Best Reefs to Snorkel and Dive in Cozumel

The stunning island of Cozumel is located not far from Playa del Carmen, just off Mexico's Caribbean coast. Famous for its powder white beaches and crystal clear water, this area also houses the largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere, making it perfect for snorkeling and diving. The visibility is excellent, so everyone from snorkelers to expert divers can enjoy an unforgettable underwater experience. Here are some of the best places to go, whether you just want to snorkel or if you're looking to suit up and discover what lies deep below.

Paradise Reef 

Paradise is actually made up of three separate reefs parallel to the coastline, about 600 feet from the shore. With a maximum depth of 45 feet, it is home to a magnificent array of fish, shellfish and coral of different shapes and sizes, and all the colors of the rainbow! Prepare to be amazed as you discover the creatures hiding in every nook and cranny. This reef is also one of the most popular locations for night diving.

Palancar Reef

Palancar is located in Parque Marino Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel (Cozumel National Coral Reef Marine Park). It is a fantastic spot to snorkel and dive, featuring spectacular caves as well as fascinating ledges and drops that will take your breath away. Home to an impressive variety of sharks, barracuda and more, this is one reef not to miss during your next summer vacation!

El Cielo Reef

Discover the home of the stars in the Caribbean when you snorkel at El Cielo. This popular location is ideal for beginner snorkelers. The water here is shallow and clear, and more importantly, the ocean floor is littered with starfish! See these fascinating creatures up close and personal at this phenomenal place, which shows yet another side of the underwater world in Cozumel.


Coral at Dzul Ha 

Populated by lobsters, crabs, rays and an endless variety of fish, Dzul-Ha is an exceptional place to go snorkeling in Cozumel. With a not-too-scary depth of 10 to 15 feet, it is perfect for people looking to enjoy the underwater world before heading to the restaurant and bar at the beach club.

Snorkeling at Chankanaab 

Parque Chankanaab is a wonderful place to swim with dolphins, admire Mayan ruins, and trek through jungle. The reef is just 350 yards from the shore and with a maximum depth of 70 feet it is ideal for beginner scuba divers and snorkelers. Big, bold, and beautiful is what you'll find under the surface, with spectacular coral formations, and a marvelous variety of marine life. You might even finally find Nemo, as the reef is home to plenty of clownfish!

Colombia Reef 

Columbia Reef is simply spectacular. Featuring a breathtaking drop-off to a depth of 60 to 80 feet it's perfect for deep diving. Here you'll find wonderful caves, tunnels and caverns, as well as gigantic pinnacles of coral and large marine creatures. If you're a proficient diver, then don't miss out on the unforgettable experience of exploring this magnificent reef.

Villa Blanca Reef 

Located off the western coast of the island, this reef is different to others, featuring a sloping wall with enormous sponges and sea fans, as well as schools of different fish. It is possible to reach the reef from the beach, but beginner divers are better off entering the water from a boat. Admire exotic fish and spectacular formations as you enjoy an underwater adventure diving off the coast of Cozumel.

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