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 looking forward to seeing below the water's surface you might enjoy visiting 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 found within the western part of Cozumel.

Fiesta Americana Cozumel All Inclusive is another place you might enjoy. 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 site 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 location 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, you'll find this site located in the western part of Cozumel.

Sunset Beach is a fifth location 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.

Review this table to find out more about 11 of the most popular places to enjoy 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 best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you want to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to contact Cozumel Sailing. Cozumel Sailing offers deep sea fishing excursions, private charters, Tucan sailing adventures, and sunset sails. Some of the activities included on these trips include snorkeling, snorkel gear, complimentary lunch, an open bar, and occasional Spinnaker rides if the weather permits.

Another option worth investigating is Cozumel Boat Trips Sunset. As it tours along the Great Maya Reef, the Sunset Sail delivers breathtaking views of the island during the final hours of the day on Cozumel. They're located in western Cozumel.

Still another option is Captain Ron's Cozumel Boat Charters. With over 25 years of scuba diving and ship captain experience, Captain Ron is dedicated to ensuring safety, comfort, and fun. His fleet features two catamarans and three yachts.

Take a look at the table just below for a listing of boat trips and day sails that offer snorkeling.

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 someone that offers snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to contact Cozumel Marine World. Specializing in private charters for snorkeling tours as well as many other watersports, this operator knows where to find all of the area's best underwater sites. They are located in the western part of Cozumel.

Another company worth knowing about 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 option is Cha Cha Cha. Their snorkeling trips take guests to three different reefs and also include a stop on the beach where you can have some snacks soda, and waters. They're located in downtown San Miguel.

The table directly below provides a few details about 16 places that offer services related to snorkeling.

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
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 concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read this exhaustive guide to snorkeling in the Caribbean.

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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