Things to Do in Cozumel

11 Amazing Things to Do in Cozumel, Mexico

Ver página en: Español

Mexico’s third-biggest island is also one of its most important touristic destinations. If you’re traveling here, these are the top things to do in Cozumel.

Home to beautiful beaches and some of the best diving in the Western hemisphere, the island of Cozumel has plenty to offer to anyone looking for relaxation, adventure, or a little bit of both. If you’re planning a visit to this small piece of paradise, you will find that there are some great things to do in Cozumel.

Mexico’s third-biggest island is located on the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and right in front of trendy Playa del Carmen. Cozumel is also a popular cruise ship destination and one of the country’s most important touristic spots

Best Things to Do in Cozumel

Pin Things to Do in Cozumel

1. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

Diving is one of the main attractions in Cozumel. Divers from all over the world visit the island to explore the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere and second largest in the world. Formed by different types of coral, the reef is home to some 250 species of tropical fish, most notably the Cozumel splendid toadfish — a species endemic to the area.

If you can’t dive, don’t worry. Cozumel is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs, so there are also plenty of opportunities for snorkeling. Some of the best spots for snorkeling around the island include Playa El Cielo and the Palancar reef (for more information, see below).

Good to Know

Most of the diving spots are on the south part of the island, where you’ll find the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, which was established in 1996 and comprises an area of 120 square kilometers (46 sq mi). Also, keep in mind that there are strong currents and dangerous rip tides on the east side of the island.

For diving, you can expect to pay about $80 USD for a two-tank dive (add a bit more if you need gear rental). If you are looking to get your PADI open-water certification, it can cost between $350 USD to $450 USD.

2. Playa Palancar

Located just 20 minutes (17 kilometers) south of San Miguel, Playa Palancar is great for diving and has some fine spots for snorkeling, as well. This quiet, white-sanded beach is also a nice place to relax on a hammock under palm trees. Plus, it is one of the few beaches where you don’t have to pay an access fee.

At the restaurant, you can get some delicious food and drinks (you are not allowed to bring your own). And you can also rent a couple of chairs and an umbrella for $10 USD.

Good to Know

To get there, a taxi from town should be around $25 USD. If you are driving yourself, you can find plenty of space to park. Playa Palancar is usually not very crowded and if you visit on weekdays you will find even fewer people. The beach is open from 9 am to 5 pm.

You can rent snorkel gear at the beach club for about $7 USD. However, you can also take a snorkeling tour that combines the Palancar reef with a visit to Playa El Cielo and the Colombia reef

3. Discover Mexico

If you want to experience more of Mexico’s history and culture, this is the place for you. The Discover Mexico Park takes visitors on a journey that covers the evolution of Mexico’s great civilizations, the Spanish conquest, and its modern arts and culture scene.

You can walk around and admire the miniature replicas of some of the most iconic buildings in Mexico. They also offer a chocolate workshop and some very educational tequila tasting sessions, so you can learn about the history of tequila and how it’s produced.

Good to Know

Don’t miss the impressive rain dance (Danza de los Voladores, or Dance of the Flyers in English) demonstration. If you are traveling with kids, this is definitely one of the best family-friendly attractions on the island.

Entrance to the park is about $26 USD and you can buy your tickets here. The workshops and tastings are available for an additional charge.

4. Admire the Street Art

If you think street art is only a feature adorning the walls in big cities, you will be pleasantly surprised by the many murals you can find around Cozumel. Most of them were done as part of the Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans program, an initiative of the PangeaSeed Foundation.

The goal of this project is to raise awareness for sea conservation by partnering with urban artists from all over the world to create works around this topic. Since its start in 2014, they have created over 350 ocean-themed murals in 15 countries.

Good to Know

The second edition of Sea Walls took place in Cozumel earlier this year (the previous edition was in 2015), so you have the chance to see some fresh works. You can find a map with the murals of the latest edition here. Or you can also ask for a printed version at the tourist office in Cozumel.

More Mexico Travel Inspo

5. The Mayan Cacao Company

Located just 16 km south of San Miguel de Cozumel, The Mayan Cacao Company is the perfect place to learn everything about the origins of chocolate and its significance in the Mayan culture. Plus, during your visit, you can also enjoy a demonstration of how the Mayans made chocolate using traditional methods.

However, the best part is that, in the end, you get to taste some amazing chocolate combinations, such as milk chocolate with cranberries, grapes, and almonds; or the chocolate with chili. And don’t miss trying the chocolate cocktails, which include chocolate mojitos, daiquiris, and margaritas. This is a definite must for any chocolate lover!

Good to Know

You can visit the Mayan Cacao Company on your own (avoid waiting in line and book your tickets here) or as part of a tour. Guided visits start every half hour. Also, keep in mind that the site is closed on Sunday and that this is a popular stop for cruise ship travelers; so if you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit later in the afternoon.

6. Playa El Cielo

Just as its name implies, this heavenly beach is a little piece of paradise. Only accessible by boat, Playa El Cielo is known for its waist-deep crystal clear water; which, as mentioned above, make this pristine beach an idyllic spot for snorkeling. The best part, of course, is all the starfish and stingrays around.

Good to Know

The beach is only accessible by boat, so you’ll probably need to book a tour to get there. One of the best-rated options is this tour which also includes stops at the Palancar and Colombia reefs.

7. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park

A protected habitat for many species of birds and animals, the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park is a great place for bird watching. There are several observation towers throughout the park where you can see migratory birds and crocodiles if you are lucky.

Located on Cozumel’s southernmost point, the park also features a lighthouse that has been converted into a navigation museum, the Faro de Celarain. From the top, you get some of the best views on the island.

Good to Know

The best way to get to the park is either by joining a guided group tour or, if you are feeling adventurous, rent a Jeep and drive yourself. If you are traveling on your own, it is wise to arrive early to beat the crowds!

8. San Gervasio Ruins

The San Gervasio ruins are Cozumel’s largest and best-preserved Mayan site. This used to be the island’s main settlement and remained inhabited from A.D. 300 to 1500. The site was also a ceremonial center dedicated to Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. Mayan women were required to visit the sanctuary once in their lifetime.

Good to Know

To fully appreciate the site, it is recommended to hire a guide. Remember to bring plenty of water, especially when it’s hot, and bug spray.

9. Go to Isla Pasion

A private island located in the northern part of Cozumel, Isla Pasion (Passion Island) features some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Its perfect powdery white sand and crystal clear sea waters attract lots of visitors looking for the perfect Caribbean getaway. Fortunately, the beach is almost 2.5 miles long, so you can easily avoid the crowds.

Good to Know

To get there, you need to book a tour on a speed boat or, even better, a catamaran. Once on the island, you’ll find an open bar and a buffet. If you want to keep active you can kayak, paddleboard, or have fun with some of the beach games.

10. Cozumel Pearl Farm

The Cozumel Pearl Farm offers a truly unique experience. Here you will learn all about pearl farming from this family’s perspective. You can also snorkel and enjoy a tasty meal as part of the excursion.

Good to Know

Only accessible by private boat, the farm only caters to small groups at a time; so you can enjoy the place without large crowds. For those looking to experience the non-touristy part of Cozumel, this is a great choice!

11. Punta Molas Lighthouse

Now, if you want to go further on your adventures off the beaten path, head to the north part of Cozumel and check the Punta Molas Lighthouse. This is one of the most remote parts of the island and it’s not easy to reach. However, you’ll get to explore this awesome lighthouse, enjoy the pristine views, and have the place pretty much to yourself.

Good to Know

This place is not reachable by car, so don’t even try! Instead, contact Adrian Cozumel, an independent tour guide offering personalized private tours. He’ll take you there by boat and make sure you enjoy a fun and safe experience!

It might be true that with every cruise ship that arrives, Cozumel may look like a tourist trap. However, as most people just come for a day and tend to stick to the main sites; there are still many cool hidden gems for those who venture to the less-visited parts of the island.

Getting Around Cozumel

By far, the best way to get around Cozumel is by renting your own vehicle. You can either rent a scooter; which is definitely fun but can be dangerous if you don’t have much experience. Or you can rent a car, which is safer and if you are traveling with more people can even be cheaper.

If you decide to rent a scooter, make sure to check the vehicle before renting for any damages. Also, always wear your helmet! Not only because of safety reasons but also because you can get fined otherwise.

If you opt for the car, you’ll find plenty of choices around. For the lowest prices, look for options out of the tourist zone. Also, hotels sometimes have deals with car rental agencies, so check with your hotel first. Finally, always get insurance and make sure that taxes are included in the quoted price to avoid surprises.

Cozumel Map

This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through one of these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us to keep this site running. Thank you for your support!

Photo Credits

Cover and Pinterest images courtesy of Fernando Jorge via Unsplash.
All images embedded from Instagram belong to their respective owners.

Have you been to Cozumel? Are there any other things to do in Cozumel that you would like to recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Travel Writer

Bianca is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She’s now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

2400 1600 Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She's now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

All stories by : Bianca Bauza
  • Ooh I love this list! Count me in for scuba diving.

  • I still haven’t been to Cozumel, but reading this article makes me want to go. Like NOW.
    Too bad life is interfering, but I will totally put it on my bucket list. Thanks for giving such a thorough list of nature-related activities.


  • Been to Cozumel four times and cruises. After reading your article, I still have some more ground to cover! Thanks for writing such a thorough review!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Start Typing