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Cozumel Beaches Overview

Whether you want to frolic in the waves, work on your tan or snorkel Cozumel sports many beautiful beaches to chose from. In fact, there's so much interesting variety here that even if you decide to stay oceanfront, you owe it to yourself to get out and explore the other lovely beach environments the island has to offer.

Cozumel West Side Beach

The island has three basic types of beaches. There are smooth white sand beach, like San Francisco beach pictured below, can be found near the southern and northern tips of the island's developed, west side.

San Francisco Beach Cozumel

The wave action here tends to be gentle -- like the Gulf of Mexico. The currents can be strong but nothing alarming. Although they tend to be much stronger on the north end than at the south.

There are also several lovely white sand beaches on the island's uninhabited 'wild side'. Beautiful for lounging, bad for snorkeling. Frequently dangerous rip tides. Sometimes some okay waves for surfing.

A Cozumel wild side beach club

A stretch of White sand beach on Cozumel's "wild side" Panorama by DHouseholder

Many of these beaches are best enjoyed by parking yourself at a Beach Club. For the price of lunch or a few cokes or beers, you can sit on a lounge chair or at a table in the shade of a thatched roof and just make yourself at home. (That's what we call living!)

The second type of beach you'll encounter on Cozumel island is the rocky, limestone variety sometimes referred to as "iron shore." Although not as aesthetically pleasing to some as white sand--and certainly not as easy on the feet this is where you'll find the best shore snorkeling. (Consider bringing surf booties for your feet for this activity.)

Cozumel iron shore

The rule of thumb is: If you don't see ironshore, the snorkeling will be no good. See our article on Cozumel Snorkeling for recommendations on the best spots for enjoying this fun activity.

Cozumel beach stretch near the old Dzul Ha Club

Chankannab Park Cozumel Aerial Shot

The third type of beach you'll encounter on Cozumel is the man-made hybrid. Chankannab National Park (pictured in aerial shot , left) has a man-made beach. As do the majority of oceanfront condos, villas, resorts and hotels.

When we say manmade we mean they've brought in sand and made beaches above the rocky limestone outcroppings that were already there naturally. With man-made beaches like Chankannab (See aerial photo above left) and many others, you get the beach scene with the sand, shaded palapas, lounge chairs, etc. But you can also usually hop into water and actually see some fish. Because, remember, the natural sand beaches that slope gently into the water with no rocky formations are NOT good for snorkeling.

Click Here for Our Recommendations on the Best Parks and Beach Clubs