Head for the Beach–South of Town:
Cozumel is known for it's beaches and world class snorkeling and diving. As you head south of the town of San Miguel you'll come upon a number of beach areas, each with its own attractions and personality. Note that some of these areas are not sandy, but have other attractions such as snorkeling. Beach areas in order, as you drive south of town:

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DZUL HA A favorite for snorkeling enthusiasts. We've seen sea turtles, eagle rays, eels, octopus and a wide assortment of tropical fish. The newly opened Money Bar occupies this space, stop in for a cold beverage or a snack.

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UVAS: This bar/restaurant features cold drinks, food, rental kayaks, restrooms, swimming pool and "beds" for lounging.

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CHANKANAAB: This is a botanical garden, with snorkeling and nice man-made beach area. There is a fee to enter the park and you have access to all facilities, including bar, restaurant, restrooms and dynamite snorkeling. You can spend a pleasant morning or afternoon exploring the grounds, snorkeling, sunning, etc. Grab a bite to eat or something to drink at the restaurant. Swimming with the dolphins is available, but sign up early if you want to experience the excitement!

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CORONA: One of the smaller beach areas, but a great place to start easing into life at the beach! You can do a bit of snorkeling here. Restrooms, drinks, food; no admittance charge.

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PLAYA SAN FRANCISCO: One of the major beach areas, restaurant, glass bottom boats, jet skis, bathrooms, showers, parasailing. One of Cozumel's first developed beach areas. No admittance charge!

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PARADISE BEACH: The grounds are immaculately groomed with palm trees and ponds; some speculated that this was going to be a golf course before it opened. Restaurant, drinks, restrooms. Additional charge to use the inflatable "iceberg" for climbing, sea kayaks, parasailing, jet skis, banana boat rides, massage, hair braiding.

PLAYA MIA (formerly Playa Sol): Sun, sand and creatures. There is plenty of powdery white sand, beach chairs, hammocks plus 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 "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. Dive boats often stop at this beach because there is a pier. 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. Also, look for the monkeys, alligators, and iguanas; no, they don't roam free, but are on display in the small zoo. This area attracts the cruise ship traffic with loads of people arriving by bus. Avoid paying an entrance fee by choosing one of the other beach areas.
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MR. SANCHO'S: Just south of Playa Sol, this beach area has a swimming pool/jacuzzi, restaurant, bar and restrooms. There is no admittance fee at Mr. Sancho's so go often and enjoy the casual beach life.

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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!

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PLAYA PALANCAR: Lots of sand, not too many 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. There is a restaurant, bar and restrooms. One of our FAVORITE beach areas.

On to the East Coast–Cozumel's "wild" side:
This side of the island is undeveloped and you can fill a day or two exploring the beaches, navigating some interesting rocky areas and playing in the waves. There are several beach restaurants that serve cold drinks and tasty food. This is known as Cozumel's "wild" side. Wave action and currents can be strong; in some areas, you may see kite-boarders or body surfers. Please be careful if you venture out into the ocean; more than one person has been overcome by the current and lost to the sea. Roughly in order, from south to north:

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PUNTA SUR: 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. This is one of Cozumel's main parks 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.
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Paradise Cafe and Rasta's on the southern end of the island just north of the lighthouse. Crawl into a hammock for the afternoon and watch the wave action while you cuddle up with a cold beer. As you might expect, reggae music is featured here. Paradise Cafe is located on the ocean; Rasta's is across the road. I'm not exactly sure why, but we've seen pigs on the beach the last couple of trips to the island (yes, real honest-to-goodness pigs).

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As you continue along the coast going north, you can pop into some of the other beach areas such as Playa Bonita, Chen Rio and Punta Morena. If you're hungry for a bite to eat, dig into a plate of fresh fish, fajitas or chips and salsa.

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Galeon is a beach area where you can enjoy food, drinks and kiteboarders performing acrobatic movements if the wind happens to be right (see lime green kite in photo at left).

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Coconuts is a cliff-side bar and restaurant located between Paradise Cafe and Mezcalito's on the east Coast. This little hideaway is tucked away near an abandoned hotel and you'll need to climb some rocky steps to find your table high above the ocean. The spectacular setting offers incredible views, cold drinks, a light menu and comfy hammocks.

Right before you turn to cut across the island heading back into San Miguel you will come to Mezcalito's, a popular watering spot along the beach that also offers a selection of fresh fish and Mexican specialties. In this same area is Senor Iguanas, another oceanfront restaurant/bar. In this area and all the way back to town on the transversal road you'll find small stands plying their wares, such as "BIG Mexican blankets that are almost free." Stop and browse for souvenirs.

North of town on the west coast

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.
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Puerto Abrigo 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.

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Playa Azul is located about 2.5 miles north of town. You'll find a restaurant along with rental kayaks and jet skis.

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Cozumel:
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7 Days a Week Mary White 763-295-2191 Toll free 800-230-5773 mary@travelmex.com Monticello, MN 55362
Also see Riviera Maya: Villas & Condos | Maps & Area Info | Dining | Weather | Fun | HOME | EMAIL
Including Akumal, Jade Beach, South Akumal, Soliman Bay, Tankah, Tulum
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