Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs

San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico

From USD 60.00

Select Date and Travellers

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


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.
  • Snorkel at three locations off the island of Cozumel
  • Gaze at groups of sea stars in the shallow waters of El Cielo
  • Discover the abundant marine life teeming around Columbia and Palancar Reefs, including turtles, rays, and colorful fish
  • Refresh yourself with unlimited drinks on board, including beer, juices, and bottled water
  • Choose between a morning and an afternoon departure

What's Included

  • Professional guide
  • Snorkel gear
  • Snorkeling at 3 different locations
  • Unlimited drinks (fruit juices, bottled water and beer)
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities
  • National Marine Park Fee of $ 6.00 U.S. p/p

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Marina Fonatur Cozumel
    Marina Fonatur, Carr. Costera Sur km 6, efrain flores, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico

    Please take a taxi and ask to be taeken to The Marina Fonatur. At Guests arrival kindly proceed to the boats ramp and look for Chac Choc Tours

Start time

01:00 pm

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Depart from the pier and dive headfirst into your ocean adventure. Embark your stylish glass-bottom boat and follow your skipper and guide as they offer a tour of the onboard amenities and explain important safety information. Then, set sail to the first of three incredible snorkeling locations. 

Sink into your cushioned seat and soak up the sunshine as the boat propels you towards your first destination of El Cielo, a place so beautiful it directly translates as ‘heaven’ in Spanish. Don your snorkeling gear and sink into the inviting water, investigating the sea star colony that inhabits the ocean bed.   

Next, journey to Colombia Reef, a sublime snorkeling spot hailed as one of the Marine National Park’s finest. With excellent visibility and a diverse variety of marine life, Colombia Reef is a perfect place to spot sea turtles, coral communities, barracudas, eagle rays and schools of shimmering fish. 

Cruise to Palancar Reef to discover a submerged showcase of underwater wonders; gaze upon nurse sharks, lobsters, moray ells and kaleidoscopic tableaus of tropical fish. Return to the boat to enjoy a complimentary onboard bar of chilled beer, refreshing margaritas, zesty juice, and purified water as you revel in the soothing Mexican sunshine. 

Return to the pier after the tour.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age to snorkel is 5 years
  • Minimum age to drink alcohol is 18 years
  • Passengers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult
  • Maximum weight is 127 kg (280 lbs)
  • Please bring cash to pay the marine fee
  • Not available for pregnant women or people with back/neck problems, recent surgeries (6 months), heart/lung problems or other serious medical conditions
  • It is recommended that you wear a swimsuit and bring sunglasses, no sunscreen (wear long sleeve clothing and hat) and a towel
  • Note: Time spent at each of the reefs is approximate and depends on weather conditions and group size.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not recommended for pregnant travellers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Ocassionally strong winds causing rough seas may affect the area of El Cielo, forcing the tour to be conducted at an alternative area
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travellers

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.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travellers. If it’s cancelled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveller Photos

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Featured review
We booked a snorkeling trip last minute with Juan, Rene, and Wilbur and had an incredible experience. We visited three snorkel spots and then got to swim at El Ciel at the end. Rene took incredible pictures of our family snorkeling and I was thrilled to be able to buy them at the end for only $45 for my family of 4. The pictures were in my email in the next few hours. The three crew members on our boat could have not been nicer or more helpful. I highly recommend this trip!


134 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 134 reviews
Lost opportunity
Brook_B, Apr 2023
Sadly we were unable to go on this experience. We were on a cruise and did not have internet connection. Viator had sent so many soliciting emails I began ignoring them before departure. When we finally got to port and had internet connection we found out that our tour would not make it back in time. I tried to ask about alternative solutions but they were not helpful. No refund of any kind was given. It was really disappointing.
Response from Host, Apr 2023
Hello Brook, We are very sorry about you missing the tour, but unfortunately, on the very day that you placed your booking; I personally emailed you asking for the name of your cruise ship, hotel, etc., so I could follow up on your details and you never replied. Hence, there's no way we could know your cruise ship time in port did not work with our tour times. That left us with half of our boat capacity blocked and guaranteed for you, on the busiest season of the seas and those seats were denied to other customers asking to go on the tour. It is worth to mention and suggest you for the future, that you first verify your cruise ship itinerary with the tour you decide to book (departure time, duration, etc). You mention that we were not helpful, but you wanted us to run an earlier departure or a shorter version of the tour, when we had other Guests booked...ruining everybody else day to accommodate you, simply was not an option. Sincerely yours,
Bad snorkeling tour, don’t waste time and money
Sohini_K, Feb 2023
This was a very poorly organized excursion. First, there was no clear instructions on where to go after arriving at the marina. I was staying in PDC so took the ferry over. Then I took a taxi to the marina. At the marina there was no signage or anyone at the doc. I was running around asking around where our tour was. I tried calling the number provided by Viator only for it to not work. Once I finally find our boat we arrive and assume the tour begins at 1pm which is what I paid for. Boy was I wrong. The boat wasn’t very nice so that was a let down and then we made nearly 6 stops at different hotel ferry docks to pick up more passengers. This added an extra hour to our trip so we really started at 2. We were told we would go to three diff snorkeling spots but really it was just two. The staff was very rushed and frazzled. They nearly forgot to give me my fins and then snapped at my 9yr old saying if his fins don’t fit he has to pay for them. They weren’t attentive at all and didn’t help me or my child and expected us to manage our own tour. Even the basics of helping us into the boat was not provided. They provided fruit slices and half a ham sandwich on bread. The fish you see near you on the first excursion is there bc they’re feeding the fish. This did not feel like a properly run excursion, the lack of attentiveness to the customers, y tying to cram in as many passengers into a cheap boat, I really regret taking this excursion. Then to have to make all these extra stops for diff hotel guests (I don’t know why everyone couldn’t just meet at the doc) was terrible. I definitely don’t recommend taking this tour.
Derick_P, Feb 2023
We were on a cruise and snorkeling was a priority at our stops. Cozumel was by far our favorite. The crew was amazing and showed us so much. Small group of 5 of us and the spent so much time showing us the beautiful reefs. It was amazing
The Starfish were...
DONNA_G, Feb 2023
The Starfish were beautiful. We also enjoyed the fruit and sandwiches. We weren’t impressed with the guy taking pictures with fish food in his pocket
Do this tour! You will not regret it!
Laura_D, Jan 2023
Did this tour as part of our honeymoon. Staff are amazing, reeds are gorgeous. Highly recommend to anyone wanting to see El Cielo. They also added a bonus stop to see some sea turtles. Highly recommend. A must do whilst in Cozumel.
Great experience at a great price!
Glenn_H, Dec 2022
A little slow at first because we made 3 stops to pick up additional passengers (nature of the business) but once we got in the water we had a blast. Tons of fish, turtles, starfish, conchs, etc. Best part was the last stop (el cielito) where we all stood in the crystal clear, waist deep water as sting rays glided past our feet. Crew was really awesome!
Awesome ocean
marleneuria, July 2022
El Cielito beach and el Cielo with the starfish. Weather was perfect and ocean very clear and warm. Great time !!
Overall amazing
Kimball_A, July 2022
The crew was awesome! And we had a great time!! They accommodated to us and to the others on board with language and food and drink
Great tour, Would recommend it.
Dorothy_S, July 2022
The tour was well run. Despite the failure of the ship to clarify the discrepancy of the ship time and local time, the tour owner accommodated our group of 14 by putting us on a separate boat so that we would make it back to our ship on time. The equipment was great and the staff on the boat were competent and very nice. The beer and the tequila shots at the end were fun.
Adventure /Great Experience
Ernest_S, Mar 2022
The Friendly Staff also very good with communication in whats taking place. The How too's and Why not, Best part was being with my Bestfriend/ Husband . And seeing the beauty of under water life💦🐟💙
Great family fun.
Richard_B, Dec 2021
It was a bit of a slow start - we had to make two pick ups on the way to the reef. Once we were there it was great. Guides were very helpful, polite and kept the group happy! A fair amount of sea-life and I was happy to pay the tax towards conservation.
Quick snorkel tour on a day trip in Cozumel
Jacques_M, Nov 2021
Good time with the crew on the boat. They show you on a quick trip what needs to be seen, sea life at different depths with some drinks and fruits. Good for half a day.
Too much time waiting
AlmaLorena_S, Nov 2021
The snorkeling part was nice The peopele that work there were very nice. They treat you very good. The beverages were nice. But picking up people in 3 hitels was too much, we spent more than rwo. Hours before getting to the snorkeling place
Response from Host, May 2022
Hello Alma, Thank you very much for your review. We are sorry to learn we were not up to your expectation. The pick up process is made en route to the reefs area and that's the only way to get to the reefs. Unfortunately, we can't keep the trip to the reefs any shorter. Sincerely yours,
Over Priced!
Debbie_P, Sept 2021
The guides were lovely. However for 3 - 20 minute snorkling experiences it was very expensive ($60 US each). Sadly there is virtually nothing left to see in the reefs. Climate change has taken the color and life away from the 3 areas. The 3rd was only a very few starfish on the bottom. Could have seen that swimming out from a beach.
EleniSelene_I, Aug 2021
The boat personnel was amazing the snorkel was amazing and the locations were breath taking ❤ I would come back again the same tour again.
Snorkeling was fun…beware of possible scam
Philip_V, July 2021
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
Response from Host, July 2021
Hello Philip, Thank you very much for your feedback and four points rating. I apologize for any wrong impression you could have on the photo concession work. We'll take care of those details right away in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding. In regards the $5.00 US p/p National Marine Park is clearly indicated on the section "What's Included" of the tour description which you may review. Sincerely yours,
Had a lot of fun! Good deal!
Evan_D, July 2021
We had a great time snorkeling with pachie and the crew! Cool fish to look at and drinking beer on the sandbar was a nice highlight. Maybe seeing more of the reefs would have been nice but very fun time and well worth the money!
Amazing Snorkeling Experience
Jason_P, July 2020
We booked a snorkeling trip last minute with Juan, Rene, and Wilbur and had an incredible experience. We visited three snorkel spots and then got to swim at El Ciel at the end. Rene took incredible pictures of our family snorkeling and I was thrilled to be able to buy them at the end for only $45 for my family of 4. The pictures were in my email in the next few hours. The three crew members on our boat could have not been nicer or more helpful. I highly recommend this trip!
Excellent trip, great value, helpful staff
John_M, Feb 2020
Our boat was crewed by Juan, Roman & the photographer, all really friendly guys. They took time to explain exactly what we would be doing, what we could expect to see, and looked after us very well. The snorkeling was better than we expected as we saw a turtle, shark, parrot fish, queen ocean trigger fish & many more. Juan kept the group fully informed during the snorkeling, telling us whenever he stopped anything interesting. The photographer took great photos of us and the turtle; we never normally buy 'tourist' photos, but made an exception as the photos were excellent. Really enjoyable trip, thoroughly recommended
Overall, a great tour with helpful guides
PTProfessor, Jan 2020
I previously wrote a review that mentioned I never received the pictures i paid for at the end of the tour. I contacted the tour operator and photographer, and within two days, received all the pictures I was expecting. Other than that temporary problem, it was a great trip.

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