Guided tours in Cozumel, México | Check our top 10
Guided toursin Cozumel, across from Playa del Carmen, lies one of Mexico’s most beautiful islands.
Cozumel has long been one of the top cruise and guided tour destinations in the world, and it’s no surprise.
The lush jungle-covered island is surrounded by sugary sand,
encircled by the deliciously warm and glistening Caribbean Sea.
With so much natural beauty and so many cruise lines docking each year,
travelers can expect a plethora of tours and excursions from Cozumel.
The island of Cozumel has been important throughout Mexican history.
It began as a sacred place for the Mayans, particularly the women,
who traveled from the mainland to worship Ix Chel, the goddess of fertility.
As it grew and developed over the centuries, it became a hotspot for cruise ships,
honeymooners and hikers from Playa del Carmen, who were attracted by its energetic
capital of San Miguel, as well as its magnificent beaches.
Today it is truly an idyllic island paradise filled with all kinds of adventures and activities, both on land and at sea.
From snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the protected marine park to touring the coast
on a driverless buggy tour and even an underwater experience, these are the best tours and excursions in Cozumel.
1. Explore the ruins of Tulum
During your stay on the island of Cozumel, you will be steps away from the magnificent sights and ancient ruins of the mainland.
A visit to Tulum should be on your itinerary if you are staying in Cozumel.
Ancient Tulum is a city perched on a 40-foot cliff overlooking one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches.
It is the only fortified Mayan city on the coast and its main tower is an iconic image recognized around the world.
The town dates back to 1200, although many buildings were not constructed until the 15th century.
To explore Tulum, this Tulum Mayan Ruins Exploration Guided Tour meets the requirements to take you from Cozumel to Tulum and back. The 5.5-hour tour simplifies things, including the ferry transfer to Playa del Carmen.
From Playa del Carmen, your guide will take you to the archaeological site of Tulum,
where you will take a walking guided tour to learn about the history of this beautiful historical site.
Bring a bathing suit if you want to swim in the beautiful waters below the ruins.
After the tour, you will return to the ferry terminal for the return trip to Cozumel
2. Swimming with fishes
Sunny Cozumel is one of the best diving destinations in the world.
Believe it or not, it ranks with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Cozumel is located at the northern end of the Mesoamerican Reef,
which stretches along the Caribbean Sea, touching Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Cozumel is surrounded by the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park,
home to 26 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish.
But even if you’re not a certified diver, you’re just wearing a snorkel mask for an equally fascinating experience.
Divers looking to make the most of their Cozumel vacation will want to book this Cozumel snorkeling guided tour,
which visits the Palancar, Columbia and Cielo reefs surrounding the island.
The four-hour guided tour begins on a glass-bottom boat, which departs from the pier.
The first stop will be El Cielo, which is one of the most spectacular places not only in Cozumel, but in all of Mexico.
El Cielo translates as ‘paradise’, and we’ll soon see why: a glance at the shallow waters will reveal a
white sandy bottom dotted with hundreds of beautiful starfish.
From El Cielo, the tour heads to Colombia Reef, known for its visibility, sea turtles, barracudas,
eagle rays and many more types of colorful fish.
Finally, head to Palancar Reef to see nurse sharks, lobsters, moray eels and more.
After four hours of frolicking in the crystal clear waters, divers re-board the boat for refreshments
before returning to the Cozumel pier.
3. Take a submarine ride
Not surprisingly, most guided tours and excursions from Cozumel tend to involve the water.
When it looks so dazzling and is teeming with such exquisite wildlife, it’s hard not to be in, on (or under) the water at all times.
Speaking of submarines, one of the best tours and excursions from Cozumel is to board a submarine for
a unique perspective beneath the waves.
This Atlantis expedition submarine takes travelers below the water’s surface to depths of up to
100 feet to discover the marine life that lives in the protected Chankanaab Park.
The tour begins with a short cruise along the coast of Cozumel to the dive site,
where visitors will board the U.S. Coast Guard-certified submarine and dive beneath the waves.
The submarine cruises along the ocean floor, revealing parts of the reef normally only seen by divers.
Keep your eyes peeled for parrotfish, grunts and groupers.
4. Try a Buggy in Cozumel
Ready for a different kind of adventure? How about exploring Cozumel from the driver’s seat of an adventurous buggy,
designed to handle the island’s rugged and winding terrain?
With this half-day autonomous buggy guided tour of Cozumel, guests are in control and drive the four-passenger vehicle around the island.
The tour begins when you meet your guide near the cruise port to pick up the keys to your buggy.
In a caravan-style train, you will follow the group to the first stop at El Cedral, which is a Mayan ruins site on the island.
Here you will spend an hour exploring the archaeological site, learning about Mayan history and their presence in Cozumel.
(Fun fact: Cozumel means “island of swallows” in Mayan).
After the ruins, the buggy tour continues around the island to discover the different and magnificent viewpoints.
Take a break to enjoy a delicious fresh lunch before putting on your snorkeling gear and diving into the waters of the Cozumel Reef and SkyReef National Park.
This tour lasts 4.5 hours and includes snorkel gear, lunch and snacks.
5. Take a tour along Cozumel in a sunset cruise
Visiting a beach destination in Mexico and skipping a sunset cruise would be a big mistake.
What could be more magnificent than admiring a spectacular tropical sunset at sea? Fortunately,
Cozumel does not disappoint when it comes to sunset catamaran cruises.
While each sunset cruise may be slightly different, most depart from San Miguel de Cozumel, the island’s main town.
Some cruises are more intimate than others and each has a different ambiance.
All tend to have good music and traditional food.
If you’re looking for more than just snacks, consider booking a dedicated dinner cruise, which will serve full meals.
And, of course, all cruises come with beautiful sunsets that light up the sky with bright swaths of pink, orange and purple.
6. Enjoy the most beautiful beaches
The island is known as an important diving destination, but its beautiful beaches are also must-see places to visit in Cozumel.
You can enjoy an authentic white sand paradise. It is not easy to choose, but here are my favorites:
Passion Island: it is a small private island of just 2 km with mangroves, beautiful reefs and long white sandy beaches.
It can be reached by boat (15 min from Cozumel) and I recommend arriving early so you can enjoy all the facilities.
Chen rio: it is a well kept secret! It has lush vegetation, natural pools with crystal clear waters and a good seafood restaurant.
Playa Palancar: it is one of the most virgin beaches in Cozumel, although it has a beach club (free entrance and no minimum consumption). It is quite a touristy beach due to the beauty of its waters and its proximity to the Palancar and Colombia reefs.
Playa San Francisco: an ideal beach for families. There is a beach club where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards,
jet skis, snorkeling equipment or enjoy the floating games. Also, the piña coladas are very good.
Playa Encantada: a quiet beach with golden sand and calm waters, it is located near the south of the island,
near the Punta Celarain lighthouse and the archaeological site of El Caracol.
7. Take a gastronomic tour in the market
If you like to discover authentic places when you travel, I recommend you to take this guided tour.
The guide takes you to the market and several small places that are not touristy.
It is an opportunity to see the local life of Cozumel, to learn more about the history and culture of Mexico,
to talk to the locals and, of course, to try some of the island’s specialties.
For me this was one of the best activities in Cozumel!
One of the best parts of visiting Cozumel is experiencing the local cuisine.
Traditional Yucatan cuisine is only offered in this regional part of Mexico and, especially in Cozumel,
it is some of the freshest and most authentic you can find.
A gastronomic tour is a fantastic way to explore the many flavors that have come together in the Yucatán.
It can also function as a city tour, so it’s almost like doing two tours in one.
Gastronomic guided tour tend to take travelers off the beaten path to local restaurants and food stalls to sample
everything from empanadas to tacos and everything in between.
If you prefer hands-on, consider booking a cooking class in Cozumel.
These are usually small classes and focus on traditional Yucatecan dishes and ingredients.
Some even include market tours, where your guide will show you how to select the freshest ingredients
to prepare these wonderful traditional recipes.
8. Visit a pearl farm
This is an unusual activity in Cozumel that few tourists know about.
Cozumel Pearl Farm is a family project that was created to study and sustainably cultivate the Pinctada Radiata,
an oyster capable of producing pearls.
Over the years, they have started to offer exclusive tours for a maximum of 8 people.
First they take you by boat (45min) to the farm which is located on an islet of white sand between the Caribbean
and the lagoon of Bahia Ciega, north of Cozumel.
The visit starts with a presentation of the project, the cultivation process, the research, etc. Afterwards,
the guide will take you snorkeling in the crystal clear waters to see the oysters and the beautiful reef formations.
Then you can enjoy the pristine beach and hammocks, beer and burger included!
They even have a small jewelry shop if you want to buy pearls.
Visit the Cozumel Pearl Farm:
Guided tours from Monday to Saturday, departing at 10am and returning at 4pm.
Maximum 8 people per tour (per day), so it is very important to book in advance.
It is also possible to sleep on site (camping).
9. Discover Mexico Park
It is an interactive open-air museum with models of all the most important monuments in Mexico: Chichen Itza, the ruins of Tulum, the Cathedral of Mexico, etc.
It is a must-see in Cozumel, as it allows you to get to know the most important places in Mexico.
There is even a performance of the Voladores de Papantla, an impressive ritual dance that
has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Or you can choose the chocolate and tequila package, with buffet lunch.
In addition to admission to the park with guided tour and a welcome margarita, you will participate in a chocolate making workshop and an introduction to tequila where you will learn how to make a margarita.
It also includes a taco buffet (with vegan options) with handmade tortillas.
10. Drive for adventure
Did you know that more than half of Cozumel’s land area is protected? This means that more than half of the island is still covered by undeveloped jungle.
A single road bypasses the part of the island that allows development, taking visitors from the touristy west side of the island to the wilder, more rugged east coast. The best way to get around? Driving a jeep, of course.
This combined jeep and snorkel tour is a great way to make the most of what Cozumel has to offer, all in one.
Get behind the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler and cruise the roads of Cozumel to familiarize yourself with the terrain.
The guided tour takes you from Punta Sur Eco Beach Park to snorkel and enjoy the picturesque powder-soft beaches.
It also includes a visit to an archaeological site, crocodile exhibits, lunch and more.
Swim along the shores of Playa el Cielito, part of the El Cielo Biosphere.
Snorkeling equipment is also provided to experience the Chankanaab reef. Guests are picked up and dropped off near the cruise port.