A coastline of tropical rainforest, glittering white sands and shimmering turquoise waters form the beautiful backdrop for the magnificent island of Cozumel. Located in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cozumel appeals to all sorts of tourists, from extreme diving enthusiasts to nature buffs who are seeking pure relaxation. It is situated 82 km’s south of Cancún and 19 km from the mainland. The island is about 48 km in length and 16 km in width. First established as a commercial port for trade, the island has now transformed itself into a major Mexican tourist destination. From diving along the shallow reefs, to relaxing on its pristine beaches to trekking through lush jungle, you'll find plenty of amazing things to do and experience in the Caribbean island of Cozumel.
Things To Do And See
- Diving and Snorkeling: Cozumel has been described as “Heaven on Earth” because of its unspoiled coastlines and amazing reef systems. So whether you're a novice diver or experienced snorkeler, diving and snorkeling in the island's blue waters will turn into one of the best experiences that wildlife in the water have to offer. Cozumel has the Caribbean's clearest waters with excellent visibility. The island houses the second largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere – Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Here are some of the best places to go and discover what lies deep below.
- Paradise Reef: Paradise Reef system is actually made up of three separate reefs, that are located parallel to the coastline, about 600 feet from the shore. It boasts an array of magnificent marine animals such as shellfish, starfish, lobsters, crabs, rays, toad fish, and colorful coral of different shapes and sizes. You will be fascinated by these marine creatures and beautiful corals at this phenomenal dive site.
- Chankanaab Park: The Park is famous for pretty much everything: good beach for relaxing, sea lion shows, Mayan statue displays, massages, and Mini-amusement Park for children, and it is also popular among snorkelers. There is a wonderful shallow 20-foot deep cove where you can find numerous fish species and unique coral formations. Chankanaab lagoon offers divers access to a nearby offshore dive site, where you might even find Nemo fish, as the reef is home to plenty of clownfish!
- Columbia Reef: Situated near Columbia lagoon, Columbia Reef is simply spectacular. This dive area gets cool fresh water from the lagoon, and provides amazing visibility, sometimes up to 150-200 feet. It features breathtaking caverns, caves, tunnels, gigantic pinnacles, and an amazing drop-off to a depth of 60 to 80 feet. You can explore different coral heads and large marine creatures here.
- Palancar Reef: Located about a mile offshore and extending more than 3.5 miles in length, Palancar Reef is a famous diving and snorkeling destination in Cozumel. It boasts spectacular ledges and deep drops, where you will find an impressive variety of barracuda, sharks and more. The shallow Palancar region is only 20 to 40 feet deep, with caves and long tunnels, perfect to get a taste of drift diving. The wall at Deep Palancar region begins at 90 to 100 feet, ideal for deep diving. Deeper Big Horseshoe is the most visited dive site in Palancar area. It features a chain of U-shaped coral heads that form a natural horseshoe.
- Devil's Throat at Punta Sur: This dive destination is known for its astounding walls with magnificent coral heads and sponges. Devil's Throat, an underwater cave formation at Punta Sur, is a must dive experience by divers visiting Cozumel. The long narrow tunnel of Devil's Throat boasts spiraling whip corals, black coral formations and brightly colored gorgonians. Devil's Throat also includes an underwater cave referred to as Cathedral where you will see an unusual cross-shaped sponge formation on the ceiling of the cave.
- Other dive and snorkel sites: San Francisco Reef is the shallowest wall dive site of Cozumel. The reef is filled with colorful marine life including rays and sea turtles. Santa Rosa Wall is another wall dive location, with massive sponges, large hard coral overhangs, caves and swim-throughs. Dzul-Ha is an exceptional place to go snorkeling in Cozumel. You will spot lobsters, rays and an endless variety of fish while exploring this site. Villa Blanca can be easily accessed from the beach. It features a sloping wall with sponges, sea fans, exotic coral formations and spectacular fish species. Discover the home of starfish in the Caribbean when you snorkel at El Cielo. The water here is shallow and you'll find the ocean floor is covered with these fascinating creatures.
- Fishing: The nutrient rich Caribbean waters around Cozumel provide exceptional fishing opportunities all year round. Deep sea fishing and bottom fishing are a hugely popular activities in Cozumel. The waters here are filled with marlin, wahoo, sailfish, mahi mahi, tuna, and more during summer months. The island is also famous for its bonefish, which populate the northern lagoons. Smaller gamefish such as bonito, barracuda, tuna and mackerel can be caught year-round. In the winter, avid anglers focus on catching jack, mackerel, red snapper, amberjack, bonita, grouper, wahoo and barracuda. You can even participate in annual fishing tournaments such as the International Cozumel Fishing Tournament and Mexican Rodeo Boats. Sports fishermen from all over the world come here every year to Cozumel and participate in these tournaments around the island which is rated as one of the top 10 sport fishing “hotspots” in the world.
- Glass Bottom Boat Tour and Mini Submarine Tour: Take a ride on a specialized Glass Bottom Boat, and get to see tropical marine creatures going by below you. Experience a new way of exploring the underwater world through mini submarine tour. Ride your underwater scooter and discover the reefs and sea life of Cozumel.
- Swimming with Dolphins: Embark on a dolphin adventure during your trip to exciting Cozumel. Dolphinaris Cozumel is a dolphinarium where you can swim and interact with these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Dolphinaris has a unique inlet built in from the coast of the island and boasts lagoons where you can indulge in one of the most extraordinary experiences ever – swimming with dolphins.
- ATV Jungle Adventure: It is an ideal activity for people looking for adventure through the lush jungle and the beach. Ride your ATV and explore the dense jungles and beautiful beaches of Cozumel. Aboard your ATV, explore ancient Mayan caverns and ancient Mayan caves, discover more about local flora and fauna including vanilla and the chewing gum tree. Also admire the natural surroundings as you roar through the off-the-beaten paths of Cozumel.
- Shopping and Dining: Cozumel’s main shopping area is Plaza del Sol. Here you will find a cluster of local shops selling ceramics, carved wood, Mayan clothing, silver jewelry, leather goods, and various gifts. Explore San Miguel’s main plaza, which boasts an arts and crafts market with traditional Mayan art and textiles. From Mexican, Italian, Asian to freshest seafood, you will find the finest food on the island. Some of the popular Mexican and Yucatecan delicacies that you should not miss include Shrimp Cocktails, Fried Fillet of Fish Veracruz Style, Tampico Beef Steak and Whole Fresh Lobster. Whether you're looking for a laid-back dining experience, gourmet breakfasts, and lazy lunches sitting under a beach palapa, Cozumel is the place for you!
Tourist Attractions You Must Visit
- Chankanaab National Park: It is one of Mexico’s top attractions in Cozumel. Take a journey back in ancient times by visiting Chankanaab’s fascinating Mayan ruins, admire the botanical gardens, take part in sea lion and manatee discovery programs, enjoy close encounters with vibrant tropical fish species while diving or snorkeling, swim with dolphins experience or lounge on hammocks on the beautiful sandy beaches. It is a perfect destination for you and your family.
- Mayan Archaelogical Sites: Mayan history dates back generations to the Mayan civilization. You can explore Mayan archaelogical ruins by guided tours on foot, horses or ATV. Visit the oldest structure El Cedral, small pyramids in San Gervasio, Ka' Na Nah sanctuary (a hub of worship of the goddess Ix Chel).
- Cultural Attractions and Best Beaches: Visit the Museo de Isla Cozumel in downtown San Miguel and learn about the island's history or participate in various activities at the Casa de la Cultura (Culture Center). With towering palm trees, cool sea breeze, crystal clear waters, and powdery white sands, Cozumel has some of the most stunningly gorgeous beaches in Mexico, including Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, Sky Reef beach, Mr. Sancho’s, Playa Palancar, and Paradise Beach just to name a few. During your stay in Cozumel, you can also visit the nearby popular destinations including Playa del Carmen, Cancun's MUSA, Xpu-Ha Park, the Pyramid of Tulum and Puerto Morelos.
The unspoiled powdery sandy beaches, spectacular snorkel and dive sites, several ancient Mayan sites with plenty of shopping and dining options make Cozumel an unforgettable yacht charter vacation for you and your loved ones. We have a selection of luxury yachts suitable for cruising, sailing, diving, fishing and exploring the island of Cozumel. To book your private yacht charter, contact one of our charter specialists today!