)  Prices in USD Duration Let’s Go
Whale shark tour + lunch from Tulum 274USD Starts at 5:30am Book Now
Whale shark tour + lunch from Playa del Carmen 224USD Starts at 6am Book Now
Whale shark tour + lunch from Cancun 204USD Starts at 7:45am Book Now



🚢Last Chance: 11-20.03.2024 ->Malpelo Island 🦈 🌴 Dive in Cenotes & 🐊Croc Dive & 🐢Akumal