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10 Great Things To Do In Cozumel
Located just off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, Cozumel offers cruise passengers an exciting array of options for spending their day in port. This island is loaded with beautiful beaches, duty-free shopping, world-class snorkeling and diving opportunities, adventure tours, cultural experiences, and much more. A wide variety of popular restaurants and bars are located here as well.
Cozumel receives more cruise ships than many other ports in the Western Caribbean. Cruise guests look forward to returning to Cozumel to experience more of the destination's attractions as well as some of their favorite activities. The island is a frequent port of call on short cruise itineraries from Gulf Coast home ports and it's often included on week-long Western Caribbean sailings from other embarkation points as well.
Here are ten of the most popular activities and adventures while visiting Cozumel:
1. Snorkeling and Diving. Although hurricanes have done some damage to Cozumel's famed coral reefs, Cozumel offers some of the best snorkeling and diving sites in the Caribbean. Favorites include the second longest reef system in the world, Palancar Reef. Chankanaab National Park is a wonderful place for watersports lovers to spend the day. In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving, guests can swim with dolphins, relax under palapas on a beautiful sandy beach, have lunch, view replicas of ancient ruins, and hunt for colorful iguanas sunning on the rocks.
2. History & Cultural Tours. The port of Cozumel is a popular destination for those who wish to view Mayan ruins. There is a small archeological site called El Cedral near the center of the island. Some of Cozumel's most popular cruise tours visit larger Mayan sites like Tulum and Coba. These shore excursions involve a boat or ferry ride to Playa del Carmen on Mexico's mainland, departing to the sites from that point.
3. Beach Breaks. Many cruise passengers seek out one of Cozumel's beach destinations for some fun in the sun while in port. A number of beach clubs and other tour destinations are available for cruisers. Some of the more popular places include Chankanaab National Park, Paradise Beach, Nachi Cocom Beach Club, Mr. Sancho's Beach Club and Playa Mia. Each beach destination offers slightly different packages and most are quite reasonable. Check their websites for more information. Some of the most popular cruise ship shore excursions visit Passion Island, either via catamaran or on a thrilling jet boat ride.
4. Shopping & Dining. Cozumel is known as a shopper's paradise with a wide array of stores from which to choose. Most cruise passengers head to the city of San Miguel to browse its many jewelry, handicraft and souvenir stores. If you're looking for well-priced souvenirs and jewelry, check out Los Cinco Soles. There are a number of great places to dine in Cozumel, so take a break from shopping to enjoy a margarita with your meal. Some good restaurant options include Alberto’s Beach Bar & Restaurant, Casa Mission and Pancho’s Backyard.
5. Resort Day Passes. Spending the day at a resort in another popular option in Cozumel. Resort day passes are often all-inclusive and include all meals, all drinks including alcoholic beverages, pool and beach access, snorkeling, watersports and more. Some activities, such as parasailing, may be available for an additional fee. Resort for a Day offers multiple all-inclusive day pass options in Cozumel. Cruise guests can also purchase resort day passes directly from a number of resorts including El Cid Resort, Allegro Cozumel, Cozumel Palace, El Cozumeleno Beach Resort, and Park Royal.
6. Adventure Excursions. ATV and other types of adventure excursions abound in Cozumel. For example, the off-road Xrail Tour To Jade Cavern excursion takes participants to a beautiful jade green cenote. Some ATV tours take this route as well. Sailing trips are popular as well. These relaxing catamaran cruises usually combine sailing, snorkeling and drinks/snacks. Guides lead guests on snorkeling excursions while those who prefer not to get wet can simply enjoy the ride.
7. Dolphin Encounters. Cruisers can get up close and personal with dolphins, sea lions and stingrays while visiting Cozumel. A variety of programs and options are available. If you're planning to do a dolphin encounter or swim while in Cozumel, make your shore excursion reservations early. These tours are very popular and tend to sell out quickly.
8. Glass-bottom Boat Tours. If you'd prefer not to get wet, view the area's beautiful coral formations and colorful fish from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat. Glass-bottom boat tours for cruise passengers are generally available directly through the shore excursions desk, although they can often also be arranged at private beach clubs as well.
9. Island Exploration. Rent a car or Jeep and explore the lovely island of Cozumel on your own. This can be a particularly good (and economical) choice for families and groups of friends. Some of the most beautiful beaches are on the island's east coast. Enjoy the undeveloped side of Cozumel, but make sure to swim and snorkel only in marked areas. While you're exploring, via car or on foot, stop in at a local restaurant for a delicious authentic Mexican lunch.
10. Day Trips to Playa del Carmen. Cozumel offers so much for cruise visitors to do. It's hard to get bored here. If you've visited Cozumel multiple times, however, get off the island and visit the laid-back town of Playa del Carmen. Accessible via a 45-minute ferry ride from Cozumel, Playa del Carmen offers a wide variety of charming restaurants and boutiques. The ferry ride can be rough, however, so pack some Dramamine or Bonine just in case.
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