Paddle it Up Cozumel Style
Dip a paddle into waters so clear that corals and tropical fish are visible from the surface. Follow wading sea birds across sand flats and grass beds. Glide through quiet mangrove channels that lead to a deserted white-sand beach. Go alone or join a flotilla. There's no rush, and plenty of time to stop for a swim or a snorkel. No experience is needed to take command of a stable sit-atop kayak in calm near-shore waters. Skilled paddlers can venture out to traverse the coast, or negotiate backcountry channels to reach unspoiled lagoons and wild shores that few tourists ever see.
- Best for: Everyone, surrounded by water great for beach lovers, watersports enthusiasts and those looking to relax
- Best season to visit: Year round
- Weather: Winter temperatures stay in the 70s, with pleasantly low humidity. Summertime highs approach 90 but cool at night. The rainy season, June to October, bring afternoon thunderstorms and increased humidity, but underwater visibility isn't compromised
Paddle Sports in Cozumel
There are a number of beaches and coves along Cozumel's sheltered western shore suitable for paddling excursions, and kayaks are available at beach clubs and resorts. The island's prime paddling destination lies to the north, where a network of bays and mangrove lagoons provide miles of pristine waterways for exploration.
Paddle Sports in Cozumel Tips
While it's best to reserve in advance for half-day and full day trips to northern lagoons and Isla de Pasion, beachfront resorts usually have kayaks available for guests to make impromptu coastal paddles. Start in the late afternoon and you can catch a sunset on the water.
Best Places for Paddle Sports in Cozumel
A paddle around the Isla de Pasion rewards with clear water and unspoiled beaches. On Cozumel's northwest tip, the protected waters of Ciega Lagoon and Laguna Xlapak are home to a maze of mangroves, inlets and coves. Tropical fish and corals are visible from the surface at Chakanaab National Park.
What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Cozumel
Choose slip-on water shoes or sports sandals with heel straps. A broad-brimmed hat will keep ears and neck protected from sunburn. Polarized sunglasses cut down glare and enhance views of fish and corals below the surface. Secure personal items in a buoyant dry bag or waterproof case that is secured to the kayak.
The Explorean Cozumel
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The Explorean Cozumel
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements
A valid, undamaged passport is required. No visa is required for stays less than 180 days. One page is required in your passport for entry stamp. Other required items include a return ticket and confirmation of hotel reservation. All persons leaving Cozumel pay a departure tax of approximately $34 USD which should be included in your international ticket. Check the entry/exit requirements here.
Vaccinations are not required for entering Mexico if you’re coming from the United States. Check with the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel www.cdc.gov.
Culture and Customs
Though no longer the sleepy fishing village that divers first discovered in the 1960s, the island of Cozumel retains much of its small-town charm. Cruise ships come and go, but move beyond the waterfront souvenir shops and tourist-centric watering holes and you will discover a culture that combines memories of the Maya with traditions of old Mexico. Many local shops close for an afternoon siesta and as the big ships sail off into the night, residents come out for paseos around the town square. Also in the mix is a vibrant and sophisticated art and music scene. Cozumel has been called Mexico's equivalent of Key West, attracting creative types from across the country and beyond. This influx of talent also extends to the kitchen, adding creative cuisines to a dining scene that also includes a number of family-operated favorites that have been pleasing hungry divers for decades. Surface intervals are typically spent relaxing at beach clubs, with perhaps one day set aside for an island tour. A handful of bars and clubs stay open late, while ferries connect to the lively scene at Playa del Carmen, which lies just across the channel.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity is 110 volts, 60 cycles, same as in the U.S., so converters are not necessary.
Cozumel has a modern, fully digital and reliable telecommunication system. The long distance dialing code is 52, while the area code for Cozumel is 987. Check with your cell provider for International plans and costs. The Internet is available at many hotels, restaurants, bars and stores.
Most restaurants and bars in tourist locations use purified water. Outside of resorts, be cautious with ice in drinks or vegetables which may have been washed in tap water. Bottled water is available for purchase and is recommended for drinking and brushing your teeth.
Language & Currency
Spanish is the official language but English is widely spoken.
The Mexican peso is the official currency of Cozumel (MXN). Due to new regulations, merchants and businesses can no longer change U.S. Dollars for Pesos. That must be done at a currency exchange office. U.S. credit cards are widely accepted. Check the current exchange rate here.
Mexico spans four different time zones. February 1, 2015, the state of Quintana Roo which includes Cozumel, changed to Eastern Standard Time Zone (Zona Sureste). They do not observe daylight savings time, which puts them 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
Cozumel is Mexico's largest island, sitting just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is approximately 250 square miles. Cozumel is 43 miles south of Cancún and 12 miles southeast of Playa del Carmen. Ferries take passengers between Playa del Carmen on the mainland side to Cozumel island in about 1/2 an hour. Cozumel measures 28 miles long & 10 miles wide.
The population of Cozumel is estimated at 100,000.