lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

Many on vacation in Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya and Cancun ask us what is the best way to snorkel in Cozumel. It's a popular trip at the moment due to the island's quiet reefs and demand for open air activities.

The first thing is to beware of any hotels or agencies that offer a boat trip from the mainland directly, departing from hotels or marinas along the coast. There are a couple of big problems with these trips:

1) They are unlikely to have a valid Cozumel Marine Park permit, so your boat could be stopped, the tour operator fined and your tour terminated. The permits are necessary to restrict the number of boats entering the area, to make sure the crew understand the Marine Park rules and ultimately to protect the island's precious ecology.

Camila Sodi

Top Mexican actress, Camila Sodi, got called out by local press and on social media just this week for apparently taking a trip on an unauthorized boat. Don't make the same mistake!

2) It's a very long crossing and the sea can often be choppy, especially on the Playa del Carmen side. It's about 20 miles (30km) each way, which could mean 4 hours or more of motoring, while you're bumping up and down and going green.

Cozumel Ferry

The best option by far is to pre-book a snorkel tour that departs from Cozumel itself, and take the comfortable passenger ferry to get there from Playa del Carmen. They are large, modern, stable boats that cross to the island in about 40 minutes and offer great views on the way. They have inside areas with air-conditioning and open air decks too. There's a bar service onboard and some even have live music.

Ferry music

Ferry tickets can be bought at the pier which is centrally located in Playa del Carmen. If you're staying in Cancun it's about a 1 hour transfer to the ferry by private van. If you need any advice on transfer or transport arrangements contact us and one of our Local Experts will be pleased to assist.

We offer lots of different snorkel boat tours and private charters in Cozumel once you get here. All our tour operators have the correct Marine Park permits and their crew respect the environmental rules. Most importantly, they all live on the island, so have great local knowledge and will make sure you see the most amazing underwater sights.


Alternatively, you could also take a Dune Buggy or Jeep Tour around the island, which includes a stop for excellent snorkelling along the way.

You could do everything in half a day at a push, but we recommend you make your visit to Cozumel a full day trip so you don't have to rush. Then you can relax and enjoy the wonderful snorkelling and warm welcome you'll receive on the island. It'll be the best day of your Mexican Caribbean vacation!