Last updated by Kennedy Stadler: October 18, 2021
The number of things to do in Cozumel can be dizzying; it’s an enchanting island that promises you a dreamy beach vacay. However, the main thing to know is that it’s a scuba and snorkeler’s mecca. The water is some of the clearest in the world. But this in no way upstages the breathtaking sunsets and endless beaches that will melt your heart. Here’s our pick of 12 must-dos on your next Cozumel vacay.
1. Cozumel Reefs National Park. Since Jacques Yves Cousteau came with his crew on the Calypso to film a documentary, Cozumel has consistently been on the top of many diving lists. Because you’ll see it all here on the Meso-American reef system, which spans almost 175 miles of ocean between the Gulf of Mexico and Honduras. The rockin’ rich underwater topography is the main draw – vast coral heads, brilliant sponges, leagues of tropical fish and even some creatures not found anywhere else on earth. This is one of the things to do in Cozumel that makes a trip here off-the-charts thrilling.
2. Chankanaab National Park. Like we said, snorkeling and scuba are probably some of the very best things to do in Cozumel and Chankanaab Park is where you’ll you want to land. Lucky for you, it’s just down the beach from the Sunscape Sabor Cozumel. At the park, you’ll have easy access to a shallow 20-foot deep cove that’s very popular for ogling numerous exotic fish and crazy beautiful coral. While here, check out Paradise Reef. It has a trio of adjacent reefs full of multi-colored fish, plus lobster, and octopus. Bring food to attract yellowtails, angels and tangs. Even better, if you look under the reef ledges or holes here, you might spot the Splendid Toad Fish–it grows to 12-16 inches long and can inhale another fish in a nanosecond. Don’t blink. You might miss this.
3. Atlantis Submarines Cozumel. With this coolio cruise, you can choose from three different thrilling options: you can take the basic tour and cruise the floor of the island’s famous Chankanaab Reef. The second option is like the first except you get ferry transportation to and from Playa del Carmen. The third one is the whole enchilada called Ha-Kaab (water and land): tour the ocean floor of Chankanaab Reef, and ride around the island in a buggy. Of all the things to do in Cozumel, submarine rides are the bomb.
4. Columbia Reef. Some of the most incredible scuba diving in the world can be experienced here. It’s a deep reef with visibility of up to 200 feet where you can see massive coral pillars, caves and tunnels, plus a colorful array of sponges and fish. If you don’t want to make the deep dive, check out Colombia Lagoon, where you can see many sea creatures such as sea turtles and their nesting areas. Here, you can hang at the bar. Take part in a tequila tasting. Rent a paddle board. And for your beaching pleasure, there are bathrooms, showers and best of all, WiFi. A good place to stay that’s not too far away from Columbia Reef is Secrets Aura Cozumel.
5. Cozumel Bar Hop. This is a party on wheels with air conditioning (woot!) that will take you across the island to the wilds of an undeveloped part of Cozumel. Most travelers have not seen the breathtaking beauty of the east side of the island and the good news is, you won’t find it crowded with resorts, houses and crowds – not even electricity! At every stop, you even get to a chance to nibble on some Caribbean specialties that are made fresh every day. Plus, you’ll get a little history lesson about this Mayan paradise. When you want to mix up the things to do in Cozumel, this one’s deliciously fun.
6. Palancar Beach. This sunny spot is famous for having it all: powdery, sugar-white sands along with one of the best reefs for snorkeling and scuba in these parts – it’s 3.5 miles long and located about a mile offshore. When you stay at Iberostar Cozumel, you’ll be just a seashell’s throw away. Travelers report seeing wave after wave of marine life: eels, sting rays, turtles, octipi along with sponges and barracudas. Shallow Palancar is great for beginning divers as it’s just 20 to 40 feet with caves and narrow long tunnels. If scuba is not your thing, you can also snorkel. Plus, there are shops, and places to grub with super fresh ceviche. If you want an ocean-side massage, you can get that, too.
7. Cozumel Pearl Farm. There’s more to farming pearls than cracking open oysters. Here, you can snorkel out to the underwater farms and learn how all the magic happens. Once you arrive, (and you can only get here by boat), you’ll feel like you’re marooned on a deserted island because you’ll be on a private beach surrounded by sparkling teal waters. The whole process takes six hours so plan for a whole-day excursion. Gear, lunch, beer and soft drinks are included in the price. When it comes to things to do in Cozumel, this is a must-do. Don’t forget to include it in your all-inclusive vacation package.
8. Jade Cavern. Inside this cavern aka Stalactite Central, you can explore the Cenote named “Chempita”, where you can swim in refreshingly cool, aah-some jade-colored water with ancient formations hanging overhead. It’s seriously one of the most awesome things to do in Cozumel. If you’re brave, you can jump off of a 20-foot cliff. These pools not only used to have religious significance to the Mayans, but but also served as sources for fresh drinking water. No matter, sun worshipping is the kind of thing we’re religious about. Dive in.
9. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park. When you’re trying to figure out what fun things to do in Cozumel, you gotta figure in some wild times, which is exactly what you’ll be in for at this 247-acre national preserve. It’s chock-a-block full of exotic birds, crocodiles, sea turtles and many other local species. While you’re hanging there, don’t miss the El Caracol Mayan ruins and the Faro Celerain Lighthouse. If you’ve still got some steam left, stop by the visitor’s center to schedule a catamaran or kayak tour around Laguna Colombia. This sunny spot is near Secrets Aura Cozumel.
10. Stingray Beach. Here you can hang with the Devil Ray, where you’ll be given instruction on the equipment and how to interact. But don’t be scared–they promise a high level of safety and comfort. They’ll walk you through the whole thing. Good news: the Manta Rays have no sting. The package includes snorkeling equipment, an hour playing with the stingrays and a variety of marine life. No Cozumel vacation package is complete without this.
11. San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site. Okay, history buffs and knowledge lovers, you must lobby to include this your list of things to do in Cozumel. This site was originally a sanctuary for Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and love. You’ll learn all about the ancient Mayan culture, what their every day life was like. The tour guides are very informative and you can even buy chocolate products there. Yum.
12. Cozumel Steam Lodge. Officially called a “temazcal,” this treatment was originally used by the Aztecs and Mayans as a therapeutic element of their medical practice. These days, it’s a relaxing cleansing therapy for the nervous system and reactivation of skin cells. The elimination of fat (love this) and stimulation of the blood vessels is activated in the bath, bringing beneficial effects to the digestive and respiratory system. It’s a great way to unplug (you’ll survive without your phone) and immerse yourself in the island’s culture. And it’s what separates Cozumel vacation packages from all the rest.
Are you excited yet? We sure are. And if you are, too, then hop on one of our many Cozumel vacation packages! With something for just about every vacation style, there’s oceans of things to do in Cozumel!