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Cozumel with the Kids

Cozumel is a fabulous place for having fun with your kids. First of all, it's one of the safest vacation destinations in the world. Violent crime is almost unheard of on this tiny, friendly island, quite unlike some other destinations in Mexico and the U.S.

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Secondly, Cozumel offers such a variety of activities--from fun in the sun activities to explorations of the ocean, the jungle and , last but not least, the culture. So, if you're considering a vacation in Cozumel and wondering whether to bring the kids along, our advice is: Do It!

Kids Enjoying a Cozumel Fountain


Vacation Rentals are perfect for family vacations here. Picky eaters can snack from the fridge. And there's plenty of room for children to roam safely around the grounds and from room to room. Reliable babysitters are very inexpensive & daily maid service cleans up for you!

Here's some ideas on fun stuff you can enjoy with your family. We've divided up our suggestion into age appropriate categories. For other ideas and more details, also check Things to Do Index for More Ideas and Details

Exploring the Ocean

Cozumel's Chankannab State Park Aerial View

Cozumel is one of the top 5 dive destinations in the world and boasts spectacular coral reefs full of sea life. There's plenty of close-to-shore snorkeling too, making Cozumel a great place to introduce children to the beauties of the undersea world.

Parents of preschoolers won't want to miss the children's pool at beautiful Chankanaab Park, for example. This large, shallow pool is carved out of the beach and sheltered from the ocean. But smaller fish can still come in and out with the light wave action.

Cozumel Snorkeling at Chankannab Park

The children's beach at Chankannab National Park. This is a shallow lagoon with easy sand access from the shore. In the foreground you can see the opening that leads out into the Mexican Caribbean. A very sheltered, lovely place for little guys to try out

Older kids and teens will enjoy the adult snorkeling areas on Chankanaab's main beach. Although the park doesn't have the best snorkeling on the island Chankanaab's rails and stairs across the rocky ironshore into the water make getting in and out of the water easy for everyone snorkeling and swimming.

Better choices for snorkelers include the Money Bar (pictured right), good shore snorkeling, easy in/out access. Nice bar for you, too and the food is good family far include burgers and fajitas. .

Cozumel Money Bar

The East side of the island also offers many opportunities to enjoy and discover the seashore and the ocean. Deserted except for a few ramshackle but pleasant restaurant/bars, the "other side of the island" faces the open Caribbean.

The prevailing easterly winds mean this side of the island is wilder than the sheltered west side with its reefs. You'll find beautiful white-sand beaches and crashing surf here as well as blowholes, tidepools and exposed coral shelves cut into arches by the sea action

Cozumel east side beach

Chen Rio beach with it's knee-deep, close-to-shore tidepools is a particularly good choice for younger kids. Explore the rock caves.Riptides and powerful undercurrents make this side of the island best for playing in the shallows. Do NOT swim out

Cozumel Beach

Exploring the Ocean with Kids Summary

West Side of the island

Chankanaab National Park Admission $20 US per person, less for kids under 12. The baby pool is great for littlest ones. This is the best place for a swim with the dolphins (or manatees) activity and you can sign up for this in advance or at the park.

The Money Bar-- -snorkeling for adults and older kids. Located about a mile north of Chankannab.

Far South Beaches like San Francisco or Playa Palancar--soft, sand beaches and gentle waves here are good for swimming and splashing in the light surf.

Punta Sur National Park$--12 per person, less for kids. Climb a cool lighthouse, snorkel, feed the croc.s & birdwatch on a pontoon boat in Columbia Lagoon. More on this under Jungle Explorations on Page 2 of this article.

Buccanos Beach Club--There's a $10 per car admission charge and they'd like you to buy breakfast or lunch (It's good.) But if that works for you, there's a cute little oceanside pool and you can sit at the open air restaurant and watch the kids swim. Or take them down to the sand just beyond for an ocean dip.


East side of the island:

The beaches here are lovely and wild. With children, however, stick to Chen Rio because there are little tide pool areas to play in. Undertows can be serious business on this side of the island so we don't advise taking kids swimming elsewhere on the island's east coast.

Other Recommended Ocean Activities for Kids

Of special note for families with kids young to learn to dive is the Atlantis submarine tour which has 4 or 5 runs per day leaving from their little terminal half a mile from downtown San Miguel. We also highly recommend the Cozumel Sailing Trip for kids 6 and older and the Mystic Snorkeling Tour also for kids 6 and older.


masks, snorkels, fins, snorkel vests, "sports cream" (non-oily sun screen as the oily kind is very bad for fish), surf booties (a good investment for everyone because the best snorkeling is near rocks and ironshore.) Basic snorkel equipment may be rented at Chankannab and the Money Bar for approximately $5/person.

Part 2, Exploring Cozumel's Jungle Areas