Visit Cozumel – West Coast
Chankanaab National Park is less than 15 minutes south of San Miguel when you visit Cozumel. It gets its name from the small natural lagoon in the interior of the park. The lagoon is land locked, but is connected to the sea through two underwater caves. You can snorkel in the lagoon. The park has an admission fee for use of the beach, tropical gardens and Mayan ruin replicas. You can buy food and drinks, shop for souvenirs, snorkel, scuba or snuba dive. Chairs, palapas, lockers and restrooms are available for an extra fee. Try to avoid the days the cruise ships are in.
So many beaches on the West Coast – Playa Azul, Playa Casitas, Chankanaab, Playa Corona, San Francisco, Paradise Beach, Playa Mia, Mr. Sancho’s, Nachi Cocom Beach and Alberto’s Beach.
Visit Cozumel – Southern Tip
Parque Punta Sur – the park includes Faro Celerain Lighthouse, the very small Mayan ruin of El Caracol and a fabulous beach. The park offers restrooms, a restaurant, bike rentals, showers, snorkeling, beach activities and Columbia Lagoon with saltwater crocodiles.
Palancar Reef – a popular dive and snorkel location near the southern tip of the island. No motorized vehicles around and lots of beach.
El Cedral – a village on the southern tip of the island with picturesque thatch bungalows and gardens. The Festival of Cedral takes place here in April.
Visit Cozumel – East Coast
Wind, waves and locations such as Punta Chiqueros, Chen Rio, Punta Morena, Coconuts Cliffside Bar, Senor Iguana’s and finally Mezcalito’s. The east coast is uninhabited except for souvenir huts, bars and occasional accommodation. The shocking thing about the east coast is the accumulation of plastic waste spoiling its beautiful shores. Due do the currents of the Gulf Stream, Cozumel has become the dumping ground for all the discarded plastic in the Caribbean.
Visit Cozumel – Hotel Recommendations
Visit Cozumel – More Sights
- Isla de Pasion – (Passion Island) A wildlife sanctuary on a small island a very short distance off the northern tip of Cozumel Island.
- San Gervasio – these Mayan ruins are about 7 km5 miles from San Miguel. The ruins are very low to the ground, but cover many acres. There is an entry fee and guided tours can be purchased. The ruins get mixed reviews, as they are basically outlines of buildings instead of the impressive structures seen elsewhere in Mexico.
- Island Museum – The Museo de la Isla de Cozumel is located on the waterfront in San Miguel and has a nice restaurant with great views.
Cozumel is humid and warm on a year round basis. From May to September average highs are 91 F (33 C) while average lows are 81 F (27 C). In the winter off season from December to February, average highs are 84 F (29 C). Winter lows average lows are 68 F (20 C). Rainfall is very slight March and April. Rains are heaviest in September and October. That makes Cozumel extremely popular in March.
Visit Cozumel – Transportation
Most tourists arrive by cruise ship at the port at San Miguel. For those arriving from the Riviera Maya, it’s a very long excursion day to Cozumel from Tulum or Cancun. From Riviera Maya, start with a cab or colectivo shared ride to the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen. Then take a ferry to San Miguel on Cozumel Island. It’s better to buy one way tickets, because there are two ferry companies. That way you can catch the next available ferry when you return.
The ferry dock in Playa del Carmen is located at the end of 5th Avenue and in San Miguel its located downtown at the Punta Langosta mall near the town square. Once you reach Cozumel, tours can be arranged at the port. Scooters can be rented. There are some scooter only pathways on the west side of the island.
Visit Cozumel – Background
Cozumel is a small island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya. One of the biggest challenges in visiting Cozumel is avoiding the influx of tourists from cruise ships. In the height of the winter season, up to 12 cruise ships can dock in rotating ships. You can find nearly 20,000 additional tourists traveling the island on shore excursions. Cozumel actually refers to the whole island, while the major city and port is San Miguel. About 100,000 people live in San Miguel.