The Mexican island of Cozumel is one of the world’s paradises for diving and snorkeling due to its great Mesoamerican reef, the largest system of natural coral structures in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world, only surpassed by the Great Barrier Reef. , in Oceania.
Let’s know the 10 best places to dive and snorkel in the third largest island Mexico.
Best places to dive and snorkel in Cozumel:
1. Heaven Beach
The waters of El Cielo are so transparent and shallow that they make this beach ideal for diving and snorkeling.
You will hardly find a seabed with more starfish in the Caribbean than in El Cielo, in whose waters you can also see rays with their wide spread mantles and the splendor of the underwater life of the place.
You will arrive at the beach that is 800 meters from the Cozumel coast in speedboats or in glass-bottom boats, boats that depart from the dock in the city of San Miguel de Cozumel.
Most of the tours include Playa El Cielo and Playa Palancar on the same promenade, as they are close to each other.
2. Palancar Beach
Playa Palancar is in the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, on the southwestern coast of the island in front of the Mexican mainland. It is part of the great Mayan reef.
Its fauna is rich in crustaceans, rays, snails, seahorses, sharks, blue sharks and a variety of multicolored fish.
The caves that form the coral reefs in Palancar and the fantastic waterfalls will leave you amazed. The easiest access is by boat. It is recommended only for experienced divers and swimmers.
3. Dzul Ha Beach
To get to Dzul Ha beach you do not need a boat because it is close to San Miguel. Its sand is thick, made up of coral remains, pieces of sea urchins and other marine species.
Although it is a popular beach, it is not always full of tourists, which makes being there a much more pleasant experience.
At 3 and 4.5 meters of total depth of its waters you will be able to see rays, lobsters, turtles, crabs, various types of fish and other creatures of marine fauna.
Dzul Ha Beach has several restaurants. One of them, the Money Bar, where you will eat, drink and organize underwater tours. Other equally exemplary are El Caribeño, La Parrilla, Fábrica de Fajitas de Ernesto and El Turix, all Mexican food. At Coral Reef, Café Hogtown and Hard Rock Café Cozumel, they serve international dishes.
A few minutes from the beach are the art galleries Galería Azul and Arte de Origen. Also the Cozumel Country Club golf course.
Also read our guide on which is the best option: Isla Mujeres or Cozumel?
5. Paradise Reef
Paraíso is an area with reefs divided into two sectors, north and south. In the first of them there are 2 reefs with depths of up to 17 meters; the second has 3 that can reach 14 meters deep.
Paradise Reef is perfect for beginners in diving who will be able to see a rich variety of marine species, such as oil lamp fish, angel fish, sea sponges, sea cucumbers, corals, mollusks and other living beings of the ocean.
5. Colombia Reef
Arrecife Colombia is ideal for practicing underwater sports due to the depth of the sea with chasms of up to 24 meters, due to the protection provided by the surrounding reefs, marine currents and due to the temperature and salinity of the water.
It also has huge corals, caves and tunnels that will make you live the best diving experience on the island. You can only access by boat.
Turtles, barracudas, snappers, burros, cojinúas, green moray eels, eels, octopuses, spotted rays, groupers and nurse sharks are species that you can see in this reef.
Colombia also has the largest extension of lettuce corals on the island of Cozumel, coral structures that grow up to 10 meters from the seabed, with their profiles that form cavities and tunnels where marine animals take refuge.
6. Hotel Cozumel & Resort Beach Club
Hotel at km 1.7 of the Carretera Costera Sur de Cozumel with a sensational area for diving and snorkeling, which is accessed through a staircase on its own dock.
All you have to do is enter the water via the ladder and travel 20 meters to find the spectacular underwater entertainment area, for only $10.
If you stay, the hotel will give you a varied buffet of fresh seasonal fruits and various delicacies of Mexican cuisine for breakfast. In addition, the beach is full of loungers and hammocks for you to sunbathe.
The beautiful Hotel Cozumel & Resort Beach Club has standard rooms, superior rooms with Jacuzzi and master suites. Its pool is beautiful with a Mayan pyramid in the center and surrounded by palm trees and green areas.
7. North of the Cozumel Island Museum
The island has a special place for diving and snorkeling as you pass the museum entrance at 321 Rafael E. Melgar Avenue in downtown San Miguel de Cozumel, walking north on the ocean side. There you will find establishments with palm roofs in a rocky sector of the coast.
Among the reefs there are many fish and in the distance you can see an impressive concentration of algae.
After swimming you could go to the museum where you will learn about the origin of the island, the formation process of coral reefs, the role of Cozumel in pre-Hispanic times and its colonial and contemporary development.
The museum is housed in a beautiful 1930 building that was the first hotel on the island.
8. White Villa
Villa Blanca is a reef on the west coast of Cozumel with a slope with large sea sponges and other formations where fish of all colors and sizes swim.
Although it can be reached from the coast, the most comfortable way is to go on a boat that leaves you among the schools of exotic fish that are around the striking natural formations.
The reef is at km 3 of Cozumel’s Costera Sur avenue. In front is the Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel, accommodation with an outdoor pool surrounded by green areas and a hot tub.
The resort has a restaurant, bar, gift shop, tennis court, fitness center and scuba stores with top American, Canadian and European brands.
Its comfortable rooms have a balcony with ocean views, air conditioning and cable TV. Learn more here .
9. Santa Rosa Reef
Vertical wall of hundreds of meters that is one of the most exclusive spots in Cozumel for intermediate and experienced deep dive diving. The best space for it is between 15 and 30 meters deep.
The wall is accessed by boat and is not far from the coast of San Miguel de Cozumel. It has moderate currents and is a fairly popular place.
The coral formations present large outcrops with heights between 9 and 12 meters. The wall falls abruptly leaving ledges and sandy areas.
Diving in Santa Rosa gives the sensation of “flying” in front of a cliff, while turtles, groupers, parrot fish, frog fish, queen angels and other marine species appear. It is not ruled out that you will also see a giant eel.
Natural space on the southwestern coast of the island. One of the most beautiful areas to dive and snorkel in Cozumel.
The word chankanaab means “small sea” in the Mayan language, since it is a coastal cenote with intense hydrological activity that promotes the development of a rich biodiversity.
There is the Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park, an ecological park with aquatic and terrestrial entertainment that includes diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, sea lion observation, kayak trips and zip-line trips.
Fans of diving and snorkeling have the opportunity to see underwater sculptures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
The park has a trail with archaeological replicas and botanical reserves where nearly 350 species of island flora live. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. The price of the entrance ticket is 21 and 14 dollars for adults and children between 4 and 12 years old, respectively.
Read our guide on the 15 best things to do in Cozumel
What are the best snorkel tours in Cozumel?
Aquaworld is one of the best known tour operators on the island for snorkeling and diving. Being accredited makes it easier to obtain certification for practitioners who do not have it.
The agency takes you diving without certification so that you can take your first steps safely. His excursion, “Cozumel Reef Diving,” costs $50 with daily departures for the cost of two tanks on dives between 45 and 80 feet, including the Santa Rosa and San Francisco walls.
This excursion is synchronized with the schedule of cruise ships, so that people who arrive by this means of transport can carry out their sports activities without inconvenience.
Aquaworld can also take tourists staying at Cozumel hotels on fantastic night dives.
What is the best time of day to snorkel in Cozumel?
The clear waters of Cozumel allow you to see great depths from the morning hours, so any time of day will be good for diving and snorkeling.
If you leave the hotel very early you will enjoy more hours of fun. Likewise, there are very popular places that are already crowded at noon, places where it is better to go in the afternoon.
Some people prefer to dive at sunset because at nightfall they see sea creatures that only come out when the sun goes down.
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