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“Awesome snorkeling trip, nice beach!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Palancar

Playa Palancar
15 miles south of San Miguel | Parque National Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico
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Ranked #15 of 87 attractions in Cozumel
Type: Beaches
Attraction Details
Saint Peters
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Awesome snorkeling trip, nice beach!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

We were in port on Carnival Triumph on 10/11/12. We took cab to Playa Palancar. Paid $60 to cabbie and he took us there from Puetro Playa dock and waited for us in the parking lot all day (4-5 hours). We paid $35 per person to take boat out to reef. Our 8 year old son was free, since he did not snorkel. He went along for the ride and had fun regardless. The snorkeling was simply awesome. The reef was great. The staff was very nice and helpful. The water was very calm that day, which was good for our 13 year daughter, who has little snorkeling experience. We saw a shark, a few stingrays, and a sea turtle. M wife, daughter, and I absolutely loved it. When we returned, we spent the rest of our day on the beach. Beach is nice with plenty of beach chairs and chaises to relax. They have bar and restaurant, but we did not use either. This place was not crowded at all, which made it especially nice. We will defintiely be back.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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263 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Navarre, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Could live here!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

This is a great beach, especially if you hate the crowds and touristy beaches with all of the same stuff you can have here in the U.S. !! It's clean and quiet, great snorkeling, and even though we have seen prices increase over the past few years, it is still a much better value than the newer places closer to town. Great service and snorkeling. We rented a car in Cozumel for $35, the 4 of us had lots of beer and snacks all day for about $50. Renting a car was very quick and easy, and we used less than a gallon of gas. Clean restrooms and showers are free, nice photographers with no pressure to buy their photos (but they are cute!). Been here several times, as I will avoid the paradise beach and Carlos & Charlies at all cost!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mars Hill, North Carolina
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

Just spent an afternoon at Playa Palancar and it was amazing! Great food and service, beautiful beach, perfect weather and loved the hammocks. After relaxing with lunch and a cold drink, we went out on the boat to snorkel at the reefs. The dive operator was very professional and the snorkeling was amazing. Besides the magnificent coral reefs, we saw a starfish bed and tons of fish--even some very large black groupers, a sea turtle, and a shark. Our tour guide made sure we saw everything and kept watch and was helpful the entire time. We lucked out with calm seas and clear visibility. But, even without the snorkeling, the beach was a great get-a-way from the madness of the city. $25 taxi ride each way and worth the price.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Wonderful Beach Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

I can only speak on behalf of the beach and restaurant, since that is all we experienced. However, what we DID experience was magnificent. We took a cruise to Cozumel this past weekend (Sept. 2012) and decided to rent a car to explore the island. We stopped at various beaches along the way and enjoyed this one most of all. Our goal was simple: to find a beach to swim and enjoy the water, a restaurant and awesome view. Beer was $3 a bottle which did not seem bad to me and lunch for me and my husband was $16 and delicious. The facilities are nice and the view is fantastic, of course. A few things:
1. Bring water shoes because it is rocky getting in and out of the water. This is pretty common in Cozumel I've found.
2. There are fish in the water that swim with you. It is a super cool feature of this beach, but can surprise you if you're not expecting it (which we weren't).
3. If you come in on a cruise and simply want to check out a beach and do some shopping, I recommend taking a taxi here. Roundtrip it is about $45-$50 from the cruise pier. Car rental is usually around $35 in the same area. The extra $10-$15 is totally worth the time wasted renting the car.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Unethical Dive Shop Operators”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

Stopped in Cozumel as a port of call on the Allure of the Seas on 8/30/12. Have been to Cozumel before, but never to Playa Palancar. Based on TripAdvisor reviews and other recommendations, decided to give it a try for some snorkeling. The beach itself and the facilities were nice, but the Dive Shop ruined our port day. The water was rougher than usual and when I inquired about taking a boat out to the reef to snorkel, the Dive shop operator speaks to me in English. I ask him about the sea conditions and if it's too rough to snorkel. He insists that the water near the reef will be calmer than surf conditions and not to worry, it will be a great time. I also ask about my wife, who does not snorkel but wants to come on the boat to watch me and my son in the water. The normal charge is $30 a person, but she can come as a non-snorkeler for $15. So $75 for the 3 of us. OK, done. Since we were one of the first groups there, they wait for more people to show up so they can go out with a full boat. No problem, that;s just doing business. So we wait about 45 mins and one of the guys comes to get us. So now here's were it all goes downhill. First, the boat we are going out to the reef on in anchored about 100 yards out in the water. So to get us to that boat, the load the gear onto an inflatable boat with an outboard motor and bring it to the boat. At first, I thought they were going to get on the boat and bring it to the rock pier which is about 200 yards left of the beach. But no, they come back and start loading US into that inflatable boat 3 at a time. Ok, whatever. But the water is so rough, just getting into the boat is hard. So me, my wife and son are the first 3 on the boat, and it's ROCKING. Not good. We are on the rocking boat for about 15 mins and the inflatable goes back and forth to pick up more passengers. Finally, we are all loaded onto the main boat and start heading out to the reef. The Lead Diver gives basic hand signals, instructions and guidelines. Then, out of nowhere, the captain GUNS the boat and we are flying through the water. Normally, this would be fun, except, the water is so rough, we are literally bottoming out and people on the boat are getting sick (I was fine, but my wife and son and a few others, not so much). Water is not just splashing into the boat, it is flooding the boat. Our towels and my wife's bad that was placed under the seats "to stay dry just in case it splashes" became soaked. So after 5 mins of this, we finally get to the reef. And the water is STILL ROUGH. No calmer than it was near the surf. My son and two other people were so sick by now, they couldn't even get into the water to snorkel. They stayed on the boat. To make matters worse, it starts to rain (not the Dive operators fault), so visibility wasn't great. Also, since the water was so rough, I had to constantly clear my snorkel and it was just not a fun experience. I did see a sea turtle, a stingray and lot's of coral, but it would have been more enjoyable if conditions were better and if my son had been there with me. So when it was done, we get back on the boat and head back. Found out my son threw up while I was in the water. No speed boating this time. This time, they do dock at the rock pier because of the conditions and we walk the 200 yards back to the beach. So I go to the Dive Operator and tell him that my son got sick and never went into the water. I asked him if I could split the difference and just pay the $15 Observer fee like my wife instead of the full $30. No all of a sudden, this guy doesn't speak English, even though it's the SAME guy I was speaking English to before. Now, I understand Spanish. I can speak it to enough to communicate, but it's not the easiest thing for me, but my wife speaks it fluently. So the Dive Operator asks one of his co workers to come "speak to me in English" to explain that the cannot give me a refund. I tried to reason with them and say I'm not asking for a full refund, just an adjustment to reflect the actual activity (he never got in the water). They gave me the run around and denied me and the 2 other people who didn't get in who were asking for a Full refund. It was frustrating because they told all of us the same thing about the water conditions being better by the reef, which was a LIE. So in the end, we washed up, waited about $15 mins for a taxi to come get us even though there were 3 taxi's in the parking lot (that's another story) and headed back to the ship. All in all, I think it is bad business to lie to customers and then not take care of them when they have bad experiences. If they had refunded me the $15, that $15 would have gone right back into their pockets + more $$ because we would have stayed, had lunch, ordered a few beers, etc. Instead, all they got was the $75 from the snorkel trip and that's all they will ever get from me. There are many places to go in Cozumel. Chakanaab, Paradise Beach, Mr. Sanchos, Playa Corona (great snorkeling there), etc. Next time I'm in Cozumel (and there will be a next time), I will go back to one of those places. Oh well, you live and you learn. What's bad is that it was a nice beach and the other people I dealt with seemed very friendly. Too bad the resident dive ship has insensitive, unethical people running it.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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