Although it is a small island, Cozumel is the world's largest cruise ship destination. Once primarily a scuba diving mecca, it has now grown to include a huge variety of activities and tours.
Cozumel Diving - Since roughly a third of the people coming to Cozumel are coming to experience one of the best dive locations in the world . . . this is where we will begin.
About 70,000 visitors come to dive Cozumel each year. Most of those come between June and August when hotel rates are low and the water temperature is high (around 78F or 26C).
Crystal clear water and over 30 reef locations that range from 50 to 80 feet (15-25 meters) make diving Cozumel for beginning and advanced divers alike.
There really are more dive boats and dive operators here than you can shake a stick at, so don't worry too much about reserving a space. However, if you have a group or just have to plan every minute of your trip. . . you can easily find some of the larger Cozumel dive shops online.
Cozumel Beaches - A simple rule of thumb on Cozumel is that the side of the island facing the mainland has better beaches and places for swimming or snorkeling than the side of the island facing East. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. Eastern shore exceptions include Playa Chen Rio, Playa Chiquero and Balnerio Municipal.
San Miguel de Cozumel - This is the main port where most people enter and leave Cozumel island. It is also the best place to find dive shops, motor scooter rentals, shopping malls, movies, nightlife and restaurants.
Parque Chankanaab - An ecological park with reproductions of Olmec, Toltec, Mayan and Aztec structures sprinkled throughout.
Parque Punta Sur - As the name imply's, it is on the southern tip of Cozumel Island. There is the park . . . but that's not the only attraction here. Kayaking and Snorkeling (gear for both available on location) at this location are very popular too.
Things To Do in Cozumel
Drive Around The Island – One road goes almost all the way around the island, cutting across the island from San Miguel on the west side and working its way to Mezcalitos Beach on the east side. From there the road goes around the south end of the island. There are plenty of interesting sites along the coastline and quite a few places to stop for refreshments. Car rental agencies are available on the island.
Beaches – on the Island’s west coast, beautiful beaches overlook calm waters. Resorts located on the beach will have their own sandy beach complete with palapas serving you. Visitors will find many beautiful beaches located all around the island. Visitors should heed the beach flags that indicate beach safety for swimming.
Deep-Sea Fishing - many deep-sea fishing tours are available, and every hotel on the island can connect you with a boat and qualified crew.
Bone Fishing - Laguna Monte Cristo, Paso Balem, and Rio de la Plata are three shallow lagoons located on Cozumel’s northern tip and are 3-18 inches deep with a long range of flats and shallows that are excellent for bone fishing. Boat and guides are available around the island.
Sea Turtle and Snorkel Adventures – visitors will find many opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles in the open waters. Many tours offer an open bar, buffet-style lunch, and include on-board snorkeling equipment.
Reef Diving –The most popular reef is the Arrecife Palancar (Palancar Reef) and it is a prime scuba diving spot off the island. Stunning coral formations offer some of the world's finest viewing and underwater photography with an extraordinary 230-foot visibility. There are caverns and plenty of brightly colored sea creatures. The Palancar reef is almost a mile offshore; visitors can sign up for a day cruise or charter a boat.
Cozumel Dinner Cruises – spend a relaxing evening on the water listening to music, dining on lobsters, and drinking margaritas. It’s a fun way to experience the Caribbean.
Destination and Island Tours – Visitors can choose from a variety of day tours to other islands like Holbox Island and its protected bird sanctuary. Or they may choose a day tour to destinations along the Riviera Maya, like the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum or the natural snorkeling aquarium at Xel-Ha, where a variety of tropical fish can be view in their natural environment.
Off-Road And Jeep Adventure Tours – visitors will find several businesses offering a zip down the wild side of Cozumel using jeeps or fully automatic all-terrain vehicles. Tour guides take tourists off-road through lush jungle; lead them to caverns to explore flora and fauna; or to snorkeling sites, Mayan ruins, or a dip in freshwater cenotes (ancient natural limestone wells created by the Mayans).
Museo de la Isla de Cozumel – located in San Miguel, this museum offers exhibits depicting Cozumel’s flora, fauna, geography, geology, along with facts about ancient Maya history. Museum signs and exhibit plaques are written in English and Spanish. A back courtyard features a thatched Maya hut with displays of an ancient Mayan’s domestic life.