Punta Sur Eco Park in Cozumel
Written by Rob Mukai on Oct. 21, 2019
So this is kinda embarrassing but for all the times I have traveled to this part of the world and the nearly 5 years I have lived here, I had never been to the island of Cozumel. This is also not a day trip from Xcalak. More like if you have an extra day in Playa or Cancun, you can swing by the Punta Sur Eco Park. Punta Sur Eco Park is a national park at the southern tip of the island of Cozumel (Duh) :) There are a couple of ways to get there. You need to get from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel via Ferry. You can either take the passenger ferry $400 MXN round trip/person, or you can bring your car across on the car ferry for $400 MXN One Way/car but that includes up to 4 people. Passenger only ferry runs every hour on the hour, but the car ferry only runs 4-5 trips per day. So check out Ultramar Passenger Ferry for schedule. There is also a Ultramar Cargo or TransCaribe for information on car ferry. Punta Sur Eco Park is just under an hour drive from town, San Miguel de Cozumel.
We actually took the passenger ferry across from Playa del Carmen. The ferries have musical acts play all the way across. Go to the upstairs seating area in the back of the ferry. Once in San Miguel de Cozumel, we needed to go find a rental car. We just wandered down the road and found a rental car place and asked for the cheapest car.
It was $800 MXN plus insurance, or about $40 USD. So not super cheap but not bad for a walk up. Then it was about an hour drive down to Punta Sur. The car, by the way, had no air bags, no air conditioning, no window cranks, no seat-belts. The speed limit on the island is 80 KM/Hr or about 50 MPH. I had a hard time going that fast :) . At the southern tip of the island you turn into the Eco Park. Entry is $288 MXN or about $16 USD. This is way worth it. It gives you access to all the areas, including the beach, as well as a boat ride into the lagoon to go see crocodiles. It doesn't include food or drink.
The first area is where there is a wildlife observation tower at the edge of the lagoon. We were able to see some flamingos flying a ways off and a lot of other birds, including ibis, blue herons, and osprey hunting. There is also a very small Mayan temple called El Caracol.
The next area is where the lighthouse (with 133 steps) is. Definitely worth climbing up. The view is pretty spectacular, you can see the beach and the lagoon.
The final area is where the boat tour and the beach is. The boat tour is definitely worth a go. It is included with your entrance fee. You are in a pontoon boat rolling around the lagoon looking for crocodiles. We did see one 10-12 footer on the boat tour. Very cool. And please keep your hands and feet inside the boat :)
There is also a nice beach in the last area, where you can sit in a chair or hammock (free of charge), and order a margarita. Unfortunately, when we were there, they weren't allowing swimming on the beach as there is a bad outbreak of "White Syndrome" in the coral of the area. Over 800,000 people come to Cozumel every year and that puts a lot of stress on the reef. They were giving the reef a 3 month break from people, so no going in the water, but it was pretty rough anyway. It was nice enough just hanging on the beach with a cocktail.
This was a very pleasant afternoon activity. And one of the best values on the Riviera Maya. Even without the ability to swim in the ocean it was still really pleasant and a very cool way to spend the day. I still haven't done any scuba diving or fishing on Cozumel. I'll definitely have to do that in the coming year.