Cozumel's Beaches and Coastline
Cozumel beaches are among the most popular reasons for visiting the area. One of the great things about holidaying on a small island like Cozumel is that you're rarely far from a beach. However, the fact that Cozumel is surrounded by one continuous beach doesn't make for monotony, as there is variety in the types of beach to choose from.
The western side of the island is popular because it is sheltered and the water is warm. Many of the beaches in this area are the kind you drool over in holiday brochures - smooth, white and sandy, like the San Francisco beach. Unsurprisingly, most of the hotels are located on this west coast. If you're swimming off the west coast, you will find that the currents tend to be stronger at the north end than at the south end, but waves are generally gentle. The east coast has choppier water and stronger winds, although there are some sheltered bays suitable for swimming.
Cozumel beaches can also be rocky, of the kind sometimes known as "iron shore". These aren't as pretty, so you're not as likely to see them in the brochures. However, this kind of rocky beach means a coral shoreline and good snorkeling. You will find rocky beaches at Villa Maya, Casa Caribena, Plaza Las Glorias and Playa Corona. However, if you plan to do a lot of snorkeling, consider investing in some surf booties to protect your feet.
There is another kind of beach to be found in Cozumel - the artificial beach, like the one at Chankannab. These are created when people bring in sand to create a sandy beach on top of the limestone that's naturally there. There is an advantage to these "hybrid" beaches; you get the pretty sand as well as good snorkeling. Many all-inclusive resorts have man-made beaches, in order to be able to offer good sunbathing and snorkeling as part of one package.
Even if you've only come to Cozumel to top up your tan, you might want to take a break from all that arduous sun-worshipping. This is where the beach clubs come in. You will see plenty of signs advertising "beach clubs", which could be anything from a small snack bar to a large recreational area. The palapa huts, sometimes described as beach clubs, offer alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and light snacks, as well as some welcome shade. The larger beach clubs might offer restaurants and watersports. For the full Cozumel experience, you should spend at least one day of your holiday relaxing on a sun lounger with a drink in your hand.