Recent Experience With Shore Snorkeling Locations in Cozumel?

By Kathy Peterson

Does anyone have recent experience with shore snorkeling locations in Cozumel? My spouse and I went to St. John USVI for fantastic shore snorkeling for years, but the category 4 and category 5 hurricanes virtually eliminated that option. We tried Cozumel shore snorkeling years ago, and it had potential. We are strong swimmers and understand you cannot swim against the currents in Cozumel.

I saw Cozumel posts on this site from over five years ago, and I’d appreciate details on sites we should currently consider. We appreciate the opinions of folks like us who are serious in their passion for snorkeling.

7 Comments

  1. We did two snorkel trips to Cozumel last year (2023), and the snorkeling was great. As far as shore snorkeling is concerned, a lot of it depends on where you are staying. We stayed at El Cantil, which is right in town, and we had great success in both day and night snorkels.

    Most of the west coast of Cozumel is iron shore, so don’t expect sandy beaches and the like. Having said that, there is something nice about stepping into 15 feet of water and being surrounded by coral and fish.

    There are a number of restaurant/bars that have very good shore snorkeling, often times with minimum purchase requirements. We liked Money Bar and Playa Azul, and there are a bunch of others as well.

    Overall, I would highly recommend Cozumel for the value, food and the snorkeling, both from shore and from boat.

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  2. We spent a week in Cozumel March 2023 and would happily go back! On this trip, we stuck to shore snorkeling; in 2022, we did a boat trip to Columbia Reef and felt that it wasn’t worth the time or money.

    Money Bar and Jeanie’s had plenty of fish, and there is a great drift snorkel from the B Hotel or nearby condos to the resorts further down—easy to walk back or catch one of the plentiful cabs that are waiting outside every hotel.

    We rented a house across from the Stingray Swim, and had a great time snorkeling around the mesh walls of the stingray pens. You could easily park on the street there and walk across—there are stairs that go down to the beach and a makeshift entry next to the pier.

    The only truly disappointing place to snorkel was near the ferry docks, because there was an oily sheen on the water from the boats…

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  3. I was in Cozumel for 10 days in May 2022 and my best snorkel experiences were in Chankanaab Park and Punta Sur. In Chankanaab there’s a big fish diversity and we can spend a few hours enjoying the reef directly form shore. In Punta Sur, I had the luck to find some barracuda schools, stingrays, eagle rays and also large fish schools along the reef.

    I also did a snorkel trip to Colombo Reef where it’s possible to see turtles if we are lucky. Snorkeling in El Cielo and El Cielito was also nice and it’s easy to spot and feel the stingrays in the shallow waters among the big starfish.

    In all of the places the visibility was very good and no sargassum. The other side of the island had a lot of it.

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  4. I returned to Cozumel in Jan/Feb 2023 after many years. I dove and snorkeled, the latter with someone who lives there and has spent lots of time finding the best snorkel spots. Pretty horrendous, we agreed. The diving is good, the snorkeling is seriously disappointing, in my experience. I read plenty of thrilled reviews and commentaries in a Facebook group and am truly puzzled. I’d never snorkel there again, but I would definitely dive.

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  5. I am interested in going to Cozumel and Playa de Carmen. My wife is hesitant to join me because of possible violence there. How can I convince her that all is OK there and also what are the reef conditions there? How much damage has been done?

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    • One member of our family had similar concerns, but we convinced him that, because Cozumel is an island with very limited access via ferry, it’s insulated from the occasional violence on the mainland. He had a fun, relaxed time once he got there, and you’re not missing much by staying away from Playa del Carmen.

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  6. We’ve been going to Cozumel since 2011. We’ve been 10 or 11 times during that period. We absolutely love it. I have never felt unsafe. It is MUCH different than the mainland which I have also been to numerous times. The people are extremely friendly and kind. We know expats that live there and have been there since the 80s.

    Snorkeling there is great. One of the biggest reasons is because so much of it is just on the shore. You have to know where to go or you may be disappointed, but it’s not too hard to figure out.

    We love to stay at the condos Cantamar. You can literally snorkel for miles in either direction there along the wall. Punta Sur and north of Money Bar have beautiful fan gardens.

    We are headed back in April 2024 and can’t wait. We were last there in April 2023. I have also been on many boat trips there. It’s just not the same.

    I have snorkeled in Kauai and the Big Island, Hawaii and other than one place on the Big Island which was amazing, I’ll take Cozumel. Sound crazy? OK… 🙂 next year we will miss Cozumel for a trip to Maui. We will see how it compares.

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