Cozumel Island Mexico is a massive limestone formation that measures 30 miles (48 kilometers) from north to south and only 10 miles (16 kilometers) from east to west. Flanked by endless stretches of white sand beaches on both the east and west coasts, the Mesoamerican Reef System on the west coast, and surrounded by turquoise blue Caribbean Sea, this tropical paradise is the stuff that dreams are made of.
When you visit Cozumel the extensive menu of fun things to do makes this destination a place where everyone can find something that they enjoy, from premier scuba diving to dolphin swimming, reef snorkeling catamaran and yacht charters, Mexican cooking classes, beach clubs, paddle boarding and many more adventure activities.
As you can well imagine this means that every moment is going to be fun filled and you will want to capture some of these to take home as memories. We have compiled a short list of our most liked Instagrammable places to visit in Cozumel. So get reading and prepare yourself for an unforgettable trip.
1. El Cielo
No trip to the island is complete without the obligatory Cozumel catamaran tour. Most boat tours, whether shared or private charter, now include a visit to the famed sandbanks of El Cielo.
Located approximately 45 minutes south of the main ferry pier these sandbanks are protected and only a limited number of boats and visitors are allowed every day. Shallow waters and fine powdered white sand make it an ideal spot to get wet swimming or snorkeling.
Huge brightly colored starfish are often spotted migrating around this area as they feed off the seafloor. Make sure that your camera is waterproof or that you bring along a waterproof bag for taking pictures of these amazing animals.
2. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
If you are a nature lover we suggest that you take a tour to the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park. Home to many bird species, crocodiles, iguanas and even sea turtles this ecological park has a protected area of approximately 2,500 acres (1,010 hectares) and also boasts the El Caracol ruins and the Faro Celerain lighthouse, where you’ll find a small maritime museum.
For those of you who love birding we suggest that arrive at 9:00 AM when the park opens. Be sure to grab a kayak at Colombia Lagoon and explore the mangroves, creeping plants and coastal jungles. The park is great place for families to learn about wildlife, play at the beach and relax in the available hammocks.
3. San Gervasio Ruins
The Maya ruins of San Gervasio (pre-Hispanic Maya name “Tantun Cuzamil”) are a great example of a religious ceremonial site. The site was dedicated to worship of the goddess Ix Chel, an aged deity of childbirth, fertility, medicine, and weaving.
Pre-Columbian Maya women would attempt to travel to San Gervasio at least once in their lives. The bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa, wrote in 1549 that the Maya “held Cozumel in the same veneration as we have for pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome, and so they used to go to visit and offer presents there, as we do to holy places; and if they did not go themselves, they always sent their offerings.
Although the archaeological site has not been completely restored it is definitely a worthwhile attraction to see. A graceful arch protects an altar on a “sacbe” (“white way”, a paved road) leading into the ceremonial center where numerous buildings are on display. Do not miss the Temple of the Hands where, inside, numerous small red hand prints of unknown significance are painted on the walls.
4. Punta Molas Lighthouse
You may not have expected an extreme option that would normally be found on a Mexico adventure tours list but we had to include off the beaten track Punta Molas Lighthouse.
Visiting the northern tip of Cozumel Island is really only for the adventurous. You will need a 4WD rental with a full tank of gas and someone on board who has experience driving these vehicles. The road is challenging with sand and holes all along the way.
The end result is the opportunity to stand before a totally isolated yet very picturesque lighthouse complete with small military barracks. The coastline along the way is spectacular but for a lot of the time you will be surrounded by jungle.
Be prepared and take sun hats, lots of water water, biodegradable sunscreen and mosquito repellant.
5. Taco Restaurant
For those who have not yet discovered the delights of Mexican cuisine a taco is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling.
Traditionally locals may use a variety of fillings (this differs by region) from beef to pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese. In Cozumel, and because of its location in the Caribbean Sea, most popular are marlin, crab, deep fried fish, octopus and shrimp. The taco is eaten without utensils and is always accompanied by different salsas (in this region really hot habanero chilli is a favorite), guacamole, cilantro (coriander), tomatoes and onions.
Be sure to try the ‘Tacos al Pastor’ (in English, shepherds’ style) which is marinated pork that has been grilled on a vertical spit.
6. Tequila Bar
This may not be everyone’s favorite drink but in Mexico, tequila reigns supreme, and probably needs no introduction to visitors from abroad.
Just in case you didn’t know of its origins, tequila is a regionally distilled alcoholic drink made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, close to the capital city of Guadalajara, as well as the highlands of the state of Jalisco.
As with any alcoholic drink, the region in which it is produced, the soil in particular and other unique climatological characteristics create subtle differences in flavor that connoisseurs can readily distinguish.
While most foreigners usually shoot tequila with salt and lime in Mexico it is served neat. Ask your waiter or bar staff to recommend their favorite blend and do try it the Mexican way.
7. Turquoise sea
A vacation on Cozumel Island is a vacation in the Caribbean, and the Caribbean is all about it’s unbelievably blue sea (so many adjectives have been used to attempt an accurate description, from azure to turquoise, sky blue, cerulean and even teal). Not only is the island surrounded by this wonderous blue but it is also flanked by powder white sand beaches and the second longest barrier reef in the world. This is truly paradise for water lovers, snorkelers and divers.
This sea, like every other ocean on the planet, is colored blue because water molecules absorb wavelengths from the sun and reflect blue while the other colors are absorbed. The Caribbean is a very shallow sea and this allows sunlight to reflect off the seafloor and makes these blues appear that much lighter.
Make sure that you catch at least one sunrise or sunset with your camera, the latter being particularly spectacular along the west coast of the island. If you are going to swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Cozumel be sure to bring along a waterproof camera or bag for taking pictures of these beautiful blue, and transparent, waters.
8. Playa Bonita
If you are looking for a quiet space that is far removed from the sometimes raucousness of the typical beach club scene or very popular beaches, Playa Bonita may be that place for you.
Located to the north of Cozumel Island this remote, yet very beautiful beach is part of a crescent-shaped cove dotted with majestic palm trees. The water here is usually very calm so any water activity can be safely enjoyed.
Amenities are sparse so take along most everything that you will need, although drinks and snacks are available from local vendors. This a great option for romantic seclusion and spectacular sunsets.
Cozumel Island Mexico is a place of vacation dreams, where lasting memories with friends and family are made. Boasting an endless list of Cozumel fun facts, so many different attractions and so many fun things to do it is no wonder that the island has become such a popular getaway for visitors from all over the world. Make sure that you take your favorite camera along so that you too can capture some of these unforgettable moments.