Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs

Badge of ExcellenceSan Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel Snorkel tour Palancar reef Columbia reef and El Cielo Sandbar
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From USD 61.75

USD 65.00 Save USD 3.25

Select Date and Travellers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 4 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Whether you're an experienced snorkeler or an absolute beginner, fully trained guides let you make the most of Cozumel's famous reef on this half-day snorkeling tour. Hit three of the island's hottest snorkeling spots: Palancar Reef, Columbia Reef and Playa el Cielo, known for the starfish that decorate its white sands. Your package includes drinks and snorkeling gear; marine fees are payable in cash on the day.
  • Snorkel Cozumel hotspots Palancar Reef, Columbia Reef and Playa el Cielo
  • Stay fueled with water, sodas, beers and a snack
  • Veteran guides point out marine life and can assist new snorkelers
  • Choice of departure times lets you plan your day and fit more in

What's Included

  • Visit to Palancar and Columbia reefs, El Cielo Sandbar and El Cielito Beach
  • Guided snorkeling tour
  • Drinks: Beers, Water, Sodas and a Snack
  • Snorkel gear: Vest, Mask, New tube
  • Insured Shaded Boat
  • Experienced trained guides
  • Marine fee $6 usd Not included

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Maybe Tours Cozumel Quintana Roo México
    Muelle Fiscal, Av. Rafael E. Melgar, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico

    Meeting time is 15 minutes before departure time at the Cozumel Ferry at the MAYBE TOURS booth. IF you come from a CruiseShip then your meeting location is at the MARINA FONATUR which is 5 minutes by taxi from SSA and PUERTA MAYA cruise ports *Please Note Our Tours are operated in Cozumel local time

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travellers can participate
  • No Sunscreen Allowed due to Reef protection (Please apply before tour starts)
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travellers
Operated by Cozumel Tours and Excursions

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveller Photos

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Featured review
Our guide Christian was amazing ! He was so informative and knowledgeable. We saw Sea turtle, many starfish and Sting Ray and gorgeous fish. The waters were so beautiful. Captain Roman knew how to navigate perfectly. We definitely recommend this snorkeling tour!


800 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 800 reviews
Beautiful Reefs, Shabby Boat!
Jane_S, Sept 2023
I have been going to Cozumel since 1987, and snorkeling since I was 12 years old growing up in Sarasota Florida. To start with the Boat was supposed to leave at 12 Noon and we didn't leave until 12:30pm, because the other customers were late, and we were crammed on a small boat that I am sure in Florida wouldn't have been within safety limits. The Reefs were beautiful and I saw a black tipped Shark, Barracuda, Trigger Fish, lots of Starfish and Stingrays. I was happy while snorkeling, however getting in and out of this flimsy boat was a problem. The Ladder folded up and down, and was not easy to use. To get back on the Boat, I had to climb up an unsecured ladder on a boat that was drifting, there was one metal bar on the right side at the top of the stairs and then you had to climb over the side of the boat to step on a seat, and then the floor. We did this at this three times, on my last climb my right leg got cut by the stairs which were metal with rope wrapped around the foothold. All in all I really enjoyed seeing the wildlife, especially the Green sea Turtles, but they need a safer Boat! I am a guide at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, and we would not be allowed to take Visitors on a Boat like this one.
Good stuff.
Michael_W, Sept 2023
Wonderful adventure. Loved the staff. Sea life was a little limited. Boat ride to the reef along the shore was beautiful. Overall recommend and would certainly do again.
Best possible choice to snorkel in Mexico
Arthur_K, Sept 2023
Big shoutout to Oscar and his friends. They gave us a experience of a lifetime sknorkling in Mexico. Especially the small boat with only 7 tourists and the extraordinary vibe by the crew made this tour so special. I can absolutely recommend the tour and for us it was a clear 10/10.
Matthew_R, Sept 2023
Stormed the day of activity, tour operator didn't respond to any messages and their phone number is out of service. DO NOT BOOK WITH THIS OPERATOR
Wonderful Snorkeling
Nicholas_S, Sept 2023
Christian and his crew were great. We had a blast and the snokeling was wonderful. They also provided freshly made guacamole and chips.
Ray_M, Sept 2023
Capitán Víctor y Miguel where awesome!!! Great service professional and fun my family have a great time
Michelle_L, Aug 2023
We went with May-BE-Tours with Daniel, Natali and our captain Philly. They were awesome!! We had a great time and saw so many beautiful fish, starfish, conch, turtles and stingrays. We had our 12 and 10 year old grandsons with us and it was perfect! Thank you for some great memories!! Miki
So much fun!
Camille_H, Aug 2023
We loved having a camera man under water! Our guides were fun, safety was a priority, & it was a blast!
No English speaking guide and kind of shady transportation to the boat
Tony_H, Aug 2023
The trip was spectacular with the exception of the guides not speaking English! Luckily one of the other passengers was able to translate for the entire boat. Would have been a 4 star rating if it wasn't for the language issue. This tour was book as an English tour. Things not conveyed in the booking: Upon arrival at the Cozumel port you will check-in at the small booth. They will collect your taxes and usher you to a taxi where we crammed 6 pax into a car. The taxi will take you 10-15 mins to the board dock where you will board. It is then 15-20 mins to the first snorkeling location, where you will get about 20-35 mins in the water before moving to the next location. Each location is 10-15 min by boat. One of the best places to snorkel and is the sport where you have drinks and snacks. There we saw rays of various sizes and a number of different fish.
Great Experience
Jennifer_F, Aug 2023
This experience was awesome! All the sea life was amazing and the crew was wonderful. Will be booking again when we return.
Very responsible operator on safety and environment. Can feel a bit pushy and rushed.
Al_R, Aug 2023
The operator/our guides demonstrated responsibility for our safety and environmental protection. I like that they show care for marine life and the environment, careful to not overcrowd the animals, numerous reminders not to touch the animals etc. In fact, they were really strict, you're not allowed to wear sunscreen at all, even mineral, reef-safe ones. He claims that they were just marketing gimmicks. On the first snorkel, everyone must wear a life jacket, no matter how experienced you are. On the downside, all of these seemed a little bit pushy and the whole trip feels rushed. We went to see the reef, a turtle spot, a starfish spot, and lastly the sandbar. We were only at the turtle spot a short while because there were too many people and boats around and our guide felt we need to get out of there as soon as possible. It does feel like everything is rushed and the highlight is to get to the drinks part at the sandbar. In the end, they were really pushy on tips, even pressured and waited out on a person who was feeling sick and had just thrown up. The pushiness made the trip less enjoyable, I'd prefer if the operator priced the trip properly, paid them a fair wage, and toned down on the pushiness.
Wow wow wow
BRIANNA_B, Aug 2023
WOW! Amazing for the whole family. My family of six (3 adults, one teen, and twin 4 year olds) all had an incredible time on this tour. We booked this tour because the Disney cruise line tours required the children to be older. The meet up location was easy to communicate to a taxi driver. The boat was in great condition and the tour was a smaller group so I felt safe. The staff had small life jackets for my youngest kids. The first snorkeling spot was breathtaking. We saw so many tropical fish. The second stop we saw a turtle, a sting ray, and tons of starfish. The third stop at the sandbar was my favorite. We saw a barracuda, tons of tiny fish that hung around our legs, and sting rays that swam right up to us. Plus the tour guide prepped fresh guacamole right on the boat. We also were offered plenty of water, juice, and beer. The part that made the tour so special to me was the extra crew member that took underwater pictures of my family so we could truly live in the moment and have rad pictures to show off on our social media. A word of advice for those bringing smaller kids: you may want to bring a kids snorkel mask because they didn't have smaller masks. I'm glad we brought some for our kids so we didn't have to stress about water leaking due to the mask being too big. Oh also, a rash guard is a must because sunscreen can be very harmful to the animals and plants.
Nate_K, Aug 2023
The tour company took care of us. We got to swim with some sea turtles, an unexpected part of the tour. Our guide offered and took some amazing photos of us with my underwater camera. I was also surprised with how many sting rays we got to see up close. The starfish were neat but fairly deep. Better tour than expected!
Best part of our Cozumel trip!!
Christine_N, Aug 2023
Philip, Daniel, and Angel were awesome tour guides. They made us feel welcomed and showed us sea turtles, stingrays, starfish, and soo much fish. It was raining hard before the tour, and we were worried the tour would be cancelled but when we went out on the boat the rain cleared thankfully so we proceeded to the normal tour. The meeting spot was easy to find. If you’re coming from a cruise ship, just ask your taxi driver to take you to Marina Fonatur and you’ll see a bunch of boats. Just look for “Maybe Tours”; they will be wearing their shirts. Remember to bring $6 fee per person. Overall, this tour was the best part of our Cozumel stop. The crew was awesome and very hospitable. This is also beginner friendly. Daniel was very helpful and made us feel comfortable in the water. Highly recommend!!
Great day at El Cielo
Andrea_M, Aug 2023
All went according to what advertised, the staff was punctual , friendly and helpful we managed to see turtles and manta rays among other sea life, all in all definitely a tour worth doing
10/10 experience! so much fun!
Rocio_R, Aug 2023
So much fun! it was our first time snorkeling and the guides made sure we understood everything before going in the water. We felt safe the entire time in the water. The guide was very attentive and made sure everyone stayed in a group the entire time. We got to see so many fish and starfish. The water was baby blue and so beautiful. At our last stop we got off to crystal clear water at hip level. Then the captain made fish ceviche for us and brought it out on the water for us to enjoy with beers and drinks as we stood there with sting rays swimming around us. It was so much fun!
Maybe Tours, Good Overall experience, Sea Turtles and lots of Stingrays
Tim_H, Aug 2023
The team with Maybe Tours was really good. Do your research in advance to know how to get a taxi from the port to the marina. My taxi was $8 US to get there by myself and $12 US to get back with 5 other people who split the cost with me. When you arrive at the marina make your way to the Drug Store and there's a couple seats under a patio to sit at. There's a guy there who you check in with and he helps coordinate each boat. If you're going to put sunscreen on, put it on before you get there bc the tour operators will ask you not to wear sunscreen for the sake of the reefs. The boat driver and the snorkeling guide were both friendly. The boat was nice, nothing exceptional but nice. I recommend you only bring what you need as storage is limited on the boat. The ride out to the snorkeling areas is about 30-40 minutes, windy and at times bumpy/wet. The first stop on the reef was full of marine life however there were lots of other boats there and we had a few people in our group that were not strong/comfortable with snorkeling and so we didn't get to spend much time at this site snorkeling, less than 10 minutes. I took my own snorkeling great or you can use theirs. I recommend you be somewhat familiar with snorkeling as the guide primarily kept us in a small group in the water but there was not time to give instructions etc to those who were new to snorkeling. The second stop was where there were some sea turtles grazing, we saw three. Again , lots of other boats and people so it can get crowded in the water and you need to pay attention to where your group/boat are at. Not much coral here so not many other marine life. Enjoyed seeing the turtles and I felt we were fortunate to see the three we did. The next stop was El Cielo where the Starfish are, it was interesting but not too exciting, it's really just a bunch of large starfish on a sand bottom. No coral here and little other marine life. The last stop was the sand bar which is about 200 yards offshore. All the boats clamor up here and drop anchor. The depth is 1-3 feet and easy to walk around on. The stingrays move through this area the whole time we were there. Probably saw 40-60 stingrays some large some small and many zipped right through us. The tour guides provides some fresh guacamole and chips and water, fruit punch or beer which was a nice snack as snorkeling works up a hunger. We hung here for a long time, probably 30-45 minutes which was more time than we spent snorkeling. For people who like to drink and just chill on a sand bar this was great. We then headed back in to the marina. Tips: I arrived early (1 hour) and there's not much to do but watch the fishermen/tour guides get their boats ready. If you can share a taxi do so as it's cheaper to travel with others. Put sunscreen on before you get there. If you're not comfortable snorkeling or not ready to teach your own kids , don't expect the tour guides to teach for you. They were good tour guides but not really there to give instruction. I took my own GoPro for pics but they also had a photographer with them that day who offered to take pics for a small fee , $20 US, and email them to you.
It’s ok
Liliana_C, Aug 2023
The snorkeling was ok. The water was nice and clear and we were able to see a barracuda, other beautiful fish, two turtles, and starfish. The tour seemed rushed. The guide was very nice at first but his tone and demeanor completely changed after noticing i only gave him a $5 tip. Before that, he gave a speech about how he needs tips to feed his family etc etc, then he went to each person asking for money.
It was almost a 5 star.
Jennifer_P, Aug 2023
Let me just say the price is right for this experience!! The meeting place was far from the cruise port so you'll need to get a taxi which cost us $20. Then they will put you in another taxi, that they pay for, that will take you all the way back down past the cruise port, where you'll board your boat. The tour guides and captain were great! So much fun and organized. We saw lots of fish, turtles, stingrays and star fish. Here's where they lost a star. At the end, the taxi was suppose to be paid for by the company but it ended up costing us $25. I've emailed the company and have not received a response yet. If they make this right I'll update my review.
3 Reefs, and a Beach stop with drinks
Sean_C, Aug 2023
Great tour, was about 4 hours. Included stops and three reefs around Cozumel, and a stop at a shallow beach for drinks and a small snack. We had the opportunity to see both Turtles and, Starfish making it an enjoying adventure Equipment provided was on the more basic side with no flippers (swim fins) provided; however this is the same with most snorkelling tours around Cozumel and for the excellent price point would definitely recommend this tour!

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