Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island and has a well-developed city site. There is plenty to do, for all ages! Most visitors come to Cozumel to enjoy its underwater beauty, but there are lots of activities above the water to enjoy as well.
SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELING
Cozumel is a mecca for divers from around the world. Home to some of the healthiest sections of reef along the Meso-American reef system, the island is basically an underwater playground. Even if you’re not into diving, you can get a glimpse of the stunning subsurface beauty in these shallow depths. This massive reef system sits just off shore only a couple hundred meters and in some places almost touches the beaches.
With over 20 various dive shops and even specialty dive resorts, you can easily get your fill of both boat and shore diving while on the island. Some of the best wall diving in the world can be found here in Cozumel. Not to mention you are a short ferry ride away from many more reef dives throughout other parts of the Riviera Maya if you so desire. (More info can be found on the Cozumel Diving page.)
The snorkeling is also world-class due to the island’s tranquil, clear, warm waters. There are many places you can just walk up and put in to find amazing snorkeling for people of all ages and abilities. (More info can be found on the Cozumel Snorkeling page.)
OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES
There are plenty of fun things to do out on the water here, from fly-boarding to parasailing to renting a jetski. A good spot to find these activities is from Carlos’ n Charlie’s and Señor Frog’s.
Stand-up paddle boarding has gotten popular in a big way here, especially on the sheltered western shores of the island. Try this near sunset for a contemplative, relaxing experience. On the eastern side where the water is a little rougher, some easy surfing is available. The waves are generally gentle and rolling, perfect for beginners.
Clear Kayaks can also be rented on the island which makes for a visually stimulating experience. This is great activity for those who prefer the low impact type of excursion, and just taking it easy.
You can experience a couple different kinds of fishing here, depending on your style. Always popular and enjoyable especially on calm days is DEEP SEA FISHING. Often all you have to do ask someone or your hotel concierge and they will set you up with a well-outfitted boat with an experienced captain and crew.
Another option is BONEFISHING & FLY FISHING. There are three large lagoons that are on the north end of the island that consist of flats, mangroves, and various coves, all in shallow water. These lagoons are full of bonefish, as well as some baby snook, lady fish, jack, snapper, triggerfish, small shark, barracuda and more. During the months of March through December, you can find some permits weighing anywhere from 10 to 25 lbs or bigger.
SAILING AND CHARTERS
When you sit all day on your lounge chair or balcony staring out over the sensational views and colors of the Caribbean Sea, you might start to get the itch to get out on the water yourself and book a private charter.
Cozumel offers several options for private charters, and will accommodate the yachters and the sailors. The majority of charter companies will provide either half-day or full-day charters. There are various catamarans you can charter, large sport fishers (55 ft plus), or various other cabin cruiser yachts to use to explore the waters off Cozumel.
Often these charters will cater to whatever you want to do. Combine fishing with snorkeling and in some cases even diving can be included with your reservation.
TIP: These tours are usually optimal for large groups of 10 to 20 people as it helps to defray the costs and adds to the enjoyment.
There is one golf course on the island for anyone who may wish to get out on the links. This 18 hole, 6,734 yard, par 72 course created by the Nicklaus Design Group will provide an excellent challenge for any golfer regardless of your handicap. At the same time it’s a great experience for golfers who might not be so serious, as it winds through a beautiful jungle setting.
The course has partnered with many hotels on the island and even some of the cruise ship companies to provide an economical and enjoyable tropical golf experience for any who are interested.
The #1 attraction on the island is Chankanaab Adventure Park. This park is located within the National Marine Park of Cozumel. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful natural park your family won’t want to miss.
At the park you can sample such things as diving and snorkeling. Enjoy the crocodile farm, swim with dolphins, observe the manatees or watch the sea lion show. You can relax and unwind with a luxurious Mayan massage overlooking the lake which the park is named after. These are just a few of the things that you can experience while visiting Chankanaab Adventure Park.
TIP: The price of admission is $21.00 USD for Adults and $14.00 USD for children 3 to 11 years old. The park is closed on Sundays.
Extreme Adventure Park is located within Chankanaab Park. This is an extra fee, but it gives you access to Zip lines, Mayan Laser tag, and other activities like using the tube slide and more.
The island has a Butterfly Sanctuary also that is worth visiting, if you like learning about nature. You can be fascinated by these graceful little winged creatures, learn about the process of metamorphosis, and take in the sights and smells as you stroll through the beautiful gardens. Butterflies of every shape and size fly free in this natural habitat environment.
Somewhat laidback and mellow, Cozumel doesn’t boast tons of nightlife like its counterparts a few miles over on the mainland (Cancun and Playa del Carmen are the place to go for the all-night party scene).
If you are in the party mood, Señor Frog’s or Carlos’ n Charlie’s are probably your best bet. Loud music, cold beer and booze all night long is what you’ll get at these places, with a staff that encourages drinking and making a scene.
There is plenty of shopping on the island, and most shops cater to cruise ship visitors. Prices are generally higher than on the mainland. Shoppers will find a stunning variety of silver jewelry, leather goods, talavara pottery, hammocks, unique art pieces, as well as cigars, quality tequila and other fine liqueurs.
The downtown scene of San Miguel boasts oceanfront shopping with a blend of modern, high-end stores and small local artisan stores with colorful woven goods and funky souvenirs. There are several open-air malls near the cruise ship piers and there’s a fun downtown market featuring a wide range of local vendors.
As you stroll farther from the waterfront, you’ll find lower prices. (For more information, click over to the Cozumel Shopping page.)
There are a few scattered Mayan ruin sites on the island–the best of which is San Gervasio–but nothing too impressive. Serious ruin-seekers should check out the sites on the mainland (Tulum, Coba, Ek Balaam and Chichen Itza).