Located at the far northern end of the island where no paved road goes is the Punta Molas lighthouse. To get to it you need to hike (or take a 4WD) in from where the East Coast (Costera Este) highway ends. Along the way you will come to the ruins of a Mayan temple (but unlike the ones in the parks, this one has not been restored) called Castillo Real (royal castle). Take your snorkel gear for a refreshing dip at the nice beach near the ruins.
Horseback riding, beach volleyball, kayaking, sunbathing, ice cold beer, and a barbeque lunch are all of the things you can enjoy when you go on Fury's Reef Snorkel and Beach Party!
For $55USD plus cost of $8USD for lunch, you can head out in the morning to enjoy snorkelling, then enjoy a cruise on the catamaran to the private island, where you can enjoy beer and watered down margaritas all day!
Sarah and I enjoyed the kayaking, snorkelling, and sitting on the beach relaxing!
Rent a bike or scooter and explore the island. It's quite small and you can see it all in a day. Stop many places along the road and snorkel in the sea. Find small beaches where you can be all alone or see the ruins.
Driving is quite easy outside of the city centre. There is one main road running from the city, down the westcoast to Punta Sur and then up the eastcoast. North of Punta Morena the road turns inland and cuts straight through the island, leading you back to the city again. The whole roundtrip is about 70 km. In one day you can see most of the island, but with a few days you can stop more places and spend more time at each place.
We went to the east coast of Cozumel on a Sunday. The locals take their day off and go to beaches. We drove with some of them (separate vehicles, sharing the same road) going to the east coast of the island. Generally, the east coast is dangerous for swimming. But this area was recommended to us by one of the locals we met. The place is called "Chan Rio". Many of the locals brought their own food and drinks. Anyone, even children, can safely swim in this beach.
it is hard finding a place on the island were it's off the beaten path just because there are so many tourist there, the day we were there 5 or, 6 cruise ships showed up the same day so there was about 2000 or more extra people. So if you run into that, and you want to get out of the crowds. I would recommend renting a scooter for the day and traveling around and seeing the rest of the island. There and so many little beach restaurants and bars that pop up in the middle of no where. That is if you have enough guts to drive on the streets in the town.
On the day we rented our car, we drove past this little place on the Eastern side of the Island. We just looked at each other, and immediately turned the car around. It was so cool to just sit and have a drink with nobody else but the bar-keep and the dog, with the gentle breeze blowing off the Caribbean.....
Unfortunately, we were driving, so could only stay for 1. As we were the only patrons, the keep decided to close for the afternoon - I guess it was siesta time. The interesting thing was that he brushed aside some sand, opened a locker buried there, and proceeded to lock up all the liquor in there! It made perfect sense, as the bar was completely open and not much more than a lean-to, but it was rather surprising to see.
It's even better if you enjoy this place in good company. This is the Hotel Barracuda. Most of the time you can see people who work on the cruise ships here. This is the meeting spot for crew. The reason for this is simple. Great views of the water, good prices on meals and drinks, and you they have a pier where you can jump into the ocean. I never tried it, but didn't want to. It's the closest beach to the Punta Langosta pier. What's especially good about this place is the cheap food and drinks. Try the Happy Iguana, it's one awesome drink that is available here! The food is pretty damn good, too! They also give change back in American, which is something rare in Mexico (since they take American, but rarely give back American change, usually only in pesos). Another plus!
Ahhhh, a nice hidden full-service day spa. Massage, wraps, scrubs, mani/pedis... I think I spent 4 or 5 hours here getting one of their packages for only a couple hundred USD.
5 South Ave. 313
between 3 and 5 South St.
Open Monday through Saturday
from 9:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 20:00
Ph. and fax. (987) 250-68
Rent yourself a 'sporty' little VW Thing and cruise around the island. Its only like 7 miles across at the narrowest point. Check out the ruins, little villages, beaches, etc. I actually got this one for free (as well as a couple of cheap blankets and a bottle of tequilla) by sitting through some time share spiel for about an hour.
No, this guy isn't your massage therapist. He was actually the horse back riding guide who insisted on giving me a shoulder rub after the ride. However I would recomend Cozumel Massage, an in-room massage for about $50 an hour. email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
We first visited Mezcalito Restaurant, which was recommended by many guidebooks. It is a popular place to go to. They have a hammock just outside. We saw a sign right next to the hammocks that says, nudist beach beyond that point. There were autographed shirts and underwear on the ceiling of the restaurant. But some of the customers there were smoking, so we had to move on to look for another restaurant by the beach, where there is no one smoking.
At the base of the lighthouse was a small museum. There were five exhibition rooms about information from Maya navigators, buccaneers, marine navigational signs and on the other side there was a reconstruction from the 1930’s on how light house keepers used to live. Some lighthouse aficionados commented that the living conditions in Mexico for a lighthouse keeper were a little more primitive than they were in the States.
We went here as a part of the day at the park on a cruise ship expedition. It is worth a visit.
The sign said: Zona de Cocodrilos (Sea Cuidadoso) [Crocodiles Zone/Be Careful]
The guide whistled and a big croc came swimming over and posed for us. There was also a big tower you could climb to see other crocs down in the water. I asked how high a crocodile could jump. The guide said, that in water that shallow, probably not very high. Crocodiles always look so mean (because of all the exposed teeth which is how you tell the difference between crocs and alligators) that I wasn't very reassured by that. In Louisiana, I was told that alligators could jump as high as their own length out of the water. If that was also true of these big crocs, the walkway wouldn't by out of their range.
There were some interesting articles in The Cozumel News in English, Vol 39 May 28-June 3, 2006
NOT MANY CROC'S LIVE IN COZUMEL'S LAGOONS BUT THERE IS EVIDENCE THEY ARE REPRODUCING
According to studies commissioned by the Cozumel Parks and Musuems Foundation, there are approximately 500 crocodiles on the island right now. The study goes on to explain that one of the foremost ecosystems represented on the island are the mangrove areas that border the lagoons at the north and south ends of the western facing side of the island. Colombia Lagoon is most notable but there are also these same ecosystems in lagoons in the north. The crocodile know precisely as the "Acutus" has become established particularly in the southern ecosystem habitat which offers great diversity of other wild life as well.
... the number of females is very low compared to the number of males however, this mangrove ecosystem is ideal for the Acutus crocodile's reproduction.
The crocs play an important role in the equilibrium of the ecosystem because they live on dead and living organisms.
... 9 nests have so far been detected this year with a total of 30 eggs. Work is ongoing to move endangered nests to safer areas of the preserve where the juveniles and baby crocs will be less likely to be at the mercy of predators.
As of the present time there is no problem with poaching these animals because the Cozumeleña people take care of the flora and fauna of their environment.
In addition some of the crocs that are only juveniles have already measured a little over three meters, 29 centimeters which should be enough to give anyone who wants to hurt them a good scare!.
The El Caracol landmark is sited between both the south and east coastal roads (Costera Sur Highway and Costera Este Highway), within the Parque Punta Sur nature reserve. Believed to have been a lighthouse from Mayan times, the El Caracol dates back to about 1200-1300 A.D. Our guide did some explanation about the Mayans and there was a plaque there in three languages - Spanish, Mayan and English.
The sign said (in part):
This building is so named because the cupola, which adorns the roof, has incrustations of pink conch. The structure consists of two construction stages. In the first stage a building with four entrances using lintels was constructed and in the second a passageway to three of its sides was annexed and the cupola added. The function could have been a shrine and a lookout station or lighthouse for defense and traffic control of traders, pilgrims and local people. A few meters from the Conch there is a construction which could have been the living quarters of the caretaker of the lighthouse shrine. Both structures were dated to the Late Postclassic (1200-1300 A.D.)
El Caracol - Parque Punta Sur, Cozumel, 77600, Mexico, MX
Open: daily - 07:00 to 16:00
At the south end of the island is Playa San Francisco. There is a nice beach, some hammocks, and a great little restaurant. Nothing says relaxing like swinging in a hammock with people bringing you frozen drinks and fajitas.