Cozumel, Mexico’s largest island is It is also one of the most beautiful islands in Mexico. Cozumel is just 12 miles from Playa del Carmen on the northeast coast of Yucatan Peninsula. It offers a Caribbean-style escape not far from the most popular resorts in the Riviera Maya. The island is lush with green vegetation and home to some the most amazing diving in the world. It’s also surrounded by powder-soft beaches and blue-green waters. This island is a popular choice for both sunbathers and adventurers.
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Cozumel, also known to the Maya as “Ah-cuzamil”, (“land of swallows”) was a significant place for sun worshippers. It was a haven for pirates and smugglers from the 17th through 19th centuries, including famous characters such as Henry Morgan and Long John Silver. Today, pirates and pilgrims are gone. Instead of being sun worshippers, tourists flock here to enjoy the best all inclusive resorts in Cozumel as well as the multitude of activities by the sea.
Dive Palancar Reef
After decades of overfishing, the marine life around Cozumel is recovering thanks to conservation efforts. Today, it is more important to observe fish in their natural habitats than to catch them. This island is a popular destination for snorkelers, scuba divers and others who want to discover beautiful reefs.
The Palancar Reef is one of the most popular spots to dive. It rises from depths up to 80m to shallows below the surface of water at the southwest island. One popular dive is to see a large bronze statue of Christ, which is located 17 meters below the surface.
You can also dive on Paraiso, Columbia and Maracaibo Reefs. You will see exotic species like nurse sharks, angelfish, sunfish and sea turtles almost anywhere you dive.
A Cozumel snorkeling tour of Palancar, Columbia and Cielo is one of the best ways of exploring the reefs. Enjoy a half-day adventure that includes travel on a glass-bottom boat to El Cielo and snorkeling at Palancar Reef, which is famous for its colorful coral reefs and sandy bottom. Your trip includes complimentary beverages and a choice between morning or afternoon departures.
Relax on the Cozumel Beaches
Cozumel is home to some amazing beaches. These beaches are fluffy and covered in a beautiful powdery white sand. This is a result of the many coral reefs that surround the island. Playa San Juan, Playa Santa Pilar, Playa Santa Rosa and Playa Palancar are some of the most sought-after beaches in Cozumel.
Playa Encantada and Playa Hanan are all located on the east side. They open onto the Caribbean Sea.
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park is also worth a visit. This popular spot is ideal for snorkeling because it has easy access to El Cielo’s coral reefs.
Explore San Miguel de Cozumel
San Miguel de Cozumel, the capital of the island, is located on the northwest side. It offers many fascinating distractions. It’s a popular tourist destination and also serves as a port. Many ferries depart regularly to the mainland-particularly to Cancun and Playa del Carmen-and the port also hosts cruise ships as they ply the sparkling waters of the Caribbean Sea (be sure to check out the interesting Coral Reefs Monument located near here). A major international airport is also located in the town.
The Island Museum (Museo de la Isla), which features many exhibits about local history, geography, and marine life, is another highlight. You can also enjoy a stroll through the city, which offers great food and a chance for some shopping, such as souvenirs or high-end jewelry.
Laguna Chankanaab and the National Marine Park
Laguna Chankanaab is a small, freshwater lake located six kilometers from San Miguel de Cozumel. It is one of the most popular natural attractions in Cozumel. It is a beautiful place to snorkel, swim and scuba dive, but it is not connected to the sea.
The lagoon is now part the adventure park Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park. Here guests can enjoy activities such as a sea lion show and dolphin swim experience. You can also zipline and climb treetops, or visit a Mayan home for traditional food.
Enjoy Cozumel’s Mayan Heritage at San Gervasio
There are more than 30 Mayan sites found in Cozumel. Some of them can be found in lush jungles or high above the pristine beaches. The most important of these is San Gervasio. It was built in AD 800, and can be found 16 km from San Miguel de Cozumel. The Temple of Ixchel, which is the center of religious life on the island for centuries and a site of pilgrimage across the Mayan empire, is one of the highlights of a visit.
The nearby ruins of Santa Rita are also worth a visit, as are the ruins Santa Pilar and Castillo Real. This is the largest Mayan structure in Cozumel. In the southwest corner of the island, at Buenavista, and at El Caracol in the south are Mayan remains.
Address: Carretera Transversal Kilometro 7.5, Centro, 77600 Cozumel, QROO
Visit the Museum of the Island of Cozumel
The Museum of the Island of Cozumel is located in the heart of San Miguel de Cozumel. It’s a great place to take a break from the beaches. The museum provides a wealth of information about the history and people of the island, right from its creation millions of years ago until its current status as the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean.
The museum has multi-media displays, a permanent collection of ancient artifacts and many temporary exhibits. These include artwork by local and international artists. The museum has a special exhibit on marine life and a mockup of traditional Mayan homes, which are both interesting (there is also a restaurant on the premises).
Address: Avenida Rafael Melgar at Calle 4, Cozumel 77600
Explore Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
The largest eco-park on the island, Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, is a great place to discover the beauty of Cozumel’s coast and its fauna and flora. Punta Sur is located at the southern tip. It offers great snorkeling and beach fun. It is part of the Parque Punta Sur covering 240 acres. There are many beaches, reefs and lagoons here, plus a forested area that offers plenty of walking trails.
Another highlight is the Celarain, an old lighthouse with an adjacent nautical museum and an ancient Mayan temple, the Caracol, or Tumba del Caracol. There are many observation platforms available for bird-watching.
Address: Cozumel, QRoo
Discover Mexico Park Cozumel
The newest attraction on the island, Discover Mexico Park Cozumel, is a favorite among cruise passengers who stop over in Cozumel. Highlights include miniature reconstructions and historical attractions of many of Mexico’s most significant archaeological sites.
The multi-media exhibits and multi-media presentations that showcase traditional music, art and food, including the chance to taste locally-made chocolate, are also of interest. The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), is a spectacular spectacle that involves participants throwing themselves off a 30-meter tall pole and spinning to the ground using ropes attached to the feet.
Address: Carretera Costera Sur Km 5.5, Zona Hotelera Nte., 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Quintana Roo
Official site: https://discovermexicopark.com
Stingray Beach is a great place to stop by
Cozumel is home to many wildlife encounters thanks to its coral reefs, clear water and abundant marine life. Stingray Beach is a great attraction that allows you to get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating marine animals.
Highlights include a guided swim in the enclosed bays with stingrays. Here you will learn fascinating facts about these passive creatures, as well as the chance to touch and feed them. After the swim, you will be able to enjoy a glide-around with them (all equipment and use of beach included in admission).
Tip – The island’s top tourist attractions are very busy when cruise ships dock. Be sure to inquire about the quieter times of the day when you book.
Address: Km 2.807 Carretera Costera Sur S/N, Centro, 77660 Cozumel, QROO
Official site: www.stingraybeach.com
Climb Celarain: Cozumel’s Lighthouse
Celarain, located 18 miles south from San Miguel, is the most well-known of Cozumel’s lighthouses. The lighthouse was built in 1901. It has been restored and includes a maritime museum. It is located at the southern tip of the island, in the Parque Sur nature reserve. It is well worth the climb up its 134 steps to enjoy the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. This is a great little excursion that’s not too crowded by cruise passengers.
Address: Costera Sur Highway, Km 27, Cozumel, QR 77600
Cozumel offers a variety of water-based activities that are fun and worth looking into.
Dolphinaris Cozumel offers one of the most exciting dolphin swims on the island. You should book your package in advance as these spots are very popular with cruise ship tourists. The waters are shallow so it is best to bring children along. These amazing creatures can be seen up close and you have access to all the facilities on site, including restaurants, changing rooms and souvenir shops. ,
Dolphin Discovery Cozumel is another top attraction. The location is located in Chankanaab National Park. It’s a stunning spot with beautiful reefs. There are many dolphin experiences available, including one that involves swimming with them. Manatees, sea lions, and other creatures will be found here. To avoid disappointment, plan ahead as with the Dolpinaris Experience.
Submarine Tours: Dive into the Depths
You can take a journey deep beneath the transparent waters. This Atlantis Submarine Expedition to Cozumel allows tourists to climb aboard a real, state-of the-art submarine.
The vessel plunges down to depths of around 30 meters. There is a wide variety of marine life waiting in the protected park Chankanaab. This tour is great for those who don’t have PADI certification but still wish to see the amazing creatures living on the ocean floor. This tour is also ideal for divers who wish to remain dry on that particular day.
As your onboard guide explains what you see, feast your eyes on the colorful coral and tropical fish. The dive takes approximately 45 minutes.
Address: Chankanab Km 4, Sur, Zona Hotelera Nte., 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico