Cozumel is said to be an undeveloped Mexican island found in the Caribbean sea. It is a popular cruise ship port that is famous for its scuba diving. Cozumel is known for its powder white beaches and crystal clear waters and it also has the largest barrier reef system in the western hemisphere making it perfect for both diving and for snorkeling. The visibility of this island is wonderful and very brilliant making it very enjoyable for everyone from divers to snorkelers.
There are various reefs found in Cozumel but this article would cover the following reefs in details:
- Palancar reef
- Paradise Reef
- El Cielo
- Columbia reef
- Villa Blanca reef
- Cozumel Palace
Best Snorkeling Spots in Cozumel 2019
Let’s start with all of them. And we are covering every detail which you required for these top 8 sites. You also go on private snorkeling Cozumel spots which you can find right here.
1) PALANCAR REEF
Location: Southwest of San Miguel de Cozumel along Rafael E. Malgar Avenue
The Palancar reef is said to be one of the largest coral reef found in the southwest side of the Cozumel island and is part of the Arrecifes de Cozumel National park.
This reef is famous with scuba divers. It is also divided into several sections which are based on its depth and its coral formation. Its depth ranges from 50 to 110 feet( that is about 15 to 34m). You should use the full face snorkel mask while doing diving.
It also has coral swim-through in many places. This reef has many sea creatures living in it.
Sea creatures such as:
- Morey eels
- Nurse sharks
- Ocean sunfish
- Sea turtle
- Splendid toadfish
- Spiny lobster
- Yellowtail amberjack
Its dive locations are:
- Palancar horseshoe
- Palancar caves
- Palancar garden
- Palancar shallows
- Palancar deep
The best way to enjoy Palancar reef is by going for a snorkeling or scuba diving tour. This allows you to see the areas astonishing wildlife and varied coral structure. Palancar reef is a must-see attraction site for wildlife lovers and families looking for a fun place for vacation.
If you’re thinking of visiting Palancar reef, make sure you bring sun protection, swimsuit and plenty of water. While diving, make sure you wear a wet suit rash guard while diving or snorkeling. Do not touch or disturb the wildlife, it might be dangerous. To participate in certain dives, evidence of dive certification is required. The charges for these activities varies. Palancar reef is surely a place you would want to go to.
2) PARADISE REEF
Paradise Reef is one of the most popular dive sites. It is divided into three parts reef with a maximum depth of 45m It is known for its clear waters and its diverse coral structures and has a beautiful collection of colorful.
There are different species found in the paradise reef. They include:
- Nurse sharks
- Delicate pipefish, etc
This is an ideal for snorkelers and inexperienced scuba divers as well as expert divers who would like to experience the beautiful, colorful environment. Most snorkeling or diving tour includes a visit to the paradise reef and the Palancar reef and also the el Cielo marine park.
These tours could include hotel pickups and drop-offs. If you’re a wildlife and nature lover, paradise reef is just for you. Always bring sun protection and wet suit to protect your body from harsh or rough corals and also jellyfish. Be careful with the wildlife and try not to disturb them.
This is one of the best beaches for snorkeling in Cozumel. This is saying something for an island with plenty of reefs that attract a lot of tourists. The reason why it is so popular is that it is closer to the shore without the use of a boat.
Onshore, lockers are provided for a little amount and there is also a swimming pool for people that are not comfortable with swimming on the sea but still want a good view. Make sure you go protected by wearing swim shoes so as to avoid stepping on urchins, take along with you wet suit to avoid contact with jellyfish or rough corals. Also, take sunscreen along with you. Dzul-Ha is also sure to not be overcrowded because it’s always very fun and active. If you’re one who is not fond of empty, quiet atmosphere but still want a little space, then Dzul-Ha is for you. The shores are minimally sandy. Once you hit the water, the sea is covered with sea urchins and coral rocks. It also has a not so scary depth of about 10-15 feet. It is a perfect spot to enjoy underwater before going to any restaurant or bar.
The water is quite clean and the clarity of the water averages of 20 meters. The clear water makes it easier to see the underwater and its beautiful surroundings consisting of beautiful marine life such as damselfish, wrasse, parrotfish, butterflyfish, etc. You also get to see crabs and lobsters. Just look under a rock or a crack and You would see where these marine creatures are taking refuge.
One of the advantages of Dzul-Ha is that the area is designed for both scuba divers and snorkelers. You can leave your personal belongings in a locker for a small fee. There are also a lot of restaurants or bars where you can get great food and a good drink.
4) COLUMBIA REEF
There are no words to describe the Columbia reef. It is astonishing and just spectacular. It is located just a few kilometers down south from the Palancar reef. It features a breath-taking depth of about 60-80 feet. Wow! Can you imagine the thrill and excitement you would feel?
It is also perfect for divers. At this reef, you would find wonderful and enjoyable activities to partake in. There are also wonderful caves, tunnels, and cavern. There are also wonderful and gigantic pinnacles of corals and large sea creatures. If you are an experienced diver, then you would absolutely enjoy this reef. Make sure you go protected by wearing swim shoes and swimsuits so as to prevent coming in contact with either urchins, rough corals or jellyfish and not get injured.
Boat entry is the only way to get to the reef as the Columbia reef is quite far from shore. A great spot to start your snorkeling is at the Columbia Shallows. The water at the Columbia reef is quite shallow and so gear adjustment would be easier and more comfortable. The reef also has a gentle that leads towards a drop off called the Columbia Deep.
5) EL CIELO
El Cielo is said to be the home of the stars In the Caribbean’s. It is found in the southern part of the Cozumel island. Are you a beginner at snorkeling?
This spot is just for you. At El Cielo, the water is clear and shallow. The floor of the ocean is littered with starfish. El Cielo has more starfish than the Palancar reef. What a beautiful sight to behold. You also get to see phenomenal sea creature up close.
Imagine how that would be. You get to watch these beautiful creatures unfold before you. The water depth is said to be waste deep at about 3 to 4 feet and is known as a sandbar. With every step, you take the white powder and would massage your feet. Prepare to experience so much beauty.
Also, when swimming, you can either stand, sometimes sit or choose to bend your legs while allowing your head to be submerged thereby feeling more comfortable. If you want to see more unique marine creatures, your tour guide can take you deeper into the sandbar which is still relatively shallow. At this place, you can relate or interact with stingrays.
Your physical interaction with these creatures is limited, you can only interact with them visually. Touching them is highly prohibited as they are part of the wildlife and can be quite dangerous.
Do you like swimming with dolphins? Have you heard about the Mayans ruin? Would you like to admire it? What about trekking through the jungle? Well if you love all these things, Chankanaab is just the right place for you. The reef is said to be about 350 yards from the shores and has a maximum depth of 70 feet. It is ideal for beginner snorkeler and scuba divers.
Under the surface, prepare to be blown away. Expect to find big, bold and beautiful things. If you are really interested in snorkeling, then you’re advised to go to the edge of the coast where you can have an amazing experience, which is swimming with dolphins. You would also find spectacular coral formation and a wonderful variety of sea creatures.
The Chankanaab is compared to a small sea. Who knows, you might even find Nemo as there are a lot of clownfish in the reef. As you spend time in the reef, you would hear a squeaking sound. It’s the sound of dolphins. When they come near the reef, they would become interested in your presence. These dolphins might come near you and the temptation to touch them might be quite irresistible but we beg you to please make sure that physical contact is highly prohibited.
7) VILLA BLANCA REEF
Villa Blanca reef is found at the western side of the Cozumel island. It consists of different sea creatures such as corals, sponges, sea fan and a lot of tropical reef fish such as eels, scorpionfish, surgeonfish, clownfish, etc. It is quite different from the other reefs.
It features a sloping wall with enormous sponges and sea fans. There are different categories of different fish. You can get to the beach from the reef but for inexperienced divers, they are highly advised entering the water with the help of a boat. Be sure to find beautiful sea creatures with different species. Also, there is beautiful coral formation in the reef.
You get to admire beautiful and exotic creatures and the spectacular formation and enjoy a wonderful experience underwater. It has a depth of 40-120 feet. This reef can be a quite dangerous cause of the current. The current might pick up and when it does, you would go to the cruise ship. The cruise ship gets water from the sea and then would use to cool their system.
8) COZUMEL PALACE
The Cozumel Palace is located at the western side of the island. Snorkeling here would give you the opportunity of seeing marine creatures such as eels, stingray, and barracuda. It is largely upscale although it is with a relatively small oceanfront resort.
Since it is located at the western side of the island, it means easy access from the ferry port and also gives you easier access to local amenities. Be warned though, the immediate area is not all that attractive. The rooms are really spacious which is very impressive. These rooms also come with large spa tubs, from your balcony you get to see the sea and also the free liquor.
The staff is also very friendly and they enable top notch service. They also provide you with excellent poolside attention and round-the-clock service. The resort’s caters for kids but the main focus is on couples.
The beach is actually small and man-made so families who would want something different might have to look somewhere else. Cozumel Palace is quite rocky and so make sure you take your protective equipment with you when snorkeling. This would help you avoid injury and other dangers one might encounter.
Can you snorkel on your own in Cozumel?
Yes, you can. But it would be wise you go along with a guide in case you get lost or encounter some issues during your ride.
Are there sharks in Cozumel?
Yes, there are sharks. The sizes of the sharks range from small to large.
Where can I snorkel in Cozumel from shore?
Which reef is the best to snorkel in Cozumel?
So, These are our top pick sport of Cozumel which you can visit with your family, friends or alone. There are some private snorkeling places which you also visit. But make sure you have complete gears of snorkeling before going there. If you are looking to buy any good snorkel mask then must check Scuba Mask because it is good in quality.