Snorkeling Around Cozumel

Photo credit: © Michael McCullough

Cozumel is known around the world for its excellent scuba diving, however, many agree that snorkeling here is best done by those with experience – and only after paying close attention to current water conditions.

The problem with snorkeling in Cozumel is that the currents can be strong so you can't just pick any beach on any given day and have a great time.  While Chankanaab Park  is usually calm and offers great underwater sites, if you go to most places, especially to the west side, you'll find the currents can get especially strong.

Interestingly, almost every tour group that specializes in snorkeling tours from mainland Mexico offers a sail to Cozumel for a few hours of snorkeling.  Do they know something that snorkelers going on their own don't?  The truth is, these tours take their guests to the offshore reef systems which feature visibility of about 200 feet deep, temperatures between the low 70s and low 80s in degrees Fahrenheit, and several hundred species of fish swimming about.  Most importantly, there is a greater variation in the strength of the currents and these guides know exactly what to look for as they seek out a spot along the reef to deposit their passengers for an hour or so of snorkeling. 

If snorkeling from the shore is more your style, don't be discouraged.  Cozumel truly does offer some of the most stunning underwater scenery for you to explore.  It is, however, highly recommended that you are a strong swimmer and you pay close attention to the conditions.  As previously mentioned, this is especially true of the west coast, but also the north and east coasts.  If you head to the southern shore, you'll find that while currents are still an issue, they are much more manageable because the force of the current pushes you towards the beach rather than out to sea.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you're ready to experience what's below the surface you should consider a visit to Playa Corona. Thanks to possible issues with currents, this site is recommended for intermediate to advanced snorkelers. If you've got the skills, you can explore the reef here, interacting with a great diversity of sea life. This snorkeling site is located in the western part of Cozumel.

Fiesta Americana Cozumel All Inclusive is another option. A great drift snorkeling spot that will allow you to explore the underwater sites as you float along with the current, people love it because it is easy to do and easy to find.

A third location to consider is Chankannab Adventure Park. An underwater statue called Chaak Mool rests at this snorkeling site, adding to the appeal already set forth by the diversity of sea life. Sightings might include sea fans lobster, sergeant majors, and octopus, though there is no coral.

A fourth place where you can go snorkeling is Dzul Ha. Recommended to many as a top snorkeling site, this spot will not disappoint. Beautiful and healthy coral reef host many different types of reef fish in addition to sea anemones, sea fans, and serpent stars. If you want to experience it for yourself, this site is located in the western part of Cozumel.

Sunset Beach is a fifth option to consider. Popular among dive and snorkel boat excursions, this spot is perhaps best loved because the current is strong enough to push you along for a drift snorkel without being so strong that you should be overly concerned for your safety. Underwater sites include coral heads, fan coral, and of course lots and lots of fish.

Be sure to look through the chart below for summary info concerning 11 of the most popular locations where you can experience snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Cozumel
Site Location
Playa Corona 6.1 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Fiesta Americana Cozumel All Inclusive 4.0 mi. South West of Central San Miguel
Chankannab Adventure Park 5.2 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Dzul Ha 3.9 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Sunset Beach 1.8 mi. South West of Downtown San Miguel
Paradise Beach 9.4 mi. South-Southwest of Central downtown San Miguel
Palancar Reef 12.9 mi. South-Southwest of Central downtown San Miguel
Columbia Reef 13.8 mi. South-Southwest of Central downtown San Miguel
Paraiso Bajo 3.2 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Cozumel plane wreck 2.1 mi. South West of Central San Miguel
Playa Uvas 4.9 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Cozumel Sailing

Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is experienced away from the shore.

If you're ready to snorkel during a boat trip, you can check with Cozumel Sailing. Cozumel Sailing features a variety of activities upon their vessel Tucan, a 35' Trimaran that can accommodate up to 28 people. Their dedicated crew is friendly and knowledgeable.

Another option to consider is Cozumel Boat Trips Sunset. Adelaide, the vessel that leads the Sunset Sail, can accommodate up to 20 people, so you don't need to worry about an overcrowded boat. The crew will make sure you have a relaxing 3 hour cruise accompanied by snacks, fresh guacamole with chips and a wide range of drinks for you to choose from. They're located in western Cozumel.

A third option is Captain Ron's Cozumel Boat Charters. Captain Ron can take you on a fishing excursion, snorkeling adventure, leisure sail, or a sunset cruise. His crew is bilingual in English and Spanish, so you don't have to worry about a language barrier.

A few details about boat trip providers that provide snorkeling opportunities are displayed in the following chart.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On Cozumel
Name Phone Location
Albatros Charters (984) 872-7904 0.7 mi. South West of Downtown San Miguel
Captain Ron's Cozumel Boat Charters (987) 872-5467 Downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Boat Trips Sunset (987) 113-6107 3.5 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Sailing (987) 869-2312 1.6 mi. Northeast of Downtown San Miguel

Snorkeling Services

Blue Angel

If you looking for a place that offers snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to check with Cozumel Marine World. When you charter a snorkel trip for you and your friends, you can reserve up to three hours that includes your gear, water soft drinks, and a snack. They are found within the western part of Cozumel.

Another company catering to snorkelers is Blue Angel. Guests staying at the resort of the same name have the benefit of participating in a number of watersports with a knowledgeable team. They head out to do some diving on a daily basis and snorkelers can tag along.

A third place to consider is Dressel Divers Cozumel. Dressel Divers is just a short distance from Cozumel's top snorkeling sites. Spacious and comfortable snorkel boats take guests to these amazing reefs in a short 15 minute boat ride. They're located in Southern Cozumel, in the southwestern part of Cozumel.

View this table to see 17 companies that offer snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services On Cozumel
Name Type Phone Location
AquaWorld Snorkeling Tour Operator -- 2.0 mi. South West of Central San Miguel
Babieca Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-0844 2.4 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Blue Angel Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (987) 872-0819 1.5 mi. South West of Downtown San Miguel
Blue Magic Scuba Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-6143 Downtown San Miguel
Cha Cha Cha Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (987) 872-2331 Downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Boat Trips Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 113-6107 3.5 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Cruise Excursions Snorkeling Tour Operator (305) 767-2779 Downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Equalizers Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-3511 0.4 mi. South West of Downtown San Miguel
Cozumel Marine World Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 103-5690 1.9 mi. South West of Central San Miguel
Dive Palancar Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-5556 9.6 mi. South-Southwest of Central San Miguel
Diving Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (210) 374-9141 Downtown San Miguel
Dressel Divers Cozumel Snorkeling Tour Operator (+34) 963 561 496 10.6 mi. South-Southwest of Central downtown San Miguel
Liquid Blue Divers Snorkeling Tour Operator (210) 807-3483 0.9 mi. South-Southeast of Downtown San Miguel
Pepe Scuba Dive Shop Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-6740 1.9 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown San Miguel
Sand Dollar Sports Diving Snorkeling Tour Operator (866) 663-3140 Cozumel
Scuba Du Snorkeling Tour Operator (987) 872-9500 3.7 mi. South West of Central downtown San Miguel
Studio Blue Cozumel Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (987) 872-4414 Downtown San Miguel

For more information about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" read our exhaustive Caribbean snorkeling page.

If this trip will be your first time snorkeling, Cozumel may have to wait until you've gained some experience with the sport.  One you do have  few snorkeling trips under your belt, however, the beautiful marine landscape of this Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea is definitely one you'll want to make a point to see. 


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