Chen Rio beach looking North, shows sandy shore, briliant turquoise water, and some palm trees in the frame. A few small fishing boats on the shoreline.

Best Cozumel Beaches with Soft Sand – Go Barefoot!

Beach bums, unite! Are you planning a toes-in-the-sand beach getaway to Cozumel? Well, get ready to soak up some serious sunshine and leave the water shoes at home.

With these soft sand beaches in Cozumel, you can dive into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea without stubbing your toe or navigating too many rocks and coral.

With a backdrop of blue sky and even bluer water, Cozumel is dotted with nice sandy beaches that are perfect for a classic beach day. 

Stay tuned for our guide to the best sandy beaches in Cozumel. 

Cozumel Beaches: Sand Lovers vs. Snorkeling Fans

Beware!  Not all the best beaches and beach clubs in Cozumel are full of soft sand. 

And that’s a good thing in Cozumel, because those of you who love snorkeling or want to try it for the first time will want to scout out some other beaches with nice craggy limestone areas where fish and other critters camp out.

If that’s more your speed, check out this list of great snorkeling beaches instead

But for those of you who want the quintessential R&R beach day, just be aware that not all Cozumel beaches are equal. 

If you want to sink your toes into soft sand and avoid any rocky areas that could leave you hobbling like a landlubber, then read along and check out our top picks for the best sandy beaches in Cozumel. 

Whether you’re looking to spend the day swimming, sunbathing or just sipping on tropical drinks under a palapa, these beaches have got you covered.

Best Beaches in Cozumel for Sandy Beach Lovers

1. Playa Palancar for a Cozumel Beach Day Near the Reef

First up, we have Playa Palancar.

This famous Cozumel beach is known for its large stretch of beach along the turquoise water and an abundance of soft white sand and plenty of beach loungers – perfect for beach walks and laying out. 

Playa Palancar in Cozumel is a great place to visit for a day at the beach. It is located pretty far south of downtown San Miguel de Cozumel, so if you plan to go, you’ll need a taxi or a rental car

Playa Palancar is one of the largest and sandiest beach fronts in Cozumel, stretching out along a wide shore right on the Caribbean Sea.

The amenities at Playa Palancar are good, too. You’ll find plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas, plenty of food and drink, and good bathroom and shower facilities.

The beach club is comfortable, not super fancy, and the prices are reasonable, so you can make the most of your beach day without spending way too much money…if you don’t get carried away with their abundant drink selections.

One of the cons of Playa Palancar, as mentioned, is that it is relatively far from the town and the cruise piers.

This means that you’ll need to take a taxi or rent a car to get there, which can take a bit of time. However, we’re talking about an extra 15 minutes or so, there and back, so it’s certainly doable.

Plus, Cozumel taxis are easy to come by and reasonably priced, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get there and back.

Overall, Playa Palancar is a popular beach destination for a full beach day in Cozumel. With its wide sandy beach, a big seafood-heavy dining menu, and reasonable prices, it’s a great option for a fun, relaxing day in the sun.

  • What People Love: Playa Palancar’s simplicity, its proximity to El Cielo for snorkeling tours, and the fresh seafood menu – namely their ceviche. 
  • Amenities to Look For: Book a short boat ride tour of El Cielo, one of Cozumel’s most famous snorkeling spots
  • Hours: Open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm

Playa Palancar’s website.

Shot of shady Cozumel beach with local hammocks hung up among palm trees, blue ocean in the background.
Cozumel island beach with palm trees & hammocks

2. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park in Cozumel

One of my favorite beaches in Cozumel is the one found at the very secluded southern tip of Cozumel, in the huge white sandy beach area deep into the Punta Sur Eco Beach park, run by the municipality of Cozumel. 

Drive all the way into this special ecological beach and mangrove reserve in Cozumel, and you’ll end up at a stunning white sand beach that makes you feel like you’re at the end of the earth.

And actually, you are, since Punta Sur literally means the southernmost point along the coast of the island. 

If some in your party want to explore a bit more than they want to sunbathe, Punta Sur is perfect! 

There are vestiges of Maya ruins, the historic Celarain lighthouse you can climb up to see one of the most iconic vistas in Cozumel, a small lighthouse museum area. 

There are even free daily guided mangrove pontoon boat tours for your chance to spot juvenile marine life, crocodiles, and an array of incredible water birds – including occasional sightings of the amazing pink flamingoes that migrate through this area in November and December

Despite all the features at Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, it’s consistently praised for being quiet and a chill experience that gets you away from the more touristy beach clubs on the island. (this is only an issue on high tourism and cruise days – which peak around Spring Break and Semana Santa times in March/April.) 

In fact, from my experience, the main beach area at Punta Sur is one of the more pristine beaches on the island. The admission fee* is well worth it!

  • What People Love: Lagoon boat tour, bird watching, huge secluded beach, the lighthouse lookout point.
  • What to Look Out For: The occasional coati, iguana, and crocodile sightings!
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday from 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Admission Prices: Adults $19, Children $13 (4-12 years old)

Punta Sur’s website.

Cozumel Punta Sur Eco Beach E-Bike Tour with Beach Club Meal 2023
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Image of Nachi Cocom beach front, showing loads of empty lounge chairs and individual palapa umbrellas near the sandy shore entry to the water.
Sandy and serene at Nachi Cocom Beach Club in Cozumel, 2023

3. Nachi Cocom Beach Club Keeps Coz Crowds at Bay

Looking for a family-friendly spot that’s a little less crowded and hectic, but still a wonderful beach experience?

Head over to Nachi Cocom Beach Club, part of the Casa del Mar Dive Resort’s seaside venues.

With plenty of lounge chairs to sunbathe on and a swim-up bar for refreshments, a nice pool with an adjacent hot tub, this beach has got it all except huge crowds, even when there are tons of cruise ships in town. 

Nachi Cocom limits the number of people they accommodate each day (currently to 130), so it never gets…annoyingly crowded. 

Named after a famous Mexican warrior, you’ll only find peace and quiet here, along with individual palapas on the beach for shade, comfy lounge chairs, plenty of bathrooms and changing areas, and a huge palapa restaurant, full bar, and chair-side service. 

Nachi Cocom also has limited vendors with activities like sea kayaking and jet skis. But overall, it’s a tranquil and chill beach with a great vibe. 

Just go early and make sure you get your spot. 

  • What People Love: All-Inclusive “beach break” pricing w/open bar, nice beach and pool/hot tub, no overcrowding, peaceful environment
  • Amenities to Look For: Shady palapas on the beach, hand-woven hammocks typical to the region, easy sandy beach entry
  • Hours: Mon. – Sat. 8:30am – 5:00pm; Sundays 10:30am – 6:00pm

Nachi Cocom Website.

Chen Rio beach looking North, shows sandy shore, briliant turquoise water, and some palm trees in the frame. A few small fishing boats on the shoreline.
Chen Rio beach Cozumel island in Riviera Maya

4. Chen Rio Beach Club for True Coastal Cozumel

And if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, head to “the other side” of the island, and try out some of the wild and wooly beaches over on Cozumel’s so-called wild side.

The eastern shore of Cozumel is known as the other side because it’s the more remote, less developed, and very definitely the windward side of the island, so it bears the brunt of any high winds coming from the East.

Typically, the island of Cozumel is a nice breezy place, but from time to time those winds can get strong! 

The eastern shore is gorgeous and cool and definitely worth a trip, but if it’s a day with high wind conditions, the beaches can be rough and wavy, so just plan accordingly. 

On a relatively calm day, the beach areas at the beautiful Chen Rio Beach complex offer nice sandy areas, as well as some natural rocky formations that make it the best of both worlds. 

This is one of the eastern beaches where you can get some good use out of your snorkel gear. 

Add to that a great beachfront restaurant area, scenic overlooks, and some local surfers, and Chen Rio is a unique beach that will make for a Cozumel beach day you won’t soon forget. 

Chen Rio is on the other side, so you’ll need a taxi or a rental car in Cozumel. 

  • What People Love: Chen Rio’s dramatic coastline, loads of space, great beach restaurant, and the fish tacos!
  • Amenities to Look For:  Sandy beach areas, tidal pools to explore, remote wild-side location.
  • Hours: Varies by season
  • Admission Prices: N/A
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Another view of Chen Rio beach in Cozumel showing some natural rocks and reef outcroppings in the shallow water off shore.
Chen Rio beach Cozumel island – View further north

5. Playa San Martin on The Other Side of Cozumel

Another classic Cozumel beach on the windward East Side of the island is Playa San Martin. 

The San Martin beach is a large, wide-open beach with a lifeguard stand right in the middle, so you can’t miss it as you drive over to the other side in your rental car, or one of many Cozumel taxi cabs

Across the street from the beach, you can also take part in San Martin’s signature tequila tasting experience, and even spot some local parrots and iguanas, depending on who’s hanging out that day. 

Close to Coconuts, one of Cozumel’s favorite fun beach bars, a trip to Playa San Martin is a decent cab ride from the cruise ship areas, but it’s worth it.

Playa San Martin is also one of many areas where sea turtles return to Cozumel to nest each May-June, and some hatchlings emerge in August-October, so be careful where you step – we need your help to keep these home town sea-turtle nests safe and protected!

Known as one of the best beaches in Cozumel, Playa San Martin is a classic stop on any tour around the island. 

View of San Martin Beach looking down from stairs that go from the roadway down to the beach and sand, with lifeguard structure off to the left.
Cozumel island San Martin beach

Like Chen Rio, being on the east side of the island means that Playa San Martin is more vulnerable to sargassum events.

If you’ve read our other post about Cozumel’s lucky geography when it comes to sargassum and seaweed, you’ll know that we don’t get as much as other Caribbean destinations. But the east side of the island is a bit more of a trouble spot from time to time.

Beach crews and the municipality also do a good job of battling any seaweed accumulations when there are large blooms blown in from the Atlantic, but just be aware of the weather conditions.

If there’s been a lot of sargassum in the season and a lot of winds in from the east, you may want to check ahead or try one of the other beach clubs on the western coastline, like the ones above – or Paradise Beach, our next featured sandy beach in Cozumel, below. 

Read all about why Cozumel is relatively safe from the large sargassum blooms in recent years, right here. 

  • What People Love: Playa San Martin’s prime “wild side” locale, the wide open spaces, the iguana sightings, and the tequila experience. 
  • Amenities to Look For: San Marin is not dripping with amenities, it’s more of an old-school beach getaway vibe, which many of us really like!
  • Hours: N/A
  • Admission Prices: N/A, but snack bar food, drinks and some chair and umbrella rentals available

6. Paradise Beach Club – a Perennial Cozumel Favorite Beach

Paradise Beach Club is one of our first go-to beach clubs in Cozumel when we want a day at the beach – or at the pool, since Paradise has one of the nicest pools around.

In addition, you can get excellent chair-side service, a full restaurant and bar, and even walk up to a cool and kitschy taco truck on the premises to get some delicious tacos that Cozumel is known for. 

Back on the leeward west coast of Cozumel, you won’t have to worry about winds too much here, so you can stay nice and mellow – maybe even book a massage at their seaside spa area.

Aerial view of Paradise Beach club's pool and palapa restaurant area.
Aerial view of Paradise Beach Club in Cozumel

Or you can turn it up a notch and try Paradise Beach Club’s inflatable water park features to climb, bounce, and jump your way into your kids’ good graces!  

Paradise Beach Club has homemade guacamole stations, a huge palapa restaurant, a charming boutique and gift shop, lovely landscaping, and a particularly nice shower and changing-room area. 

Overall, it’s one of the top beaches o the island, so it’s a great pick no matter what. Plus, Paradise Beach Cozumel is only about a 10-15 minute drive south of town and the main cruise ports, so you don’t have to stress about returning to your Cozumel cruise pier on time. 

  • What People Love:  Large pool, tons of shady beach chairs, soft sand beach access, taco truck, beautiful grounds, and excellent service. 
  • Amenities to Look For: Beach massages, rentable day-bed cabanas, water-park features, parasailing, better-than-average showers and changing areas, and more.
  • Hours: Everyday 8:00am – 6:00pm
  • Admission Prices: Various packages are available

Paradise Beach Cozumel website.

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Visit Cozumel and Feel the Sand in Your Toes

Soft sand isn’t the only thing most people look for on a beach vacation, but if you end up at one of the rockier beaches on Cozumel when you had your heart set on vast white sand and a gentle soft water entry, it can put a crimp in your paradise plans. 

With these Cozumel beaches, above, you can go without the water shoes, and enjoy the awesome white Caribbean sand to your heart’s content.

Just don’t forget the reef-safe sunscreen, and your hat and shades. We have an expression in Cozumel – you don’t have to go looking for the strong sun here, it will definitely find you! 

So pack your Stream-2-Sea non-nano zinc sunscreen, grab a towel, and get ready for a day of fun (or pure relaxation) in the sun on the best sandy beaches in Cozumel. 

CozInfo’s Cozumel Packing Essentials:

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