Plan to visit Cozumel in Sept. I here there are many beautiful places to go and snorkel? My question is does anyone have reccomendations as to where we should go? Do we have to go with a tour or can we explore on our own? If it is with a tour what are the prices?
Mayan Paradise Tours (http://www.snubacozumel.com) offers a great snorkel and snuba trip on the Zorro catamaran. It's a 4 hour trip and you visit 3 different reefs - all of them are beautiful. It was $45 for the snorkel option. Have fun!
You can also just take a cab on your own to Chankanaab Park and snorkel there. They also have the dolphin swim there too. Its very easy to get a cab at the pier and spend the day there and get a cab back.
The best place to snorkel is the Chankanaab Park, check out their web site. I was there last year and was amazed at all the fish they had. I was unreal, especially with all those people there. Take a cab and go yourself, or rent a car, snorkel and then explore the rest of the island once you tire of this place.
The other side of the island has the most beautiful beaches. Also if you get over there, stop at Punta Morena and get some lobster while you watch the surfers. What a relaxing enviroment and it is cheap...beer lobster, just watch the amount of sun you get.
If you are looking for an amazing snorkeling experience, then book a ships tour to the Palencaar Reef - this place is amazing, the water is crystal clear, the current gently pushes you along so the snorkeling is almost effortless. We saw so many amazing sea creatures on our tour. This tour might seem a bit pricey but it is so worth it. You get an experienced captain and an experienced dive master who is in the water with you at all times, he will point out certain things for you to see.
The reason i say to book a ships tour and not do this on your own is because you have to travel a bit by boat to get out to the reef, and if anything should happen to your boat - mechanically - the ship will wait for you to return. If you book on your own and something happens and you don't make it back in time, the ship will not wait for you.
Get in a taxi, tell the driver DZUL HA and snorkel for the cost of a taxi ride. Small little place. It's not far. If your ship gets in early go right over and you'll be standing alone with the place to yourself. It gets busy after 10am. This is not a sand beach. It is more for snorkeling but they do have places to set. Buy a soda or a beer or two from the local fellows and have a great day!
I have snorkeled there a few times. My favorite place is Palancar beach where you get a boat out to the Palancar reef for about $25 pp. They take you to shallow and also deep (30 ft) places. However, if it is windy, this may not be a good place. Once we hit it when it was windy and went to Chankanaab which was sheltered from the strong wind. Chankannaab is a nice place to snorkel too.
There are several place you can snorkel from the shore, but a tour is a must Palancar gardens and a few of the southern reefs are must see and only accessable by boat. Checkout the link below for maps and more info..