Cozumel, an island located off the coast of Mexico, is a good snorkeling destination for those interested in experiencing fantastic water visibility, warm waters, and a variety of exotic and colorful marine life.
What to Expect for Cozumel Snorkeling Conditions
Cozumel offers some of the Caribbean's clearest waters and water visibility here averages about 100 feet, sometimes even reaching an unbelievable 200 feet or more. The waters surrounding Cozumel are home to over 230 fish species and there is beautiful, rich coral growth in the surrounding reefs. Some fans and sponges, can even be measured at 10 to 12 feet across, which gives you an idea of how protected the area is.
Top Three Spots for Snorkeling in Cozumel
Chankanaab National Park is one of Cozumel's hottest attractions and great for Cozumel snorkeling. It is great for cruise excursions and considered a family favorite that all can partake in. The Chankanaab lagoon provides easy access to a shallow 20-foot deep cove that is popular for its abundance of fish, coral heads and unique underwater sculptures. The Dolphin Discovery experience is not one you will want to miss, as it allows you to swim and interact with dolphins in the crystal clear waters. Prices for the Dolphin Discovery experience differ based on the level of interaction you would like, but it is well worth it! You will want to park in the dirt area just south of the park and upon entering the water, snorkel to the south. There is a good drop off here and you might be able to spot the occasional eagle ray amongst the abundance of tropical fish. The reef here is only 350 yards off shore and the maximum depth is 70 feet, which makes it a great destination for beginners.
Dzul-Ha is a Cozumel snorkeling destination that you won’t want to miss! The area is frequented by crabs, lobsters, rays and a wide variety of tropical fish. The depth is between 10-15 feet, which means you will be able to get up close and personal with the underwater world. Enjoy swimming amongst the sea fans, serpent stars and beautiful coral formations, but be aware of the rocks! There is also a locker rental and area when you can rent snorkel gear near the beach bar.
Paradise Reef is comprised of three adjacent reefs that will provide views of vibrant marine life like colorful tropical fish, octopus and lobsters. Be sure to examine the reef ledges and holes carefully as you might even be able to spot Cozumel's famous Splendid Toad Fish. This unique fish can only be found in Cozumel. The Splendid Toad Fish can grow up to 16 inches long, and is known to be one of the fastest eaters in the entire world – able to inhale a fish faster than your eye can see! You can also spot yellowtails, tang and angelfish while snorkeling this area.
How to Get to Cozumel
Once in Playa del Carmen, you can take a 45-minute ferry ride to Cozumel, which is an island located off the coast of Mexico. If you would like to avoid the ferry ride, you can also grab the 15-minute air shuttle out of the Cancun Airport, which is most likely the airport you will fly into if Cozumel is your destination.
When to Visit Cozumel
Cozumel has warm weather year round, but May to July is the best time to visit. During this time, the island sees little rainfall with temperatures around +32C (90F), dropping quite a bit at night. You will want to avoid late summer and early fall, as that’s when rainy season overtakes the island and there are often hurricanes wreaking havoc.
Whether you choose to stay on the island, or simply make a day trip out of it, Cozumel snorkeling is not something you should miss. The gorgeous water conditions and variety of sea life will keep you wanting to come back for more!