Palancar Reef Tours

103 Reviews
The star attraction of Cozumel Reefs National Park (Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel), Palancar Reef is a rich underwater landscape ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Aquatic species thrive amidst these colorful corals, including sea turtles, rays, nurse sharks, barracudas, moray eels, and a kaleidoscope of colorful fish. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.
Location
Address: Mexico
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Admission: Free
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Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs

Sail the shimmering sea on a glass-bottom boat and snorkel at specular reefs off the coast of Cozumel on this half-day guided tour of the National Marine Park. At El Cielo, named after heaven itself, marvel at the sea stars that decorate the sandy ocean floor. Float beside sea turtles at Colombia Reef then plunge into the crystal clear waters of Palancar Reef to discover fascinating fish, nurse sharks and colorful coral reefs. Between sublime snorkeling stops, refresh with complimentary beverages as the warm sun soothes your skin on this unforgettable ocean odyssey.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
$55.00 USD
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
$55.00 USD

Caribbean Combo - Sailing, Snorkeling and Sunset

Snorkel in crystal clear Caribbean waters and sail into the shimmering sunset on this spectacular sailing, snorkeling and sunset combination tour of Cozumel. Cruise in a luxurious 65-foot (19-meter) catamaran then plunge into the iridescent sea to discover the incredible marine life and reefs of Palancar and Colombia Bay. Sip fresh margaritas and Mexican beers as entertaining music plays and the sun sinks into the glittering Caribbean Sea.
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$51.00 USD
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$51.00 USD

Cozumel Snorkeling Tour from Playa del Carmen

Combine snorkeling at two fantastic sites on this day trip from the Riviera Maya to Cozumel. After a ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, you’ll take a boat to Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. Explore the warm waters of this protected coral reserve located off Cozumel’s southern coast. Marvel at the abundance of butterflyfish, parrotfish, snapper and more. Snorkel gear, buffet lunch, refreshments and round-trip hotel transport from the mainland are all included.
  • Duration: 7 hours
From
$110.00 USD
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  • Duration: 7 hours
From
$110.00 USD

Snorkeling Tour and Cozumel Beach Party

Celebrate island life, beginning with a ride aboard a 65-foot-long catamaran and continuing with an all-out Cozumel beach party. Board your sightseeing boat for a snorkeling excursion to two different reefs, where you'll swim alongside schools of tropical fish and among colorful corals. Then jump back onboard for cocktails as you cruise back to land. Once here, mingle with other party goers over ice-cold beers and margaritas, engage in a game of beach volleyball, enjoy tasty cheeseburgers or take a kayak out for a spin. It's the ultimate island experience.
  • Duration: 5 hours
From
$65.00 USD
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
$65.00 USD

Cozumel Diving Day Trip from Cancun

Experience some of Cozumel's top diving sites on a day trip from Cancun. Certified scuba divers have the opportunity to explore the waters of two renowned diving locations, with weather-dependent visits to Palancar Gardens, Santa Rosa Wall and Tormentos—home to incredible sea life like nurse sharks, angelfish, lobster and barracuda.
  • Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes
From
$189.00 USD
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  • Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes
From
$189.00 USD


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