The pride of many islanders. Chankanaab, the Maya word for “little sea,” refers to a beautiful land-locked pool connected to the sea through an underwater tunnel. Admission to the park includes a dolphin presentation and sea lion show, manatee exhibition, beach with facilities, and excellent snorkeling. Arrive before 9am to stake out a chair and palapa before the cruise-ship crowd arrives. The snorkeling is also best before noon. The park has bathrooms, lockers, a gift shop, several snack huts, a restaurant, and a palapa for renting snorkeling gear.
You can also swim with dolphins here. Dolphin Discovery (www.dolphindiscovery.com; tel. 800/293-9698) offers several programs for interacting with these beautiful sea creatures. These are popular, so plan ahead and make reservations well in advance. The surest way is through the website—make sure to pick the Cozumel location, as there are a couple of others on this coast. The Dolphin Royal Swim costs $149 ($89 for kids) and features close interaction with the dolphins. Taxis run constantly between the park, the hotels, and town (about 120 pesos from town for up to four people).