Are you tired of going to the beach over and over again during your Caribbean cruise?
Another day of playing in the sun, cooling down in the fabulous blue sea, building fun sand castles or relaxing while reading a book?
I know it sounds horrible 🙂 and that is why I decided to visit Chankanaab Beach and Adventure Park in Cozumel.
Many Cruise Lines stop in Cozumel as part of their Caribbean itineraries and there is plenty to do in this port.
But if you are like me and enjoy the beach and theme parks, then I would definitely recommend a visit to Chankanaab as it offers the best of both.
Chankanaab is located approximately 6 km away from the cruise port and it takes roughly one hour to walk there or around 10 min by cab.
Cabs are located just outside the cruise port. Beware though, some cab drivers will fill up their cars so you might have to share a ride with strangers and sometimes you have to wait a few minutes until the cab is filled up.
That happened to me and my partner on the way back to the cruise port. We did not mind though as we only waited 5 min until the cab was full and then took off. Bonus, sharing a cab with others passengers drives down the price a little as you split the fare between more people.
Chankanaab is somehow different from any park I ever visited before. I can only describe it as a cross between a beach park and a tiny little Sea World?
The park is divided into a few sections and there are several activities park goers can enjoy. The main attractions in the park are the zipline, swimming with dolphins, the sea lion show, the beach and snorkelling.
I decided to visit Chankanaab for the snorkelling and of course to relax on the beach. You can rent snorkelling equipment from the park, but in my opinion this was a bit pricey. If you have your own, I would recommend just taking it with you on your trip.
The beach in Chankanaab is simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It is this perfect white sandy beach in this perfect tropical setting with lots of palm trees and not a lot of people around, at least when I went.
There are beach chairs and several hammocks spread across the beach that park goers can use free of charge. Cabanas can be rented at an extra cost. From the beach, you can access the water via some stairs to go snorkelling.
The park’s reef has many species of fish such as trumpet fish, pudding wife and lots more. There are also sunken treasures, pillars and statues hidden in the reef for people to find and explore.
The water temperature was really pleasant and the visibility was great when I visited, which was in April.
I must confess, I am actually a big scary cat when it comes to snorkelling. I am afraid of big fish, dark wholes in reefs, sea weed and the list goes on.
You might ask, why the heck would she ever want to go snorkelling?
It is simple, I love water and I love watching colourful fish. Plus, I always wanted to try snorkelling.
When I visited, there was lots of sea weed floating close to the beach and on the surface of the water. I was basically afraid to go in because of the sea weed. I had to be convinced and almost pushed to go inside by my partner.
But once I was in, it felt like I was in a different world and I thoroughly enjoyed the snorkelling experience. I saw plenty of fish close to the shore line without having to swim far out. And when it was time to leave, I was sad and upset that it took me so long to go inside the water.
For a hobby or amateur snorkeler like myself, this reef is a great option and good starting point. There is plenty to see and if you are more brave than me, you can swim out to find and explore the statues and treasures hidden in the ocean.
Very important, do not forget to bring your underwater camera if you have one. I did not own one at that time, but bought one for my next trip after this snorkelling experience.
Besides the beach and the snorkelling, the sea lion show is a must. I have seen plenty of sea lion shows in my life, but I never get bored of them and always see some new tricks.
The theatre where the show takes place is smaller than in the big parks. You are closer to the action and it feels more intimate.
Moreover, I particularly enjoyed the opportunity at the end of the show to get my picture taken with a sea lion. If you want to, you can purchase your picture at the end. You go onto the stage, stand next to the sea lion and if you are lucky even get a kiss from it. Which happened to me 🙂
I love that they gave visitors this opportunity as many of us dream about a chance like this. It is such a great memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
If you are getting a bit hot or are all soaked up from all that snorkelling, you can wonder around the park and explore some of the other attractions Chankanaab has to offer.
Perhaps you enjoy learning about the history of Tequila, the countries most iconic drink? Then head of to the Tequila House, located close to the entrance.
Or close to the lagoon, towards the back of the park, you can find a crocodile enclosure with a few animals.
A walk around the beautiful lagoon with its turquoise waters is also a good starting point.
You can just admire the scenery or watch some people ziplining across the park. Perhaps you even want to give ziplining a go yourself?
There are also the prehispanic replicas and Mayan hut, as well as the tropical garden and Agave landscape that offer some shade and change in landscape.
Tropical plants are represented here and give this section of the park a bit of a jungle feeling.
Another big attraction offered within the park is the Royal Swim, perhaps better known as Swimming with the Dolphins.
If this is something you really want to experience you can purchase this package in advance (currently $161.00 per adult) as it covers the dolphin encounter, Chankanaab admission fee and the use of the pool, lockers, showers and restrooms.
However, located next to Chankanaab, there is also Dolphin Discovery who offer different Swimming with Dolphins packages as well as Manatee and Sea Lion encounters.
From what I gather there is a partnership between the two parks. If you for instance purchase the Manatee encounter, you also get the admission to Chankanaab included in the price.
It is not very difficult to get to the park, but of course when you purchase an excursion you pay for the convenience and peace of mind.
We walked to Chankanaab since the weather was warm and took a cab back to the cruise port to safe some time and of course to get back in time for our cruise to depart.
Below you can find an overview of what is and is not included in the park admission:
INCLUDED IN ADMISSION
- Bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms
- Beach chairs
- Life vests
- Underwater statues
- Sea lion show
- Inlet swimming area
- Prehispanic replicas and Mayan hut
- Tropical garden and Agave landscape
- Tequila experience
- Playgrounds for kids
- Swimming with dolphins
- Snorkelling gear
- Use of Cabanas
- Food and Drinks
For me, this was one of the best days I had during my Caribbean cruise as it was such a lovely, fun, exciting and relaxing day all in one.
This park is so versatile and I especially loved hanging out in the hammocks under the palm trees and exploring the reef and seeing all these colourful fish, once I managed to overcome my fear of the water.
It really was this perfect Caribbean setting with the tropical garden, the beach, the palm trees and the lagoon with its turquoise waters.
And anyone who would love to have an animal encounter experience can have the chance to book a session and still enjoy the park afterwards.
I would definitely recommend a visit to Chankanaab Beach and Adventure Park!
- Opening times: Open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm
- Admission: Adults $23; Children $16 (aged 4 to 12)
- For more information please visit: https://www.cozumelparks.com/en/chankanaab-eng/
- (Prices were valid at the point when this post was first published)