Just off the Riviera Maya coast line is the charming island of Cozumel. Ever since Jacques Cousteau filmed from the coral reefs near Cozumel in 1961, this island has been best known for world class diving opportunities on the Playacar Reef which is part of the Meso-American reef system. Most resorts have dive shops onsite, and many are PADI 5-star certified. Diving is typically not included in your resort package, but prices are reasonable. For those not certified, abbreviated resort dive courses are available as well as full certification and advanced diver courses.
Secrets Aura Cozumel (adults only)
If you aren’t looking to scuba dive, the snorkeling is great. In other words, you don’t have to don an air tank and weight belt to be able to enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs. Most resorts have snorkeling right off the beaches. Or, sign up for a catamaran snorkel sail. This is great for couples as well as families (with the kids being good swimmers).
The beaches here don’t have the wide sandy ribbon like you find in Cancun. Resort beaches range between narrow sandy to downright rocky (with a few exceptions, like Secrets Aura Cozumel). However, since the island’s resort side faces back to the mainland, the tide at your resort beach will be gentle.
Cozumel Palace Resort
My favorite resorts in Cozumel by “travel style” are:
- Grand Occidental Cozumel – for families and small groups looking for a quiet beach getaway. This is an easy going 4 star all-inclusive, and prices well (good “bang for the buck.”)
- Iberostar Cozumel – the best pick for divers who are looking for 3 1/2 to 4 star accommodations. The resort is very close to the reef, on the southern end of the island. Diving is at additional cost. The diveshop (Dressel Divers) is very well run
- Cozumel Palace – for those divers who are looking a bit nicer accommodations, this resort has a great dive shop and is a 4 1/2 star all-inclusive. There is no sandy beach here, but just steps that go into the water. Snorkeling is excellen
- Explorean Cozumel – this is a new adults-only resort that includes sports and activities. This is a great choice for the couple or small friends group looking for a little soft adventure. The resort itself has a quiet, boutique feel to it. Access to beach at sister property next door (Fiesta Americana Cozumel).
- Secrets Aura Cozumel – for the adult couple looking for a romantic escape. This is a small 4+ star all-inclusive resort with lots of charm. Plus, the beach here is gorgeous.
Flights from the US to Cozumel operate year-round out of the following cities, with connections possible from your departure airport:
- DFW Dallas
Additionally, there are seasonal (December – April) nonstop flights to Cozumel from Chicago and Minneapolis-St Paul.