The island of Cozumel sits off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. It’s one of Mexico’s finest tropical jewels that invites travelers to lounge in a beach chair and drift into tranquility.
Millions of travelers flock to Cozumel year-round for its perfect swimming weather, neon-blue waters and some of the best snorkeling opportunities in the world. This small island is home to over a dozen enticing beaches, and each one offers a unique flavor.
Divers and swimmers enjoy the clear coral-filled waters without having to venture too far from the shore. Beach lovers have bountiful options when it comes to lazing in the shade on a comfortable chair, cocktail in hand. If you prefer your beach to be a tranquil retreat, there are plenty of options to escape the crowds. And, since the entire island is no more than 10 miles across, it’s possible to visit any beach you’re interested in during your stay. When you combine the island’s natural beauty with its warm, welcoming culture, it’s easy to see why Cozumel is a favorite Caribbean getaway for many.
Considering that Cozumel offers so many different beaches, it’ll take some planning to find the right one for you. To help you choose your new Caribbean retreat, here are 13 of Cozumel’s best beaches and the top reasons to check them out.
Best Beaches for Adventure
If you crave adventure when you travel, you’ll never forget a journey to Cozumel. As part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, Cozumel has earned renown for its diving and snorkeling spots. If you wish to snorkel, swim or get close to marine life in the water, your best bet is to visit a beach on the western side of the island, where the water is typically calm. The west coast also offers more amenities, like stores, restaurants and rental gear shops, making it easy to enjoy a day exploring crystal-clear waters.
While this list does not include every Cozumel beach for thrill-seekers, it mentions the must-see sites.
1. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
If you love observing wildlife, exploring nature and appreciate history, don’t miss Punta Sur Eco Beach Park. Located at the southern tip of the island, Punta Sur is ideal for nature lovers who enjoy a variety of enriching activities. Plan to spend the day here, as there’s so much to see and explore.
The park holds stunning white beaches, crocodile-filled lagoons which you can observe from a tower, snorkeling opportunities, Mayan structures, a historic lighthouse and an abundance of wild plant life and exotic birds. You can also visit the Navigation Museum at the lighthouse to learn about the local history and then climb to the top for a spectacular view. End your excursion by resting in a hammock on the beach and taking in the scenery before you head back to town. Travelers come to Punta Sur to enjoy a beautiful blend of history and nature.
2. Playa Corona
Located on the west side of the island, Playa Corona is one of the best Cozumel beaches for snorkeling. At Playa Corona, both beginners and seasoned swimmers can explore the colorful reef brimming with sea life such as barracudas, sea turtles and moray eels, and they don’t have to swim too far from the shore.
If you work up an appetite or need to quench your thirst after your underwater expedition, visit the low-key restaurant on the beach. Here, you can fill up on no-frills fare like nachos or fish tacos and wash it down with a cold one. If you need a break and want to rest in the shade, you’ll find hammocks and palapas beckoning you. Lastly, if you forget to bring your snorkeling gear, there’s a rental shop onshore to give you what you need for your adventure. While Playa Corona offers fewer amenities than some of the more crowded beaches nearby, it does provide tons of authentic local charm.
3. Stingray Beach
If you want an unforgettable interactive experience with stingrays, add Stingray Beach to your Cozumel bucket list. Located close to the heart of the island’s main town — San Miguel de Cozumel — Stingray Beach won’t be too far from your cruise ship. At Stingray Beach, you get to swim and spend time with friendly rays in the island’s surrounding turquoise waters. You can also enjoy other activities at the park, including wine tasting, paddleboarding and learning how to create a piñata. Stingray Beach is a popular destination, so you’ll want to head there as early as possible to beat the crowds.
4. Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park is one of the best eco-parks in all of Mexico. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts find a range of thrilling activities to do at the park, including snorkeling among underwater statues, swimming with dolphins and touring a tequila factory. The park also provides hammocks and beach chairs for relaxing. There are tons of ways to enjoy close encounters with sea life or a tranquil afternoon at Chankanaab. Visitors will find it easy to access this worthwhile park and beach located just a few miles from the docks.
5. Dzul Ha Beach
Dzul Ha Beach, which you access through the Money Bar Beach Club, is another great Cozumel spot for snorkeling and exploring the reefs. Although Dzul Ha isn’t a large beach, it’s perfect for those who are eager to get out into the water and see tons of colorful coral, fish and other types of sea life. Travelers enjoy not needing to rent a boat or hire a guide to snorkel here, since the coral is so close to the shore. At the Money Bar Beach Club, you’ll also find a swimming pool and a well-loved restaurant with a varied menu. You might enjoy the catch of the day at the Money Bar and wash it down with a fruity cocktail to celebrate life.
Best Beaches for Solitude
If your ideal day at the beach involves fewer crowds and picturesque views, you may want to head to the lesser-traveled rockier eastern coast of the island. On the east side of Cozumel, you can expect to find wild beauty, off-the-beaten-path beaches and opportunities to indulge in solitude.
6. Playa Bonita
Playa Bonita is an uncrowded, remote beach which some consider to be the island’s most romantic. You’ll have a personal piece of paradise at Playa Bonita as you stretch out in the warm sand and become hypnotized by the beauty of the shimmering sea. But, quiet solitude is not all Playa Bonita offers. If you or a traveling companion crave history, you’ll enjoy the small Mayan ruins located on the beach as well.
It does not take much to enjoy time spent at this hidden gem, but, due to its remoteness, you’ll want to bring everything you need for a day at Playa Bonita. You won’t find any facilities here, so be sure to consider that when you plan your journey and pack essentials like snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent.
7. Playa Chen Rio
Also located on the eastern side of the island, Playa Chen Rio is less crowded than the west coast beaches, but no less beautiful. It features gorgeous white sand, lush vegetation and rocky coral outcroppings that provide sheltered swimming areas. Playa Chen Rio offers a tranquil setting for an afternoon of curling your toes in the sand and letting dreamy feelings carry you away. Make sure to sample fresh ceviche and a cooling cocktail at the beach’s restaurant and bar.
8. Playa Casitas
While not necessarily a secluded beach, Playa Casitas is a perfect option for those looking to experience Cozumel’s culture. It’s also an excellent choice for travelers who want to stay on the west side of the island but get away from the crowds.
Located a short distance from the island’s center, Playa Casitas is where the locals go to take a dip and bathe in the sun. Experienced swimmers, in particular, will enjoy paddling out to see a shipwreck, while others may wish to stay closer to the shore to view reefs teeming with fish. You’ll also find plenty of palapas in the area for resting in the shade or enjoying local foods and drinks. Just make sure to bring your snorkeling gear, because there are no rental shops onsite.
9. Playa Punta Morena
Punta Morena is one of the more popular beaches on the eastern coast, but is still far away enough from town to enjoy a lack of crowds. Punta Morena offers stunning palm-lined beaches, plenty of hammocks and a beach club with several amenities such as a seafood restaurant, bar, pool and massage services.
10. El Mirador
El Mirador is famous for its rugged beauty, scenic coral formations and crashing waves. It’s the place to go to take striking photos and have a different kind of Cozumel beach experience. After taking in the scenery, you can sit down on the sand and relax, or sway in a hammock to the soothing sound of ocean waves hitting the shore. You might visit the vendors lining the beach to shop for trinkets or purchase fresh coconut water.
Best Beaches to Feel Pampered
Some beaches naturally help your stress melt away like condensation on a cocktail glass. If your ideal Caribbean voyage includes spending a day doing nothing but feeling the cool sea breeze on your sun-kissed skin, consider checking out the following beaches.
11. Isla de Pasion
Isla de Pasion, or Passion Island, is on the northern coast of Cozumel. It’s a private beach and is only accessible by voyaging there with a tour guide, but it’s worth a visit, especially if you want to have palm trees surrounding you. Here, you’ll find velvety sand, rows of swaying palm trees and glassy water. You might spend your time at Isla de Pasion strolling the shoreline, relaxing in a floating hammock or exploring the island via water tricycle. If you wish to have an inland adventure, you can take a guided kayak tour of a mangrove swamp. No matter what you choose to do when you visit Isla de Pasion, you’ll be at one of the most sublime beaches in Cozumel.
12. Playa Palancar
Playa Palancar is an easy-to-access beach located on the southwest side of the island. It’s earned renown for its alluring tropical beauty and abundance of amenities. At Playa Palancar, you’ll find long stretches of soft, pearly sand where you can relax under the shade on a beach chair and cool down with a refreshing beverage. If you want to feel pampered, you can also get a massage on the beach. Playa Palancar is ideal for travelers who wish to unwind island-style.
If you get the itch for adventure and want to explore the water, you can rent a kayak or snorkeling gear. You’ll also find several beach clubs lining the shore and bathroom amenities, making this beach not only beautiful, but also convenient.
13. Playa Uvas
Located on the west side of the island, Playa Uvas is an exclusive beach club where you can rent a sunbed, umbrella and snorkeling gear. The resort offers a variety of packages, which may include a drink, snorkeling gear, kayaking excursion and access to chairs, a hammock and a restaurant. Playa Uvas is a desirable place for relaxing and sunbathing as you enjoy a tangy margarita and tasty local foods like guacamole, fish tacos or chilaquiles — all while absorbing endless ocean views.
Browse Mexico Cruises With Windstar
While many travelers hail Cozumel as a must-see destination for those who enjoy snorkeling, it’s also a stunning locale for beach lovers, history enthusiasts and travelers who are thrilled to interact with exotic wildlife. With perfect beach weather year-round and all the ingredients that go into a tropical paradise, Cozumel is one of Mexico’s sparkling gems any world traveler does not want to miss.
Whether you’re excited to embrace island adventure or toss your worries to the breeze and do absolutely nothing — except order a margarita — we’re ready to take you there. With Windstar Cruises, you’ll sail a small, elegant ship to Mexico’s breathtaking coastal destinations such as Cozumel and Costa Maya. To find an itinerary that works for you, browse our Mexico cruises today or contact a Vacation Planner to learn more.