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The 20 Best Things to do in Cozumel for First Timers

Tulum Mayan Ruins

If you're one of the thousands who are in the midst of planning their first cruise vacation to Cozumel then you know how difficult it is to pick and choose from the various attractions the island has to offer. So, we've put together a list of fun, interactive, and educational activities suitable for first-time visitors. As a newbie to the island, know that Cozumel has a very low crime rate, most merchants and resorts take payment in credit cards and US dollars, you'll need a passport but not a visa, and the driest months are December through May.

Enjoy the Food!

20. Enjoy the Food!

While some people prefer to be frugal when it comes to spending money on food, there are others who are self-proclaimed foodies. If you consider yourself a foodie, then you are quite fortunate, as Cozumel has some of the best food in all of Mexico. Foodies new to Cozumel should consider taking the Cozumel Chef tour, where you'll visit the El Mercado market and enjoy authentic Mexican foods and beverages. Most of the cuisine you'll find on Cozumel is a unique blend of traditional Mayan food and Western European fare. if a Cozumel Chef Tour is not your thing, then know that there are plenty of good eateries to be had, such as the Costa Brava, Casa Mission, The Money Bar, and Pepe's Grill.

Sunset Cruises

19. Sunset Cruises

Whether the day-time temperatures were a tad too hot, or you accidentally slept in and missed most of your day, have no fear, as there are plenty of things to do in Cozumel when the sun goes down, and one of those activities involve experiencing one of the many sunset cruise tours available on the island. These cruises are filled with various activities, delicious foods and drink. No early curfews here, as these excursions continue well after sunset. These late night cruises are perfect for those of you who enjoy capping the night off on the dance floor, as well. When searching for the perfect sunset cruise, keep your personal preferences in mind, as there are a wide assortment of cruise themes available, such as pirate dinner cruises, catamaran sailing, and private luxury sunset cruises.

Mayan Village and Tequila Tour

17. Mayan Village and Tequila Tour

On the Island of Cozumel, you'll find the quaint and inviting city of Quintana Roo, and this is where you'll be able to get a first hand glimpse of what pre-hispanic, Mayan village life was like. This recreation of an authentic Mayan village serves as a cultural tour, and concerns itself with teaching visitors the more important aspects of ancient Mayan culture. Even the foods, such as chocolate and tortillas are made the way Mayans did. In fact, if you'd like, you can participate in grinding corn, and learning the nuances of ancient Mayan foods. Once you've completed this informative and interactive tour, you'll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy some artisanal tequila.

Enjoy a Glass Bottom Boat Ride

16. Take a Stroll across the Sea Floor, or Enjoy a Glass Bottom Boat Ride

Yes, you heard right, you can actually take a relaxing walk or two on the sea floor. This works by wearing a Sea Trek helmet. Sea Trek helmet dives are one of the most popular attractions in Cozumel for tourists 8 years old and up. Those who've experienced the Sea Trek walk have stated that it feels as if they're on a space walk as they stroll amid beautifully colored sea creatures and experience the extraordinary beauty of marine life. If taking a walk across the sea floor is a bit too adventuresome for you, then know that you'll find plenty of glass bottom boat tours, where you can sit comfortably and watch the marine life through the glass. These glass bottom boat tours are also a fabulous way for tourists to view the vibrant coral reefs which populate the region.

Museum of the Island of Cozumel

15. Museum of the Island of Cozumel

In downtown San Miguel de Cozumel, on the waterfront sits the Museum of the Island of Cozumel. This is the perfect destination for those of you who'd like to learn a bit more about the Island of Cozumel, it's history, people and ecosystem. Initially built to serve tourists as a luxury hotel, it's been since transformed into a small, yet fascinating museum. For instance, if you're visiting Cozumel to partake in one of the many diving tours, then this museum is a definite must see, as it introduces visitors to the plant and animal life of the island, and that includes marine life and coral reefs. Indeed, one might say that in order to enhance your visit to the island, it might be advisable to hit this museum first, so you have a better understanding of all things Cozumel.

Tour and Scavenger Hunt

14. Amazing Cozumel Race: Tour and Scavenger Hunt

If you're looking for a new way of experiencing the wondrous sites of Cozumel, then this might be something an activity you'd enjoy. When you first embark on your race and scavenger hunt,you'll be given mysteries to solve, and items to locate. This is an interactive, competitive activity, so they keep the groups small which increases tourist engagement. during the scavenger hunt. Remember, this is a race, so time plays an important factor. Those who win will enjoy a special post-event ceremony where the awards will be presented. This scavenger hunt is backed by quite a few positive reviews on various tour pages, with most of the participants raving about the fun times had by all. Overall, a great experience for both the young and young at heart!

Stand Up Paddle boarding

13. Stand Up Paddle boarding

SUP or Stand-Up Paddle boarding is without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable activities that tourists rave about. Paddle boarding along the coastline, enjoying the crystaline water of Cozumel, visitors will enjoy taking in the vibrant greens and blues of the scenery. Paddle boarding is also a great activity for after hours, when the sun goes down, and the earth cools. The island is packed with paddle boarding tours, such as Stingray Beach, Ha Haak Water Adventures, and De Lille Sports. For instance, Those who paddle board at the Stingray Beach Club will also be able to sit back and relax with some delicious food and drink, as they observe colorful macaws, curious iguanas, and perhaps have a jump or two on their popular water trampoline.

Cozumel from Above!

12. Take in the Wonders of Cozumel from Above!

Cozumel is just brimming with tours which feature parasailing, and it's definitely an activity that you should include, remembering to bring your waterproof GoPro aboard for the ride as well, of course. These tours generally go for around $60, and last about 15 minutes, depending on the tour establishment. If you're in the dark about parasailing, know that it involves being strapped to a parachute and hauled off at high speeds via a state-of-the art speedboat. Once up in the air, you'll get a bird's eye view of the fabulous island of Cozumel from 100 feet up with some tours going as high as 600 feet!. Most tours also offer tandem parasailing, where you double up as you sail the winds. If you're not into heights, but would still like to give it a try, look for an establishment where the operators are certified by the P. A. P. O., Professional Association of Parasailing Operators.

Mayan Bee Sanctuary

11. Mayan Bee Sanctuary

it's a well known fact, that the world would become one with death if there were no bees. The ancient Mayans were quick to notice the importance of the bee, and considered its honey to have healing properties. After one visit to the Mayan Bee Sanctuary you'll learn almost all there is to know about the ancient, Mayan ways of beekeeping. The bee selected by the Mayans was the stingless bee known as Melipona Beecheii, which in Mayan language, was known as the colel-kab, or royal lady. Though they are stingless, they still can pack a strong bite if they feel that either they or their hive is under threat. The bee sanctuary tours you'll find in Cozumel are both interactive and educational, and received rave reviews on various travel sites, such as TripAdvisor. These cultural tours are conducted by Aviiomar Adventours, which has a long history of presenting high quality tourist adventures.

Atlantis Submarine Expedition, Cozumel

10. Atlantis Submarine Expedition, Cozumel

Sometimes a glass bottom boat is just not enough. For those of you who feel you'd like a tour with a bit more kick, consider a submarine tour. You'll be submerged to a depth of around 100 feet, beneath the crystal clear, Caribbean waters, aboard an actual US Coast Guard Certified Sub, Atlantis Submarine Expedition in Cozumel offers a secure ride, handled by expert professionals trained to ensure your submarine tour is a pleasant one. Here, you'll be exploring the marine life of Chankanaab Park. Chankanaab is a protected park, and one of the most sought after destinations for seasoned divers. You'll also be up close with one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the Caribbean, where you'll be able to observe tropical fish so close, it will feel as if you can reach out the touch them.

Tulum Mayan Ruins

9. Tulum Mayan Ruins

If you're planning your trip, you'll undoubtedly see quite a few Cozumel tours featuring the Tulum Mayan Ruins. If so, know that it's a destination which should not be passed up. The coastal ruins of Tulum are situated on a pristine, white sandy beach, with the ruins sitting atop steep, sheer 40 foot cliffs. In it's heyday, this was a fortress which also doubled as a trading port for Coba, with its explicit function being to protect residents from any enemy terrors the Caribbean might bring forth, As such, Tulum must have been an impressive sight during its time. Tulum's structures of note are the Temple of the Descending God, Temple of the Frescoes and El Castillo.

Chichen Itza

8. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is not technically located in Cozumel, but is considered by many as part of Cozumel tour practices, since most tours get to Chichen Itza start from Cozumel. The ruins of this ancient Mayan city has been certified by UNESCO to be placed on its famous, World Heritage List, and is also known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza is one of the most important, Mayan ruins. So if you are looking to take a tour, only schedule one where the tour guide is certified to be an expert, as it's the only way you'll experience the wonders of this most celebrated site.

Discover Mexico Park

7. The Discover Mexico Park

The Discover Mexico Park is a must for anyone visiting Cozumel, with an interest in knowing all things Mexico. The surrounding environment is surrounded by untarnished, clear waters, rich with lush, green gardens, and teaming with friendly, kind and lovely people. Indeed, the people of Mexico have a strong, passionate love for their country, and desire to share their passions with the many tourists who arrive. As you can see, its the abundance of cultural knowledge and traditions present at this park, which makes the Discover Mexico Park such a treat for tourists from all over the world. The tours offered at the Discover Mexico park are designed to provide tourists with a comprehensive view of all that is Mexico. While you're there, please stop by the Museum of Mexican Traditional Arts, their botanical gardens and other interactive tours and activities, such as Tequila tasting, the Dioramic Garden, and Alebrije Atelier room!

Mayan Cacao Company

6. Mayan Cacao Company

The Mayans gifted the world with so much, and one of the best gifts of all, just might be chocolate. In fact, it can be said that Willy Wonka has got nothing on the Mayans when it comes to the creation of chocolate, as it was the Mayans themselves who created it, from scratch. Cacao is not only a tasty food, but packed with life enriching vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When you visit the Mayan Cacao Company, you'll find yourself immersed in the history of chocolate, and even have a chance to make your own chocolate bar if you participate in their workshop. Here's the best part: The recipe you enjoy is one that the Mayans themselves enjoyed. So plan on stopping by the Mayan Chocolate Factory, relax and enjoy a chocolate margarita or two!

Zip line over Cozumel

5. Zip line over Cozumel

Few things jumpstart the adrenaline rush like zip lining. Cozumel is a gorgeous island, and zip lining is most definitely one of the best ways to experience the expanse and beauty of this place. Fortunately for you, Cozumel is brimming with exceptional tourist establishments that offer exciting and mind-blowing zip line experiences. Among one of the best tours that offer zip line adventures, is Fly High Adventures, Zip Line Park. This eco-park features approximately 1400 feet of thrilling zip lines, six platforms, and has been fortunate enough to be awarded TripAdvisor's prestigious Certificate of Excellence. So go ahead, coast above the tree tops securely and in the company of experienced guides, and see just what it is that Cozumel has to offer.

Snorkeling the Coral Reefs

4. Snorkeling the Coral Reefs

As with scuba diving, Cozumel is also a much sought after destination for those who enjoy snorkeling, or simply would just like to try it. This is due to its high volume of richly colored and striking coral reefs. These reefs actually part of the second largest reef communities in the world: The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, and surround most of Cozumel. The best areas to experience snorkeling in Cozumel are the Chankanaab reef, Villa Blanca Wall, and the Paradise reef. If your main reason for visiting the island of Cozumel is to experience the coral reefs, then you may find this map, which details the exact locations of each reef, a handy guide.

Scuba Diving

3. Scuba Diving

Picture yourself scuba diving through the dazzling, warm waters surrounding Cozumel. Cozumel is known as one of the best destinations for both beginner and seasoned scuba divers, as most tours accommodate all skill levels, and with water temperatures averaging between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit you are assured of a relaxing, stress free dive. Some tours may require no certification, while others are more advanced. There are also tours which offer refresher courses if you've not donned the flippers for a few years. So, if diving is part of your upcoming Cozumel vacation plan, may we suggest that you try Scuba Life Cozumel, which is known as one of the absolute best scuba diving establishments for both new and experienced divers.

Mr. Sancho's Cozumel Aquatic Park

2. Mr. Sancho's Cozumel Aquatic Park

Mr. Sancho's Cozumel Aquatic Park is the perfect destination for families during their stay in Cozumel and considered by many to be a must see attraction. It's a terrific place for the family to just take a break, cool off, and unwind in between tours. They have a large, inflatable iceberg which is perfect for climbing, four trampolines, two large and two medium, and a pyramid slider. But wait, it doesn't stop there. The park also comes with a stadium ball, rock slider, moonwalk, and two water totters. Perfect for everyone in the family, and with prices around $12.00 USD per person, it's probably one of the most reasonably priced tours for the fun you get in return. If a water park is not your thing, Mr. Sanchos also offers guests access to ATV's, horseback riding, wave riders and parasailing.

Chankanaab Park

1. Chankanaab Park

For many tourists Chankanaab is the number one attraction in Cozumel, and for good reason. At Chankanaab Park, one can experience the beauty of its botanical gardens, examine carefully created archeological replicas, zip line over the park, enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, diving and so much more. The park takes great care to offer a secure and sanitary environment for tourists. The guides and other park employees are known for their exceptional manners and friendly assistance. The food is renowned for being both inexpensive and cooked to perfection. The park accommodates most visitors, and even offers diving lessons for those with no experience. One of the perks you'll find at the park is the great variety of wildlife, especially the traditional crowd favorite, iguanas.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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