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Cozumel Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated June 2021

Welcome to Cozumel

What was once a secluded island hideaway, has now become one of the most recognized tropical locales in Mexico’s majestic Caribbean region. This is Isla Cozumel.

Boasting white sand beaches, coral reefs, modern amenities and an enormous swath of wild areas, it is an island paradise in every sense of the term. With countless activities both below and above the waves, your visit is sure to be one you brag about for years to come.

What was once a secluded island hideaway, has now become one of the most recognized tropical locales in Mexico’s majestic Caribbean region. This is Isla Cozumel.

Boasting white sand beaches, coral reefs, modern amenities and an enormous swath of wild areas, it is an island paradise in every sense of the term. With countless activities both below and above the waves, your visit is sure to be one you brag about for years to come.

Cozumel Map. cozumel beaches map

Cozumel Map

Cozumel At Sunset
San Gervasio Ruins. What To Do In Cozumel

A Bit Of History

A glistening tropical paradise off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the island of Cozumel was once a bustling Mayan community with as many as 10,000 local residents. Sacred to the Mayan Moon Goddess, Ix Chel, the island and its temples were an important place of pilgrimage for women seeking fertility. The remnants of that once thriving civilization can still be seen today in the small ruins of San Gervasio in the island’s forested interior.

Cozumel Visitors Guide. What To Do In Cozumel

Cozumel Today

Flash forward 2,000 years, and today Cozumel is an exciting tourist destination that holds a special place in our hearts. With two very different sides to the beautiful island, one can access all the modern amenities around its main town of San Miguel, and yet still find numerous places on the far side of the island to get away from it all! Below is our guide to making the best of your visit to Cozumel. We hope you enjoy!

Where Is Cozumel?

Island Life Mexico Islands Map

The island of Cozumel is located just off the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula—directly across the water from Playa Del Carmen and about an hour and a half from the Cancun airport.

Located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-largest coral reef system in the world), Cozumel is in a perfect spot for turquoise Caribbean waters, white sand beaches, and world-class diving and snorkeling. This is DEFINITELY the Island Life!

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

When To Visit Cozumel

The tropical climate in Cozumel is quite predictable and easy to make plans around. Without much of a temperature difference throughout the year, (the average temperature lingers around 83 degrees F) it’s the rainy hurricane season that most travelers need to pay attention to.

January – April

Perfect weather-wise, but sees the highest influx of tourists. If you are not a people person, consider this.

May – October

The hottest and most rainy months of the year but still plenty of sunshine. Also, this is the hurricane season so keep an eye on the forecasts. Fewer tourists so you can typically expect lower rates at hotels, resorts and tour companies during this time.

November – December

The autumn-winter months are considered by many to be the best times to visit Cozumel. The hurricane season has passed by this time and the humidity is low. Can be a little “chilly” in the evenings.

A Sunny Day In Cozumel
A Sunny Day In Cozumel

How To Get To Cozumel

There are a few ways to get to Cozumel. Note that some larger resorts in Cozumel may provide free transportation, so check ahead before planning alternative transportation.

Cancun Visitors Guide. How To Get To Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel.

By Air

Numerous daily flights fly directly into Cozumel from Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, and Miami or connect through nearby Cancun.

Once you arrive at the airport you can take a shuttle service into town or rent a car if you plan on exploring. We recommend booking your car here for the best prices and service.

Ferry To Cozumel. How To Get To Cozumel

By Ferry

A 40-minute ferry ride is the only way to get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen. Two ferry companies, Ultramar and Winjet, offer passenger-only services to and from the island for $8-13 one way and $17-$25 round trip. You can catch the ferry from the Playa Del Carmen ferry terminal located three blocks away from Juarez and 5th Avenue’s ADO bus station, where buses from Cancun arrive.

IMPORTANT: The two ferry companies often operate on different days and sometimes their websites are inaccurate. For this reason, we suggest you do not book your ferry ticket in advance, and instead buy your ticket when you arrive at the ferry terminal. You may have to wait in line, but it’s better than having an unusable ticket.

Cozumel Scuba Diving. Dive In Cozumel. Scuba Diving In Cozumel

By Cruise Ship

Cruise ships traditionally stop at Cozumel daily, though passengers don’t have nearly as much time to explore the island. For obvious reasons, we don’t recommend this. There is just too much to do in Cozumel!

*Cruise ships are not currently active as of May, 2021.

How To Get To Cancun

For more transportation information, check out our Getting Around The Yucatan Guide

Diving Near Cozumel
Diving Near Cozumel

Things To Do In Cozumel

Cozumel's Top Highlights

There is so much to do in Cozumel! From diving and snorkeling to jeep tours and beach lounging, it’s really easy to make each day in Cozumel a special experience. Here are just some of the activities you can enjoy on the island!

Visit A Wild Beach

1. Visit a Wild Beach

There are dozens of beaches on Cozumel that have wide stretches of white sand and excellent swimming and snorkeling. Most of the beaches near town are part of beach clubs, but there are some incredible wild beaches on more remote areas of the island.

You’ll need a vehicle, a taxi or a tour to reach them, but the journey is well worth it. For extensive info on the best wild beaches, check out our 5 Best Beaches in Cozumel Without the Crowds guide.

Spend the Day at a Beach Club

2. Spend the Day at a Beach Club

There are a number of wonderful beach clubs on the west side of Cozumel offering private beaches with restaurants, bars, swimming pools, loungers, umbrellas, and other amenities. They range in cost from $10 USD to $100 USD per person for the day and can be very crowded during the hours that cruise ships are in port.

Some popular beach clubs include: Paradise Beach Club, Buccanos Grill & Beach Club, Mr. Sanchos Beach Club and Islands Beach Club.

Go Snorkeling

3. Go Snorkeling

The water off the coasts of Cozumel is world famous, so jump in! There are numerous snorkeling locations you can simply enter from the shore or you could take a boat tour to the incredible reefs. If time is short, a shallow reef boat trip may be the perfect way for you to experience the underwater world. Feel like a full day snorkel excursion? Check out some of the many longer tours to the deeper sections of the reefs to try and spot some of the larger species that call this water home. Whatever you choose, you will be smiling the whole time. Be sure to check out our Cozumel Snorkeling Guide for the best snorkel sites and tour recommendations.

Go Diving

4. Go Diving

Cozumel is world-renowned for its scuba diving and proximity to numerous top dive sites. The Mesoamerican reef system is the second-largest reef system in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef), and there is extensive coral and sea life with incredible visibility. From beginner’s discovery dives to advanced drift dives, there’s something for everyone around Cozumel. Be sure to check out our Cozumel Diving Guide.

Visit Passion Island

5. Visit Passion Island

Passion Island lies just off the northern coast of Cozumel. This little speck of white sand and palm trees is a destination unto itself. A restaurant on the island serves a buffet and offers loungers and cocktails. Take a boat north from town to visit this special place. Or, add in a catamaran sailing trip to reach the island, and we’re talking about the ultimate taste of the Island Life! A few operators run the tours and have different inclusions. Rum punch, lunch and snorkeling are all typically included.

If you don’t want to boat to the island, consider renting a jeep or taking a jeep tour. The rough dirt road to the ferry dock is a whole other adventure, and once you reach the ferry, it’s just a 5-10 minute boat ride across the lagoon to the island.

Take an ATV Tour

6. Take an ATV Tour

Cozumel is an island paradise unto itself and most visitors stick to the beach and water activities, but you really shouldn’t miss a jungle adventure on an ATV. An ATV allows you to get wild and see some of the beauty of the island’s tropical jungles you just can’t experience any other way. The guided tours are safe and fun for the whole family. So get off that lounge chair and zoom through the jungle for a day!

Take a Mexican Cooking Class

7. Take a Mexican Cooking Class

There are a few cooking classes available on Cozumel. The Cozumel Farm to Table Experience is a more down-home authentic experience, while the Original Mexican Cuisine Cooking Class at Playa Mia Beach Club is more the fancy resort-style cooking class, complete with chef caps.

Take a Boat Trip to El Cielo

8. Take a Boat Trip to El Cielo

Known in English as “heaven”,  El Cielo certainly does not disappoint. Silky white sand, soft waves and the perfect amount of sunlight create a heavenly environment for the starfish that abound here. The beach itself is sparse and that is part of its charm. Visitors feel like they have landed on a private island. A standard snorkel trip here will last approximately four hours and include multiple stops along the way for snorkeling along the reef. Refreshments are always included. Be sure to check out our Cozumel Snorkeling Guide for the best El Cielo snorkel tour recommendations.

Go On A Jeep Tour

9. Go on a Jeep Tour

While there are a number of paved roads around the island, many parts of Cozumel still only have dirt road access. Jeep tours are a popular way to see much more of the island. With trips through the woods and stops at beaches, a Jeep Tour can be an excellent (and at times, bumpy) way to get the lay of the land on the island.

Where To Stay In Cozumel

There are all types of accommodations in Cozumel. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to hostels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Cozumel Hotel Guide or our Cozumel All-Inclusive Resort Guide.

Cozumel Hotel Guide. Best Cozumel Hotels And Resorts

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our Cozumel Hotel Guide

What To Eat In Cozumel

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat on Cozumel. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our Cozumel Restaurant Guide.

Cozumel Restaurant Guide. The Best Restaurnt Cozumel

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our Cozumel Restaurant Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Mexican Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a list to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

Check out our guide for what to bring on your Mexican vacation!



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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This was such a great find! Thank you for posting this guide. We used it literally daily to pick what we would do and where we would go.

  2. What a joy! This guide has taken the search out of my research. You all have saved me so much time. I can’t wait to get there with my family and see all of these places in person.

  3. Forget trying to navigate TripAdvisor, this guide was exactly the thing we needed to organize our trip. Thank you 😊

  4. Thanks for posting this. It was so much more helpful than the other guides I have found online. It made my Cozumel trip so much easier.

  5. Really helpful guide. We referred to this (and your other guides) multiple times on our recent trip. Thanks so much.

  6. A great blog post with just enough information to make you feel like you actually know something about Cozumel. Loved the history sections. Thanks for posting, all this info made our trip that much easier. Keep it up!

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