Cozumel

Cozumel is a prime spot for divers and snorkelers, boasting miles of offshore coral reefs with abundant marine life. The reefs stretch the entire length of the west side of the island, and are part of a national marine park.

Palancar Reef, located at the southwest end of the island, is well known. This deep wall dive stretches three miles and features canyons, caves, gardens and overhangs. Spy sea turtles, angelfish, barracuda, toadfish and nurse sharks. Also, an impressive bronze figure of Christ is visible 56 feet down.

Perfect for novice divers, Paradise Reef is the only reef accessible from the beach. It’s a series of three separate reefs located just 200 yards offshore. Lobster, crab, and bountiful ocean dwellers call it home.

Chankanaab National Park is a favorite for visitors, providing some of the best snorkeling and diving on the island, thanks to the national marine refuge title it received in 1980. The Dolphin Discovery program here is a big hit, as are the Sea Lion Discovery and Manatee Encounter.

Relaxing beaches are plentiful. Paradise Beach has well-kept facilities and entrance is free (though you must spend $10 per person in food and drinks). Kayaks, waterslides, paddleboats, and other activities are available for an extra fee.

Playa Corona is pretty low key with an authentic vibe. Facilities are limited, but there is a small restaurant and bar here. Snorkeling off shore is said to be some of the best on the island.

You won’t go hungry in Cozumel. Savor steaks and fresh lobster at Pepe’s Grill Seafood and Steakhouse. They’ve been in business for over forty years, if that tells you anything. Only open on Friday and Saturday nights, Buccanos at Night specializes in local fish dishes. Generous portions and an amiable owner/chef are perks. For the freshest, tastiest burritos you’ve ever consumed, head to Burritos Gorditos for lunch.