How to Visit Punta Sur, the Largest Nature Reserve in Cozumel


All the Best Things to Do in Punta Sur (Cozumel Island)

If you are looking for a place to enjoy the beauty and diversity of nature in Cozumel, Punta Sur is the perfect destination for you.

Punta Sur is an ecological park that spans over 1000 hectares of land and water, where you can find a variety of habitats and wildlife, such as crocodiles, pink flamingos and sea turtles that come to nest on the shores.

Punta Sur is my favorite spot in Cozumel, because it offers a peaceful and stunning natural area away from the crowds of tourists.

In this guide, I will show you all the attractions and activities that you can do in Punta Sur, as well as how to get there by yourself or with an organized tour, how long to stay and where to stay when you visit Punta Sur.

Are you ready to discover Punta Sur? Let’s get started!

Punta Sur attractions

Punta Sur offers a lot of eco-touristic activities that you can enjoy in 3h, 4h or 5h, depending on your preferences and time availability. ❤️

To make the most of your time, I recommend visiting Punta Sur in this order (details below):

1- Arrive in the morning, as early as possible (9am if you are already in Cozumel, but if you have to catch the ferry it will probably be at 10:45-11am).

2- Celerain Lighthouse (with museum and observation tower).

3- Colombia Lagoon boat ride (depending on the time, as there are only 3 departures a day).

4- Rest at Chunchacab beach.

5- Lookout at X’Tacún Lagoon.

6- El Caracol Archaeological Site.

1. Enjoy a spectacular view from the lighthouse

The Celerain Lighthouse (sometimes spelled Celarain) is a must-see in Punta Sur.

It is a 30 m high white structure that houses the small navigation museum and offers a spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea and lakes to those willing to climb its 133 steps.

Around it, there is also an area with hammocks and chairs to relax in front of the sea – there are even swings!

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Faro Celarain, Punta Sur, Cozumel
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View of Punta Sur Lighthouse (Cozumel)
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The view of the sea from Punta Sur lighthouse, Cozumel

2. Colombia Lagoon

Colombia Lagoon is home to 23 species of amphibians and reptiles, 224 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 24 species of bats and many endemic species.

I really recommend taking the boat ride with a guide (Spanish/English), which is very interesting. We saw several flamingos and two crocodiles.

And it’s a good opportunity to rest in the shade!

  • There are only three departures a day at 12, 1 and 2 pm.
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The lagoon entrance, Punta Sur, Cozumel
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Colombia Lagoon boat ride, Punta Sur (Cozumel)
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The pink flamingos of Colombia Lagoon, Punta Sur
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A crocodile in Colombia Lagoon, Punta Sur

3. Chunchacab Beach

After exploring the natural wonders of Punta Sur, you can unwind at Punta Sur beach, a beautiful beach with fine sand and calm, transparent and very shallow waters.

There are several beach clubs in Punta Sur, such as Bahía Azul, Anemona de Mar, Tikin Xic and El Cielo. I have only been to Bahía Azul, so I can’t compare them, but I can tell you that it was a great experience.

The lounge chairs are comfortable, the service is good, there is a menu of food (hamburger, quesadillas, etc., 200-300 pesos) and cocktails (200-270 pesos).

It’s not cheap, but there is no mandatory minimum consumption here and on the beach prices are always a bit high. At least the place is very clean and well-maintained!

Since we were on a limited budget and arrived a bit late, we only had two beers (90 pesos each). If we had known how nice it was, we would have arrived earlier to enjoy it longer and more calmly, because the place is really paradisiacal! ❤️

  • It is possible to rent snorkeling equipment including life jackets and fins (15$usd per person), or a kayak (1-2 persons 20$usd for 1h).
  • Massage service is also available (20 min 30$usd, 60 min 90$usd).
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Playa Punta Sur, Cozumel
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Punta Sur Beach

4. El Caracol Archaeological Site

El Caracol is a Mayan temple (13th-16th centuries) that served as a landmark for boats. It got the name snail because of its shape and the snails that decorate its vaulted ceiling, a unique feature in the area.

Some call it the Tomb of the Snail because it is small and looks like a burial monument, but it is not.

  • Nearby, there is also a pier and an observation tower overlooking the X’tacun lagoon, where you can spot crocodiles and various birds!

5. Have a drink at Rasta Bar

Rasta’s bar is located at the entrance of the park, and it has a very cool decor, direct access to the beach, friendly service, tasty guacamole (120 pesos), and cocktails with plenty of alcohol (140-280 pesos depending on size).

I was skeptical at first, thinking it was a tourist trap, but after riding a scooter for 40 minutes, we decided to give it a try before entering Punta Sur park.

To my surprise, I loved it: it was a cozy and fun spot to relax and enjoy the view.

However, since it was already 11 am and we didn’t want to waste any more time, we didn’t stay long at the bar.

I recommend going there at the end, after visiting the park and before heading back to the city, to enjoy it at your own pace! 😊

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Cocktails, Rasta Bar, Punta Sur (Cozumel)

Punta Sur tourist map

Here is a map of all the tourist attractions of Punta Sur in Cozumel:

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Punta Sur tourist map in Cozumel. View source

How much time is needed to visit Punta Sur

With the Colombia Lagoon (1h), the beach (1-2h), the lighthouse (30min) and getting around (30 min) I would say at least 3h, but you can easily spend 4h or 5h.

How to get to Punta Sur

You can visit Punta Sur on your own (without an agency) or with a tour.

Either way, you will need to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel . I suggest you catch the first ferry that leaves at 9 am with Ultramar, so you will probably get to the entrance of Punta Sur around 11 am.

If you have already rented a car in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, I recommend you bring the car with you, it will be much more convenient!

For all the details about getting to Cozumel, check out My Ultimate Guide to Cozumel!

Going to Punta Sur without an agency (On your own)

Punta Sur is located at the south end of Cozumel island, about 30 km from the ferry dock.

  • For the GPS, use Bar Rasta as a reference point for the park entrance.

It is very easy to drive there by car (35 min), as there is only one road (Quintana Roo C-1), so you won’t get lost and it is peaceful. You can also take some of the Coastal Highway, which is more scenic, but at some point it becomes a road only for bikes and pedestrians.

If you don’t have a car, you will need to rent one when you get to Cozumel. There are several rental agencies near the port, with different options: jeep, scooter, buggy, etc.

Personally, since I was on a budget, I chose to rent a scooter with my friend.

Honestly, inside the Punta Sur park, the scooter was GREAT, but I didn’t enjoy the 40 min ride there and 40 min ride back on the road with the wind, the sun and, especially, the helmet that kept moving. Luckily, we were able to use the Coastal Highway for most of the way. 😅

If you are on a tight budget, a scooter is the best option, but if you can afford it (or if you are traveling with 3-4 people to share the cost) and you can drive stick shift, go for a Jeep or a buggy.

My advice

Renting a scooter in Cozumel can be a great way to explore the island, but you need to be careful about who you rent from and what you pay for.

I learned this the hard way when I fell for a scam in Playa del Carmen. A representative from a rental agency approached me and offered me a good deal on the scooters, but only if I paid in advance.

I trusted her and paid, but when I got to the agency in Cozumel, I had to pay for the basic insurance, plus extra insurance!

When I questioned and protested, the lady at the agency said “oh, yeah, this representative does that sometimes” (as if she didn’t know and approve… what a joke)

So, my advice is: choose a reliable rental agency in Cozumel based on Google reviews and don’t pay for anything upfront.

What about taking a cab or a bike to Punta Sur?

I don’t recommend either, and here’s why:

-A cab is an expensive option considering the distance and very limiting because the cab will drop you off at the entrance, but you will need to get around inside the Punta Sur park. If you decide to go to Punta Sur by cab, I suggest you arrange with the same driver to pick you up later .

A bike has some advantages (cheap option and you can use the Coastal Highway which is in good condition, very scenic and free of motorized vehicles for a long stretch). However, it takes 1h30 to get there and 1h30 to get back in the heat and the sun, so unless you have plenty of time and you really enjoy cycling, it is not the most convenient way to get there.

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Scooter in Punta Sur, Cozumel

Go to Punta Sur with a tour

If you prefer to avoid the stress of thinking about renting and driving, another great option is to book a jeep tour to Punta Sur.

This is a full day tour that includes transportation to and from Punta Sur, visit to the lighthouse and Mayan archaeological site, tequila tasting, boat ride on the Colombia Lagoon, lunch at a beach club (with water and beer) and free time on the beach.

You can book the tour to Punta Sur directly here (click on the option that suits you best):

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Entrance to Punta Sur (Cozumel): prices and schedules

  • Admission: adults 343 pesos ($19usd), children from 4 to 12 years old 234 pesos ($13usd) and children under 3 years old free.
  • Open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Sunday).
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The entrance to Punta Sur Park

Where to stay to visit Punta Sur (Cozumel)

Depending on the time you have, you can decide to sleep in Cozumel or in the Riviera Maya, for example in Playa del Carmen.

Sleeping in Cozumel

It is the ideal way to visit Punta Sur as soon as it opens, with (almost) no one!

Staying in Cozumel is a very good idea if you want to enjoy the island in a privileged way since most visitors come only for the day.

  • Hacienda Boutique Mi Casa tu Casa B&B: one hacienda-style house with authentic and colorful Mexican charm, outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Very good traditional breakfast and an excellent welcome from the hosts, from only 82 usd per night!
  • Villas El Encanto Cozumel: for more comfort, I suggest this hotel that offers air-conditioned apartments and bungalows with kitchenette and terrace. Nice garden, swimming pool, hammocks and lounge chairs. It offers excellent value for money, at only 115 usd per night.
  • Allegro Cozumel All-Inclusive: is an all-inclusive hotel in Cozumel ideal for families. Located on San Francisco beach with many activities available (beach volleyball, yoga, snorkeling, kayaking, etc), a playground and a kids club, 3 swimming pools, one of them with slides. From 205 usd per night all-inclusive.
  • Meliá Cozumel All Inclusive: to enjoy the tranquility, this is an all-inclusive hotel with a beautiful private beach, spacious rooms, full spa, two pools, one of them only for adults with bar. I recommend the room with ocean view, from 280 usd euros per night all inclusive!

Sleeping in Playa del Carmen

You can sleep in Playa del Carmen and make the round trip in one day to visit Punta Sur.

  • Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only: great hostel to meet other travelers and party, with a rooftop terrace that has a bar and a small pool, with several offered activities. Clean, with good wifi and a great welcome. From only 13 $usd for the dormitory or 37 $usd for a private room!
  • Hotel Lunata: a charming hotel with hacienda style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with a garden, rooms with balcony, and has very friendly service. From only 82 $usd per night!
  • Porto Playa Condo Beach Club: here you will find a spacious apartment ideal for a family, with fully equipped kitchen, living room and terrace. The hotel has a large swimming pool, a gym and a restaurant, starting at 172 $usd per night!
  • The Reef Playacar Resort & Spa: located on the beautiful beach of Playacar, just a few minutes from Fifth Avenue. Ideal for a romantic stay, with a beautiful tropical garden, two pools, a gym and a spa. 200 $usd with the “all inclusive” formula.
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive: it is definitely the best hotel in Playa del Carmen! Ideal for couples and families with children as this luxury hotel offers an exceptional package including meals and access to its parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha and Xenote). Starting at 860 $usd per night, all inclusive.

My tip
Check out my comprehensive guide to find the perfect hotel or resort for your stay. Here’s the link: Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen? 

My opinion about Punta Sur

Punta Sur is a great choice if you want to visit a non-touristy spot in Cozumel, where you can enjoy nature and relax.

If you are looking for a place that offers fun activities for the whole family (like zip lines, water games, etc.), you might prefer other places, such as Chankanaab Park or Playa Mia.

I really had a good time, but next time I would choose to visit Punta Sur with a tour instead of worrying about transportation. Or I would rent a different vehicle, like a Jeep, except I can’t drive stick shift.🤣

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visit Punta Sur Cozumel Island


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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