Cozumel Attractions | Things to do in Cozumel
The island of Cozumel is well-known for offering scuba diving as one of its main attractions, both amateur and professional, as it boasts the second largest coral reef system in the world and a wonderful variety of marine life.
We also can’t fail to mention the unmatched natural attractions of the island, like the beautiful sunsets over the Caribbean Sea and the clear turquoise waters that make it easy to spot large schools of colorful tropical fish, not to mention, the charming atmosphere of the island and the friendliness of the people.
Experts consider Cozumel to be one of the world’s best spots for scuba diving, and an impressive variety of marine life can be seen at the National Reef Park. Other notable dive spots include Palancar, Paraiso, Santa Rosa, El Paso del Cedral, Columbia, Villa Blanca and Tormentos, all with average visibility that ranges from 115 to 215 feet.
Experienced divers will have a wonderful time exploring the reefs located on the southern end of the island. They are more challenging due to strong currents, but they stand out for their beauty and vivid colors. Maracaibo is a prime example of a challenging underwater dive spot. It has a part known as the “Maracaibo Wall,” which is formed by tunnels of coral that reach depths of up to 1,600 feet.
Snorkeling off the coast of Cozumel is a unique experience. Depending on your preference, there are areas for snorkeling just steps from the shore or in water that’s several feet deep. At Chankanaab Park, you can head down the stairs to the water and be surrounded by fish right away. At Dzul Ha Beach the water is about 13 feet deep and there is a dazzling array of marine life, such as lobsters, crabs, rays, and colorful tropical fish.
West Side Beaches
The beaches located opposite the coast of Playa del Carmen are known for having small waves and a gentle current. There are free beaches as well as beach clubs, where in addition to admiring ocean views and beautiful sunsets, you can also take advantage of a variety of recreational activities and amenities for a richer experience.
Playa Uvas Beach, Playa San Francisco Beach, Mr. Sancho’s and Paradise Beach typically offer bar and restaurant service, a pool area with lounge chairs, inflatable water toys, and a variety of activities for the entire family. Playa Mia Beach, in addition to having all of the above, also features an underwater Mayan city that you can see while snorkeling.
East Side Beaches
On the east side of the island you’ll find semi-virgin beaches with slightly larger waves and a noticeably stronger current, so it’s important to swim with caution. The best way to get here is to rent a car and take Juarez Avenue to the Transversal Highway.
Once in the beach area, you can appreciate the majestic Caribbean Sea in an area that is not touristy. Here, you’ll also find some hostels with bar and restaurant service. Punta Morena and Chen Rio are the most popular spots to park the car and spend the day relaxing on the beach and enjoying delicious seafood dishes.
A walk along the Malecon, or boardwalk, in Cozumel is a must for anyone vacationing on the island. It’s on this avenue where you’ll find many shops selling crafts, perfume, jewelry, and some of the best restaurants. In addition, from here you can admire memorable sunsets and majestic cruise ships, an iconic image of this destination. It’s also worth visiting important landmarks, such as Flag Pole Plaza, the Diver’s Memorial, and the Monument of the Two Cultures, all of which are backed by the Caribbean Sea.
Situated across from the malecon is Parque Benito Juarez. This is the main park in the city where you’ll find souvenir shops, restaurants, and local artists selling their wares.
Chankanaab National Park
At this beautiful park, specially designed for the preservation of nature, you can explore the incredible underwater world of the island in a fun and safe way. Chankanaab Lagoon, with its clear waters and abundant marine life, is considered part of the island’s heritage and connects to the Caribbean Sea via a network of tunnels and underground channels.
It has a botanical garden with more than 350 species of plants, a replica of a pre-Hispanic Mayan village, leisure areas with hammocks, a safe cove for children, and a dolphin swim program.
Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
The Punta Sur Eco Beach Park was designed for nature lovers. It spans more than 2,400 acres of protected land and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. It also offers an expansive stretch of beach with clear turquoise blue waters that make it easy to explore the coral reef system.
This unique attraction features a lookout point at the Colombia Lagoon, where you can spot large crocodiles and exotic birds from a short distance away. It is also a popular site for nesting sea turtles. Located in the park, the Maritime Museum showcases the evolution of this activity from the time of the ancient Maya until today.
San Gervasio Archeological Site
This is the most important Mayan site on Cozumel and it retains much of its traditions and mystery. It was once an influential ceremonial center where the Maya gathered after traveling from the mainland to honor Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. Furthermore, in classic and post-classic times it was a strategic trading post and played an important role in the political development of the area.
Discover Mexico Park
This is a spectacular theme park where you’ll get to experience the best of Mexico by exploring different cities, cultures, and historical artwork. It offers interesting documentaries, scaled versions of the country’s important archeological sites and colonial buildings, and permanent and temporary art exhibitions.
It also has a video-experiences room with films about Mexican traditions and a Folk Art Museum that displays beautiful works by artists from all over the country.
Located on the northern end of the island, Isla Pasion is an uncrowded and peaceful destination. It has a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and it also offers water sports, boat trips through the mangroves, and jeep tours in the jungle.
Located in the downtown area, this museum was founded to provide historical and ecological information and education about the island. It has four exhibition halls offering a complete geographical and historical overview of Cozumel. It also features temporary and permanent exhibitions by local and international artists.
In Exhibition Hall I you’ll learn about the most important sites on the island and find a profile of its origin and geographical evolution. Exhibition Hall II showcases the underwater environment and the fragile ecosystem that exists around the reefs. In Exhibition Hall III you can appreciate the rich legacy of Mayan culture. Finally, Exhibition Hall IV is dedicated to contemporary Cozumel.
For lovers of this popular sport, Cozumel offers an impressive 18-hole golf course set on 6,900 yards of jungle and mangroves. It is located at the Cozumel Country Club and was designed in an eco-friendly way by the Nicklaus Design Group. This course features a combination of longer- and shorter-distance holes to challenge golfers of all experience levels, from amateurs to experts.
Carnaval is one of the largest celebrations on the island and takes place during the month of February. This family-friendly event is held over five days and features music, dancing in the main parks, colorful parades, and a delicious sampling of Mexican cuisine.
The main event at Carnaval is the Dance Troupes, which are groups of children, teenagers and adults who perform choreographed dances that they’ve been practicing for several months. Without a doubt, Cozumel’s Carnaval celebrations are the best on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and it’s one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Sacred Mayan Journey
The Sacred Mayan Journey is an annual event that reenacts the canoe crossing that the Maya made from Pole (Xcaret) to Kuzamil (Cozumel). The purpose of the trip was to bring offerings from the people to the Temple of the Goddess Ixchel. To preserve the importance of this ritual, the participants prepare for months and develop a deep respect for the sea, which the Maya believed was one of the entrances to the underworld.
Feria del Cedral
This fair is named after the town in which it takes place. El Cedral is a small town located a few miles south of San Miguel de Cozumel. The fair is held in honor of the Holy Cross, a wooden cross that was carried over by Caste War refugees forced to flee the mainland after the attack on Saban. Every year from May 29th to April 5th, El Cedral is the site of bullfights, food stands, livestock exhibitions, and regional folk dances.
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