Beach Options in Cozumel
Cozumel has many very beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue waters and warm sand to bury your toes in! The majority of these options are not located near the cruise port and will require you to take a taxi to get to them or purchase a package including transportation.
Paradise Beach is on the western side of the island south of the cruise piers (10km south of Puerta Maya and International, 15km south of Punta Langosta). Paradise Beach is one of Cozumel’s most popular beaches attracting families, locals, and cruise passengers galore. The beach is very nice and clean. There is also a pool, restaurant, and some local shopping that allow you to round out your day. The restaurant provides poolside and beachside food and beverage service so you can relax and enjoy your day in the sun. Entry to the beach is around $3 USD, which gives access to all the facilities, plus a chair by the beach or pool. Visitors can also purchase a “Fun Pass” that includes use of inflatable water toys, water trampolines, a coconut tree climb, kayaks, snorkeling gear, and stand-up paddleboards.
A little further south is Palancar Beach (5km south of Paradise Beach). Taxis to and from the San Miguel area are around $25 each way (you may get a deal if paying in Pesos for around 300 Pesos($16)). There is no admission fee to access Palancar, but you'll probably want to fork over the $10 it costs to secure a beach umbrella and lounger. Being one of the furthest beach options from the port it is usually not very crowded. The beach is big on water sports, including kayaking, snorkeling, jet-skiing, parasailing, and diving. There are dive tours available for divers of all levels on the renowned Palancar Gardens reef. There are several palapa-style restaurant and bar areas offering fresh seafood and drinks including ceviches, grilled fish, and local shrimp.
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park was the first of its kind when it opened in 1984. It has seen many changes over the years and was completely destroyed in 2005 when the two hurricanes hit Cozumel. It has been completely rebuilt bigger and better and is a fun spot for families to enjoy thanks to its trampolines, hammocks, slides, and a host of water sports. They also have an underwater “Mayan City” with underwater statues and “ruins” you can snorkel around. They have great accessibility for wheelchairs as well. They offer many packages that include transportation to and from the cruise port and include a beach day pass to all of the water rides as well as options that include a buffet and open bar! They also offer snorkel, jet boat and ATV adventures.
Stingray Beach is located between the Punta Langosta and International cruise piers. It is the closest beach to all of the cruise piers. At this beach you can swim with the numerous stingrays (the barb ends are trimmed back to be safe) and nurse sharks in their lagoon enclosure. Visitors are allowed to interact with and feed stingrays. If you’re not the wildlife-encounter type you can do a standup-paddleboard excursion along the coastline, a chocolate workshop and wine tasting, or lessons in how to craft a chocolate piñata. You can also relax at Ray’s Sand Bar where you can enjoy homemade guac, shrimp tacos, burritos and much more! The entry fees to the park are steep, so plan to stay all day to get your money’s worth.
Chankanaab National Park (Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park)
If you are thinking of a beach in a traditional sense, then Chankanaab is not for you. It has a sandy beach area with chairs and palapas but other than a small lagoon beach area it is very rocky at the water’s edge with stairs for water access. They do offer diving and snorkeling tours, dolphin encounters and extra activities including zip lining, a tequila factory, gardens, and nature trails. Admission is around $21 for adults and $14 for children, and there’s wheelchair accessibility and lifeguards on duty.
Playa Chen Rio
Definitely the furthest beach (~30 minute taxi ride) from the cruise port since it is on the island’s east coast. Chen Rio beach has pure white sand, clear water, and a nearby restaurant for a taste of local Mexican food as well as picturesque rocks and tropical foliage. While this side of the coast is generally rougher than the sheltered west coast, the rocks at Chen Rio create a lagoon and a sheltered swimming environment making it ideal for swimmers of all levels and snorkelers. Since this beach is further from the cruise port it is “less traveled” and has some of the island’s clearest, most high-visibility waters. If you go bring cash as they do not accept credit cards at the restaurant (bring Pesos to get a better deal!)