Are you ready to leave your worries behind and relax on Cozumel’s tropical beaches? But you are also not sure which are the best beaches in Cozumel for you? Your concern is totally legit! Finding the perfect beach on this popular Caribbean island isn’t as straightforward as you might think. From long stretches of sandy shores with full-service amenities to rocky pieces of coast ideal for snorkelers, Cozumel beaches come in every shape and form.
After spending two blissful weeks on this incredible island, we were amazed by the different characteristics, vibes, and amenities that the best beaches in Cozumel have. And now we are ready to help you find your perfect spot in paradise – no matter what type of beachgoer you are!
This post will fill you in on 13 of the best beaches in Cozumel and 2 that you should totally skip! So whether you are looking for the top free beaches or perfect snorkeling beaches, you’ll be sure to find exactly what you are looking for. All you have to worry about is packing your favorite swimsuit, reef safe sunscreen and snorkel, and we’ll help with the rest!
Let’s jump in!
- What To Know About Cozumel Beaches Before You Go
- Ultimate List Of The 15 Best Beaches In Cozumel
- The Best Free Beaches In Cozumel
- Best Beaches In Cozumel For Snorkeling
- Top-Rated Cozumel Beach Clubs
- Great Semi-Private Cozumel Beaches
- The Beaches In Cozumel That You shouldn't Visit
- Final Thoughts About The Top Beaches On Cozumel
Estimated reading time: 39 minutes
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What To Know About Cozumel Beaches Before You Go
There are some essential things to know about Cozumel beaches before packing your beach bag and heading out there. Check out this map of the beaches in Cozumel and useful tips to get you ready for your vacation.
Map Of The Best Beaches In Cozumel
Beaches In Cozumel: West Coast vs East Coast
The beaches on Cozumel’s west and east coasts couldn’t be more different. Here are some quick tips to help you narrow down where you should start your search for your vacation’s ideal beach.
Cozumel’s west-side beaches:
- The surf on Cozumel’s west coast is typically calmer and better for swimming.
- Beaches on Cozumel’s west side are ideal for families with young children.
- Cozumel’s cruise ships dock on this side, making these beaches more visited by cruise passengers.
- Beaches on Cozumel’s west coast generally require that you pay to enter and use the amenities. We’ll explain more about paying for Cozumel’s beaches in a second!
Cozumel’s east-side beaches:
- East-coast beaches in Cozumel are more rugged and wild. Expect more intense waves, potential rip currents, and fewer people (also, fewer amenities).
- The east coast has the island’s more local and ‘cool’ beach spots.
- This more remote coast will give you a higher chance of having a secluded stretch of beach. (But remember to be careful if you want to swim in the rough ocean)
- Most beaches on Cozumel’s on this side are free to enjoy, though there is a beach club where you have to pay to use the amenities.
Can’t wait to check out the beaches in Cozumel? Watch our video!
Are Cozumel Beaches Free?
I’ll admit, the answer to ‘are Cozumel beaches free’ is a bit strange. In theory, under national law, all beaches in Mexico are free for everyone to access and enjoy. That being said, the real answer is that only some of the island’s beaches let you occupy a spot in the sand without taking out your wallet.
As a general rule of thumb, most free beaches in Cozumel are located on the east coast. The west side has more all-inclusive clubs and beaches affiliated with restaurants where you have to pay to use the facilities. And there are also beaches located within a protected reserve that requires an entrance fee.
So even though national law states that all beaches in Mexico are free, the reality is that most places are associated with private businesses that will find a way to charge you to enjoy ‘their’ beach.
Are There Swimmable Beaches In Cozumel?
Continuing with the vague answers, beaches in Cozumel are simultaneously swimmable and not-so-swimmable. Super useful stuff, right?
But if you remember when we mentioned that the west side of the island is calmer than the unsheltered east side, you will recall that the beaches on Cozumel’s western coast are perfect for swimming. On the other hand, those on the east can be pretty dangerous for swimming.
We advise that you are incredibly cautious when swimming from beaches on the island’s eastern shores. Only some of the busier beaches on this side have lifeguards and areas sheltered from the rough surf. We strongly recommend not swimming anywhere where you don’t see other people in the water.
WOTW Tip: sometimes the winds shift, and the east coast beaches become calm and perfect for swimming. But these instances are exceptions to the rule. It is usually much rougher on that side.
Hey! Curious to know more about the Yucatan? Discover 30 Things Nobody Tells You About The Yucatan Peninsula!
Are Beaches Better In Cozumel Or Cancun?
We visited both Cozumel and Cancun during our trip, and we definitely have a favorite (hint: it’s Cozumel). But if you are wondering if Cozumel or Cancun has better beaches, then the answer depends based on what you are looking for.
We personally love more secluded beaches and those that offer great snorkeling directly from the shore. Cozumel has the better beaches if that’s what you are looking for. In contrast, Cancun beaches are better for travelers who enjoy staying at beach front hotels with easy access to sandy beaches and don’t who mind crowds.
If you want more information, check out this entire post comparing Cancun vs Cozumel! We share even more details about whether Cozumel or Cancun has better beaches, so you can choose what’s best for you!
Ultimate List Of The 15 Best Beaches In Cozumel
Beaches in Cozumel are often associated with all-inclusive clubs catering to the many cruise passengers visiting the island. But it would be way oversimplified to think they all offer the same thing to sun-seeking travelers.
For ease of reading we organized Cozumel beaches like this:
- The Best Free Beaches In Cozumel
- Best Beaches In Cozumel For Snorkeling
- Top-Rated Cozumel Beach Clubs
- Great Semi-Private Cozumel Beaches
- The Beaches In Cozumel That You Shouldn’t Visit
The Best Free Beaches In Cozumel
Free beaches are definitely not the norm in Cozumel, Mexico. Most of the beaches where you don’t have to take out your wallet are located on the more remote east coast. And turns out these free options also happen to be some of our favorite beaches in Cozumel!
1. Chen Rio Beach: Our Favorite Beach In Cozumel
- Chen Rio is best for: slightly off-the-beaten-path experience away from the cruise-ship crowds.
- Amenities: there are two restaurants directly on the beach that offer some sun loungers and shaded tables. But this is generally a towel-on-the-sand kind of beach.
- Where to find it: Playa Chen Rio, Cozumel, Mexico.
Chen Rio is the best beach on the island. No need to read any further… this post is over.
Just kidding! Please keep reading.
Playa Chen Rio is one of our personal favorite spots on the entire island! With its crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and gorgeous views, this Cozumel beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the good life. And we also loved it for its chilled-out vibe.
There are two areas sheltered from the surf that are great for swimming, snorkeling and going for a lazy dip in the water to cool off. Chen Rio beach is also the best place to watch the kitesurfers showing off their skills right in front of the beach.
The Pros – Chen Rio Beach Is For You If:
- You are looking for an epic Cozumel beach with more of a local feel to it. Chen Rio is where the local surfer and kitesurfing crew hangs out!
- You want to avoid the major crowds and commercialized beach-club atmosphere.
The Cons – Leave Chen Rio Beach Alone If:
- You want easy logistics for your beach day. Playa Chen Rio is a 30-minute drive from town, and limited taxis are available to take you back.
- You want to watch the sunset from the beach. Chen Rio Beach faces east, so there will be no epic sunset views from here.
WOTW Tip #1: go to Miami Bar after visiting Playa Chen Rio!! It is the perfect rustic bar that makes the world’s best mojitos. Literally, the world’s best mojitos!
WOTW Tip #2: want a more active beach day? Consider joining some surf lessons. Check out this perfect 5-star rated surfing class offered at Playa Chen Rio!
Planning to visit Cozumel? Remember To Read These Posts Next!
- Ultimate Guide To Visiting Cozumel: Things To Do & More! (With Videos)
- Cozumel vs Cancun: Find Out Which Popular Destination Is For You!
2. Playa San Martin: A Less-Visited Free Beach On Cozumel’s East Side
- Playa San Martin is for: a no-frills beach experience away from the crowds.
- Amenities: a small bar on the opposite side of the street and some loungers and umbrellas available for rent.
- Where to find it: San Martin Public Beach, Cozumel, Mexico.
Looking for a free spot that is more remote and secluded than the previous Cozumel beach? Playa San Martin might be exactly what you are looking for!
While most tourists stick to the well-known beaches in Cozumel, San Martin is an off-the-radar sandy spot that is definitely worth visiting. Sometimes you just want to experience paradise in a more rustic way. Away from the noisy crowds found on the island’s more developed beaches.
If this sound like what you are looking for? Then go ahead and add San Martin Beach to your plans!
San Martin beach is not sheltered from the waves and rip currents that impact Cozumel’s east coast. Be extremely cautious when going for a swim, especially on windy days.
The Pros – Playa San Martin Is For You If:
- You are looking for a sandy beach away from the crowds.
- You don’t mind having more rustic amenities during your beach day.
The Cons – Playa San Martin Alone If:
- You don’t want to be on the island’s remote side with limited amenities. It’s better come to San Martin beach prepared.
- You want to be able to jump in the water for a swim or snorkel. There are no spots protected from the rough sea at San Martin!
3. Passion Island: The Secluded Cozumel Beach
- Passion Island is for: the full tropical experience of powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees.
- Amenities: there is a beach club with a restaurant, bar and loungers. Though it is only for people visiting on cruise ship shore excursions.
- Where to find it: Isla de Pasion, Cozumel, Mexico.
Passion Island is one of the most hard-to-reach beaches in Cozumel. While some cruise ships offer excursions to this relatively more secluded spot, most visitors go by hopping on a local fishing boat from a rickety pier on Cozumel’s northern tip. But the ferry across the lagoon isn’t the only twist in getting there. You first have to reach the old dock by traveling over one of the worst roads in Cozumel!
If you are willing to brave the poor road conditions and unofficial ferry, you will be rewarded by one the most unique of all the beaches in Cozumel. Passion Island has powdery white sand, which helps to make the sea a beautiful milky turquoise color. The calm, shallow waters also extends a good distance from shore and is an excellent place for younger kids to play in the Caribbean Sea.
Want to visit this Cozumel beach without the hassle of getting there? Take a look at this 5-star private boat tour to Passion Island! This 4-hour tour includes snacks, alcoholic beverages, snorkeling equipment and a bilingual guide.
Passion Island is a bit odd, because if you visit using private transportation (or private tour), you won’t have access to the amenities. So bring an umbrella and enough water & snacks to this remote paradise if you are making the trip on your own! The beach club on the island is only for those visiting on a cruise ship shore excursion.
The Pros – Passion Island Is For You If:
- You want to experience a Cozumel beach with powdery white sand.
- You don’t mind waiting for the cruise ship crowds to go back to the ship to have an island paradise to yourself.
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Passion Island Beach If:
- You think the complicated logistics are not worth the effort. There are plenty of other beaches in Cozumel to choose from!
- You don’t want to be so far away from civilization. The urge for tacos can strike anytime, and you want to be prepared!
Save This Best Cozumel Beaches Post For Later!
4. Playa Las Rocas: The Best Free Beach On Cozumel’s West Side
- Playa Las Rocas is for: sandy beach access within easy reach from San Miguel de Cozumel.
- Amenities: literally none.
- Where to find them: Playa Las Rocas, Cozumel, Mexico.
Close to Cozumel’s hotel zone is one of the only free and sandy beaches on the island’s more developed west side. Most of the Cozumel’s western beaches are part of hotels and all-inclusive beach clubs or are rocky pieces of shore better suited for snorkeling.
Playa Las Rocas is popular with Cozumel’s locals. But during the week you will find few visitors enjoying this free beach in Cozumel. Las Rocas is an ideal option for sun-seekers who want to enjoy a beach with soft white sand, beautiful turquoise waters, and a no-frills experience.
Las Rocas beach is how beaches should be: free, beautiful, and welcoming to everyone – especially locals. Definitely put this one on your radar if you are looking for a free beach in Cozumel close to the center of town.
The Pros – Las Rocas Beach Is For You If:
- You want a basic beach with beautiful turquoise water on the island’s west side.
- You really don’t want to share a beach with cruise passengers.
The Cons – Playa Las Rocas Beach Alone If:
- You like having the option to order some food and drinks from your spot in the sand.
- You expect your west-side beach to have decent snorkeling. You won’t find many tropical fishes at Las Rocas beach.
Best Beaches In Cozumel For Snorkeling
The snorkeling in Cozumel is incredible – if you go to the right places. The best beaches in Cozumel for snorkeling are on the west side of the island. The calmer waters make the west coast ideal for checking out the island’s epic underwater life.
Note that some of the best snorkeling beaches in Cozumel are semi-private. Meaning they are affiliated with restaurants that require a minimum consumption or they expect you to order some food or drinks.
5. Playa Corona: The Top Cozumel Beach For Snorkeling
- Playa Corona is for: the best snorkeling in Cozumel!
- Amenities: restaurant, showers, and a limited amount of loungers and tables with umbrellas.
- Where to find it: Playa Corona, Cozumel, Mexico.
Playa Corona is our ultimate favorite Cozumel beach for snorkeling! This little-known spot is perfect for underwater explorers who can’t wait to dive into Cozumel’s crystal-clear waters.
Located on a stretch of coast that most people simply don’t visit, Playa Corona is definitely off of most people’s radars. Add to the fact that there is virtually no sandy beach to speak of, and you get an awesome laid-back spot ideal for snorkeling enthusiasts.
You don’t have to go far from the shore at Corona Beach before you can stick your head underwater and see an abundance of healthy soft corals and tropical fish. The crystal-clear waters full of marine life are why Playa Corona is right next to Chen Rio when it comes to our personal favorite beaches in Cozumel.
Note that Playa Corona is managed by a restaurant with a minimum consumption requirement of $10 US per person. A drink and a simple lunch will cover the consumption requirement per person.
The Pros – Playa Corona Is For You If:
- You came to Cozumel to see the beautiful underwater life.
- You are interested in relaxed vibes away from the crowds while never being too far away from your next ice-cold cerveza.
The Cons – Leave Playa Corona Alone If:
- You expect to relax on a long stretch of sand during your vacation. There is only a small piece of rocky shore at this Cozumel beach.
- You want to stick around for sunset. Corona Beach closes early.
6. Sunset Bar: Easy To Reach Cozumel Beach With Great Snorkeling
- Sunset Bar is for: great snorkeling before sunset drinks.
- Amenities: restaurant, sun loungers, umbrellas, and showers.
- Where to find it: Sunset Bar, Cozumel, Mexico.
Sunset Bar has great snorkeling and a beach-front bar, all in an easy-to-reach location. Yes, you read that correctly, snorkeling and a fantastic bar all in one spot! Welcome to paradise, people!
Sunset Bar is located just a short walk north of Cozumel’s main cruise terminal. Seeing the massive ships in front of you might make you question how this could be an epic snorkeling spot. But trust us, it is! And it stays open late – so make sure to hang around for sunset!
An artificial reef is being developed right offshore from Sunset Bar, and the early results are fantastic. There were thousands of beautiful tropical fish, eels, bottom dwellers, and more in about 15 – 30 feet of water. The reef here doesn’t have the same quantity of beautiful soft corals as Playa Corona, but it is still a great second option if you want something closer to the town of San Miguel.
Note: there is no entry fee or minimum consumption requirement for snorkeling from Sunset Bar, but the civil thing to do is to have some drinks or sample some local foods if you decide to use their space.
The Pros – Sunset Bar Is For You If:
- You want to experience terrific snorkeling in Cozumel right from the town center.
- You want to end your afternoon with a cold drink while watching the sun melt away.
The Cons – Leave Sunset Bar Alone If:
- You think your Cozumel beach should have more raw beauty. Not just a restaurant with a small artificial beach.
- You don’t like the idea of being right next to cruise port.
7. Cruising Beach: Easy Access Snorkeling (But Not Much Else)
While this is really just a rocky piece of coastline, Cruising Beach is one of the best spots in town to put on your snorkel and explore what’s below the surface.
Cruising Beach is known for being an ideal spot for a drift snorkel. There is usually a steady current that allows you to lazily drift next to a shallow reef before exiting near La Monina Restaurant. La Monina is conveniently a perfect spot for a drink or two!
Make sure to bring water shoes. And leave your wallet and cell phone at home if you decide to check out this excellent snorkeling beach in Cozumel. You don’t want to walk back up to your entry point to discover that your belongings have changed owners!
The Pros – Cruising Beach Is For You If:
- You want to have an easy snorkel at a free ‘beach’ close to town.
- You aren’t worried that there isn’t any sand. You just want to snorkel for a bit before jumping to the next activity you have planned in Cozumel.
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Cruising Beach If:
- You have no interest in ending up in a different spot from where you jumped in.
- You expect to at least have a place to sit down on a towel without jagged rocks jabbing your butt.
Top-Rated Cozumel Beach Clubs
Let me be transparent and say that all-inclusive beach clubs are not really our style. And we did not visit any of the beaches in this part of the list. But just like with all-inclusive resorts, there is a time and place where all-inclusive beaches make sense.
The top beach clubs in Cozumel are great for families and cruise ship passengers looking to kick back and not lift a finger while relaxing on the island. The following beach clubs in Cozumel are the highest-rated and most popular among fellow travelers.
8. Mia Grande Beach: All Day Family Fun In The Sun
- Mia Grande Beach is for: an abundance of activities to keep the whole family happy.
- Amenities: restaurant, bar, sun loungers, umbrellas, swimming pools, water park, and water activities.
- Where to find it: Playa Mia Grande, Cozumel, Mexico.
Located about 20 minutes south of town, Playa Mia Grande is known as the largest family-friendly beach in Cozumel.
This beach club is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, and it offers a massive amount of activities to keep you and the kids busy. You can participate in water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, and even water biking. Followed by lazing around the pool in a cozy lounger.
There is also a water park for the kids to enjoy their day of fun in the sun! Basically what I am telling you is that it is impossible to be bored when visiting this popular Cozumel beach.
And don’t worry, it’s not all about the kids at Playa Mia Grande. There are also spa services where you can take advantage of a relaxing massage to help you sink deeper into relaxation mode.
Are you imagining yourself at Playa Mia Grande? Don’t forget to purchase your pass ahead of time to visit this popular Cozumel beach club.
The Pros – Visiting Mia Grande Beach Is For You If:
- You are looking for the perfect beach to keep the kids busy and entertained.
- You like the simplicity of having all the amenities and beach activities available in an organized way. You are on vacation after all!
The Cons – Leave Mia Grande Beach Alone If:
- You are looking for a less commercial beach than this popular – and developed – spot.
- You don’t want your ocean views obstructed by large, inflatable water activities.
9. Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club: The Premier Beach Club In Cozumel
- Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club is for: enjoying a beautiful and serene setting.
- Amenities: restaurant, bars, pool, sun loungers, hammocks, inflatable water activities, massages, horseback riding, parasailing, jet ski, and paddle boards rentals (and the all-important Wifi).
- Where to find it: Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club, Cozumel, Mexico.
One of the most popular all-inclusive beach clubs is Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club. Mr. Sancho’s is located on the island’s west coast, and it offers gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea. It also has the most activities and amenities out of all the beach clubs in Cozumel!
Your kids can enjoy the inflatable water park as you swing your worries away on one of the beachside hammocks. Just try to remember which kid is yours if you also opt in for the all-you-can-drink option at Mr. Sancho’s. Just kidding!
Does Mr. Sancho’s sound like your kind of place? Purchase your all-inclusive pass before visiting this famous Cozumel beach club.
Many of the more ‘exclusive’ activities are not included in the all-inclusive pass at this famous Cozumel beach club. The water park, jet skis, and parasailing all require an additional credit card swipe. You can even go for a horseback riding tour on the beach while at Mr. Sancho’s – for an additional fee.
Heads up – Mr. Sancho’s doesn’t only offer all-inclusive packages. It is also possible to pay for what you consume or use.
The Pros – Visiting Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club Is For You If:
- You want to enjoy what most people consider the best all-inclusive beach club on the island.
- You don’t want to lift a finger while visiting one of the best beaches in Cozumel.
The Cons – Leave Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club Alone If:
- You just don’t want to hang out all day with hundreds of other people in an all-inclusive setting.
- You prefer your beaches to be less commercialized.
10. Paradise Beach: Premium Club On Beautiful Stretch Of Beach
- Paradise Beach is for: all the activities you could ever want from one of the island’s most beautiful beaches.
- Amenities: restaurant, food truck, bars, pool, sun loungers inflatable water activities, massages, parasailing, jet ski and paddle boards rentals.
- Where to find it: Paradise Beach, Cozumel, Mexico.
Paradise Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand facing the calm tropical water on the island’s west side. Like Playa Mia Grande and Mr. Sancho’s, there is no excuse for getting bored while visiting this all-inclusive beach. From an inflatable water park for the kids, to jet skis, Paradise Beach has it all for people that like to stay in motion while at the beach.
And parents even have an open bar to enjoy while the kids fly off the inflatable slides into the Caribbean Sea (please don’t forget to keep an eye on your children). There is even a food truck on Paradise Beach serving up fresh tacos! Maybe this is paradise…
Book your all-inclusive pass to Paradise Beach ahead for a smooth experience during the day of your visit!
This is easily one of the best beaches in Cozumel if you want all of your needs taken care of during your visit. We spent a few hours on Paradise Beach warming up while scuba diving in Cozumel, and we can totally vouch that this is a beautiful stretch of beach!
The Pros – Paradise Beach Is For You If:
- You are looking for the complete all-inclusive experience with all-you-can-eat and drink options.
- You want to keep your kids active while lounging on a beautiful beach in paradise.
The Cons – Leave Paradise Beach Alone If:
- You don’t want to be surrounded by the non-stop activity of jet skis and other water sports.
- You wonder if being around the ‘all-you-can-drink crowd’ is the most relaxed way to spend a day at a Cozumel beach.
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Great Semi-Private Cozumel Beaches
Many beaches in Cozumel require some form of payment to use their amenities, but they aren’t private clubs, per se. The most common way this works is that you consume a minimum amount at the on-site bar or restaurant so that you can use the loungers and umbrellas for ‘free.’
The amenities are not comparable to what you get at the all-inclusive beach clubs. Still, these are good options for most people not looking to invest in the all-you-can-eat and drink experience.
11. Playa Punta Morena: Relaxed Beach Club On Cozumel’s East Side
- Playa Punta Morena is for: rustic and more secluded Cozumel beach club experience.
- Amenities: restaurant, bar, loungers, hammocks, and shade.
- Where to find it: Playa Punta Morena, Cozumel, Mexico.
On the rugged east side of the island, lies Playa Punta Morena. Punta Morena is the only semi-private beach on Cozumel’s east coast, and the vibe is much more rustic and relaxed than the beach clubs found on the island’s west side.
The main beach area with tables and loungers is relatively small, so you never have to worry about Playa Punta Morena getting super packed. The surrounding beaches are also completely empty and perfect for enjoying the raw beauty of Cozumel’s beaches.
Visitors who can’t visit a Cozumel beach without diving into the tropical sea will be happy to know that there is a small pool protected from the heavy surf. This is the ultimate spot to plunge into the refreshing waters to cool off between drinks.
Having the beachfront restaurant on a more secluded beach gives Punta Morena an ideal combo of low-key appeal while not giving up the convenience of a beach-club experience. Note that Punta Morena beach has a minimum consumption of $10 per person to use the hammocks and loungers.
The Pros – Playa Punta Morena Is For You If:
- You want a more off-the-beaten-path beach club far away from the crowds.
- You like being surrounded by stretches of quiet beaches perfect for a lazy stroll.
The Cons – Leave Playa Punta Morena Alone If:
- You don’t like that there isn’t much space to swim safely in the Caribbean Sea.
- You think traveling around the island just to sit on a beach is too much. There are more convenient options closer to town!
12. El Cielo Beach In Punta Sur Eco Park: Only Laid-Back Vibes Allowed
- Punta Sur Eco-park is for: laid-back sandy beaches paired with other outdoor adventures.
- Amenities: loungers, umbrellas, restaurants, and other attractions.
- Where to find it: Punta Sur has two beaches, the best one being El Cielo.
Visiting Punta Sur Eco Park is one of the best things to do in Cozumel. This eco-reserve requires a $14 entrance fee, giving visitors access to a historic lighthouse, boat tour through the lagoon, boardwalk and two beautiful beaches.
El Cielo beach in Punta Sur is one of the best beaches in Cozumel if you simply want to enjoy a beautiful beach in a relaxed setting. The beach is located far enough from the cruise port that it never gets too busy. And the relatively high fee also keeps others from entering the reserve. The result is a perfectly chilled-out Cozumel beach.
El Cielo beach in Punta Sur (not to be confused with the popular El Cielo catamaran snorkeling excursion) is one of the two beaches within the reserve. This is the place to go snorkeling from. Ask one of the staff to point you in the general direction and jump in. But not before reading the WOTW tip below!!
WOTW TIP: bring fins if you decide to snorkel here. We swam for about 30 minutes before finding the reef. And if you aren’t a strong swimmer, definitely rent a life jacket. El Cielo is located at Cozumel’s southern tip, and the currents here are strong!
The Pros – Punta Sur Eco Park Is For You If:
- You want to have access to additional attractions during your day at the beach.
- You don’t mind swimming out 200 meters from shore to go snorkeling.
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Punta Sur Eco Park If:
- You prefer something a little more energetic than a chilled-out beach in an eco-park.
- You are looking for somewhere a little closer to the town of San Miguel.
13. Playa Palancar: Great Cozumel Beach For Non-Stop Activities
- Playa Palancar is for: affordable option with a bazillion water activities available for an additional cost.
- Amenities: restaurants, bar, massages, sun loungers and umbrellas.
- Where to find it: Playa Palancar, Cozumel, Mexico.
Playa Palancar is a west-coast beach that pops up on most lists of the best beaches in Cozumel. We visited Playa Palancar after missing a turn to Punta Sur Eco Park and not having enough gas in our scooter to backtrack. Like most sandy beaches in Cozumel, this one is also beautiful and has inviting tropical waters.
One of the things that Playa Palancar has going for it, is the endless amount of activities you can take part in from this Cozumel beach. You can book scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaks, paragliding, and a boat excursion from the beach-side shack. There are even jet skis and banana boats that you can rent for an additional fee.
Note that Playa Palancar uses the minimum consumption model where you have to spend about $8.50 US p/p at the bar or restaurant to use the beach chairs or tables. The food is very unspectacular, so manage your expectations.
The Pros – Playa Palancar Is For You If:
- You are not the type to just lie in the sand and do nothing. Playa Palancar can keep you busy all day long.
- You prefer a beach with a bit of energy. Turn up the electronic music and bring me another margarita!
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Playa Palancar If:
- You just want to go to a relaxed beach in Cozumel and not listen to music all day.
- You prefer to go somewhere with better snorkeling. And better food… both are not the best at Playa Palancar.
The Beaches In Cozumel That You shouldn’t Visit
Cozumel’s beaches are awesome for exploring the the marine life underneath the surface. But exploiting wild animals goes too far when places keep the animals captive or encourage interaction with wild animals.
The beaches in Cozumel that you shouldn’t visit are those that exploit animals to entertain thousands of uninformed tourists each year.
14. Stingray Beach
Want to know what Cozumel beach not to visit during your time on the island? The answer to this question is Stingray Beach. You will likely notice many signs on Cozumel’s west side directing uninformed travelers to this spot.
So what’s the problem? Well, visitors at Stingray Beach are encouraged to interact with the ‘wild’ stingrays. Over time this changes the stingrays’ behavior and makes them more vulnerable to diseases.
Humans should avoid interacting with wild animals. Stay away from beaches or tours that encourage direct contact with stingrays to help keep them healthy and wild. Instead, enjoy the many other beautiful beaches Cozumel has to offer!
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Stingray Beach Because:
- You like stingrays and want what’s best for them… just look at their smiles!
- You respect that we shouldn’t influence the behavior of wild animals.
15. Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
Here is another Cozumel beach not to visit: Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most popular places on the island.
Dolphin shows are a more complex issue than wild stingray interaction. Most dolphins are bred in captivity. So they don’t encourage capturing and interacting with wild animals. And collectively, these facilities donate huge amounts of money to conservation and help educate people about our beautiful oceans (they also make a ton of profit).
The problem with these facilities is that dolphins are often forced to perform tricks that are unnatural to them. This can lead to physical and mental stress for the dolphins. Additionally, the dolphins are usually confined to small tanks or pools, which don’t allow them to swim freely or interact with other dolphins, leading to boredom and depression.
The Dolphin Project – a leading conservation group – concluded that Chankanaab’s Dolphin Discovery does not adequately care for dolphins at their facility. You can read the disappointing details here. We used the Dolphin Project information to help inform ourselves on why this is a Cozumel beach not to visit.
The Cons – Avoid Visiting Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park Because:
- You agree that dolphins don’t deserve to be kept in facilities that are way too small, while being forced to do unnatural tricks to entertain tourists.
- You would rather see wild animals in their natural habitat than being exploited for our entertainment.
Final Thoughts About The Top Beaches On Cozumel
We loved every moment of our two weeks hanging out on this tropical island. And the beaches in Cozumel are a huge reason why! We were amazed by the incredible snorkeling beaches and the chilled-out vibes on the island’s more remote eastern shores.
Cozumel beaches really do offer something for everyone! So whether you want to get away from the crowds, experience incredible snorkeling, keep your family active, or get pampered at a full-service beach club, you will definitely not leave the island disappointed. Visiting the beaches on Cozumel was an absolute highlight of our 2.5 months exploring the Yucatan Peninsula!
Thanks for reading!
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Want to discover more of the Yucatan Peninsula? Read these posts next:
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- Bacalar: 21 Things To Do In Bacalar: Guide To The Costa Maya’s Magic City (With Videos)
- Punta Allen: Discovering Punta Allen: The Yucatan’s Undiscovered Paradise (With Video)
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