Western Caribbean Destinations: Cozumel
There’s no shortage of idyllic islands to discover within the Western Caribbean, which include the islands that fall outside of the Gulf of Mexico and generally to the left of Florida. You’ll find white-sand beaches, optimal snorkeling conditions, and year-round sunshine.
If you’ve decided to head to the Western Caribbean, you still may be wondering which islands and cities to visit. Well, that largely depends on what you’d like to see and do. Let’s talk about Cozumel.
Cozumel is the largest island in the Yucatan peninsula, it receives over 3 million cruisers annually and at least 8 cruise ships dock at the island daily. Located on the western side of the island, Punta Langosta, International pier, and Puerto Maya are Cozumel’s three main cruise ports.
Cozumel has evolved to become a major tourist hub with almost all cruise lines featuring this once sleepy island in their western Caribbean itineraries. There’s so much to do in Cozumel that you could easily spend a week exploring the island and everything it has to offer.
Cozumel National Marine Park
A marine park surrounds the southwestern tip of the island and houses many established scuba diving and snorkeling sites. Most sites are too far into the ocean to reach during a swim, but you can go to some of the best sites in less than 15 minutes by speedboat. Most snorkeling or diving tours will visit a few sites.
Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
At Chankanaab, guests can snorkel or scuba dive right from the beautiful beach. Other activities available include archaeological tours, swimming with dolphins, snuba tours, and a chance to try “sea trekking,” in which you walk on the ocean floor. Adventures aside, there are a few beach bars, a spa, private cabanas, and daily tequila tastings. It’s a great place to experience most of Cozumel’s best adventures in one spot.
If you don’t mind a long day while in Cozumel, take the quick 30-minute ferry to Playa del Carmen, the starting point for tours that go deeper into the Yucatan. Embark on a tour of the massive Chichen Itza complex, one of the best Mayan ruins near Cozumel, which includes hundreds of buildings, ball courts, temples, and more.
You’ll learn about the site’s importance to the Mayan people and the legends and stories that shaped their beliefs. There are multiple ways to see the site, including private flights to get a birds-eye view or guided tours with virtual reality goggles so you can see what the area looked like during the Mayan age.
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