The 28 mile long tropical island paradise of Cozumel was a sleeping fishing hub until 1961 when Jacques Cousteau declared it one of the best places to scuba dive in the world. Today it is still a premiere diving hub as well as a major cruise ship port. During high season, Cozumel welcomes 20 to 30 cruise ships per week. Cruisers only have a few hours to see what the island has to offer, so it’s important to research and plan ahead for your day on Cozumel, especially when traveling as a family.
It can be tempting to simply book a shore excursion, but the price tag can be exorbitant. If you’re looking for the perfect place for your family to spend your day in Cozumel, Chankanaab National Park is a superb option. Again, don’t buy an excursion; the most economical way to visit the park is to take a taxi from the dock (about 11 USD one way) and purchase your tickets at the entrance. Don’t forget your camera!
Chankanaab Park offers something for each member of your family — Photo courtesy of Cozumel Parks
Chankanaab has it all, relaxation, adventure and education–something fun and entertaining for each member of your family. For about 37 USD you’ll receive entrance to the park, snorkel gear, one drink coupon and a t-shirt.
For those who are interested in marine life, great shallow snorkeling is available at the park. You’ll spot sea turtles, crabs, sand sharks, eels, rays, schools of colorful fish and barracudas. Scuba diving and Snuba (like diving but much easier–no training is needed, and you are literally able to stand on the ocean floor) is available as well at an additional cost.
Be sure to watch the charming Sea Lion show or take a tour of the dolphin facility. Both are included in the price of admission. You can swim with dolphins or manatees for an additional charge. And in case you don’t care for the open ocean, a pool and lagoon are available for swimming.
Cozumel is one of the most popular places to scuba dive and snorkel in the world — Photo courtesy of Skinned Mink
Next, explore the park. You’ll find a crocodile farm, a replica of Mayan ruins, wildlife, a bird sanctuary, tropical gardens and even a tequila factory.
Towards the end of your visit to Chankanaab, head for the main beach, order some guacamole and maybe a bucket of beer, and relax under a palapa or in a hammock. Massages are available in this area as well. When it’s time to head back to the ship, don’t worry–there will be taxis waiting right outside the park.
You and your family will never forget a day spent at Chankanaab National Park on Mexico’s beautiful island of Cozumel.