Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs

Badge of ExcellenceCozumel, Mexico
Cozumel Snorkel tour Palancar reef Columbia reef and El Cielo Sandbar
  • 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

Meeting and Pickup

Meeting point

  • Marina FONATUR Cozumel
    Carr. Costera Sur Km 6.5, Zona Hotelera Sur, 77675 Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico

    Meeting time is 10 minutes before your Tour time is at the MARINA FONATUR located 5 minutes by taxi from SSA and PUERTA MAYA cruise ports and 10 minutes from Downtown. Upon arrival look for the MAYBE TOURS office. Please Note Our Tours are operated in Cozumel local time.

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Pick from a variety of start times and arrive at your departure point with cash for marine fees in hand. Then, allow your guides to brief you on the adventure, suitable for both beginners and experts, and begin the journey to your first snorkeling point.

Your first stop is Palancar Reef, where you have the opportunity to be surrounded with an abundance of marine life. Throughout the day, stay hydrated with refreshing drinks and fuel up with a snack. Next, make your way to Columbia Reef to swim around the coral formations.

Finally, make another stop at the starry-sand paradise of Playa el Cielo to spot some starfish before heading back for the day.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • No Sunscreen Allowed due to Reef protection (Please apply before tour starts)
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
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 canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveler 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!


1,029 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,029 reviews
Catamaran -fantastic
Julie_E, Apr 2024
We booked this thinking it was a catamaran but actually it was a tiny boat. We upgraded to the catamaran and had an amazing time with the crew. Snorkeling was great!! Then they did an amazing ceviche/ drinks chips on the surfboard at the sandbar!! I wish I had a picture!! Then shots dancing and music the entire way back!! EVERYONE had a great time!! Thank you!!
Hustled along with a bored guide
Joel_C, Apr 2024
Our experience on this tour was mixed. The locations are incredible and the natural beauty of Cozumel would make it difficult to have a bad time. We had a great time, but we would absolutely not use this tour company again. - the guide made no attempts to find or point out interesting things in the locations, and seemed bored and just getting through it - this was a 4 hour tour, snorkeling in Salt water, in 30 degree sun. No water was provided or offered until we were give the choice of a 200ml bottle of water OR a beer at the very end. Our own water bottle was in our bag, which was made inaccessible by the guide at the beginning - The tour had about half Spanish and half English speakers, but 95% of the narration was in Spanish, with a cursory "you good?" nod to the English speakers, it very much felt like we were after thoughts So absolutely do this itinerary! But I would consider a different operator
it’s ok. boat is crap
Jackie_F, Apr 2024
The reefs were nice. the boat was crappy, bad steps getting into water. hard to hold onto railings. minimal help getting into and out of boat - no flippers given out which would have been nice as some of the water was rough. I thought going thru viator I would have gotten a better boat/ expierance
Turtles and Starfish
Roy_R, Apr 2024
Great snirjeling, Starfish and turtles were wonderful! Great crew very accommodating! Definitely would book again
Great time
Holly_M, Apr 2024
Was really fun our group of 10 and 1 infant all had a great time, they could make it a little easier to find them but once we got there it was overall a great day!!!
Great tour
David_B, Apr 2024
We recommend this tour. Took our 16 year old on spring break. We saw a sea turtle and nurse shark. Sandbar at the end was standing shallow depth with sting rays while enjoying the captains snack and cervesa. In water guide was great at pointing things out.
Fantastic snorkeling and beach exc
Ricardo_C, Apr 2024
The excursion was fantastic they took us to several places to snorkel as watched different fishes, turtles, a stingray and a small cat shark. They did a very good job on the boat safety and finally the star fish on heaven and little heaven was superb!! Blue colors o have never seen before.
A waste of time and money - not fun
Joyce_D, Apr 2024
Boat ride cold, noisy and wet Scuba sites (3) very poor Snacks - fruit not sweet at all Boat ride back even worse
Fun exploring
Debra_M, Apr 2024
Tour was great! Saw tons of stuff! Very friendly felt like family by the end of the tour!!! Will definitely do again
Worth doing
Jane_C, Apr 2024
I'm not a strong swimmer and felt safe as I had a life jacket and our guide put a ring in the water as a central point to make sure we stayed together. Saw lots of fish and turtles.
We saw a medium-suzed...
Robert_W, Apr 2024
We saw a medium-suzed turtle swimming, then a huge fat turtle walking on the sea floor, eating, a barracuda, loads of big stingrays and a bunch of starfish. Also, loads and loads of other fish. Very cool. Crew was also very nice.
Does not respond
Loretta_H, Apr 2024
Operator did not respond to my inquiry until it was too late to cancel so I could not get refunded. Would not recommend doing business with an operator who does not respond to client questions.
Great snorkelling - Poor organization
MICHEL_D, Mar 2024
The snorkelling stops were great - We saw lots of fish, inverts, and a turtle. However they had mistakenly booked us for 10:00 am instead of 2:00 pm we booked with Viator and then they had a mechanical issue that caused a 1.5 hour delay. As a result, we only did two snorkelling spots instead of three. Attendant at meeting spot could barely speak English and communication about the delay was dismal. However, snorkelling guide was good along with boat skipper.
It was canceled
DonandCindy_J, Mar 2024
The excursion was canceled due to high winds. The trip was canceled at about 9:45 $fffffcggggggggggggghvhhhjkt
Cozumel snorkeling memories
Lucius_C, Mar 2024
The crew did a great job, taking us to a new place when the original place was not available due to seasonal winds. They were very helpful with our son who had never been snorkeling before and helped guide us to amazing fish and reef. Everything was clean and they provided delicious guacamole.
Delightful snorkel adventure
JuneYago, Mar 2024
The snorkel spots were taken to were gorgeous. I especially loved seeing the pillow starfish and so many fish! We also saw manta rays. However it would have been nice if the fins were offered for our use, not just snorkels. Our guide was funny and took us to have a snack in the water during our last spot. It started raining so we had the snack on the boat, chips and guacamole. In either case it might be a better idea to have little individual cups of snacks for future guest so they dont have to all crowd around one area. However overall this was a terrific excursion and we got back to our ship in plenty of time!
Beautiful Water
Keri_F, Mar 2024
The water was BEAUTIFUL!! All 3 stops were perfect and showed us exactly what was advertised. They made a final stop at a really shallow area that we all got out and they gave us beers and homemade guacamole while we hung out on the crystal clear water. We were a little apprehensive when we first got to the boat since there was another family of 3 plus our family of 5 and the boat was pretty tiny. But the knew what they were doing and it was a prefect day out on the water. It was nice to be in a smaller group with less people so we had plenty of attention and help. The guide kept holding my 15 year old daughters hand to help her swim down to the reef and see the fish. Great time, just put on sunscreen before you get on the boat!
Donna_C, Mar 2024
The tour was so great especially the boat captain and our guide, his name is Miguel I think. We saw fishes, turtles, starfish and stingrays!!! We got what we paid for. Good thing we got a nice weather. And we were right back in time for the cruise.
Wonderful day in Cozumel
Jacqueline_R, Mar 2024
Amazing experience for the entire family! The guides were so friendly and knew exactly where to take us to see amazing animals. A few in our group were hesitant of the water and they took great care of them! We saw a baby shark, sea turtle, barracuda and SO MANY starfish! When we stopped for drinks and snacks, the sandbar they took us to had beautiful stingrays swimming freely. It was a sight to see. The homemade guac, chips and drinks were the perfect way to end the day. My kids and husband and I will never forget this day!
Refuse to refund for cancelled trip
Lucas_L, Mar 2024
Booked this tour a month ago via Viator, on the day before the tour I received an email saying that because of the weather they could not proceed the tour with original reefs, and they are proposing a plan B , for some reef on the north side of the island. I wrote in the email that I would be ok for a Plan B. On the date of the tour, we drove and took the ferry from Cancun, paid 150 pesos on the island for taxi to go to their office meet up location, and then they told me the tour was cancelled for everything today, however I suspect that it is not true, maybe they just do not want to send out a boat for fewer people. I immediately emailed back for a refund, however these is no response for now, it has been 7 hours since I have to personably find out the tour was cancelled at the location. I am not sure if I would be able to get the refund, please avoid at all cost in the future, please see below screenshot, on the 4:21 am this morning they claimed that everything will be fine, however when I physically arrived at the location 11:30 am, just half an hour before the tour, they say everything is cancelled, so don’t even Book online if you are not 100% sure the weather will be fine, or choose just a bigger company
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From $65.00

up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

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