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Palancar Reef
Palancar Reef

Palancar Reef

Free admission
Parque Marino de Cozumel,One mile off the southeastern coast

The Basics

A snorkeling or scuba diving excursion is one of the best way to experience Palancar Reef, allowing you to see the area’s robust wildlife and varied coral structures. Some diving and snorkeling tours visit Palancar along with nearby Columbia Reef and El Cielo marine park—a sandy, starfish-filled expanse of blue Caribbean ocean. Other excursions combine snorkeling with a sailing trip or island beach party. Most tours leave from the marina in downtown Cozumel, Palancar Beach (Playa Palancar), or from your hotel pier, while some excursions include round-trip transportation from Playa del Carmen.

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El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
star-4.5
$79.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Boat waited for us.
We were running late. There had been traffic through the ferry port. We called the number on our reservation David answered he was directly at the boat and not only held the boat but was waiting to meet us in the parking lot to assure us they weren’t leaving without us. Greatfully thankful!!!
Bernie_F, Apr 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Cozumel

star-5
Excellent experience
Elsa_G, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
Excellent experience! The tour guys Alex & Philly were so helpful. The water was nothing I’ve seen better. So clear and clean. I would definitely recommend it.
star-4
This excursion was very...
Kansas_F, Apr 2022
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
This excursion was very very fun. The guides were very entertaining and accommodating in terms of safety and hospitality. The did tour did seem slightly rushed and was not a full four hours as stated. The snacks were great as were the drinks. Overall I do believe it is worth the money.
star-5
Rockin Zeus!
Timothy_M, Mar 2022
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
We got to go snorkelling on the reef, saw starfish and enoyed some guacamole and beer in clear beautiful water. The crew was the best. They were very good explaining safety and watching over us while snorkelling. They made the guac and we rocked out to tunes while riding the catamaran
star-5
Incredible
Basak_D, Mar 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
The guides and the captain were excellent and professional. Reefs were clean. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing underwater wildlife. Be advised that there are no bathrooms on the boat and essentially no cover. We lost an iPhone due to torrential downpour drenched during the trip but that was on us. Overall an exceptional memory. Highly recommend
star-4
Reefs, sea stars and...
Heather_H, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour to Palancar Reef and El Cielo
Reefs, sea stars and drinks in water. A bit too much waiting around beforehand. Info re photos to purchase not given, maybe because we were the only English speaking people.
star-5
Amazing snorkeling & great tour guide!
Deborah_R, Feb 2022
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
Tour guide Dave was welcoming and fabulous! Very attentive to snorkeling safety and making sure we were having a great time as well with plenty of tequila, cerveza, & non-alcoholic drinks. Tour stopped at three places from deep to shallow waters so you could see different marine life. Colorful fish, lots of stingrays & starfish etc...Amazing fun experience &adventure that I would highly recommend when you visit Cozumel Island.
star-5
Great price, great tour!
Matt_R, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
Carlos was an incredible guide. The tour was lovely, incredibly scenic, and ended with great snacks and cold beer. We had a really perfect day.
star-5
Amazing!
Lynn_S, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
We had a wonderful time. The snorkeling was amazing. The tour guide, captain and photographer were great and kept a close eye on everyone in the water. We ended the excursion at a clear shallow area and provided drinks and some great chips/ guacamole. While sitting in the water we saw numerous stingrays swimming by. Such a memorable experience!
star-5
Adventure /Great Experience
Ernest_S, Mar 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and Cielo Reefs
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💦🐟💙
star-5
Wow!
Alice_Q, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
The reefs were beautiful! Most beautiful thing I have seen in my life. The boat ride was fun and the capitain and the guide were super kind and helpful. Thank you again Alex and Juanito! We really appreciated our tour!
star-4
Nice trip
Bernie_W, May 2022
El Cielo reef by Catamaran with Beach Club
Nice trip but note that "motorized catamaran" is not a sailboat. Crew was very helpful, especially when we struggled with a strong current at one location. Also, captain was nice enough to drop us off at our hotel.
star-5
Great Experience!
Gavin_M, May 2022
Cozumel Snorkeling Tour: Palancar, Columbia and El Cielo Reefs
The tour guides were very nice and always asking if we were ok during the whole trip. The chips and guacamole they made right on the boat was to die for and we got to see a lot of fish, a sea turtle, and a few stingrays!! Highly recommend for anyone wanting a fun adventure!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Palancar Reef is a must-see attraction for wildlife lovers, families with kids, snorkelers, and scuba divers.

  • Remember to bring sun protection, a swimsuit, and plenty of water.

  • It’s a good idea to wear a wetsuit or rash guard while diving or snorkeling to protect against the sun, jellyfish, and rough coral surfaces.

  • Be careful not to touch or disturb the wildlife.

  • Evidence of dive certification is required to participate in certified dives.

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How to Get There

Palancar Reef is located off the island of Cozumel near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The closest access to the reef is Palancar Beach, a laid-back public beach close to the intersection of Avenida Melgar and the Costera Sur. Taxis, car rentals, and motor scooters are the most popular ways to travel on the small island of Cozumel.

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When to Get There

You can visit Palancar Reef year-round, but it’s busiest from December through April, when the weather tends to be sunny and warm. There are fewer crowds during hurricane season (May through October), but be sure to check the weather for storms.

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Must-See Dive Sites at Palancar Reef

While snorkelers typically visit the shallowest parts of Palancar’s coral reefs, scuba divers have several world-famous spots to explore. The Palancar Caves are probably the most famous dive site, with huge brain corals and swim-through tunnels. Palancar Horseshoe is another massive formation of huge corals. Less experienced divers can visit Palancar Gardens, a shallower spot with mellow currents.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Palancar Reef?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Cozumel?
A:
As well as visiting the Palancar Reef, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: