Cozumel Coastline Highlights
Explore Cozumel's beaches and shores. Stroll the sandy beaches, poke around the marina, snorkel, drop into beach clubs. Below are some of the highlights along Cozumel's shores. We've divided the areas as follows:
South of town (west coast)
Cozumel's "Wild Side"
North of town (west coast)
Start your tour from town and head south:
SOUTH BEACH AREAS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Heading south of town, stop at Mama Hog's (across the road from Papa Hog's), for a cold beer on their patio which overlooks the ocean. Not a beach area, but a good excuse to stop for a beer or a burger before you leave town.
Continuing down the beach is Money Bar (above), formerly Dzul Ha, where they serve drinks and lunch all day. Take a dip in the ocean. Snorkeling is great in this area; go on your own or snorkel tours are available (rental gear is available as well). You can also rent glass bottom kayaks and boogie boards
Another small beach area that is worth a stop is Uva's Beach Club, just past Fiesta Americana, but before Chankanaab. It has a bar/restaurant and tables overlooking the ocean. There is an entry fee at this area.
Chankanaab is next along the line, approxinately 5 miles south of down. You'll pay an entry fee into this national park area where you can enjoy superb snorkeling, restaurants, bars, shops, botanical gardens, swimming with the dolphins, sea lions and manatees. Or try snuba (a combination of snorkeling and scuba). Try get here when there aren't too many cruise ships in port.
Playa Corona (above): A popular gathering point along the ocean. There is a pier in this area, snorkeling, a bar and restaurant . A raft is usually anchored not far off-shore. No admittance charge. I'm pretty sure this beach got its name from all of the Corona that has been consumed at this spot over the years.
San Francisco: Now we're getting into the major beach sites. Restaurant, bar, watersports and LOTS of sandy beach. Carlos and Charlie's now has a restaurant/bar on this beach. You can rent jet skis or kayaks, go parasailing or treat yourself to a banana boat ride. The inflatable ice berg is great fun to climb on and slide into the water (it's a tougher climb than it looks!). There's usually a rousing game of volleyball on the beach. You'll find some small gift shops here and you can slip into one of the tented beach cabanas for a massage.
Paradise Beach (above): Just south of San Francisco. Lots of diversions here with a bar/restaurant, kayaks, diving, massage, shops, etc. Beautifully manitured garden and entry area (looks like a golf course!).
Playa Mia: Sun, sand and creatures. There is plenty of powdery white sand, beach chairs, hammocks as well as a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Activities include jet skiing, sea kayaks, snorkeling, water skiing, diving, volleyball, banana boat rides and more. Climb to the stop of the giant inflatable plastic "iceberg" and slide down into the warm waters of the Caribbean. If you're in the mood for a ride along the beach, horses are available. Entrance fee varies depending on which package you would like, from basic package, to all-inclusive package including all you can eat. There are bathroom and shower facilities.
Next beach playground is Mr. Sancho's which has most everything that Playa Mia has, without the entry fee. Great beach area with pool, jacuzzi, hammocks, bar/restaurant. You can get mighty comfy here! A DJ on the beach keeps things moving along if you want to join in the tug of war, limbo, volleyball or other activities. They now have a giant inflatible trampoline in the ocean (their answer to Playa Mia's iceberg, I guess).
Nachi Cocom Beach: Another beach area with swimming pool, jacuzzi, restaurant, pier for dive boats, watersports. This is a beautiful spot and a very pleasant place to spend a day. Not too busy, not too slow . . . picture-perfect views and long stretches of sand to leave your footprints as you take a long stroll in the warm sunshine.
ALBERTO'S: At one time this was a well kept secret place only frequented by the locals (it had a different name then). These days, it is still used by the locals but is being discovered by more and more tourists. Fresh seafood is a feature of this casual beach restaurant/bar. There are "marginal" bathrooms . . . but they are functional!
Palancar Beach: This is one of our favorites with lots of sand and few people. Quieter than some of the other beach areas . . . and NO motorized water toys (jet skis, etc.). A very pretty area where you can take long walks along the beach without seeing many other people. You'll find a restaurant, bar and restrooms. One of our FAVORITE beach areas.
PUNTA SUR: This is a national park located at the southern end of the island. Schedule your visit just right and you can climb to the top of the lighthouse just as the sun is setting, and enjoy a unforgettable view of the Caribbean. The road is gated and there is an entrance fee. Go and take a peek and enjoy some great views from the top of the lighthouse. This area is has an ecological park with an information center, beach snack bar, ruins of the original Mayan lighthouse which was used for maritime navigation nearly 800 years ago. It also boasts a museum located in the existing lighthouse and a snorkel and restaurant center. For an additional fee you can also take a pontoon boat ride into the lagoon where you may see crocodiles and a variety of birds and other wildlife.
NORTH BEACH AREAS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Start the beach tour at the north end in County Club Estates. This is a very quiet beach area with no jet skis or boat traffic; just a lot of sand and plenty of it. Bring your own beer and snacks, there are no bars or restaurants. Make sure to pick up after you leave. This area is noted for its superb kite-boarding. You need to have a code to enter this beach from Country Club Estates.
South of Country Club Estates and about 2.5 miles north of town is Buccanos which is a beach club and superb restaurnat. Buccanos has oceanfront swimming pool, showers andlockers, massage, snorkeling, kayak rental, stand up paddleboarding, wave runners, parasailing and even rock climbing!
South of Buccanos and Playa Azul where you'll fnd jet skis, a restaurant, bar, volleyball and more.
Puerto Abrigo Marina is not a beach area, but boat-lovers may want to stop by this picturesque marina for a stroll amidst the various vessels. You're likely to see sail boats, fishing boats, dive boats, yachts and sometimes military vessels.
Playa Casitas is located just north of town, before the marina (Puerto Abrigo). This beach area is a hot spot for locals who bring their families on Sundays and holidays. Gringos are welcome, too, but you won't find any lounge chairs or tourist frills. Cold beer, sodas and snacks are available; sometimes live music is provided. Restrooms are available for use for 5 pesos.
The WILD SIDE (East Coast):
Sounds like something akin to "the other woman" or possibly a forbidden fruit, doesn't it? Perhaps it should have that reputation as this is Cozumel's "wild side." Wave action is powerful, wind often brisk and the shoreline varied, from rocky and steep to wide expanses of soft white sand. This is the extreme side of Cozumel where you zip along in your open top jeep and let the wind fly through your hair while you get fried under the hot tropical sun (or, if you're older and wiser, you can enjoy the views in air conditioned comfort from your midsize car). Starting from the south after passing Punta Sur, drive north up the coast and make these stops:
Definitely pay a visit at Paradise Cafe (Bob Marley's Bar) where you can flop into a hammock and watch the waves while you have a cold beer and enjoy the reggae music. In the same area anad across the road is Rasta Bar.
Continue up the coast to other beach areas (left) where you'll find inviting little beachfront bars offering white sand, ice cold margaritas and snacks at Punta Chiqueros, Chen Rio or Punta Morena.
Galeon is a beach area where you can enjoy food, drinks and kiteboarders performing acrobatic movements if the wind happens to be right.
Do not miss Coconuts, a cliffside bar/restaurant (limited menu), with a breathtaking view. From this lofty perch you can watch waves break all the way down the coast. Local surfers can often be seen riding– and wiping out–on the waves below. Enjoy the view at Coconuts from the cliffs! There's a small hotel just north of Coconuts.
Completed in 2006, Senor Iguana's is now the second-to-the-last stop along the coast heading north. This oceanfront restaurant and bar competes wiht Mezcalito's (see below); keep them both happy and stop at each. Great views, cold beer and reportedly tasty –but pricey–food is offered here. Conveniently located next to "Target" so shopaholics have easy access to satisfy their buying needs.
Last stop along the coast before cutting back across the island, is well known Mezcalito's (above) which has been holding down the beach at this end of the island for years. Stop in for a brew (we really do hope you have a designated driver if you're taking our advice and drinking all that beer), join in a volleyball game, slink into the sand, or for god's sake buy some of those damn Big Mexican Blankets, which are "almost free," and "cheaper than Walmart". Mezcalito's is said to have some pretty decent food, but maybe that's because everyone's had a few beers before they get there.
Now from here you have two choices, you can head back into town on the cross island road. Or, if you've had a few too many drinks you might consider taking a drive down Punta Molas Road. You may want to think again. Your insurance on your rental vehicle is null and void when you leave the paved road . This dirt/sand path is a "jeep only" road that leads to the northern-most lighthouse. It passes several great beaches and some Mayan ruins along the way. Sounds really neat, huh? Well, do remember that you have no insurance if you choose to go this route. And don't be a cry baby when you end up paying big bucks to get your car out. Note that this road is closed to ALL at this time and it is patrolled (do you really want to see the inside of a Mexican jail?)