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“Columbia Shallows & Palancar Reef Snorkel”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Palancar Reef

Palancar Reef
Book In Advance
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$50.99*
and up
Caribbean Combo - Sailing, Snorkeling and Sunset
Ranked #1 of 159 things to do in Cozumel
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This beautiful reef sits in about 80 feet of water and is a popular diving spot.
sf bay area
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Columbia Shallows & Palancar Reef Snorkel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2011

Unlike most snorkel "tours" that take a boat load of tourists out and dump them in one spot to flail around in and then cart you back in, this is truly a tour of the reef. You'll find a kiosk at the beach. They asked $35/pp for a 1.5 hour tour, but since we brought our own equipement, we talked them down to $30. Normally we shore/beach snorkel, but the famed Palancar Reef is too far out to swim to, so a boat is the only way to go. Plus, there is so much boat activity out there, it'd be dangerous to swim out on your own at any distance.

We were lucky to be the only 2 snorkelers on a boat with 5 divers. I did not know we would be escorted, but glad we were. Marcello brought a life ring to hold on to, which I thought was unnecessary...but truly came to appreciate it because we snorkeled along the Columbia and THEN the Palancar...snorkeling for an hour straight in the open ocean!

Marcello did not require us to hang onto the life ring, but I felt more secure doing so because of the winter rolling waves. My husband is a stronger swimmer, so he freely went about within earshot of Marcello, who was deft at spotting and pointing out lobster, Lion Fish, stingray, and turtle.

The boat quietly followed us from a distance, never disturbing our tour...it seemed like were the only ones in the ocean. Unfortunately I did start to get quite cold since it was a cloudy day and the sun wasn't as warm and we were in the open water for so long. But I didn't want to ask to get back in the boat because I didn't want to miss a thing.

The visibility was amazing. Columbia Shallows we could easily see down 20-40 ft. and Palancar down to 100 ft. with it's towering coral and caves.

The Palancar Beach club has great chaise lounges, hammocks, rinse off showers that you can use for free. They do not pressure you to buy any food or drink. But if you do, the food is much better than most beach clubs. Peacocks roam the grounds looking for scraps and a nice thick grove of coconut trees provide ample shade.

In the past Palancar was not frequented by cruise ship passengers (who tend to be herded to the closer and bigger San Francisco Beach), so it was ridiculous to have so many people clumped on the small beach at one time. This may have been because it was windier that day at the SF beach. The crowd all seem to evacuate by 3:00 pm. and then it was pleasantly serene again.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
20 Thank CaliFornia94110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Waterloo, Iowa
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“National Geographic Stuff”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

Walls and balls of sardines being eaten by grouper and every other kind of fish, large old turtles, nurse sharks, swim threws.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank To-cold-at-Home
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Level Contributor
90 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Stunning”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

I'm not a world diver, but I've been snorkeling all over the Caribbean, and the Palancar reef is truly exceptional. Don't miss it.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank katytudi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Martinez, Georgia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Swimming in the aquarium!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

Diving in Cozumel never disappoints. In fact, you'll swim with fish you've seen only in the largest metropolitan aquariums.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank khimmelsbach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2011

Saw beautiful Eagle Rays, sea turtles, and even a nurse shark!

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank alysamarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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