Isla Cozumel, located of the coast of Playa del Carmen in Mexico, is a scuba diver and snorkeler’s paradise with warm crystal clear water, beautiful coral formations, colorful sponges and an incredibly diverse marine life. World-famous explorer Jacques Cousteau and his team discovered the wall of reefs just off the island´s shoreline and declared them to be one of the most incredible diving destinations in the world. more...
Isla Cozumel, located of the coast of Playa del Carmen in Mexico, is a scuba diver and snorkeler’s paradise with warm crystal clear water, beautiful coral formations, colorful sponges and an incredibly diverse marine life. World-famous explorer Jacques Cousteau and his team discovered the wall of reefs just off the island´s shoreline and declared them to be one of the most incredible diving and snorkeling destinations in the world.
Mass tourism and the two category 4 hurricanes that hit the island during 2005 have caused some damage to the underwater marine habitat but still, Cozumel is the place to go for an unforgettable underwater experience. Snorkeling is suitable for all ages and for people with no previous experience. You just need a good fitting snorkel mask and a snorkel tube to breathe through while fins are optional.
You don´t need to pull your wallet for a tour on a boat to enjoy great snorkeling on Cozumel. There´s good snorkeling from Plaza las Glorias on the southern edge of downtown San Miguel all the way to Playa Corona beach club, which perches near the fringe of Little Yucab reef. Dzul Ha is a free roadside attraction where you park your car and jump in the water.
Currents are a factor on the south end of the island but tend to be much gentler than anywhere else on the island. Unlike on the north end, where forces tend to pull you out to sea, on the south coast of Cozumel you´ll be pushed back towards the beach. For this reason, this whole corridor is recommended for beginning through intermediate snorkelers. But any level of skill will enjoy these trips.
Chankanaab National Park is one of the don’t-miss attractions of Cozumel that can be easily reached by car or taxi. If you´ve never snorkeled before, it´s a good place to rent gear and practice your moves. The park boasts a lovely stretch of man-made beach. Make sure to check out the underwater statues: Chaak Mool, the Rain God, the Virgin Mary and the statue of Christ. On shore there are also various interesting places to visit like the beautiful tropical gardens and the Palapa Museum with its exhibits of Cozumel´s flora and fauna.
The North End of the island is only recommended for strong swimmers with advanced snorkeling skills. This is because the currents can be strong here as well as the are unpredictable. The beautiful East Coast that faces the open Caribbean and Cuba is better known as the "Wild Side". Both swimming and snorkeling is very dangerous due to very strong and unpredictable undertows that you can´t see from the surface. Don´t swim or snorkel here because there´s nothing to see anyhow.
The advantage of snorkeling along the shore is that you´ll have a less crowded, less expensive experience. But there are also various exciting snorkel tours available like the large party boat tours that are great for taking a dip with a group of friends while enjoying a drink or two in the meantime. If you want to do some serious snorkeling, I recommend you take a tour on a smaller boat. Usually these tours will take you to the same places you can swim out to from shore. But if you don´t feel comfortable swimming out 50 to 150 yards from shore, this option may be for you. Taking a small-personalized tour to the famous Columbia Shallows is more expensive because the spot can only be reached by a 45-minute boat ride. The relative isolation of these stunning snorkel spots means that the area has remained pristine.
Adding to Cozumel’s attraction is the perfect year-round weather, great beaches, restaurants and plenty of possibilities for shopping. At night you can visit a quiet jazz club or an exciting nightclub. Add the Mayan ruins of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and the moon and a visit to the Island becomes rather irresistible.