For your next cruise vacation in the Western Caribbean, hop off the ship in Cozumel for a treat in beach adventures. Check out this list of the best beaches in Cozumel. This shore excursion is worth the time because there are three distinct types of beaches on this island off the coast of Mexico.
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On the east you’ll find the picturesque sugar sands sloping away to the sea. The western edge delights with craggy limestone shorelines, perfect for snorkeling and diving. The third is a hybrid of both, usually when resorts add sand to the rocky landscapes.
Let’s begin on the eastern (windward) side. There is a single road along the island’s edge, making the drive itself worth the time. Insider tip: If you’re there in May-September, the sea turtle nesting and migration program is in full swing. So you can participate in several eco-educational programs on the beaches.
Playa Chen Rio
This is rated as the safest beach on the eastern side of the island. There are shade trees, good swimming and snorkeling (stay away from the area leading out to sea), and delicious food. Think lush vegetation with a combination of sand and rocks. Additionally, it’s where the locals go – always a good indication of quality and fewer crowds.
Unlike most beaches on the east, this one is white sands and gentle waves. It’s known as a romantic getaway. Enjoy a small Mayan ruin close by, and authentic food (with no frills) right near the beach.
For the surfers, Punta Morena is the best spot on the island. Chairs and hammocks galore; and refreshing drinks and food readily available while you relax and enjoy the waves. Definitely check out Punta Morena as one of the best beaches in Cozumel.
While not technically a ‘beach’, this structure sits at the southern-most shore of Cozumel. For a change of pace from sunning, sand, and swimming, visit the area known as Parque Punta Sur park. There are swamps, marshes, and dunes; and you can ride a catamaran through the Columbia lagoon.
Now let’s turn to the western (leeward) side, and see some of the most popular beaches in this region of Cozumel:
If you’re looking for a terrific dive spot, Playa Corona halfway up the island is one of the top locations (along with Dzul-Ha, Playa San Francisco, and Chankanaab Lagoon Beach). Visitors come here to snorkel close to shore and dive amongst the underwater worlds.
For high-end lounging, come to this location. You can rent plush sunbeds, and enjoy a modern upscale atmosphere of dining, shopping, and general relaxation. Think Miami Beach vibe.
Playa San Francisco
This three-mile stretch of sand is popular with cruise ship passengers due in large part to the nice variety of activities. Here, you can parasail, ride banana boats and jet skis, or view the 15 famous dive sites in the area. Check out this video of Playa San Francisco and you will see why it made the list:
For the kids, Paradise Beach is the destination. Add swimming pools and a ‘fun pass’ for all the water toys and snorkeling to the activities of Playa San Francisco, and you have enough options to keep the whole family happy.
Finally, for an unscripted adventure, take a tour in the northern ‘scoop’ of Cozumel. Passion Island is unspoiled tropical habitat with the option of local eateries; and Punta Molas is a step back in time at the abandoned lighthouse. Located at the literal ‘end-of-the-road’, access to the last beach requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, picnic, and some free time.
What beaches would you add to the list for the best beaches in Cozumel? Leave a comment below.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com