Famous for its gorgeous white sand beaches and crystal clear water, Cozumel is also a paradise for snorkelers. In fact, many consider it one of the best diving spots in the world! There are hundreds of shallow and offshore reefs and the water is so clear, the visibility stretches up to 100 feet. It features the largest barrier reef system in this part of the hemisphere, so you can practically jump in the water and explore wherever you go.
However, some spots are better than the others, and in our guide, you can find the best of them all! Choose your favorite location and meet all the beautiful sea species that found their home on the island.
Literally translated to “The Sky” in Spanish, El Cielo sits just half a mile away from the shore. You can arrive here with one of the boats from the main ports and beaches. This sandbar is surprisingly shallow, with a depth up to 4 feet. The sand is powdery and enjoyable to walk on – before you dive into the water and meet all of the starfish that reside there.
Since the water is so shallow, you don’t have to swim, so you won’t get tired of exploring too soon. In some parts, you can even sit down and enjoy the marine life in the most comfortable manner. However, if you want to see some unique sea species, you will need to get to the deeper parts of the sandbar. There you’ll meet stingrays, although you should only enjoy their beauty – the divers are instructed not to touch them!
One of the most famous destinations for snorkelers on Cozumel, Dzul-Ha features the San Miguel de Cozumel reef that sits just several meters away from the shore. Entrance is a bit rocky, so you should wear proper footwear, but other than that it’s safe for exploration!
The whole area is designed for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts – from the designated locker areas to lots of restaurants. Once you dive in you’ll be able to hang out with all kinds of tropical fish, such as wrasse, parrotfish, damselfish and much more. Lobsters, manta rays and sea turtles also reside here, so can explore many of the Cozumel species from the same spot. If you’re looking for a place where you can eat, snorkel and have a fun evening at a bar – then look no further than Dzul-Ha.
Considered as the ultimate snorkeling spot in all of Cozumel, Palancar Reef is a part of the national marine park – Arrecifes de Cozumel. It encompasses five different areas. Palancar Garden and Palancar Shallows are shallow spots perfect for snorkelers, while Palancar Caves, Palancar Deep, and Palancar Horseshoe are much deeper and therefore more appropriate for scuba divers.
Whichever is your favorite style of underwater exploration, you’re gonna love it here. Palancar Reef is dotted with all kinds of reef-building corals that are crowded with sea life. Angelfish, moray eels, starfish, barracudas, turtles, jacks, nurse shark – it seems that this is the marine life capital of Cozumel. And what’s even better – the water is crystal clear so the visibility can spread to over 100 feet.
Paradise Reef is one of the favorite spots for those who want to snorkel near the cruise ship port. It is easily accesible from the nearby beach with a boat or by swimming, since it’s only about 600 feet away. It encompasses three separate reefs and you can explore them all in one dive.
Paradise Reef is the home of many marine species, including snappers, emperors, angelfish, and shellfish. You’ll also be able to explore colorful corals that spread over the entire area. There are also clownfish, which will make all kids (and adults) who love Nemo very excited! Being a captivating location both during the days and nights, Paradise Reef is frequented by scuba divers as well.
Colombia Reef is a spectacular spot just a few miles away from Palancar so you can explore both locations on the same day. Favorite among both deep divers and snorkelers alike, Colombia is a unique reef, dotted with tunnels, caverns, and caves.
You can swim through them and explore the rich marine life, including spotted eagle manta rays, a rainbow of fish species, and turtles. Bear in mind though, you will need to get to Colombia Reef with a boat since is fairly distant from the shore.
Cozumel is one of the best destinations for snorkelers in this part of the world. From the mesmerizing underwater topography, over colorful corals of all sizes and shapes to the rich marine life, there is so much to see here you’ll want to stay a day longer! There are countless onshore and offshore spots, and we recommend you to explore as much as you can.