The Best of Isla Cozumel in Four Days

View across the shallow clear water with whitewash buildings visible to the right.

The crystal clear waters of Cozumel’s coastline. Photo © Tristan Higbee, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Isla Cozumel is Mexico’s third largest island, with much to offer the curious traveler, from Maya ruins to deserted beaches. Cozumel’s claim to fame is its diving and snorkeling, and this tour allots plenty of bubble time. If you prefer to stay on dry land, there’s still plenty to do and see in Cozumel, although you also could just take the ferry to Playa del Carmen to explore the mainland for a day or two.

Day 1

Fly straight to Cozumel. There are numerous daily flights, including a few nonstops from the United States. (This saves you the time and expense of taking a bus or taxi to Playa del Carmen, then a ferry across to Cozumel.) Your first order of business is to book a day or two of diving or snorkeling. If you don’t have your own snorkeling equipment, arrange an extended rental at any of the dive shops in town. Spend the balance of your day on the beach, whether at your hotel or at one of the beach clubs on the west side of the island.

Day 2

Revel in Isla Cozumel’s richest resource: its marine park and pristine coral reef. Palancar Reef is a good warm-up site, with a shallow profile and mild current. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a stroll around the central plaza.

Day 3

Rent a car and spend a day exploring the island. San Gervasio archaeological zone, in the middle of the island, is a good place to start. Continue on to Cozumel’s barely developed east side for lunch on a deserted beach while watching the waves crash ashore. Plan on returning to town in time for a night dive—an incredible experience.

Day 4

Spend the day at one of Cozumel’s ecoparks, either Parque Punta Sur (Faro Celarain Eco Park) or Chankanaab, if you feel like more creature comforts. Take your snorkeling gear and a towel—both are great places to get in the water.

Excerpted from the Eleventh Edition of Moon Cancun & Cozumel.

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