A short ferry-ride from Playa del Carmen, Isla Cozumel is a diver's paradise. And while diving and snorkeling might be the main attraction here, the island and its town San Miguel de Cozumel offer a lot of land- and sand-based activities for the traveler as well.
San Miguel de Cozumel's main plaza is a peaceful spot to people watch, shop, and dine. Even though this town sees thousands of tourists a year and shiploads of cruise-goers dock here daily, it has managed to keep its charm and warmth. For some scrumptious grub, check out Kinta, a block or so off the main plaza on Avenida 5-- it offers up fresh seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine.
The western side of the island is built up with beach clubs, where for a small fee you can enjoy their beaches and facilities-- Isla de la Pasión is one of these and boasts a gorgeous beach. The eastern side of the island is wilder and the surf too dangerous for swimming in most places, with the exception of Playa Chen Río. When you get tired of the beach, put on your Indiana Jones hat and travel inland to a minor Maya ruin, San Gervasio, which the ancient Maya dedicated to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility.
Of course, this island was built around diving and you'll see why once you hit the clear, turquoise waters and behold their technicolor reefs. Santa Rosa Wall and Palancar are two of the best dive spots. Dive shops abound for equipment rental, tours, and even certification lessons.