Things to do in Cozumel: Best excursions, attractions, beaches and ruins
A popular island destination situated in the Caribbean sea and off of the coast of Mexico, Cozumel attracts visitors with the promise of sunny days, gorgeous beaches, great Mexican food and scuba diving opportunities that will make you fall in love with the ocean all over again. Because of all of this, many people have come to make Cozumel a yearly retreat, which in turns allows them the time to see each and every attraction, even though they are spread years apart.
If you’re just planning to make Cozumel a one time visit, or you’re stopping by on a cruise, you’ll find that time is more limited. Because of this, you’ll want to be a little more careful with what you decide to do during your stay. To help you out, we’ve gone ahead and selected the highest rated attractions, excursions, beaches and ruins.
Best excursions in Cozumel
If you’re looking to get out and do something during your time on the island, you’ll find lots of opportunities and choices to select from. These excursions and tours generally last half the day or more, so you’ll want to plan only one each day, otherwise you’ll run out of time. With that said, if you’re staying for a few days or more, you’ll have plenty of time to go on a few different tours.
Cozumel Custom Private Jeep and Snorkel Excursion with Lunch
If you’re looking to do two different activities in one tour, then this is the tour for you. Craft your own jeep tour or choose the standard one, it’s up to you! During your tour, you’ll get to drive the coast while viewing the beaches and ocean beyond before jumping into the ocean yourself at Punta Sur. During this tour, you’ll have 45 minutes to explore the reef, giving you ample time to snap some pictures if you have an underwater camera. You’ll also find time to explore the park itself, home to lots of native creatures. If you’re traveling with children in tow, you’ll be delighted to learn that they are allowed on this excursion.
- Adult: US$69.99
- Child: US$54.99
>>>Tickets for the Cozumel Custom Private Jeep and Snorkel Excursion with Lunch
Cozumel Catamaran Sail and Snorkel Excursion
A snorkeling tour that offers you a catamaran ride as well, the Cozumel Catamaran Sail and Snorkel Excursion is a great choice. During this tour you’ll actually visit two different snorkeling sites, allowing you ample time to view the underwater world below. Snorkel gear is provided, meaning that you don’t have to worry about bringing any of your own. Snacks and drinks are also served during this tour.
- Adult: US$54.99
- Child: US$39.99
>>>Tickets for the Cozumel Catamaran Sail and Snorkel Excursion
Best attractions in Cozumel
Though you may have come to the island for its beaches and scuba diving, there is so much more to do. From a museum to an eco-park, there’s a little something for everyone here. Even if you only have a few days to explore the island, you’ll find that you can visit at least two attractions. This is because the attractions listed below only take half a day or less to explore.
Discover Mexico Park
If you’re visiting from a cruise, then Discover Mexico Park is a great option. Perfect for those who don’t have enough time to see a lot, this park brings everything into one place. Showcasing scaled down models of some of Mexico’s most popular attractions, you’ll get to see it all. In addition to models, you’ll also find a tortilla making demonstration and a tequila tasting exhibit. Tours are available as well.
- Adult: US$26.00
- Child: US$14.00
Aptly named, Stingray Beach is a great adventure for all ages. At this park you’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with stingrays. Though this may sound a bit scary at first, these rays have had their barbs clipped, so they can’t sting you, which makes this activity very safe. Because this attraction does get extremely busy, you’ll want to visit first thing in the morning. This way you’ll end up leaving before the big crowd arrives. Also, you’ll want to take note that tours must be booked in advance.
- Adult: US$64.00
- Child: US$29.00
>>>Tickets for the Stingray Beach Tours
Chankanaab National Park
A great outdoor park that is made for the adventurous, Chankanaab National Park is home to scuba diving, snorkeling, dolphin encounters, zip lining, a tequila factory, gardens, walking trails and a beautiful beach. Concerning the park’s scuba diving, you can either choose to charter your own tour, or you can book a tour if you’re still a little new to the sport. This particular park is a great choice for both adults and families with small children. When paying the park’s admission price, you’ll be granted access to the dolphin and sea lion shows and the park’s beach.
- Adult: US$21.00
- Child: US$14.00
El Museo de la Isla de Cozumel
If you’re one who loves to learn about history while on vacation, then you’ll want to venture over to the El Museo de la Isla de Cozumel. Here you’ll get the chance to learn more about the area’s history while in downtown San Miguel. At this museum you’ll learn about the island’s ecosystems, Mayan and Spanish colonial artifacts and a little bit about the island’s recent history. All of this is displayed on two levels, allowing you lots of exhibits to view. Even though this museum does have a lot to look at, you’ll be able to view the entire center within an hour or so.
- Adult: US$4.00
- Child: free
Best beaches in Cozumel
Because Cozumel is an island, you can expect to find some great beaches here. These beaches vary from one to the next, which is great for those who don’t just want a beach to sit around and people watch at. If you only have time to visit a few beaches however, you’ll want to stick the ones listed below.
A great beach for snorkeling, Playa Palancar is hands down one of the best in the area. Here you’ll find lots of walk-able sand, palm trees and a few hammocks. There’s also an on-site dive shop that’s a great stop for scuba divers. Boats can also be easily found here ready to take snorkelers out to the reefs just offshore. If you’re looking to relax after your snorkeling adventure, there is a restaurant and bar on the beach.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
Located on the western side of the island, Paradise Beach is an extremely popular beach that invites both cruise ship passengers and locals. Because of this, be prepared to be met by hoards of other people looking for a spot of sand to claim with their beach towel. In addition to a sandy beach and clear coastal waters, visitors will also find a restaurant, three stores to shop at and a pool. Though the beach itself is only US$3.00 per person, you can buy a Fun Pass for an additional fee. This pass grants you access to water trampolines, stand up paddleboards, snorkeling gear, inflatable water toys and more.
- Adult: US$3.00
- Child: US$3.00
Best ruins in and around Cozumel
Mexico is known for impressive ruins that have mostly stood the test of time. Cozumel is no different and offers visitors a chance to view some of these ruins during their vacation. Though most of the ruins are on the mainland, you will be able to view a few right on Cozumel, which adds more value to your vacation here.
San Gervasio Ruins
A shrine to the goddess of lover and fertility that was very important to Mayan women, the San Gervasio Ruins are a great (and cheap) activity that only takes about two hours to explore. There are various tour groups that will be happy to show you around, but it’s easier to just take a taxi and explore them on your own. Make sure to wear sneakers during this attraction as the ground is very rocky.
- Adult: US$9.50
- Child: US$9.50
Faro Celerain Eco Park
Also known as Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, this park is made for outdoor lovers looking for something fun to do for a few hours. Here you’ll find 2,500 acres of habitat that shelters birds, crocodiles and sea turtles. On-site you’ll also find the El Caracol Mayan ruins, a lighthouse and a maritime museum. Once you’re done exploring you’ll find a lovely beach to relax at.
- Adult: US$14.00
- Child: US$8.00
Photos provided by Flickr users Ken, Richard Martin, Jchessma, David Stanley, Corey Balazowich, Len Hardy and Mbarrison.