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What makes Cozumel so attractive is the beaches on the west coast of the island overlooking calm waters.
If you stay at an all-inclusive resort located on a beach then there will be a nice sandy beach with palapas and gentle waves right at your resort.
If you stay at a hotel in town then you will have to travel to any of the public or commercial beaches located around the island.
There is a road that goes almost all around the whole island. The road cuts across the island from San Miguel on the west side to Mezcalitos Beach on the east side. From there the road goes around the south end of the island.
Along the coast is sections of jagged rock and coral then sections of sandy beaches. The east side of the island faces the ocean and thus the full velocity of wind and waves hits the island along this coastline. There are also strong undertows and currents.
If you travel to the island's east side chances are in your favor you can find an entire beach to yourself as the east side is not too popular amongst tourists. You need to exercise caution when swimming there. Flags are flown to indicate conditions and it is wise to pay attention to them!
On the west side there are numerous beaches, some commercialized but many not. If you have rented a car you will find a number of spots to stop.
There are also small hotels along the west side of the island near beautiful beaches.
BEACHES NORTH OF SAN MIGUEL
BEACHES SOUTH OF SAN MIGUEL
EAST SIDE BEACHESTo get to the east of Cozumel you can either drive around the southern tip or cut across the interior. The east coast of the island is virtually undeveloped except for a few small beach bars/restaurants and secluded beaches. All beaches are free on the east side.
At the southern tip is Parque Punta Sur, an ecological reserve with lighthouse, restaurant, snorkeling and tours.
After Punta Sur the road curves and goes north down the coast.
Playa Bosh is the first beach area on the eastern side of the island. There are two small bars/restaurants there.
Along the road is Cocos. A bar on the side of a cliff. You cannot see this bar from the road so watch for signs.
Two spots that are usually calm enough for swimming are Punta Chiqueros and Chen Rio, both are in sheltered coves. You can camp at both beaches. There is not much at either beach but Punta Chiqueros has a small restaruant, "Paradise Cafe".
Mezcalitos is the last beach before the road cuts back across the island to the other side. There you will find a deserted beach and the popluar Mezcalitos restaurant.
North of Mezcalitos [on the dirt road] is Playa Bonita then Playa Santa Cecilia. These beaches will more than likely be deserted. You can camp at Playa Bonita so sometimes you will have company.
Depending on the weather, wave and tide conditions, beaches are marked with a flag indicating whether it is safe to swim there:
Very rarely do they fly green - even if it is calm - exercise caution.