Cozumel is a beautiful island, that sits near the eastern coast of the Yucatan Penninsula. It is not large but its beauty attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is especially popular among those who like to explore the underwater for its rich marine life that can be found nearly on every beach you visit.
While there are many reefs that require arriving with a boat, there are also many options for snorkeling from the shore. These spots are ideal for beginners or those who want to enjoy swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling from the same place.
There are two different ways you can enjoy snorkeling – you can either go on your own or join one of the many guided tours. In this article we will list the best onshore snorkeling areas on Cozumel, so you’ll be able to explore them at your own pace. These are also children-appropriate and ideal if you’re taking your family with you on Cozumel.
Playa Corona is one of the top rated on shore snorkeling locations on Cozumel. It sits on the southern side of the island and can be accessed via an old road which makes it less crowded than other similar beaches. It is a perfect snorkeling spot for children and beginners since you can start exploring right off the beach. The water is crystal clear and the entrance to the water is sandy, so you won’t need any special foot gear. In some areas, you don’t even have to swim – you’ll be able to explore the underwater flora and fauna while standing or even sitting. There are dozens of different species here, as well as a rainbow of corals scattered through the entire sea line.
There is no entrance fee to this beach, and you’ll have access to shower, hammocks, palapas and clean bathrooms. The Playa Corona restaurant offers some great local dishes, and there are also vendors that rent out snorkeling gear if you accidentally forgot yours.
Playa Punta Sur
Another option on the southern part of Isla Cozumel is Playa Punta Sur, a national reserve and ecological park. This location offers countless fun experiences to nature lovers, one off which is snorkeling. Although many snorkelers and divers opt for the offshore spot known as Devil’s Throat, there is plenty to see right from the beach. The beaches are sandy, the water is clear and booming with sea life. You’ll see interesting corals and many different species of animals, including lobster, starfish, stingrays and all kinds of tropical fish. While you’re not exploring the underwater life, you’ll also be able to meet iguanas, crocodiles and wild birds – some of which reside only on this island.
Playa Punta Sur does have a small entrance fee, but with all it offers, it’s worth it. You’ll have access to bathrooms, showers, beach chairs and all other amenities you need. When you’re not snorkeling, try one of the tours, walk through the Nature Trail or visit the Navigation Museum.
Money Bar Beach Club
Also known as Dzul-Ha, Money Bar Beach Club is one of the best beach snorkeling locations on Cozumel. It’s located near the international cruise port and features the popular Money Bar that offers some seriously delicious dishes. This is a famous spot for families since the water is shallow and the reef sits just beside the shore. You can easily enter the water through the dock. Make sure you have proper footwear though, since the bottom is quite rocky. Once you’re in you can start exploring the mesmerizing sealife. There are hundreds of colorful corals, schools of various fish species, as well as sea urchins, manta rays and turtles.
Besides having a good meal, you can also rent snorkeling gear, paddleboards, and bikes at the Money Bar. Chairs and umbrellas are available to anyone who wants to spend some time relaxing, while the designated locker area will keep your belongings secure.
Chankanaab National Park
Chankanaab National Park is one of the biggest attractions on Cozumel. It offers a wide range of activities, which include sea lion shows, swimming with the dolphins, several exhibitions, and a memorable underwater experience. Although there are some famous deep diving spots – snorkelers also have plenty to see here. Many schools of tropical fish have their homes here, and you may also spot sea fans, lobsters and octopuses. Besides the animals, you should also check out the underwater statues, that can be found close to the shore. They are called Chaak Mool, the Rain God and the Virgin and the Christ. And don’t worry if you forgot your snorkeling gear – you can rent or buy it on site.
Once you’ve done with your snorkeling adventure, you can enjoy some of other activities in Chankanaab. Near the beach, there is a living museum that replicates the Mayan archaeology and culture, and also offers homemade meals. In the evening, don’t miss tasting various tequilas at Hacienda Antigua.