El Cielo Cozumel:  Unveiling the Island’s Underwater Gem

Tour boat at El Cielo
Tour Boat at El Cielo

El Cielo Cozumel

Imagine diving into a world where crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches meet a vibrant kaleidoscope of marine life—welcome to El Cielo Cozumel, pronounced as ‘L-C-L-O.’ This hidden gem, relatively undiscovered by the throngs of tourists visiting Cozumel each year, offers a serene snorkeling experience like no other.

Snorkel fun, clear waters of Cozumel
Enjoy Snorkeling in Shallow Waters

What Makes El Cielo so Special?

El Cielo is a hidden gem nestled off the southwest coast of Mexico’s largest island, Cozumel. This area is only accessible by chartering a boat.

It is also part of the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park granting its crystal-clear waters protection and nurturing an abundant array of marine life.

You can learn more about the extensive efforts taken by the Mexican government to aid in the restoration of the reefs ecosystem here. A portion of the fees from your snorkeling trip go towards this conservation effort.

El Cielo Ferry
View From the Top Deck of Ultramar Ferry

How to Get to El Cielo?

This snorkeling spot is such a hidden gem that when we first came here for our honeymoon, we could not even locate it on a map! I was obsessed with where everything on the island was located and how much time it took to get to each place.

Not to worry, snorkeling guide make sure you are back on time if you are visiting El Cielo from a cruise.

From Playa del Carmen / Cancun

With easy accessibility from the mainland, many people come to experience El Cielo via a 30–45 minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen to the ferry pier in Cozumel. Both Winjet and Ultramar ferries cost around $33 round-trip, per adult.

Pro Tip: Make sure to grab a cold drink from the onboard cafe and head upstairs, outside, to see the beautiful blue waters as you cross the channel to Cozumel.

The last ferry leaves Cozumel at 9:00 pm, so if you are on a 3-hour snorkeling tour you will have plenty of time to visit the square downtown and grab a bite to eat at one of the local open-air restaurants.

Downtown Square
Downtown Square

Vacationers on the Island

For those people vacationing on the island, it’s always best to book in advance and obtain a booking confirmation. After that, it’s a quick taxi ride to either the marina to board your snorkel boat or have your tour operator pick you up at the cruise pier.

From the Cruise Ship

Upon your arrival at the cruise ship pier, your snorkel tour operator will arrange a convenient meeting location to pick you up. It’s approximately a 14-mile ride boat to get to your snorkeling adventure.

El Cielo Turtle
Turtle relaxing on the reef

Tours and What to Expect

Snorkel Gear and Lunch

You can bring your own snorkel mask, but life jackets as well as all snorkeling equipment are provided. Make sure to bring a dry bag for your phone and towel and although there is ample shade on the boat, you’ll want to use rash guards to protect against the sun as sunscreen in the marine park is not allowed and a hat for added sun protection.

Most snorkel guides will serve a chips and guacamole. Ask in advance what food options, if any, will be available. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as bottled water and soft drinks are usually provided as well.

ProTip: Don’t forget Dramamine if you get even just a little bit seasick.

El Cielo Coral Fish
Array of Tropical Fish

Stops at Palancar Gardens Reef and Columbia Reef

You are in for a treat as you also visit 2 additional magnificent reefs before heading to your final destination.

Turquoise waters and coral reefs are teaming with amazing sea life from tropical fish to massive sea turtles to beautiful starfish. These shallow reefs are anywhere from 30′ – 60′ deep.

Starfish at El Cielo
Starfish at El Cielo

Experience the main event, El Cielo

As you arrive, you will hardly believe your eyes at how beautifully blue the water actually is! You can elect to swim, snorkel or just float in the shallow waters, which are between 3′ – 5′ deep.

This snorkeling adventure can be booked for as low as $69 though Viator.

Playa El Cielo

Playa El Cielo or “Heaven Beach” is a white sand beach, located about 100 yards from where your snorkel boat drops anchor.

You can simply walk to shore and don’t be surprised if you see a local family of rays swimming alongside you in the shallow, crystal-clear waters.

To Wrap Up

El Cielo Cozumel is an underwater paradise waiting for you to explore. From its mesmerizing coral reefs to its crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, this hidden gem promises an unforgettable adventure.

Whether you’re snorkeling through vibrant reefs or floating in the serene, shallow waters of Playa El Cielo, every moment here is pure bliss.

Ready to embark on this journey? Don’t miss out on insider tips, exclusive deals, and firsthand accounts of Cozumel’s best-kept secrets.

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Here’s What Others Are Saying

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐Fun. Beautiful. Great staff.
John C. / May 2023 ~Viator

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Excellent.
Rachel B. / May 2023 ~Viator

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Great time, beautiful water.
Alisha B / July 2023 ~Viator

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