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Palancar Reef Tours

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Palancar Reef
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.
Address: Mexico
Admission: Free
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9 Tours and Activities to Experience Palancar Reef

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Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo ReefsDay Cruises

Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs

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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 Columbia 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.
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  • 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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  • 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Cozumel 3 reefs snorkeling: Palancar, Colombia & Dalila reefsNature & Wildlife

Cozumel 3 reefs snorkeling: Palancar, Colombia & Dalila reefs

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Set off for a great adventure to the caribbean on a Glass bottom boat and admire the spectacular marine life in the most incredible Cozumel snorkeling tour, explore the caribbean sea and its underwater treasures while you snorkel at 3 of the most amazing reefs and marine attractions in Cozumel. Cardona reef known by its amazing marine life and unique species of fish, the famous San francisco reef where you can admire Eagle rays, turtles and a great variety of fish and Dzul-Ha reef recognized also by its tropical waters and abundant marine life. PLEASE NOTE: During the time period of October 7th, 2019 through mid/late January 2020 - the Palancar, El Cielo and Columbia reefs will both be roped off to boats and snorkelers. This is to preserve the reef due to a bleaching phenomenon that is killing the coral. Any tours during this time period will still operate, but at alternate reef locations that are still open for snorkelers to visit.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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Cozumel Snorkeling trip to 3 reefs with Beach stopAttraction Tickets

Cozumel Snorkeling trip to 3 reefs with Beach stop

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Thanks to a glass boat, this Cozumel snorkeling trip is the perfect choice for travelers in groups with a mixed interest in snorkeling. Though you head out to three spectacular snorkeling locations known for their active reefs, you can also choose to relax and enjoy looking at the tropical fish, starfish, and more from on board the boat.
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  • 4 hours
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Private Boat Charter Tour in CozumelHalf-day Tours

Private Boat Charter Tour in Cozumel

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Customize your time on the water off Cozumel with this private boat charter. Choose where you'd like the captain to take you (depending on conditions and weather) and if you'd like to focus on beach-hopping, snorkeling, fishing, or just hanging out. Scuba diving is welcome for certified scuba divers only. All equipment for water sports included, as well as beer, nonalcoholic beverages, and snacks.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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2-tank scuba excursion for certified scuba diversOther Water Sports

2-tank scuba excursion for certified scuba divers

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Our Divemaster Raymundo has been diving the Cozumel Marine Park for over 20 years with more than 14,000 dives. And yet, Ray is so excited to scuba dive that he still acts like its the first time he's seen a shark or an eagle ray. We offer 60+ minutes of bottom time and a fast, shaded, comfortable boat.
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 Cozumel Shore Excursion: 3 Reefs Snorkel & El Cielo ExperienceSnorkeling

Cozumel Shore Excursion: 3 Reefs Snorkel & El Cielo Experience

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Enjoy a hassle-free excursion to some of Cozumel’s most striking natural attractions during this comprehensive full-day trip. Let the professionals deal with the day’s logistics while you relax with a cocktail in the shallows of El Cielo Beach, snorkel at the Palancar Reef off Cozumel, and visit Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park.
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  • 4 hours
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Chala-Michal's Daily Snorkeling AdventuresSnorkeling

Chala-Michal's Daily Snorkeling Adventures

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If you want to see all the beauty of the reefs of Cozumel, this is the trip for you. On our daily trips we make 3 stops to snorkel at all the best reefs. We supply all snorkel and safety equipment as well as beverages, water, soda, and beer, plus fresh local fruit and a great time. We also give free pictures of your trip which you can download from our Facebook page. We take great pride in making all guests feel safe and comfortable while in the water. Even if you have never snorkeled before or are a experienced snorkeler we can make your trip an excellent one.
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  • 3 hours
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  • 3 hours
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Try Scuba Diving - No previous experience! Other Water Sports

Try Scuba Diving - No previous experience!

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Our expert staff will get you comfortable in our private pool before taking you to the reef. Once you are ready we head to the boat and go diving ont he amazing reefs of Cozumel!
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  • 4 hours
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Learn to Scuba Dive - Get Certified! Other Water Sports

Learn to Scuba Dive - Get Certified!

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Our instructors combine for over 50 years of scuba instructing experience. We are the #1 SSI training facility in Cozumel.
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  • 2 days
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  • 2 days
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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Palancar Reef?

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