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Snorkeling in Cozumel

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From reading tidbits on here, it sounds like booking a tour through the cruise line for snorkeling in Cozumel is not really necessary. My wife and I will be cruising in December with our 3 adult sons. We've done snorkeling in Cozumel once but it was so long ago I don't remember much. 

 

We're thinking of just taking a taxi from the port to Chankanaab and doing our own thing. Is that what you would recommend? What is the distance from the port? Also, will a taxi accommodate the 5 of us? Is there a better option (either for snorkeling or transportation) that we should consider? I assume we can rent equipment at the beach? 

Any other tips or tricks that we should consider? Are any of the RCCL snorkeling options worth considering instead? 

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Chankanaab offers good snorkeling, a nice beach, dolphins and other sea life, etc. but the admission fee is about $20 each.  Money Bar offers good snorkeling from the shore, no admission fee, good facilities, etc. but no beach, pool, etc.  Check reviews here and on Trip Advisor before you decide.

 

there are cabs that can accommodate 5, and the fares to most popular tourist spots will be posted on a board near the taxi line for your pier.

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As others have mentioned, Chankanaab and Money Bar are the "from shore" type of snorkeling places. But, if you want to get out to the reef, you'll need to go by boat. We've been to just about every beach club there and recently took a boat excursion (not with the cruise line) to Palancar and Columbia Reef and had an amazing time! The reef was awesome and then they take you to the starfish area where you will see hundreds along with the El Cielo sandbar where they let you get out and spend some time in the shallow waters, they make homemade salsa, gauc and serve drinks and it is so good.

 

You can get out my review and pictures HERE if you are interested.

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On 9/20/2019 at 2:39 PM, mitsugirly said:

As others have mentioned, Chankanaab and Money Bar are the "from shore" type of snorkeling places. But, if you want to get out to the reef, you'll need to go by boat. We've been to just about every beach club there and recently took a boat excursion (not with the cruise line) to Palancar and Columbia Reef and had an amazing time! The reef was awesome and then they take you to the starfish area where you will see hundreds along with the El Cielo sandbar where they let you get out and spend some time in the shallow waters, they make homemade salsa, gauc and serve drinks and it is so good.

 

You can get out my review and pictures HERE if you are interested.

 

“We've been to just about every beach club there”

 

Mitsugirly, I realize your reviews are helpful and popular but I’m sorry this is a gross exaggeration.

 

You may have been to most of the beach clubs that appeal to you personally but there are many, many more clubs/bars/resorts on Cozumel which appeal to a wider population, including possibly the OP. We haven’t been to all the places in your reviews but we have been to several places that are not in your reviews and I can think of at least another 6-10 that neither of us have been to not even including hotels.

 

To the OP: If you haven’t been to Cozumel very often John makes good suggestions and Mitsugirly does have good photo reviews of both these locations in her link.

 

Here is an article which gives some insight into shore snorkeling. 

https://cozumelmycozumel.com/cozumel-snorkeling-from-shore/

 

Taxis/ driver for the day, or self-drive are your only options for transport. There will be a board at the port dispatch with prices for 5 people to wherever you choose to go.

Edited by c-leg5

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22 hours ago, c-leg5 said:

 

“We've been to just about every beach club there”

 

Mitsugirly, I realize your reviews are helpful and popular but I’m sorry this is a gross exaggeration.

 

You may have been to most of the beach clubs that appeal to you personally but there are many, many more clubs/bars/resorts on Cozumel which appeal to a wider population, including possibly the OP. We haven’t been to all the places in your reviews but we have been to several places that are not in your reviews and I can think of at least another 6-10 that neither of us have been to not even including hotels.

 

To the OP: If you haven’t been to Cozumel very often John makes good suggestions and Mitsugirly does have good photo reviews of both these locations in her link.

 

Here is an article which gives some insight into shore snorkeling. 

https://cozumelmycozumel.com/cozumel-snorkeling-from-shore/

 

Taxis/ driver for the day, or self-drive are your only options for transport. There will be a board at the port dispatch with prices for 5 people to wherever you choose to go.

 

 

So true leg. I'm sure there's hundreds of beaches that we haven't been to in Cozumel. So, let me rephrase what I was trying to say.

 

When most people come on to cc and ask for places to go (whether it be for snorkeling or just a beach with certain amenities) a majority of people will direct them to all of the places up and down that coastline and a majority of the cruisers will go to those popular places (which most are covered in my reviews). Just as the OP inquired about snorkeling and John replied with 2 popular snorkeling places, which is usually the response you'll get on here when asking for snorkeling. Unless someone comes on asking for something out of the ordinary of where most cruisers go, they are going to be directed to one of these places. :) I was just letting them know they can find that information on my reviews/pictures and also giving another option, such as the snorkeling tour to the reef. ;)

 

 

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On 9/20/2019 at 3:39 PM, mitsugirly said:

As others have mentioned, Chankanaab and Money Bar are the "from shore" type of snorkeling places. But, if you want to get out to the reef, you'll need to go by boat. We've been to just about every beach club there and recently took a boat excursion (not with the cruise line) to Palancar and Columbia Reef and had an amazing time! The reef was awesome and then they take you to the starfish area where you will see hundreds along with the El Cielo sandbar where they let you get out and spend some time in the shallow waters, they make homemade salsa, gauc and serve drinks and it is so good.

 

You can get out my review and pictures HERE if you are interested.

 That sounds so much fun! Could you share the excursion info with us?

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2 hours ago, michelle.zhang.90 said:

 That sounds so much fun! Could you share the excursion info with us?

 

The info is in the link.

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On 9/23/2019 at 10:53 AM, mitsugirly said:

 

 

So true leg. I'm sure there's hundreds of beaches that we haven't been to in Cozumel. So, let me rephrase what I was trying to say.

 

When most people come on to cc and ask for places to go (whether it be for snorkeling or just a beach with certain amenities) a majority of people will direct them to all of the places up and down that coastline and a majority of the cruisers will go to those popular places (which most are covered in my reviews). Just as the OP inquired about snorkeling and John replied with 2 popular snorkeling places, which is usually the response you'll get on here when asking for snorkeling. Unless someone comes on asking for something out of the ordinary of where most cruisers go, they are going to be directed to one of these places. 🙂 I was just letting them know they can find that information on my reviews/pictures and also giving another option, such as the snorkeling tour to the reef. 😉

 

 

 

Thanks for clarifying!

 

I understood what you were meaning but you have to realize you have a significant number of followers that latch onto your every word. Your reviews are very popular and rightly so. I admire the time and energy you put into them. 

 

However there is so much more to Cozumel than Rafael Melgar and the half dozen commercialized beach clubs south of the ports recommended by word of mouth and here on CC, over and over. 

 

Snorkeling on Cozumel is not the best as has been stated on here many times. It is more a diving location - but depending on your ability and expectations it is available in certain locations. The near reefs were significantly damaged in the hurricane of 2005 and coupled with environmental issues. There are projects underway to try and re-establish these reefs. Sounds like your last experience was your best there to date.

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, c-leg5 said:

 

Thanks for clarifying!

 

I understood what you were meaning but you have to realize you have a significant number of followers that latch onto your every word. Your reviews are very popular and rightly so. I admire the time and energy you put into them. 

 

However there is so much more to Cozumel than Rafael Melgar and the half dozen commercialized beach clubs south of the ports recommended by word of mouth and here on CC, over and over. 

 

Snorkeling on Cozumel is not the best as has been stated on here many times. It is more a diving location - but depending on your ability and expectations it is available in certain locations. The near reefs were significantly damaged in the hurricane of 2005 and coupled with environmental issues. There are projects underway to try and re-establish these reefs. Sounds like your last experience was your best there to date.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for calling me out so that I could clarify. I'm just so use to everyone asking about the same old places everyone goes to but do realize there's a lot more (and I try to experience something different every time).

 

I appreciate your thoughts leg, you know that. You have been most helpful to both myself and these boards. 🙂

 

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Just noticed in another thread that Planacar and associated reef area will be closed for the near future—at least till the end of the year. Curtails a lot of plans and I imagine other areas will become much more crowded.

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20 hours ago, 2wheelin said:

Just noticed in another thread that Planacar and associated reef area will be closed for the near future—at least till the end of the year. Curtails a lot of plans and I imagine other areas will become much more crowded.

 

That's terrible. I wonder why?

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1 hour ago, mitsugirly said:

 

That's terrible. I wonder why?

 

 

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On 10/4/2019 at 2:01 PM, mitsugirly said:

 

That's terrible. I wonder why?

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease - it affects brain corals. SCTLD has hit south Florida pretty hard recently and apparently showed up off Coz back in 2018.

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On 10/4/2019 at 4:00 PM, c-leg5 said:

 

 

 

Thanks for the link leg

 

On 10/5/2019 at 3:18 PM, smokinmike said:

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease - it affects brain corals. SCTLD has hit south Florida pretty hard recently and apparently showed up off Coz back in 2018.

 

I have come across this many times at various spots in the Caribbean where the coral is turning white and dying. :(

 

 

It sounds like it's just happening...and not any fault of the snorkelers or divers? I can't imagine it being from them since divers know better than to disturb the coral or touch it and the snorkelers can't even reach it in that area.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

 

Thanks for the link leg

 

 

I have come across this many times at various spots in the Caribbean where the coral is turning white and dying. 😞

 

 

It sounds like it's just happening...and not any fault of the snorkelers or divers? I can't imagine it being from them since divers know better than to disturb the coral or touch it and the snorkelers can't even reach it in that area.

 

Well, as a diver, I can tell you that divers do occasionally fin kick the coral or bump into coral, by accident, but it isn't what the problem is with the white disease.  This is bacterial, and there isn't a cure for it.  Coral death is permanent.  The white is the coral skeleton left after the living coral has died.  New coral may grow over the spot eventually, but this is a serious concern for the reef system.  It seems to only attack the hard corals, brain coral is the main one noted right now.  

 

As far as snorkelers causing it...not so much in Cozumel, reefs are too deep.  But go to other destinations and people stand on the coral.  I have witnessed it many times.  Coral only grows 1/4-1/2" per year, so standing on the coral will kill probably 5-10 years growth for every step.  It is a serious issue in some destinations.  

 

FYI - a little history:  Most people don't know how devastated the reef system was in Cozumel after hurricane Wilma.  That storm sat over the island for 3 days churning the water, covering many reefs with sand, killing coral and ripping all the soft coral and sponges off and washing out to sea.  It has only been 10 yrs but everyone on the island is still pretty sensitive about protecting their reefs.  It has been a difficult recovery, the first couple of years divers weren't coming to the island because they knew how bad the reefs looked and fishlife was gone.  It took maybe 4-5 years to get some life growing on those barren coral rocks, but once it started coming back the divers started coming back, fishlife returned also.  All the beautiful hard and soft coral started growing again.  It is by no means what it was pre-Wilma.  Some reefs were completely lost under sand, others had new areas and swimthroughs uncovered. 

Scientists say it may be 50 yrs before it will get back to pre-Wilma glory.... and now we have this new white blight spreading.  For Cozumel diving, this is terrifying.  So you can understand why this sudden panic and reefs being closed to study...

 

I have been diving at Cozumel for 19 years, it hold a special place in my heart as I got certified there.  I want the reefs to last and return to their glory...  so I am going to be patient with this closure and see what happens.

 

robin

 

 

Edited by ABQrobin

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