Welcome to Cozumel Mexico
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 Cozumel visit is sure to be one you brag about for years to come.
Arrival By Air
Numerous airlines fly directly into Cozumel including American Airlines, United, Southwest, Frontier and Sun Country. The Cozumel International Airport (CZM) is very small (only 5 gates) and passengers must depart the airplanes down roll up stairs onto the runway. No skywalks here!
Be warned that American Airlines and United have been known to sometimes switch passengers headed to Cozumel onto Cancun flights last minute. This is a massive hassle as Cancun airport is huge and passengers would need to arrange overland travel 45 minutes south to Playa Del Carmen, walk a significant distance to the ferry and then take a 40-minute ferry ride to Cozumel. This can add a few hours of travel and plenty of extra money.
Search for great deals on flights here.
Arrival 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.
Arrival By Cruise Ship
Cruise ships traditionally stop at Cozumel daily, though passengers don’t have nearly as much time to explore the island. There is just too much to do in Cozumel!
Cruise ships dock at one of three cruise ship ports in Cozumel. Punta Langosta is conveniently right in town and close to shops and restaurants. Puerto Maya and the International Cruise Terminal are about 10 minutes drive south of town.
Search for great deals on cruises here.
Airport Shuttles In Cozumel
Unless you know somebody in Cozumel that can pick you up, you will need to take a shuttle to your hotel from the airport. Taxis are no longer allowed to pick up at the airport. Private and Group shuttles are available. The kiosks are right outside the baggage claim past the timeshare hawkers. Prices are standardized and regulated so there is no point in haggling.
Renting a vehicle may be the most convenient choice for getting around the island depending on how much exploring you plan on doing. It is an easy and affordable option as rental cars can be as cheap as $30/day. The roads around the island are fairly straightforward and safe.
We do not recommend renting a scooter unless you are a well seasoned motorcycle/scooter rider with significant riding experience.
Search for great deals on rental cars here.
Taxis can no longer pick up at the airport but they are a very convenient way to get around the island. They can easily be flagged down around town or can be called by your hotel.
Prices are standardized and regulated but can add up if you’re traveling from the resort areas to town or going to the wild east side of the island. Be sure to discuss the prices in advance of taking the ride so you know what you’ll pay.
1. Visit The Wild East Side
The “wild” east side of the island is absolutely worth a visit. While the west side is primarily hotels and beach clubs, the east side of Cozumel is a paradise of remote beaches interspersed with fantastic local beach bars. There are also a few great places to grab a lounger, eat some fresh fish tacos and take a dip in the water such as Chen Rio and Punta Morena, but the real highlight of the east side is the wonderful natural emptiness of it all. Be sure to stop for a fresh handmade beach cocktail at Rastas, Welcome to Miami or Mezcalitos (or all three!) and let the sea breeze wash over you. Hammocks included.
Note: Since 2008, Sargassum (seaweed) has regularly arrived on the east coast beaches from May to August. It can pile up on the sand and be a little smelly. If the east coast has too much seaweed when you arrive, we recommend visiting Punta Sur (see below) or one of the excellent west coast Beach Clubs instead.
3. Spend the Day at a Beach Club
The west side of Cozumel has incredible sparkling, turquoise waters and numerous beautiful beaches. When visiting the island, there are several fantastic beach clubs where visitors have access to sandy beaches, swimming pools, oceanfront restaurants, beach bars, sun loungers, water activities and more. They typically range in cost from $20 USD to $65 USD per person with the pricier options being all inclusive with drinks and food.
Check out our Best Cozumel Beach Clubs guide for great information about the top rated clubs on the island.
4. Take A Tour With A Local
Take your vacation in Cozumel to the next level by taking a tour with a local! There is nothing quite like getting an insider experience with people who live here and love all that the island has to offer. Curious about Cozumel’s green interior? Take a jeep tour to Cozumel’s original capital town, Cedral, a quaint community surrounded by forest on all sides. While there, take a jungle off-road visit to caves, trails and even a cenote where you can take a swim. If you are more interested in a water experience, head out from the local’s marina (not the tour boat marina) for some fishing, snorkeling and exploring on the way up to Passion Island. Once there, swim in the clear waters and enjoy a bbq on the beach, local family style! It doesn’t get much better than that. For arranging tours with a local, we recommend contacting Arturo at Smiggie’s Excursion Concierge, and start planning your unique private experience. Smiggie’s Excursion Concierge is now offering an exclusive tour that has you visiting a private hacienda with caves to explore, a plunge pool and a delicious asadero (open fire bbq). By the end of the day, you will have enjoyed an authentic piece of Cozumel, just like a local.
5. Go Snorkeling
The water off the coasts of Cozumel is world famous, so jump in! There are numerous snorkeling locations where you can simply enter from the shore, or you could take a boat tour out to the incredible reefs. If time is short, a shallow reef snorkel tour 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 company recommendations.
6. Take a Bike or E-Bike Tour
Cozumel is the perfect location for tourists seeking adventure, relaxation and natural beauty. With its flat roads, breathtaking scenery and warm weather, riding a bicycle or an e-bike in Cozumel is a fun way to explore the island. Whether you are a casual bike rider or an experienced cyclist, taking a bicycle tour in Cozumel is an excellent way to experience the island’s stunning landscapes, tranquil coastlines, and vibrant culture. If you aren’t feeling up to pedaling, consider using an e-bike. While you can simply rent a bicycle and discover the island on your own, we recommend taking a guided tour with GoZumel. They offer a variety of e-bike tours that are comfortable, safe and are sure to create lasting memories.
Check out various E-Bike tours with GoZumel.
7. Try Sport Fishing
Deep sea and bottom fishing are fast becoming very popular activities here in Cozumel. Stunningly clear water and excellent weather create an enticing environment for this thrilling sport. If you are one of the many visitors to the island who are passionate about fishing, we recommend booking a private boat for the adventure of a lifetime. The waters around Cozumel are famous for a reason, they are teeming with gorgeous fish. Sailfish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Kingfish, Barracuda and so many more swim through these waters daily. Whether you are an experienced mariner or have never been sea fishing before, don’t worry, the award-winning team at Aquadventures will guide you through every troll and reel. Bring some friends, bring your family, come enjoy a day on either the beautiful Grand Slam or Why Not boat stocked with everything you need to have a fun and exciting day on the water.
To arrange a private fishing or snorkeling charter, check out this highly rated outfitter.
8. Go Shopping
No vacation to Mexico would be complete without at least a little shopping, and Cozumel is the perfect place to do just that. With dozens of shops ranging from high end silver jewelry to beach bag vendors, whatever your heart desires can be easily found. Although most people naturally flock to the town center or the Royal Village Mall by the cruise ship port, we recommend taking the time to explore a little further afield to find some true treasures. You may just end up buying your hammock from a local who has just finished stitching it on his front stoop! Also, whether you have one day for shopping or many days, you must be sure to visit Los Cinco Soles. Located at the north end of the waterfront, this is an exceptionally well-appointed shop. Filled to the brim with stunning art, souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, traditional handicrafts and more, Los Cinco Soles has something for everyone. It even has a tequila tasting bar! All created by Mexican artisans, farmers and families. You will be so happy you visited.
Be sure to check out Los Cinco Soles about a 5 minute walk up the coast road from the main square.
9. Take a Mexican Cooking Class
Mexican food is definitely one of the main things to love about this region. Be it traditional Yucatecan cuisine or home-cooked Mexican classics like enchiladas or street tacos, there is something for everyone in Cozumel. Why not have some fun learning how it’s done and take home some great memories and new skills with you? There are a number of very popular cooking classes available in Cozumel.
Explore a variety of Cozumel cooking classes here.
10. Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park
The entire southern point of Cozumel island is a sprawling nature preserve known as Punta Sur. It one of the best places to see the island’s vast natural habitat. With some of the most beautiful beaches on the island (bring your swimsuit!) and incredible mangrove marshlands (a free boat ride to see wild crocodiles and birds is included), Punta Sur is a nature lovers dream. Be sure to stop at the lighthouse and climb to the top for epic 360 degree views. There is so much to explore at Punta Sur, be sure to get there early and bring some extra money for food and drinks at the beachside restaurants.
11. 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.
Explore a variety of jeep tours here.