||Self Guided "On Your Own" Island Tour
|Step 1: Book a rental car now ...
Since Cozumel has few paved roads around the island, you can rent a car and strike out on your own island tour with very little chance of getting lost. Circling the island via paved road can take as little as 2 hours or as many as you want depending on how many stops you decide to make at the beaches and points of interest.
Step 2: Order an Island Map now ...
Step 3: Print the Beach Chart and review it along with the map to familiarize yourself with the area.
Step 4: Pick points of interest to you
from the beach chart or these other points of interest in Cozumel. This
trek outlined assumes you head SOUTH first from downtown.
Step 5: Have fun & enjoy your day in Cozumel!!
Cozumel Island Museum
- The history of Cozumel is represented by its museum, which is located in the building that was originally the first luxury hotel opened on the island in 1936. Four large exhibition rooms take residents and visitors into daily life on the island and in the waters around it, from the past to the present. The Museum is located on the corner of Melgar & 8 Norte
- Located just past Hotel Cozumel at Playa Calatita, this is the island's newest lighthouse completed in 2000. There are 2 other lighthouses as well around the island: one inside Punta Sur Ecological Park and one on the far north end of the island called Punta Molas.
Be sure to take the old highway turn-off where a sign says CALETA because this road stays close to the sea for beautiful views and beach access.
|Heading Southward out of San Miguel Downtown|
Palmar Estate Beach Club and Patas & Alas Butterfly Sanctuary
For snorkeling and to see Cozumel's butterflies!
- Without question the first great place to get your snorkel fins wet!! Noted by SKIN DIVER Magazine in Summer 2002 as the "#1 Snorkel Spot" in the Caribbean this lovely small beach area offers pristine water and thousands of colorful reef fish to enjoy!
There is a snack / beverage bar at PalMar as well as a big freshwater pool to enjoy between snorkel times. And then to really cool off, step back into the cool, garden shade of Cozumel's only butterfly sanctuary and try to get some pictures of these colorful flying jewels!
Click to Read More about PalMar !
Click to Read More about Patas & Alas (Wings & Feet) Butterfly Sanctuary!
Visit Various Beaches at Leisure for activities outlines on the Beach Chart!
- The principle attraction of the park is Chankanaab Lagoon, which
means "small sea" in Mayan. A result of rain and seawater eroding
the porous limestone, the lagoon is considered to be a unique ecosystem
on a global scale. The influence of the nearby ocean causes the formation
of petrified coral in the lagoon and a large community of fish moves
between the ocean and the lagoon through two underground caves.
- Explore the cultural past of Mexico in the archeological park
where 60 exact replicas of works of art in stone take you on an extraordinary
magical tour of Mesoamerica. A lush and aromatic botanical garden
surrounds the lagoon.
- The beach at Chankanaab is the best place to try water sports
such as snorkeling and diving. On-site shops provide everything you
need to explore the marvelous coral reefs and watch the multicolored
fish. The beach offers fun for everyone as well as lounge chairs,
palapas, restaurants, stores and bathrooms.
- Dolphin Encounter, Swim, Snorkel and Scuba are also featured inside
the park along with Sea Lion shows. Read more/book
Cedral ~ Off tour path on interior island road across from Mr.
- This small village in the southern interior of the island is the
agricultural and farming center of Cozumel. There is also a small
Mayan Ruin in the area. Another easy way to see this area is on the
Island scenery changes dramatically as you reach the "windward" side
of Cozumel. The east side of the island from south to north is desolate,
pristine beach where turtles nest each year due to the lack of development
|Southern Tip of the Island|
Punta Sur Ecological Park
- Make like a "local" ~ hang in a hammock and enjoy the tradewinds,
an order of ceviche mixtos and a cerveza!
the beach chart and/or drive and stop along the way at your leisure for
photos of beautiful beaches that inspire you!
ecological park called Punta Sur is located in the southernmost point
of the island. Here nature shows its unity and diversity in the interaction
of various elements like Columbia Lagoon, mangrove swamps, birds,
reptiles, fish and vegetation.
- People have inhabited this area since Prehispanic times. A Mayan
ruin in the shape of a shell was probably used as a lighthouse. This
unique structure has shells imbedded in its walls that whistle in
different tones depending on the direction of the wind.
- The Punta Sur Ecological Park is dedicated to the preservation
of local flora and fauna. Tour the park's museum, whose theme is
the history of navigation around the island. There are various beaches
for swimming and organized excursions into the jungle.
- Past the museum, closer to the beach, are the remnants of a 19th
century masonry structure with a circular staircase leading to a
rectangular tower which would have been equipped with a lantern to
warn ships of the hazards of the coral infested coast. It would also
have served to indicate the entrance to the safe harbor of Columbia
Lagoon and the piers of the hacienda of the same name, which exported
the agriculture produce of the island.
- On the way back to Celarain Point along the access road bordered
by white sand dunes, the
remains of the small temple "El Caracol" continue to resist time
A Prehispanic Mayan structure probably built in the 12th or 13th
century, this temple appears, from its technologically advanced architecture,
to have been used for navigational as well as religious purposes.
This building would have played an important navigational role during
the height of Mayan maritime commerce, which, at the time, extended
to other parts of Mexico and Central America.
This fortunate combination of architectural elements led the Cozumel
Foundation of Parks and Museums to focus the thematic content of
the marine museum on bringing the memories and cultural heritage
of the island to life. The museum is housed in what was originally
the lighthouse keeper's residence.
- Thus, the Celarain Lighthouse Museum unites several functions:
preservation and conservation of the lighthouse keeper's home and
nearby ruins, information and education; while maintaining the monument
in its original state. The museum incorporates bilingual material
and displays directed at various age groups and comprehension levels
in order to provide an interesting and enriching experience for each
Coconuts and a big Photo Op
- Don't miss this highest vantage point on the island for a great
photo of Cozumel's undeveloped, pristine, beaches that stretch as
far as the eye can see.
- The official turning point of the highway as you head back into
downtown San Miguel.
- Check your rental car contract before taking this "jeep only" sand/dirt
road because most agencies prohibit rental cars from leaving paved
surfaces. This road behind Mescalito's Bar leads to the northern
lighthouse and passes several great beaches and a Mayan Ruin (Castillo
Real) along the way. AGAIN, most all rental agencies prohibit passage
on this road with their vehicles. Typically the best way to see this
region of the island without getting in trouble with rental car agency
contracts is to do the incredible Jungle
Jeep Tour!! If you happen to get stuck in the sand on this
tour at least you have help getting out!!
Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio
|Heading West Toward Downtown San Miguel|
- Pronounced san-her-BA-see-o, this is a major excavation site of
a Mayan Ruin covering about 10 acres. Experience first hand the mysteries
of Mayan culture by visiting San Gervasio, the largest archeological
site on the island. A
strategic location from both a commercial and political point of
view, San Gervasio was also a sacred place for the Maya.
Inhabited from 200AD to the Spanish conquest, San Gervasio was the
sanctuary of the Goddess X'chel as well as an important commercial,
political and cultural center.
Engravings at the site relate to events all over the Mayan world.
The ruins are located off the transversal Highway between Mezcalitos
& San Miguel.
The Foundationís new "Passport card"available at Chankanaab, Punta Sur or the museum, allows you to visit all four locations listed above for the low price of just US $20.00.
Sounds fun but .... don't want to drive yourself around?
Prefer to just enjoy the view?
Relax and let some else drive with our guided island tours (LISTED BELOW)!
~ ~ After all, you ARE on vacation!
For those that need a little guidance ... on their vacation!
Hello Cozumel Insider - Just wanted to thank you very much for organizing the tour to Coba and Tulum and the snorkel at Akumel for our family on December 27th. We had a wonderful day and would like our appreciation for our driver and guide to be noted. We understood our tour was for 8 hours and after spending too much time at the sites of the ruins (they are amazing and, with our daughter who is in her 3rd year of archaeology, spent longer than most visiting Coba) our day was running a bit short of time. We thought we would have to forgo our planned snorkel at Akumel, but both our driver and tour guide agreed to put in an hour and a half extra to allow us to swim.
We truly appreciated this - Mexico is a beautiful country with many diverse treasures and to have people so eager for us to see and enjoy them made them all that more special!!
Thank you!! Julie Bose Family ~ Salmon Arm, BC Canada
We just returned from our 7th visit to Cozumel and we visited the butterfly sancturary with our six year old and we absolutely loved it! We know the island very well and this was our first vist to the beach club and now we have a new favorite to add to our island list. We don't do alot of touristy things when we are on the island, but this place is worth it. Beautiful, educational and relaxing! What more could you ask for! We will return to Cozumel in November and we will definitely head for the butterfly sanctuary and PalMar beach club! Michele Borzeka ~ Chicago, Illinois
We were on the NCL Epic and were in Cozumel on Thursday April the 7th. We did the Segway/Snorkel. The segway was AWESOME!!! We all highly recommend this....it was so much fun, it was by far the best excursion we did on our whole cruise.. Fred was our instructor...he was great!!! We will be back to Cozumel, and we will do this again!!! S. Taylor ~ Elkton, VA
I considered your advice to drop by, and remembered reading that most public beaches get really crowded if there are a lot of cruise ships in port. There were 7 ships in Cozumel on Saturday, and I was prepared, got off the ship first thing at 9 with husband and snorkel gear in tow, and inquired about taxi rates. I was a little apprehensive when the taxi organizer didn't know where Palmar was, but I had your directions and coupon printed out so I told them it was between the two hotels and mentioned the beach name and all was well. I then realized it was a blessing for them not to know where I was going - that had to mean it wouldn't be too popular/crowded!
I believe we met Juan? He was very nice and made us feel very comfortable, showed us to a locker and we were off across the street. Hard to get in the water with all the rocks, but it was beautiful & shallow snorkeling, lots of neat corral - and 2 2 ft. barracudas guarded the shore.
When we came back we ordered guacamole and chips as well as a mango and pina colada daiquiri. It was obvious it was all just prepared and really fresh - best guacamole I've ever had, the chips were fresh, and the shakes were delicious. In summary, your location was beautiful, thank you for opening your home as a beach club so we could get away from the crowds, we felt so special! Juan was as good a host as he was a chef! We'll definitely be recommending Palmar! G. Nielsen ~ Cruise Passenger
Sherri, We had the most wonderful time with you in May 2013. You and your staff made our weekend there in Cozemel with your great hospitality. The grounds are beautiful, food was great and the snorkeling ~ well my group just could not get enough and were amazed by the tropical sealife there off your beach. We look so much forward to coming back and seeing you again very soon. Tell the staff thanks again and say hello to the family for us as well. Take care:0) ....Happy Cruise Passenger J. Wellborn ~ Alabama