Can someone recommend a good place to snorkel in Cozumel? We have four children ages 2-9 and were hoping to find a place to snorkel right off the beach so we could take turns with the kids. Any good places or is a boat snorkel the only way to go? How about in Grand Caymen as well? Thanks!
Your little ones may be intimidated by the sting rays in Grand Cayman. They really are huge and I've heard stories of children crying during the excursions. Instead I suggest Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. The water is very clear and calm so that even your two year old will enjoy splashing about. Some of the beach clubs have snorkel equipment to rent (but not all -- you may want to check at the excursions desk when you get on the ship.)
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We were in Cozumel last spring. We had picked a beach tour with our kids, but got rained out. I did find out while there that there is a nice national park beach that taxis can take you to for a fraction of the ship's "tour" price. You could bring your own snorkel gear I'm sure and have a blast. The 2 year old could also play in the sand. I heard there is also an aquarium there. I wish we had gone, but again, weather did not cooperate.
We took all four kids on an excursion on our Cozumel stop that included a couple of hours at a national park called Xelha (sounds like Shell HA). I'm not sure how far it is from Cozumel or if you can take a taxi. I'm sure there's a website that can give you more info. We are planning to go back there for an entire vacation we loved it so much. It was the kids first experience at snorkeling - the water is brackish (salt and fresh) and the fish were varied from small colorful to huge grooper. You can even snorkel in caves. Totally cool for the kids and they can't wait to go back. They were not frightened and could easily leave the water to sit in the chairs or hammocks hung from the trees. We did not participate in the dolphin swimming, but they have a dolphin petting area that you can get in the water and pet a dolphin. They rent snorkel gear there so you don't need to carry it. One downside - no chemicals are allowed in the park so you are not allowed to use sunscreen. Bring a teeshirt and stay near the shade. None of us burned and it was 110 in the shade - very worth looking in to it.
Chankanaab plus/minus (never been there with children):
+ It's not a huge trip from the pier, shouldn't cost a fortune to get there or to get in.
+ Great snorkeling, should see lots.
+ The snorkeling really is "right at" the beach.
- It can be a little tricky getting in and out of the water. It's rocky (okay, so I guess it's coral), and it's deep as soon as you're in. The trick could be having your oldest watch the younger 2 while you get one in at a time, and take it from there. This may not be a problem for your family, but adults I've snorkeled with there (neither of whom was a strong swimmer . . .) have vivid memories of the in/out part.
- The sandy beach is pretty hard packed on the coral base, as opposed to a really cushy sandy beach that you can sink in to. So, yes for snorkeling, no for just parking it in the sand.
Bottom line, I'd give it a shot.
Grand Cayman stingray trip (was there 2 yrs. ago with 3.5 yr. old son)
I loved it! My sister-in-law loved it! My son loved it! Again, you might have to go one at a time, in this case because they are stingrays, after all, and the tails can be nasty, so you have to pay attention. I held my son the entire time he was in. Wants to do it again. He also enjoyed the small boat trip. My recollection is that water was aabout 4-5 feet deep.
Hope this helps, have FUN!!!