Cozumel has some of the best waters in the Caribbean for snorkeling. The best snorkeling in Cozumel can be found in multiple locations. With an average visibility of 100 feet and 230 native species of fish inhabiting the surrounding reefs, snorkeling is a must do activity while visiting.
The extremely clear waters and healthier than average reefs are attributed to the ocean currents that are continuously filtering the water. These currents make the best snorkeling in Cozumel drift snorkeling – where snorkelers simply let the current drift them around.
Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island – 10 miles wide and 30 miles long. The best snorkeling in Cozumel is on the western side of the island – as it is protected my Mexico mainland. The rest of the waters surrounding Cozumel are too dangerous for snorkeling and sometimes too hazardous for marine life to even exist. You can visit these snorkeling spots either on your own or through one of the many Cozumel snorkeling tours.
Chankanaab National Park
This park is considered by many to be the most famous snorkeling destination in Cozumel. The best snorkeling in Cozumel is found specifically in Chankanaab Lagoon where snorkelers have easy access to the 20-foot-deep cove. Famous for its tremendous fish population and impressive coral reef formations the lagoon is ideal for beginner to intermediate snorkelers.
The park is accessible either by tour cruise or by car. We recommend taking a car service as the cruise tours are often crowded, overpriced and restricting.
A famous snorkeling spot found about a mile off the island. It is accessible only by boat. This is the best option for new snorkelers as the water is only waist deep at many points. El Cielo is famous for it’s long sandy stretches – it isn’t a reef like most snorkeling spot – it is actually a sandbar. The most impressive marine life found here are the enormous star fish.
This unique snorkeling experience is best known for its unique entrance to the waters – although it is right on the coat it offers no beach access. Snorkelers must actually jump in or slowly enter the water by ropes and ladders. The lack of beach makes this spot ideal for spotting barracuda, eels, stingrays and cuttlefish – all of whom use the rocky cliffs as natural hiding spots.
San Francisco Reef
This special reef is famous for its three distinct sections. Made up of individual wall dives divided by 180 foot long stretches of sandy beach, these reef formation are home to many larger marine creatures. It is common to spot rays, sea turtles and even nurse sharks. San Francisco reef is recommended for more experienced snorkelers.
Paradise Reef is home to some of the best snorkeling in Cozumel. It is ideal for beginner to intermediate snorkelers. Made up of a trio of adjacent reefs, the best marine life watching is found here. Snorkelers can expect to see many colorful tropical fish, lobsters, octopus, a variety of sharks and unique coral formations.
Cozumel Mexico snorkeling is world famous Splendid Toadfish can be found here at Paradise Reef. The Splendid Toadfish is found exclusively in the waters surrounds Cozumel – nowhere else in the world. It is known for being the fastest eater in the marine world – able to inhale another fish in the blink of an eye. This fish alone makes for some of the best snorkeling in Cozumel.
Some of the more popular fish found here include yellowtails, angels and tangs. This is the one reef you should be sure to bring a waterproof camera to.
Cozumel Snorkeling Tours
Our last recommendation isn’t a specific reef at all, rather an experience. If you have the time, try to book one of the many Cozumel snorkeling tours on a catamaran. These tours will bring you to some of the best sights to snorkel at give the time of the year and weather conditions. Generally, they are a fixed price and include lunch and soft drinks. The entire experience is more relaxing as you will spend up to an hour at the beginning and the end of the excursion just sailing on the Caribbean Sea.
And if you’re looking for something a little more competitive, charter one of the great day long or half day long fishing charters. It isn’t the same as snorkeling but makes another great activity that you can do out at sea.
Cozumel was first inhabited by Mayans about 2000 years ago – since then it has transformed into a happening tourist destination with over 90,000 residents. It is one of the most popular cruise ship ports of call in Mexico and has a diverse hotel and restaurant scene. It also features beautiful museums, art exhibits and a number of national parks. Cozumel Mexico snorkeling has been a famous tourist attraction for decades.
Do yourself a favor and after enjoying the best snorkeling in Cozumel be sure to rent a scooter or moped and take a quick lap or two around the island. You’ll be glad that you did. You can also enjoy a swim with the dolphins excursion or even swim with manatees (illegal in the United States).