One of the beaches on the east coast of Cozumel.

7 BEST Things to Do on the East Side of Cozumel, Mexico (2024)

Cozumel, Mexico, is a popular cruise ship port for many cruise lines when you cruise to the western Caribbean. Whether you choose to stay near the port or venture to the east side of Cozumel, it’s worth the time and expense to explore this Caribbean jewel.

Many people opt to go to beach bars for a relaxing day and there are all kinds to choose from. But you can also visit Mayan ruins, go snorkeling or bird watching here.

Since Cozumel is such a small island, only 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, it’s easy to rent a car and make the entire trip around the island in about an hour. Or, if you would rather travel with your personal guide in a private vehicle, you can book a four-hour private island tour that is customizable based on your plans.

Why not spend a half day and visit the east coast of Cozumel which offers a serene escape from the bustling tourist areas? Venture down the jungle-lined roads and be rewarded with stunning ocean views and charming beach shacks that embody the island’s laid-back charm. This is what we did on the cruise I did in January.

But without further ado, you will find the best things to do on the east coast of Cozumel below!

Best Things to Do on the East Side of Cozumel

1. Relax at one of the beaches

One of the beaches in Cozumel, Mexico.

One of the must-visit destinations on the east side is San Martin Beach. This secluded stretch of sand has crystal-clear waters and provides the perfect setting for a day of relaxation and exploration.

My friend and I were the only two people on this stretch of beach and luckily, there are little thatch huts on the beach so you have some protection from the sun. I pulled out my paperback book and had total quiet which is so rare these days.

Some other nice beaches on the East side of Cozumel are Playa Bonita, Punta Morena Beach, Chen Rio Beach, Punta Sur Beach, and Punta Chiqueros Beach.

2. Go diving or Snorkeling

Cozumel is a great place to go diving or snorkeling as you will find a great variety of fish here.

One of the best spots to go snorkeling in Cozumel is Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, and it’s located on the east side of the island. You will find the second-largest reef in the world here!

3. Head to one of the beach bars

Drinking margarita at the beach.

There are plenty of amazing beach bars on the east side of Cozumel. Rasta Bar, San Martin Beach Bar, and El Pescador Marisqueria & Bar are just a few examples.

Here, you can sip margaritas, savor local food, relax, and simply enjoy the atmosphere and have a good time… all while having a gorgeous view of the beach.

A trip to Cozumel wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one of these if you’re asking me!

4. Visit Mayan ruins

The Mayan ruins of El Cedral on the East side of Cozumel, Mexico.
El Cedral

If you’re a history buff, you will be happy to hear that you can explore Mayan ruins on the east side of Cozumel. The ruins of San Gervasio and El Cedral are the most famous ones.

Dating back to 800 A.D., El Cedral is the oldest Mayan ruins in Cozumel and was once the island’s capital. Although not much is left of it today, it’s a place you will love if you would like to learn more about the history of Cozumel.

5. Learn to make chocolate and wine

If you are interested in an excursion with an educational component to it for a family with children, I highly recommend the chocolate-making and wine experience in Cozumel that I wrote about in my post about the MSC Yacht Club.

During this excursion, you will sample wine and learn to make chocolate using ancient Aztec-inspired techniques. It’s a unique experience that will teach you something new!

6. Visit Punta Sur Eco Beach Park

Punta Sur Eco Park on the East side of Cozumel in Mexico.

Thanks to its blue waters, white sand, and abundance of wildlife, Punta Sur Eco Park is one of Cozumel’s top tourist destinations.

This natural reserve is the perfect place to go bird-watching, enjoy nature, and unwind. It’s good to know that, if you’re looking for more active activities, you can also go kayaking or snorkeling here.

7. Dine at Coconut’s Bar & Grill

An adventure to the East Coast of Cozumel would not be complete without stopping at Coconut’s Restaurant. We spent a couple of hours enjoying margaritas and big grilled shrimp while enjoying the most mesmerizing ocean views.

Coconuts is a funky, fun hangout that makes you laugh and smile the whole time. The waiter brings you a simple, painted wooden paddle sign that serves as your menu. The thatched roof is lined with thousands of t-shirts and license tags and the bathroom sign is a simple one that says, “Pee Pee Station.”

On top of that, you are literally steps away from the Caribbean Ocean so it doesn’t get much better than this for an authentic Mexican dining experience. 

Where to Stay in Cozumel

If you’re not traveling on a cruise, but flying in for a land vacation, I’ve checked several sources including Expedia, US News and World Report, and Tripadvisor to find one of the best for you.

I’d recommend The Iberostar Cozumel

It holds a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award and gets accolades from its guests for its beachfront location and lush environment. There are three outdoor pools, six on-site restaurants, four on-site bars, and a fitness center.   

Why Not Cruise to Cozumel?

I’m a cruise junkie at heart. I love to share awesome bargains I see. One piqued my attention in a giant way this week when I saw a cruise to Alaska this coming August for $33 a night. It sounds like a great reason to escape the heat of Georgia! Check out the deal here.

Cozumel Mirador San Martin with the beach in the background.

East Side of Cozumel: Final Thoughts

The East side of Cozumel has some of the most crystal-clear turquoise waters I’ve ever seen and unparalleled snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.

Beyond the aquatic adventures, Cozumel boasts a rich cultural heritage, delectable cuisine, and a laid-back, friendly atmosphere that will have you feeling like a local in no time.   

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