Attractions Nearby Cozumel, Day Trips and Excursions
(Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
The island of Cozumel is close to many equally appealing resorts and attractions, and is a good place to base yourself should you wish to explore this part of Mexico's coastline more fully. Many appealing attractions are just a short boat trip away from Cozumel and includes the coastal city of Cancun
, which lies to the north and just above Puerto Morelos.
Also close to Cozumel, the Playa del Carmen has expanded at an astonishing rate in recent years, being transformed from a relatively small fishing village into a thriving tourist resort. Also within reach of Cozumel is one of Mexico's most visited and iconic attractions, the historic Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Itzá / El Castillo Pyramid
One of Mexico's most famous and outstanding historic attractions, the Chichén Itzá site dates back to Mayan times and these structures are almost 1,000 years old. Particularly iconic is the El Castillo (Pyramid of Kukulcán), where light and sound shows regularly take place each evening. Other attractions include the Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors), the Templo de los Jaguares y Escudos (Temple of the Jaguars and Shields), the Gran Juego de Pelota (Great Ball Court), and the Platforma de los Cráneos (Platform of the Skulls), which features many detailed carved skulls and eagles. The Chichén Itzá is around 245 km / 152 miles from Cozumel and can be reached in less than six hours.
Open hours: daily, April to September - 08:00 to 18:00; October to March - 08:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, free on Sundays
Playa del Carmen
With a population of around 50,000 people, the Playa del Carmen is within easy reach of the island of Cozumel and to the north-west. The Playa del Carmen is one of the best spots around for snorkelling and scuba diving, both off the beach and around the nearby reefs. As evening approaches, much of the action moves away from the beaches and towards the attractions along Quinta Avenue, a pedestrianised stretch full of vibrant restaurants and bars.
This highly developed tourist resort was first established in the 1970s and Cancun
gained popularity ever since, attracting thousands of tourists each year from all over the world. With many tall beachfront hotels offering great views within the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone), Cancun's main attractions are based around its shoreline and countless beaches, including a range of water sports, together with regular deep-sea fishing trips.
Isla de Pasion (Passion Island)
This small island lies close to the Punta Norte and has become an important wildlife reserve, bursting with local flora and fauna.
The Isla de Pasion is a particularly peaceful spot and a great place for fishing, although to get here, you will need to arrange your own transport. This is fairly straightforward and well worth the effort.
Tulum is the famous site where you will find the fascinating remains of a Mayan civilisation. This ancient walled city lies on the peninsula's eastern coast and is full of well-preserved attractions, making it extremely popular with tourists from Cozumel, which is less than two hours away and to the south-west. Many of the buildings within the Tulum ruins feature the remains of frescoes and murals. The main temple is particularly impressive and features the blue sea as a backdrop.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, free on Sundays
Xcaret National Park
Xcaret is a vast archaeological site, park and resort, being sited on the southern side of the Playa Del Carmen and covering in excess of 200 acres / 80 hectares. A number of interesting Mayan remains await within Xcaret National Park and for many tourists from Cozumel, these are the main attractions. For others, the park's dolphins, sea turtles, beachfront, clear waters, dive sites, snorkelling and scenic ferry trips are the highlights. The Xcaret National Park was opened to members of the public in the 1980s, with the neighbouring Occidental Grand Xcaret opening shortly afterwards.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 21:30
Directly south of the Playa del Carmen you will discover Xel-Ha, an important archaeological site once inhabited by the Mayans. The surrounding park was established in 1980 and features a large lagoon, where many visitors are able to enjoy superb snorkelling conditions and colourful underwater creatures. Other attractions include Xel-Ha's Maya ruins, which stand next to the highway, and a series of small caves and grotto areas.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount for children under 12 years old, children five years old and under are free