You probably have heard a lot about the island of Cozumel, which is right across the water from Playa del Carmen. This tiny island is one of the top destinations in the area for snorkeling and scuba diving, famous for being part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It’s the perfect place to spend the day if you happen to be staying in any of the Riviera Maya destinations, as it’s not far at all from any of them and offers up a different environment to experience and enjoy.

One part of the island of Cozumel that you must check out is Playa Palancar. This beautiful beach on the western side of the island has so much to offer. It may be one of the smaller and quieter beaches on the island, but that may be exactly what you’re looking for. It doesn’t have a whole lot to offer in terms of luxurious accommodations, but that’s not the point of Playa Palancar. This is a place to forget about the modern world and the tourists milling around and escape into a paradise separate from everything else.

One comfort you will definitely find at Playa Palancar is really great food. The dining area that you see as you get to the beach is covered in palm fronds and welcomes you to come in and taste some of the Mexican specialties there. The fish tacos are particularly good, if you like seafood. Of course you can also find a variety of drinks to choose from, so your stay on the beach is as relaxed as possible. A beach without alcohol is hardly a beach, anyway.

Once you feel you’ve relaxed enough, why not try out something exciting like scuba diving? There are two great reefs nearby that you can get to easily by boat with a guide. Once there, you can either do regular scuba diving or snorkeling, or try SNUBA, which is similar to scuba diving but much easier. Fishing is also an option, and you don’t have to go out hunting for someone to take you as people renting boats come right up to the beach.

If you feel like just relaxing and are in no mood to explore anything, that’s perfectly fine and you have come to the right place. Past the restaurant, you will see all kinds of beautiful tropical flora that will get you into the perfect mood for relaxing. The hammock area is popular, so you might want to get to it before they fill up. You can relax in a hammock as long as you want, letting the breeze sway you back and forth and sipping on some lovely island cocktail. There aren’t any lounge chairs on this beach, but if you bring a blanket or towel you can also let the heat of the pure white sand lull you to sleep.

Playa Palancar is an excellent example of a friendly local beach that gets back to basics, yet provides everything any traveler would want. Make sure you also visit the Dolphinaris dolphinarium located in Cozumel when you are around!