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Palancar Reef
Palancar Reef

Palancar Reef

Free admission
Parque Marino de Cozumel,One mile off the southeastern coast

The Basics

A snorkeling or scuba diving excursion is one of the best way to experience Palancar Reef, allowing you to see the area’s robust wildlife and varied coral structures. Some diving and snorkeling tours visit Palancar along with nearby Columbia Reef and El Cielo marine park—a sandy, starfish-filled expanse of blue Caribbean ocean. Other excursions combine snorkeling with a sailing trip or island beach party. Most tours leave from the marina in downtown Cozumel, Palancar Beach (Playa Palancar), or from your hotel pier, while some excursions include round-trip transportation from Playa del Carmen.

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El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
$75.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Magical experience, I will be doing this again!
The crew was friendly, knowledgeable and absolutely awesome. The snorkeling was incredible. The snacks and lunch were great, the ceviche was beyond words fresh and yummy. The whole experience was magical and I can't wait to do it again!
Jennifer_B, Aug 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Cozumel

star-4
Good snorkeling tour
Brenda_S, Jul 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
Staff was friendly from the very experience captain of the boat to tour snorkel guide Didi (spoke very good English and was fun) to booth attendant (where we met at ferry pier). I’d give this a 5star since the little boat is old and glass bottom was not that clean.
star-5
Great excursion for all
Sean_T, Jun 2021
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
Great trip to Cozumel from Playa. Little bit of a pain to get to with ferry (Covid lines are long) and then a taxi to Torguga. Excellent food and drinks, snorkeling was great; clear water lots of fish. Catamaran was a relaxing trip and ceviche dish on the water board was the best. Highly recommend and all staff were comical and joyous.
star-5
Beautiful snorkeling trip
Autumn_G, Oct 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
This trip was absolutely amazing they booked us up at the port on their boat and drove us to three amazing snorkeling places and they took us to the most white sandy beach or we are waist high in water and the gorgeous stingrays swim by us every five minutes it was absolutely amazing definitely recommend taking your family and friends on this amazing boat tour the staff was extremely friendly and helpful during the whole time and the captain made the absolute best guacamole on the island
star-5
It’s a must tour
Natalija_N, Aug 2021
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
Very fun activity, staff is amazing and they trying to help and make sure you having great time whole time.
star-5
Great Tour!
Eliane_V, Oct 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
We had a great time on this Trip! The Guides were very attentive and friendly. We can recommend this Tour to anyone. The water is stunning and the snorkling spots were great too. At the End we stopped at a spot where the water is cristal clear and we got some delicious Guacamole an Chips. All in all we were very happy with this Snorkling Tour.
star-5
Amazing
EleniSelene_I, Aug 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs
The boat personnel was amazing the snorkel was amazing and the locations were breath taking ❤ I would come back again the same tour again.
star-4
brilliant short day out
Dee_M, Aug 2021
Cozumel Reef Snorkeling Tour
A lovely trip! We saw a lot and had a great experience. Sadly n o turtles, but the manta ray and star fish were amazing. The only thing to note is that it is only three hours long and therefore quite expensive - hence the 4star and not 5.
star-5
Great Tour
Sydni_A, Sep 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
The whole crew was amazing! We got to see some great wildlife including 2 large sting rays. Would definitely recommend!!
star-4
Snorkeling was fun…beware of possible scam
Philip_V, Jul 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs
5 dollar tax not mentioned when we booked this excursion. Photographer worked on commission and had a complete photo shoot with one family and took about 6 pics of us. And tried charging us the same price for way less pics
star-5
Snorkel in crystal clear waters
Silvia_R, Sep 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
The tour was beautiful! We saw hundreds of starfish at Cielo & on other two reefs barracuda, a turtle, lots of sting rays. Everyone was very knowledgeable & made it fun at the same time. We on only recommend this tour!
star-5
One of the best!
Todd_S, Jun 2021
Cozumel Reef Snorkeling Tour
The snorkeling tour was the highlight of our trip. We have taken several snorkel tours over the years and this one was one of the best. The wildlife was great but the crew made it awesome. The crew: Hugo, Eric, Julice, and Jesus were a lot of fun and very knowledgeable. The photography was beautiful. Julice captured so many great moments. The lunch was good too! We had an unforgettable and wonderful day.
star-4
Very nice guide and captain
Sylvia, Aug 2021
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Colombia and El Cielo Reefs
It was nice seeing the star fish and stingrays. I wish the reef was more colorful. Very helpful guide and crew

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Palancar Reef is a must-see attraction for wildlife lovers, families with kids, snorkelers, and scuba divers.

  • Remember to bring sun protection, a swimsuit, and plenty of water.

  • It’s a good idea to wear a wetsuit or rash guard while diving or snorkeling to protect against the sun, jellyfish, and rough coral surfaces.

  • Be careful not to touch or disturb the wildlife.

  • Evidence of dive certification is required to participate in certified dives.

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How to Get There

Palancar Reef is located off the island of Cozumel near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The closest access to the reef is Palancar Beach, a laid-back public beach close to the intersection of Avenida Melgar and the Costera Sur. Taxis, car rentals, and motor scooters are the most popular ways to travel on the small island of Cozumel.

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When to Get There

You can visit Palancar Reef year-round, but it’s busiest from December through April, when the weather tends to be sunny and warm. There are fewer crowds during hurricane season (May through October), but be sure to check the weather for storms.

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Must-See Dive Sites at Palancar Reef

While snorkelers typically visit the shallowest parts of Palancar’s coral reefs, scuba divers have several world-famous spots to explore. The Palancar Caves are probably the most famous dive site, with huge brain corals and swim-through tunnels. Palancar Horseshoe is another massive formation of huge corals. Less experienced divers can visit Palancar Gardens, a shallower spot with mellow currents.

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