Are you planning to visit El Cielo Cozumel and snorkel with starfish in stunning blue waters? You’re in the right spot! Check out my complete guide to learn everything you must know about the El Cielo Tour in Cozumel.
About El Cielo Cozumel
Only accessible via the boat. El Cielo in Cozumel is a snorkeling destination where you will see an abundance of starfish and dip in the stunning clear waters.
A tour called the El Cielo tour is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Cozumel. It will bring visitors through El Cielo in addition to incredible snorkeling in the world-renowned coral reefs.
Where is El Cielo?
El Cielo (“Heaven” in Spanish) is located on the southwest coast of Cozumel, the island of Mexico.
It’s often referred to as “Playa El Cielo”, but it’s not the beach itself but rather a more shallow section of water just near the shore in the middle of the island.
It’s one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in Cozumel and is renowned for its abundance of starfish and crystal clear water.
How To Get To El Cielo Cozumel
El Cielo can only be accessible by boat, making the journey more challenging. You can arrange a tour or rent boats or a catamaran direct from Cozumel.
I’ve tried both as well. Booking a trip is more spartan, particularly if you’re not familiar with the area of Cozumel by yourself.
Book A Tour
If you’re travelling via Playa del Carmen, the most convenient method to get to El Cielo is to book the tour in advance on the internet.
Street vendors along 5th Avenue sell El Cielo snorkeling tours, and while these tours are cheaper than the other options, I would not recommend this choice.
I’ve done it before, and when we got to the location of the meeting, the tour operator didn’t have any information about our purchase and was almost refusing to allow us to go on the tour.
To be sure of your booking Book your trip online so that you get confirmation of your tour and dedicated customer service that can resolve any problems.
Numerous El Cielo Cozumel snorkeling tours are suitable for your needs, including round-trip transportation and hotel pickup.
The tour departs from the dock in Cozumel; therefore, it’s a good idea to take the ferry and reach Cozumel by yourself. I suggest making a reservation for a tour that begins in Cozumel.
If not, an all-inclusive trip that includes ferry tickets and pickup of your accommodation at Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya is the most convenient and hassle-free choice.
the El Cielo Cozumel tour cost?
The price associated with El Cielo Cozumel tours will depend on your choice of transport. Prices for the tour typically start at USD 55 when you’re meeting in Cozumel.
The cost can rise from $130 or more USD on more comprehensive tours, including pick-up of Hotels in Riviera Maya.
Be aware that for tours that start in Cozumel, they require to purchase round-trip ferry tickets that cost an additional USD 25.
Take a boat from a beach club in Cozumel
Another option to visit El Cielo is renting an excursion boat from a beach club on Cozumel. This can be done starting from Playa Palancar, an incredible beach located at the southern end of the Island.
There’s a dive shop at the beach offering boat trips towards El Cielo and nearby reefs.
This is the cheapest alternative and provides the same experience, but you’ll still need to travel to Cozumel on your own and get a taxi ride to Playa Palancar, which costs around USD 15 each way.
What’s included in the El Cielo tour?
What’s included in the tour can vary based on the tour operator and when you opt for a tour that includes transportation. Here’s what’s fit for the vast majority of El Cielo tours:
- Roundtrip boat trip departing from Cozumel marina
- Snorkeling at two coral reefs: the Palancar Reef and Colombia Reef
- Snorkeling with starfish in El Cielo
- Stop for a relaxing break at “El Cielito” beach
- Snorkeling equipment
- Life jackets
- Soft drinks, bottle-sealed water and beers (2 per person)
El Cielo Tour Itinerary
The tour’s start time depends on whether you select an excursion with hotel pickup in Playa del Carmen or the Rivera Maya.
Transfers from your hotel may start as early as 7:00 morning or, if you’re meeting in Cozumel, the departure time is likely around 11:00 am.
Remember that this tour departs on the Cozumel ferry around this point; therefore, you must prepare for your ferry ride from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, which leaves every hour.
After arriving at the ferry terminal, you’ll greet your tour guides at the specified meeting place just outside central San Miguel de Cozumel, and then they’ll take you to the nearby boat.
Then, you’ll begin your snorkeling journey on two different reefs – Palancar and Colombia. Then, you’ll go the snorkeling experience on El Cielo and a relaxing visit to El Cielito beach. The duration of the tour is around 3 hours.
The First Stop: Palancar Reef
After leaving the marina near Cozumel, you’ll depart from the marina. Cozumel ferry port, passengers will travel across the coastline. The initial stop of your tour will be snorkeling on Palancar Reef.
It is believed that the Cozumel Reef system is the second most extended reef system in the world and is second after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
You’ll be equipped with snorkeling masks and life jackets, and you’ll be able to jump into the ocean!
The water in Palancar Reef is about 20-40 feet deep. There are a variety of colorful fish as well as various coral species to see.
The Second Stop Colombia Reef
The next destination on tour is Colombia Reef, which is only a brief boat ride from the mainland. Colombia Reef is a bit smaller at 15-30 feet deep.
This snorkeling was like Palancar Reef, and in my view, not that amazing (at most on the day we went).
Third Stop: El Cielo
The third stop on tour was El Cielo. To me, El Cielo was the highlight of the trip.
I don’t know how beautiful the watercolour is, and how many species of starfish were visible was genuinely fantastic. El Cielo is definitely the most ideal spot to snorkel in Cozumel!
The water is around 7-8 feet deep. It’s profound. You may opt to take off your life jacket should you want.
Last Stop: El Cielito Cozumel
After visiting El Cielo, you’ll go towards Playa El Cielito (“Little Heaven”). That is a highly shallow beach with stunning turquoise waters.
The boat will be anchored, and guests will be served drinks and snacks while relaxing in the shallow waters.
Playa Cielito is a breathtaking spot to unwind and unwind after the adrenaline of starfish and snorkel hunts.
After exploring El Cielito, You’ll return to the ferry to get back to Cozumel.
What to do after the Cozumel El Cielo tour
The tour is scheduled to end at 2 pm, which means you’ll be able to spend some time at leisure in Cozumel even if you do not book an entire tour.
There are a lot of activities to enjoy in Cozumel. However, I’d strongly advise taking a trip to Playa Palancar, since it’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen on the entire island.
Playa Palancar is about a 15 minutes ride from where the ferry is, and the taxi cost is around USD 15 per way. However, it’s well worth the drive.
There are several beach clubs where you can lease lounge chairs and enjoy drinks and snacks from the beach. The perfect way to wind down your day!
What should you wear to the El Cielo tour?
Most of the time, you’ll be in the water, so it is essential to wear an appropriate swimsuit.
I prefer wearing a one-piece swimming suit when I go on snorkeling trips since they offer excellent coverage and are less stressful with life gear and snorkeling equipment.
Also, you’ll need an easy cover-up, flip-flops, sandals, and a sun hat. If you’re wearing a hat, put it well on your head, as it’s likely to blow away on a boat ride.
It’s recommended to carry an extra set of clothes to change into following the trip so that you don’t get trapped in a wet swimming suit on the return journey.
What do you need to bring for the El Cielo tour?
Here are a few important things I’d recommend taking for this tour: El Cielo tour:
- Biodegradable sunscreen: Be sure to wear biodegradable sunscreen since regular sunscreen isn’t allowed during the trip as it causes harm to coral reefs.
- Beach Towel: It is essential to have towels to dry your skin after snorkeling. The Microfiber Beach Towels are ideal since they’re lightweight and dry fast.
- GoPro or waterproof camera Make sure you bring a GoPro or waterproof camera to record your adventure. El Cielo offers a unique photo opportunity to capture close-up views of the starfish.
- Snorkel Equipment: You can also bring your own snorkeling set. Snorkeling equipment is included during the tour, but having your own will ensure cleanliness and the most comfortable fit.
- Snacks: Feel free to bring a few snacks to eat while you relax on El Cielo beach Cozumel. Our tour was just served slices of cheese and fresh Jicama.
- Cash to tip the tour guide: I would also suggest bringing money to pay the guide after your tour. It’s something that I frequently overlook and then am sad after an unforgettable tour.
Are you all set to go on a tour of El Cielo Cozumel? I hope this guide to El Cielo tours was helpful and that you get to see this stunning area!
It’s definitely among the best snorkeling trips I’ve ever been on.