The Getaway
Amazing Things to Do in Cozumel

The Mexican island of Cozumel is located just off the eastern coast of Yucatan in the Caribbean Sea. This secluded paradise boasts breathtaking scenery and a laid back atmosphere. With its exotic wildlife, serene beaches and intriguing Mayan ruins, you’ll never run out of things to see on the island.  Swim in crystal clear water, go scuba diving, soak up some sun, and sample the local cuisine. From adventure-filled trips to relaxing days spent lounging on the beach, Cozumel is the perfect travel destination.

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01 Spend the Day at Chankanaab National Park

Chankanaab Park, Cozumel, Mexico

The word Chankanaab comes from the Mayan term, which means “small sea.” This unique outdoor park is known for its beautiful cenote, where visitors are invited to swim, snorkel, and search for dolphins. This park is perfect for families and groups of friends, as there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The diving is unbeatable and perfect for beginners, but swimming in the clear waters is also a great way to spend an afternoon. The park even has a spa for those looking for the ultimate way to relax. The park opens early, and you should try to get to the park in the morning to snag the best spots on the beach!

 

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02 Explore Punta Sur Eco Park

This sprawling eco-park is perfect for any adventure lover. The 2,500-acre park spreads across the southern tip of Cozumel, and it’s full of exotic animals, including sea turtles and birds. Pack some water and a few snacks and head into the park to explore. Apart from spotting local wildlife, there are also two pre-Hispanic lighthouses located in the park.

When you need a break from the outdoors, check out the park museum and learn about the Mayans as well as the pirates frequented the island. For more of an adventure, book a boat tour of the Colombia lagoon and keep an eye out for crocodiles!

Cozumel, Mexico Palm trees at noon Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

03 Go Boating

The sea surrounding Cozumel is calm, and sailing is one of the best things to do while on the island. Hire a boat and relax onboard or jump in the water and do some snorkeling while out at sea. There are usually plenty of sea turtles and stingrays to see in the water, and if you’re lucky you can spot a few sharks! Head back to the safety of the boat and enjoy a glass of wine or an ice cold beer while you sail through the serene Caribbean.

Group of friends relaxing together on a party boat tour of the Carribean Sea adogslifephoto / Getty Images

04 Visit the Cozumel Pearl Farm

A trip to the Cozumel Pearl Farm is unlike anything else! This family owned and operated business is based on a secluded beach on Cozumel that can only be reached by boat. Learn how pearls are farmed and take a tour of the farm hatchery. Be prepared for snorkeling as you will be invited to dive under the water to see how pearls and coral reef grow. You’ll also see the magnificent underwater statue of Virgen de Guadalupe. The tour includes lunch, drinks, and some cozy hammocks to relax in.

Photo credit: steviep187 on VisualHunt.com CC BY-ND

05 Take a Tour of the Mayan Cacao Company

The Mayans are famous for their cultivation of cacao. The Mayan civilization was the first to grow, ferment and roast the beans, and they also made the first hot chocolate using the cacao, cornmeal, chili, and other ingredients. Today, you can see how the Mayans did it by taking a tour of Cozumel’s Mayan Cacao Company. The 70-minute tour includes a tasting session where you can try some traditional Mayan recipes.

Ceremonial cacao drink (raw chocolate super food) on top of a mayan calendar Renphoto / Getty Images

06 Stroll Through San Miguel

Tourists visit shops and restaurants in downtown Cozumel Mexico

San Miguel is the capital of Cozumel, and it’s more than worth a visit. The city is on the western side of the island, and the large, sun-soaked boardwalk is a beautiful place to meander along. Get up early to enjoy the sunrise or walk around the city throughout the day to see the various street performers. To get a truly local experience, head to the central square, known in Mexico as the Zócalo and enjoy some people watching. The city is also home to some beautiful churches and fascinating monuments.

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07 Go Scuba Diving

Turtle with Angelfishes, Cozumel

No trip to Cozumel is complete without spending a day or two scuba diving. Beginners have their pick of places to dive, including the Chankanaab cenote. There are also an almost unlimited amount of places offering classes in scuba diving and snorkeling. For more experienced divers, there are the deeper Punta Sur, Colombia, and Palancar Reefs.

Do some research before your trip to find a few locations that match your skill level, and prepare yourself for some seriously awesome dives. Cozumel is also full of underwater statues, so you can challenge yourself and your friends to find them!

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08 Soak up Some Sun on the Beaches

If you’re searching for perfect sandy beaches and crystal clear water, Cozumel is the place for you. The island is lined with idyllic beaches that are the very picture of a Caribbean paradise. Spend a few days lounging beachside and work on the perfect tan. Punta Sur Beach, Playa Palancar and Chen Rio are particularly worth a visit. Indulge in a margarita and spend time catching up on some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Nachi Cocom Beach Club Carretera Costera Sur, Cozumel, Mexico Photo by The Travel Nook on Unsplash

09 Visit the San Gervasio Mayan Ruins

One of the five temples at Ek Balam

Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cozumel was inhabited by members of the rich and fascinating Mayan civilization. The island is still home to some well-maintained Mayan ruins that you need to see before you leave. Although not nearly as famous as Chichén Itzá, the impressive San Gervasio Ruins are the main ones to see while on Cozumel. The ruins mark where Mayan women brought offerings to Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. Although you can explore the ruins by yourself, it’s worth paying extra for a guided tour to get the full experience.

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10 Sample Cozumel’s Cuisine

Traditional Mexican tacos in a restaurant in Cozumel

Food on Cozumel is similar to food found on the coastal towns on Yucatan, but there are certain dishes that can’t be found anywhere else. Cozumel dishes are influenced by Mayan, French, Spanish, and Caribbean cuisine, and they typically feature a huge array of fresh and flavorful seafood. Apart from fish and seafood, some local dishes include cochinita pibil, pork seasoned with sour orange and achiote paste that’s wrapped in banana leaves and baked as well as papadzules, tortillas filled with eggs and a spicy sauce made from pumpkin seeds. Wash your meal down with a smoothie, known locally as agua fresca. The food on Cozumel is simple, delicious and always affordable.

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11 Try Seatrek

Discover the underwater world of Cozumel in the most unique way possible with Seatrek. Imagine walking on the ocean floor, surrounded by tropical fish and stunning coral formations, all while keeping your glasses on! This guided helmet diving experience lets you breathe normally under the sea, no scuba certification required. It's an unforgettable way to get up close with Cozumel's marine life and a must-do for those seeking an underwater adventure without the need for extensive training.

12 Explore with Atlantis Submarines

Submarine diving into the waters of the Pacific Ocean offshore Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii - Submersible ship taking tourists underwater to explore the ocean floor

Dive into the depths of the Caribbean without getting wet aboard an Atlantis Submarine. This family-friendly adventure takes you up to 100 feet below the surface, where you can marvel at the wonders of the deep, including colorful coral reefs, diverse marine life, and shipwrecks. It's the perfect blend of excitement and education, ideal for those who prefer to explore the mysteries of the ocean from the comfort of a pressurized cabin.

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13 Enjoy Playa Mia Grand Beach Park

Spend a day at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, where the fun never ends. This beach park offers something for everyone, from thrilling water slides and a floating adventure park to relaxing beachfront and swimming pools. You can also indulge in kayaking, paddle boating, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. With a variety of restaurants and bars on-site, it's the perfect place to relax and enjoy a day under the sun.

14 Discover El Mirador

Cozumel island El Mirador beach in Riviera Maya of Mexico

El Mirador is Cozumel's breathtaking natural wonder, known for its dramatic sea arch carved by the waves. Located on the wild, eastern shore of the island, it's the perfect spot for a scenic photo or a moment of reflection. Climb the rocks for a panoramic view of the rugged coastline and the infinite blue of the Caribbean Sea. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and the secluded nature of El Mirador make it an ideal getaway from the more crowded tourist spots.

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15 Experience Temazcal Cozumel

Engage in a deeply spiritual experience with a traditional Temazcal ceremony. This ancient Mayan ritual takes place in a specially built sauna, where volcanic stones are heated, and water infused with aromatic herbs is poured over them to create therapeutic steam. Led by a knowledgeable shaman, participants are guided through a process of renewal, purification, and introspection. It's a profound cultural experience that connects you to the history and spirituality of the Mayan people.

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