By Cami Sauder
Are you ready for some fun in the sun? Whether you’re ready to escape the cold of winter or just want a sunny beach getaway, there are plenty of things to do in Cozumel, Mexico, where Southwest Airlines began flying on March 7, 2020.
Be sure to head there with your Southwest Companion Pass in hand, so your Companion can join you FREE!
With year-round temperatures averaging in the 80s (ah, yes please!), grab your suitcase, throw in your swimsuit and snorkeling gear and off you go!
Once there, take a very memorable and wild ride in a taxi like we did as an introduction to Mexican traffic. I don’t think there are seat belt laws or occupancy limits, because we squeezed 11 people into two small cars and took off for the ride of a lifetime!
10 Amazingly Sunny Things to Do in Cozumel, Mexico
1. Snorkel or Scuba Dive
Boasting the second largest coral reef in the world, known as the Mesoamerican Reef, no wonder scuba diving and snorkeling or any combination of the two would be at the top of the list for things to do in Cozumel! In fact, searching for this on TripAdvisor produced more than 200 results!
Our first time in Cozumel we headed to Dzul-Ha Reef to snorkel where we were met with azure skies, sand, a rocky shoreline and coconuts as our welcome to the beautiful blue waters teeming with tropical fish and other fun sea creatures.
The best beaches for snorkeling are the rocky ones, so be sure to wear proper water shoes or flippers. We brought our own equipment so it was easy to hop right in from the beach.
There are many, many ways to find a snorkeling spot in Cozumel, whether it’s at a beach where you can walk right in or via a glass bottom boat, catamaran or other vessel. (Sidenote: I highly recommend the full-face snorkel mask [See one here on Amazon]! This is an affiliate link.)
Braver? Definitely go for scuba diving where I’m sure you will encounter far more than I ever will snorkeling. Lyn’s boys just LOVE scuba diving!
2. Explore a “National Park”
Did you know Mexico also has National Parks? They do!
They’re a little different than the ones we have back in the states but terrific nonetheless.
Chankanaab is an all-day adventure park. Have your kids been bugging you to swim with dolphins? You can satisfy that want here. They’ll also love the sea lion show.
From this beautiful beach, you can snorkel, scuba dive or even Snuba (a combination of snorkeling and scuba) or rent a cabana and just hang out at the beach, or you could opt to cool off in one of the freshwater pools nearby.
Then take a walk through their eco-archaeological area and see manatees, crocodiles, iguanas and more while touring the grounds.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, feast on a Mexican buffet and afterward take a tequila tour!
There is definitely something for everyone at Chankanaab.
Check out Cozumel Insider for discount coupons to this park and all around Cozumel.
3. Go Clubbing Cozumel style
There are tons of choices for beach clubs in Cozumel if you have a bit of partying in mind (perhaps it’s a couples’ getaway without the kiddos ;-)). Among the more popular are Mr. Sanchos, Isla Pasion, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park and more. Lots of these are all-inclusive, meaning that once you’ve paid your fee to get in, almost everything is included.
We opted for Paradise Beach. You’ll find a fantastic pool here with plenty of loungers. We arrived before just about anyone else and had it all to ourselves for awhile!
The all-inclusive pass includes relaxing beside a sparkling heated pool, unlimited refreshing drinks and delicious food where they strive for “heavenly experiences all around”! This includes snacks, appetizers, salads and wraps, seafood, pizzas, Mexican dishes and more.
One of those options can be from their taco truck where the dishes are scrumptiously seasoned authentic Mexican style, and the salsas to top it off, make them the perfect dish!
Also included are refreshing, ice cold, sweet and sour rum-licious mojitos for those scorching summer days! Prepared with the best ingredients, you’ll love these creative and colorful libations.
They have chairs and umbrellas by the beach where you can snorkel from the shore or walk on the boardwalk where you’ll see many tropical fish.
For the young (or young at heart!), you can pay a bit extra for a Fun Pass, which allows you to play on all of their inflatable water toys right on the ocean for the length of your stay. Nonstop fun on the water trampolines, slides, climbing structures and more! The Fun Pass also gives you access to kayaks, stand up paddle boards and snorkeling gear (if you didn’t bring your own).
And last, but certainly not least, you can relax in the shade on a hammock and take in the gorgeous views. They definitely want you to enjoy Paradise!
The Money Bar Beach Club is another option, but it’s not as extensive or inclusive. Here you can enjoy food and tropical drinks while sitting at a proper table and chairs under an umbrella on their spacious deck while enjoying the breathtaking views.
You’ll also find a lounging deck for sunbathing, massage and spa treatments and freshwater showers with changing rooms/restrooms. And, again, you can snorkel right from the beach.
4. Discover Mayan Ruins
Located in the northern part of Cozumel, you can dig back into Mayan history by exploring San Gervasio. Its grounds have buildings dating from 1200 to 1600 AD.
There are many structures that you can explore, including Las Manitas “Little Hands” with, you guessed it, handprints on the walls. This was the house of the Mayan ruler of Cozumel.
Via sacbes, or white roads, you can also explore the “Small House,” the “Tall House,” the Arch and other buildings. All give you an idea of how the Mayan lived day-to-day, as well as their religious and administrative activities.
The region containing the settlement is also a wildlife refuge and is home to many colorful iguanas who are quite accustomed to people and are just waiting to have you snap their photo!
5. Shop San Miguel
Rebuilt after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, San Miguel is one of the island’s liveliest spots. Lining its waterfront are many souvenir and craft stores.
Don’t stop there, though. Head down the back streets for a more authentic village experience. On the main plaza, or zocalo, you’ll find a gazebo, some shade and plenty of people-watching if you’re the one designated to hold the bags :).
And if checking out local foods is up your alley, make your way to the traditional mercado where the locals shop for food. I always find it fascinating to see the difference in how they present foods, as well as checking out items I’ve never seen or heard of before!
6. See Wildlife at Punta Sur Ecological Park
The ideal place for nature lovers, transport yourself to this natural paradise filled with gorgeous and diverse flora and fauna, birds and animals on Cozumel.
Punta Sur is a sanctuary for iguanas and giant turtles and home to birds like the kingfisher and pink spoonbill, as well. On your included guided boat tour across the Colombia Lagoon, you’ll also likely see crocodiles!
Be sure to climb to the top of the Celarain Museum Lighthouse to enjoy the beautiful view. And just like many other places in Cozumel, it has a white sand beach and good snorkeling right off the shore.
7. Get a Dose of Cozumel History
Want to learn more about Cozumel? Why not visit the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel?
This small museum, located in a former luxury hotel in downtown San Miguel, has just four rooms: The Island, The Sea, History and Archaeology, and Contemporary Cozumel. Behind the building, they’ve also recreated a traditional Mayan home.
You can make this just a small part of your day, since it won’t take long to visit. You’ll come away with more insight into Cozumel’s fascinating history, beginning with the Mayan civilization and continuing to today.
8. Swim in a Cenote
What in the heck is a cenote? A cenote is a natural sinkhole that has allowed groundwater to be exposed. These were often used by the Mayans.
To get to the cenote of Jade Cavern, you’ll venture through the lush jungle via some type of ATV tour. During the adventure, you’ll take in the Coral Cove cave system, cross through a village and mostly likely hit many mud pits to test your driving skills. Outdoor showers are available to wash off the layer of mud you’ve accumulated along the way.
Then the staff will happily escort you to the beautiful jade-colored water where you can float and admire the stalactite formations covering the cavern. Since you’re already on an adventure, why not jump from the 20-foot cliff, too?!
9. Indulge in Chocolate
If you love chocolate as much as me, you won’t want to miss a chocolate factory tour. The best thing about these kinds of tours is that they are interactive, meaning that you get to taste the items coming off the assembly line and maybe even make your own!
At the factories in Cozumel, they explore the origins of Mayan chocolate, when and how it was discovered, the tools they used to make it and more. You might even get to grind cacao beans to craft your own drinking chocolate or taste a chocolate margarita — yum!
Then bring out your pesos to purchase soaps, lotions, sauces, handmade chocolates and more to take back home with you :).
10. Learn to Cook
Want to experience the authentic flavors of Mexico? Sign up for a local food tour.
The host will take you beyond the tourist restaurants and let you experience true Mexican food as you traverse to several locations around town. Use all of your senses and revel in the freshly-prepared food made just for you as your guide explains each dish and what it contains.
Better yet, go deeper into the cultural experience as you head with the local chef to the nearby mercado (market) to shop for your own food that you will soon learn how to prepare into a meal. When finished, you’ll devour it along with margaritas and then be ready for your siesta!
Is Cozumel on your list of places to visit? Which of these fun things to do in Cozumel sound most appealing to you?
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