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The Best Food and Beaches in Cozumel To Visit in 2023

Cozumel’s shimmering beaches, colorful dive sites, mesmerizing Mayan ruins, delicious cuisine, and more lure millions of tourists each year to this island just off the Mexican mainland. Small in size but big on adventure, there is always something fun to do. With dozens of exciting shore excursions, Cozumel is a cruise lover’s dream!

You Can’t Say You Went to Cozumel, Mexico Without….

Exploring the Best Beaches of Cozumel

What is so special about the island of Cozumel? The beaches! Going to the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Cozumel; if you’re looking for the perfect beach day, look no further. These playas (beaches) fit the bill:

Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park is a large park that offers guests plenty to do while they’re on vacation in Cozumel: kayaking through mangrove forests, snorkeling around coral reefs, or simply relaxing on one of many hammocks overlooking the ocean.

While visiting Chankanaab National Park you can also swim with dolphins. Yes, you read that right! Learn all about dolphins and their behavior in the Dolphin Discovery section, then it’s into the water to interact with the dolphins as they swim around you, sing for you, and try to figure you out. If you’re lucky, you might even get a magical dolphin kiss!

Animal lovers will also enjoy the Sea Lion Encounter. Enjoy a brief discussion on sea lions, then enter the water on a submerged platform to pet and feed the sea lions as you learn about their diet.

Playa Mia Grand Beach Park

Where to start? This active beach scene includes 200-foot slides and water gun battles to round out your water fun! While here, explore an underground Mayan city, then go kayaking parasailing, or hop on a paddle boat for another view of the island. Let your kids loose at Playa Mia’s Buccaneer Bay with its pirate ship kitted out with water slides and guns.

The beach itself is wide and expansive, with plenty of sand space and lounge chairs to claim your own portion of paradise. There is shopping on site, as well as a refreshing pool and hydro massage tub to relax your muscles after an exciting day of ping pong, beach volleyball, or soccer. Also on site is a buffet-style restaurant and snack and drink bars.

Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon on the sand. The water is shallow and clear, making it ideal for families with small children. There are also plenty of colorful fish and other marine life to see when you strap on your snorkel and go exploring the shallow reef just yards off the beach. The Ecological Park of Punta Sur is also home to many types of flora, fauna, and lagoons where you can find a variety of birds and animals. Many travelers love to view the sea turtles and saltwater crocodiles. 

While here, take some time to check out Celarain Lighthouse and explore the Mayan ruin Caracol.

Punta Morena is a small strip of sand on the east side of the island that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It has a shallow sunken pool in the sand, making it an ideal spot for families with young children to swim or snorkel without getting too deep into the ocean.

The secluded beach of Playa Chen Rio is on the east coast tside of the island which has more waves and surfers than the western side of the island. It’s also a great spot for scuba diving because there’s an abundance of underwater life just offshore from the beach itself.

Don’t Forget the Beach Clubs!

Add some luxury to your day as you head to one of Cozumel’s all-inclusive beach resorts. Here are some of our favorites:

Tortugas Beach Club is a fun beach hangout offering water trampolines, kayaks, paddleboarding, and a floating obstacle course to bring out the kid in you! You can also opt to lay back and soak up the sun on one of the many lounge chairs or water mattresses available and enjoy those infectious island vibes.

Channel your inner celebrity as you laze the day away with a Day Pass at El Cid Resort. This special pass gives you access to all the amenities this beach playground has to offer, including WiFi, pool, towels, snorkeling equipment, as well as an open buffet and open bar. Snorkelers will want to explore the submerged plane wreck just a few hundred feet offshore.

The resort lifestyle can also be found at Iberostar Cozumel, a popular 5-star resort on the island. With your day pass, you can access the facilities, the open bar, and enjoy unlimited meals as you sink into the relaxing bliss of this beautiful beachside property. Kids will enjoy their own pool as well as the Star Camp with its myriad games and activities.

Isla de Pasion, also known as Passion Island,  is an all-inclusive, private island covered in beautiful plants, so you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into an enchanting garden on the beach filled with fun beach activities.

A Quick Note:

As you enjoy the beaches and resorts, remember the laws for swimming in Cozumel: you cannot take glass containers into the water, and you must stay within arm’s reach of a lifeguard at all times.

Exploring the Street Scene

Not feeling particularly “beachy”? There are many fun things to do in Cozumel that don’t involve swimming or lying out on the beach. Take a look at these options:

Step back in time with a historical city tour. Explore the quaint city of San Miguel de Cozumel, one of the most popular tourism hubs in the Riviera Maya district, on foot and marvel at the architecture as you learn about the history and culture of this fascinating town. See the city landmarks, including the Main Plaza with its clock tower, then sit in a lesson in tequila making, followed by a delicious tasting.

Electric bikes are a fabulous way to explore the area as you ride around town. Besides being a fun way to see the city, e-bikes can take you to places where the buses cannot go. Take in the sights and stop in a local farmers market with its colorful display of fruits and vegetables. You can also use your e-bike to explore the wild side of East Cozumel, with its unspoiled shoreline; alternatively, bike over to the North Shore with its mangrove vegetation and its Mexican Air Force WWII aircraft exhibit.

Are you a fan of the television show The Amazing Race? Then you will love the Scavenger Hunt! Grab your friends — and make new ones — as you tour the city solving clues and completing challenges, Amazing Race style, in an adventure that will take you off-the-beaten-path and to hidden gems around town.

Exploring the Food Scene

The food on Cozumel is just as sizzling as its beach life! There is a heavy emphasis on seafood as well as the typical Mexican staples such as tortillas, beans, and salsa. In some places, you might also find Caribbean and Tex-Mex influences.

True foodies will want to take advantage of one of the many food tours available. Treat yourself to a hands-on, salsa-making class where you will learn the art of creating the perfect salsa, or head to a family farm to handcraft your own tacos and an out-of-this-world habanero-flavored tomato sauce.

And what is Mexican food without tequilas? On this lively cantina tour, you will start at the tequila factory, then head to a few popular watering holes to try the island’s spin on margaritas and mojitos before enjoying a meal at Cantina Restaurant.

Must-Try Foods in Cozumel

Every place has their signature foods, and Cozumel is no exception. Here are some of the local tastes you need to try while on the island:

Cochinita Pibil: This traditional Mexican dish is created with pork marinated in achiote, orange juice, garlic, and spices, and served with red onions and cilantro. Yum!

Pozole: A hearty soup made with pork, hominy, cabbage, radish slices, oregano, and lime juice that satisfies the soul

Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles are made with fried tortillas that are covered in salsa or mole sauce and topped with cheese or sour cream, shrimp, or meat

Elotes: These are grilled corn on the cob goodness drenched in mayonnaise, butter, and lime juice, then sprinkled with cheese or chili powder to taste

If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t forget to try a churro! These fried dough sticks dusted with sugar and cinnamon are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and totally addictive

Cozumel on a Budget

There are countless places to explore and things to do for free in Cozumel, or nearly free, including:

  • Take a walk along the malecon (boardwalk) and enjoy views of the Caribbean Sea; bonus points if you catch a sunset
  • Visit the old Spanish fortress Castillo San Felipe del Morro and learn about its history
  • Observe the colorful street art, and notice the different techniques used
  • Enjoy some window or souvenir shopping at the local markets and boutiques
  • Enjoy the various flavors served up at the cheap street food stands 

All this and more are waiting for you in Cozumel — the perfect island getaway! Learn more about this incredible island as well as the basics, such as the weather, local tips, and what to pack here. And when you’re ready, we will set you up with the perfect shore excursion for you so you can have the experience of a lifetime while in Cozumel.

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