Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Starfish, sting rays, turtles

3 Ratings
Duration 4 hours
Difficulty medium
Max. participants 12
Language English, Spanish


The Best Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Starfish, Caribbean reef fish, turtles and sting rays

The Cozumel coral reefs are among the best snorkeling places in the world. Discover the best reefs in Cozumel and book our Cozumel Snorkeling Tour to the famous Palancar Reef and Colombia Reef. The most amazing place in the Caribbean is El Cielo in Cozumel, meaning “heaven” in Spanish. It is a magnificent shallow sandbar and the color shines amazingly turquoise in the sun. El Cielo is also known for its many starfish in the white sand. A perfect place for snorkeling in Cozumel. El Cielo is only accessible by boat. Participate in our Cozumel snorkeling tour to make sure, you experience the best snorkel sites in Cozumel.

Snorkel beginners and advanced snorkelers can snorkel the reefs in Cozumel. Snorkeling is one of the best family activities in Cozumel, both children and adults enjoy the healthy corals and colorful fish, while the visibility of the water around Cozumel is fantastic. In 1996, the Mexican government founded the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, protecting the southern reefs and waters of Cozumel. Since then, fishing in the protected areas is prohibited and there is an abundance of fish, including many large ones. Tour operators need a marine park permit to legally provide snorkeling tours to the Cozumel Marine Park. We have all the permits up to date to ensure your perfect Cozumel snorkel excursion.

Even if you are not staying in Cozumel during your holidays, you can easily come and go snorkeling in Cozumel during a day trip. Discover the second largest coral reef in the world and the beautiful Cozumel El Cielo.


Our Cozumel Snorkeling Tour includes

  • Certified and experienced, bilingual snorkel guide
  • Transportation from ferry pier
  • 4 hours boat tour to the beautiful Cozumel marine park
  • Snorkel stop at stunning El Cielo in Cozumel to see the starfish and maybe stingrays
  • Snorkeling at two further awesome reefs in the Colombia and Palancar National park
  • Additional stop in front of the natural Palancar beach for a swim in crystal clear waters
  • Complete snorkel gear (mask, snorkel, fins, life vest)
  • New, unused snorkel
  • National park fees
  • Licensed captain
  • Water and soft drinks
  • A beer for our way back
  • Max. 12 participants

Excluded features

  • Gratitudes


Daily Cozumel Snorkeling Tours to the Cozumel National Park

Cozumel Snorkel Excursion: El Cielo – Colombia reef – Palancar reef – Palancar beach

Ever wanted to see starfish or snorkel with sting rays? Discover an amazing underwater world during our Cozumel boat snorkel tours to the famous El Cielo, Colombia and Palancar National Park in Cozumel. Our snorkel excursions start every morning at 10:00 am, 12:00 noon and in the afternoon at 2:00 pm and takes 4 hours.

We only take small groups to give a more personalized Cozumel snorkel experience. We can also accommodate larger private groups, please ask for individual offers if you are looking for a private snorkel tour in Cozumel. The small group size allows us to assist you as a beginner or if you do not feel confident in the water. We take our guests to the best snorkel reefs in Cozumel, the Colombia and Palancar National Park as well as El Cielo. Our first stop will be the starfish beach in El Cielo. From there we take you to the fascinating underwater scenery of the Colombia and Palancar reefs. At each Cozumel snorkel site, we spend about 30 minutes in the water. Also, enjoy a little beach break in front of a natural beach, where you can swim in the clear water. We include the following three snorkel sites in our Cozumel snorkel tour:

Snorkeling in Cozumel El Cielo

In Spanish, "El Cielo" means "Heaven". It is one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Cozumel, if not in the entire Caribbean. The white sand shines in the turquoise-blue water. Here we see various starfish. Sometimes stingrays are swimming or hiding in the sand.

El Cielo in Cozumel is a shallow sandbank. Here we try our snorkel equipment and get comfortable in the water. Then we swim to the El Cielo starfish in the deeper parts. The water has the colors of a swimming pool and the visibility is up to 30 meters / 90 feet.

Snorkeling in Cozumel Colombia Reef

The Colombia Reef in Cozumel is only 5 minutes away from El Cielo. The shallow part of the Colombia Reef is perfect for snorkeling. At a depth of about 6-7 meters / 20 feet, amazing coral formations are waiting for us and with some luck we will find some big parrot fish or sea turtles. The Colombia Reef runs parallel to the island of Cozumel for over a mile and offers enough space for a fantastic Cozumel snorkel experience.

We drift with the currents in one direction and at the end, the boat comes for us. Sometimes we see divers below us, the Colombia reef in Cozumel is also a popular dive site.

Snorkeling in Cozumel Palancar Reef

The large Cozumel Palancar Reef is on our way back and is one of the most famous snorkeling and diving places in Cozumel. There is a shallow part with beautiful corals. The reef slopes slightly deeper and finally ends in a steep wall. There are stunning coral formations and a lot of tropical fish. On the steep wall, the sun's rays cast magical light formations into the deep blue water. Again, we drift with the currents and are picked up by the boat.

Meeting place

Our Cozumel Snorkel Excursion has two different meeting points:

Ferry pier (ferry from Playa del Carmen)

We meet directly at the pier and go by taxi to the port of Caletta, where the boat is waiting for us

Port Caletta, from where the boat leaves

For guests who arrive by cruise ship at the ports International Pier or Puerta Maya, we meet in the port of Caletta, where the boat is waiting for us.

What should I bring?

  • Swimwear and things to change
  • Towel
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun hat
  • Sun protection: It is not allowed anymore to apply sunscreen in the National Park to protect corals and water quality. Please use sunscreen BEFORE the beginning the tour. If possible, only use biodegradable sunscreen in your vacation.
  • (Underwater) Camera, charged

More Information

A deposit of $ 10 per person is required to secure your reservation. It can be paid on our reservation page. Please pay the open payment in cash before the tour starts. Please note that payment by credit card is not possible. There are very few ATMs and some might not work.

Small group sizes are important to us. We therefore use smaller boats for our excursions for a maximum of 12 people. This boats do not have a bathroom. If you prefer Cozumel snorkeling in larger groups on larger boats or catamarans, we are happy to make you an alternative offer.

It may happen that our Cozumel snorkeling tour has to be canceled due to bad weather (strong wind and waves). Typical season for this is between November and March. This is an order of the harbor captains and we cannot influence this decision. All Cozumel tour operators are equally affected and the ports in Cozumel remain closed. Also, the safety of our guests is important for us. Our captain is responsible for the boat and the safety of its guests. Sometimes he may decide to cancel a Cozumel snorkel tour due to bad conditions, even if the Cozumel ports are open. If the tour cannot be postponed to another day, we will of course refund your deposit. For other costs incurred (for example, when traveling from Playa del Carmen) we cannot be held responsible. However, we strive for replacement services. In addition, we do everything we can to inform as early as possible about such cancellations.

Cancellation policy

With the reservation we charge a small deposit of $ 10 per person. We keep these as administration fees for "no-show" guests.

We refund the deposit, if

  • Cruise ships cancel their stay in Cozumel
  • You cancel the tour at least 7 days before
  • If you have to cancel the excursion for whatever reason, please inform us as soon as possible. We might be able to sell the excursion elsewhere and will refund the deposit.
  • Cozumel Snorkel Tour was cancelled by Leon Tours

With the reservation we need a contact number in order to inform you about possible changes.

Cozumel Snorkeling: Day trip from Playa del Carmen

A Cozumel snorkeling tour should always be booked directly in Cozumel. Tourists in Playa del Carmen are often charged up to 50% more for commission. The best idea is to book your Cozumel Snorkel Tour online in advance. Do not wait until you arrive in Cozumel because at the ferry port, many tour operators are waiting to sell their tours. Most usually have excessive prices or low quality. For example, Cozumel snorkel tours are offered in glass bottom boats at reasonable prices. However, these tours only go to closer, less spectacular reefs and not into the national park !!! The glass bottom offers few advantages because the reefs are too deep to really see much.

Snorkeling off the beach in Cozumel

In recent years, Cozumel has been developed a lot with new buildings, and some beaches are no longer open to the public. If you want to snorkel off the beach, you can go to one of the beach clubs on the west side of Cozumel. There are a few corals and fish for example in front of the Moneybar or the Skyreef. But the really beautiful reefs are in the very south in the national park and can only be reached by boat. For those who have only one day in Cozumel, we recommend a Cozumel snorkeling tour by boat. Another possibility to snorkel in Cozumel off the beach is the Punta Sur Eco Park. Our Cozumel Jeep Tour takes your there, or plan a stay at the Punta Sur Eco Park as part of a private island tour.

Cozumel reefs

Get further information regarding the Cozumel corals reefs in our article: Cozumel Coral reefs

Why Leon Tours?

  • Small or private groups 
    Our tours are either private or small group excursions.

  • Certified tour guides 
    Our tour guides have the required SECTUR (Secretary of tourism in Mexico) certifications

  • Quality Service and Support
    Enjoy our excellent customer service. We have local knowledge and love to give you recommendations

  • Locally owned family business
    If you book through Leon Tours,  you will support local businesses. We use local guides wherever possible

  • Book with confidence
    We spent many years in building up our online presence. Follow us on Trip Advisor or Facebook

  • Small refundable deposit
    We charge only a small deposit to secure your reservation

  • Mexico Experts
    We strive to give you the best service and bring you to the most beautiful places.


by Andreas M.

Such a great snorkeling tour. Especially the first stop at the Cielo was so beautiful, the turquoise blue water and in addition to the starfish we even saw small rays.

by Doro K.

We asked for the next available snorkeling trip on Cozumel and got a very quick answer from Birgit, that for the next day two places would be free. A deposit via PayPal was made and the next day we started!

Good description to the meeting point on Cozumel, great guide (Alex) who pointed out many interesting animals in the water and we saw even two turtles.

Great organization, great service!

by Tina R.

We booked a snorkeling trip on Cozumel via Leon Tours. The organization and directions to the meeting point were outstanding. On the day of the Cozumel snorkeling excursion we were a small group of 6 people (very personal). The four stops were amazingly beautiful! Absolutely recommendable! Price, performance top!