Cozumel is an island just off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. In terms of area, it's largely uninhabited, as mostly everyone there lives in the main town of San Miguel de Cozumel, amounting to a total population of about 77,000 people.
While this isn't an overly large island with lots of infrastructure, it is still well known in the tourism industry, primarily due to it's exceptional beauty and amazing scuba diving and snorkeling. There is a great balance of touristy attractions and natural beauty on this island, making it a great spot to stay for a few days, especially if you're interested in snorkeling.
One of the more underrated aspects of Cozumel is the reliability. That's a weird word to use to describe a tropical island, but given Cozumel usually gets about 350 days of sunshine per year and warm waters year round, there's a good chance that the conditions will be great during your stay.
Generally speaking, Cozumel is an excellent snorkeling destination for any skill level snorkeler. Beginners and advanced snorkelers can all have a great time, enjoy the pure tropical climate, and take in a friendly laid back culture all at once.
As with many other snorkeling destinations, there are lots of snorkel tours and charters that you can use for a guided snorkeling excursion. There are also many great spots where you can put in from the shore, which we will also touch on, just keep in mind the latter has a wider variety of required snorkeling skillsets.
Cozumel Snorkeling - What Can You Expect to See?
If you're reading this, chances are you are looking for the best spot for you, you and your buddies, or you and your family to go snorkeling. While you may be interested in exploring more than the island of Cozumel, if you're main priority is snorkeling, it's tough to go wrong with Cozumel. As I've once heard from w fellow snorkeler, the best snorkeling in Cozumel is on a similar level to the best snorkeling in the world.
One of the main marine attractions in Cozumel for divers is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This reef can be thoroughly explored via scuba diving. While it may be a little more difficult to reach some of the most interesting spots of the coral by snorkeling, the reef is so big that you can explore lots int he shallower waters or get a great view of the top of this expansive coral.
The waters of Cozumel are teeming with marine life, and there's definitely lots of vibrant and playful fish that you will be able to see. Additionally, other common creatures include lobsters, eels, and sting rays! The next question: Will you be able to clearly see the fish? Definitely. The coastal waters of Cozumel are known for extraordinary clarity. You can expect a visibility of about 125-200 feet, which is awesome!
If snorkeling in Cozumel is something that interests you, we have listed some self-put-in snorkeling spots below, as well as some interesting guided snorkeling tours.
Snorkel tours offered on a variety of boat sizes, allowing for a variety of group sizes.
Smaller company that values a personal, non-rushed, and all-around enjoyable snorkeling tour with flexibility for group sizes and other requests.
Flexibility in exact snorkeling spot. Requests are welcome. You spend a little more time on the water than some other tours, so multiple destinations are likely. Tour ends at El Cielo Cozumel for relaxing on a pristine white sandy beach with shallow clear water.
Cost: $50/adult and $40/child
Duration: ~ 4-4.5 hours.
Departure Times: 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm (can request a different time).
Includes: Transportation, snorkeling equipment, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, park fees, docking fees, and knowledgeable guides.
Email: [email protected]
This snorkel tour takes you to areas that you can only reach by boat and progresses from shallower to deeper water, with an emphasis on the shallower environments.
Guided by Rosi Flury (PADI Dive Instructor and 27 years of experience on the island).
This tour can be a little more expensive than others, but this tour takes you further to the coolest reef locations (thus using more gas), and they also don't pack the boats too tight, so even if you're going to a far-out spot, you don't have to worry about being jammed in with a crowd.
Cost: $67/person, minimum of 4 people ($40 extra for a CD with lots of pictures from the trip).
Morning Trip: 8:30am-12:30pm departing from La Caleta Marina
Afternoon Trip: 1pm-4:30pm departing from La Caleta Marina
Email: [email protected]
This company offers to take you to a variety of snorkeling spots in Cozumel. They strive to be unique, and as such, may offer locations that the majority of other snorkel tours do not go.
Snorkel tour take you to 4 of the following reefs: El Cielo, Colombia Shallow, Casa Blanca, Palancar Gardens, Dzul-Ha, and Santa Rosa Wall.
Suitable for any skill level.
Private Tour Costs: $400 (up to 4 people), $550 (up to 6 people), and $650 (up to 8 people). Larger groups can be accommodated on request.
Includes: Marine park fees, snorkeling and safety equipment, snacks, and water. For private tours, juice, pop, and cold beer is available on the way back.
Email: [email protected]
Phone (local): 044 987 8762021
Phone (abroad): 011 52 1 9878762021
Snorkeling From the Shore in Cozumel
If you are tight on cash, or simply don't like the idea of snorkeling with a larger group of people, snorkeling from the shore in Cozumel is entirely possible. While you may not see the very best of the best of what Cozumel has to offer in terms of snorkeling, you can still see lots of cool stuff from snorkeling around the shore.
One thing to keep in mind is that the North shore typically experiences stronger, and more numerous, currents. While it is still possible to snorkel on the North shore, it is usually advised that only expert snorkelers try it out. The Southern portion of the island offers much easier snorkeling conditions, and there are lots of awesome spots to choose from. For more information on snorkeling from the shore in Cozumel, please click here.