Punta Playa, Parque Punta Sur
Cozumel Tour – West Coast
After crossing to Cozumel by ferry, we took an open air bus Cozumel Tour. First we traveled down the west coast of the island to Punta Sur. There are many beautiful beaches in this section, but you need to turn off the main road to see each of them. Many tourists rented scooters and travelled on a paved pathway that parallels the main road. We passed the entrance to Chankanaab National Park, which is a regular destination for cruise ship excursions.
Cozumel Tour – Punta Sur
Punta Sur was beautiful. It has sweet smelling vegetation, saltwater marshes infested with crocodiles, the Faro Celerain Lighthouse and one of the nicest beaches in the world. We snorkeled at Punta Playa for more than an hour. The current was quite strong, so this snorkel took a lot of energy. The water was sparkling crystal clear, like I’d never seen before. This section of the Punta Sur Reef was submerged about 6 – 8 feet. We saw lots of tropical fish, including some fabulous French Angels. Turtles also breed here from August to November, but we missed out on that. The tour included a hot lunch and time at the beach.
We also visited the small Mayan ruin of El Carocal at Punta Sur. The ruin is about 4 feet high, but is actually the top of a 3 story light house now buried in the sand.
Plastic Debris from Caribbean, East Coast Cozumel
Cozumel Tour – East Coast
Next we travelled up the east side of the island. This side of the island has lots of ocean views from the road. Except for a few restaurants and bars along the coast, this section of the island is basically uninhabited. Tourist stops have been set up at Punta Chiqueros, Chen Rio Punta Morena, Coconuts Cliffside Bar, Senor Iguana’s and Mezcalito’s. Unfortunately, when you get close to the beaches on this east coast paradise, you will find that they are smothered in plastic garbage. The debris drifts here from the Caribbean islands to the east. Tour guides told us the garbage builds up daily and cleaning crews can’t keep up with it.
Our snorkel experience at Punta Sur was amazing. On our return trip along the East Coast, we were sobered by the environmental impact of discarded plastic in the oceans.