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Cozumel Visitors Guide

How to Get There, What to Do & More!

December 2020

Welcome to Cozumel. What to do in Cozumel
Welcome to Cozumel

Island Life Mexico is your #1 resource for all things Mexican Caribbean! Our guides are loaded with informative articles by locals and our unique tours and experiences are top-rated in the area.

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Welcome To Cozumel

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.

San Gervasio Ruins. What to do in Cozumel
San Gervasio Ruins

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!

Welcome to Cozumel. What to do in Cozumel
Cozumel Today

Where is Cozumel?

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

Located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest 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!

mesoamerican barrier reef
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
Cozumel Yucatan Map
Cozumel Map. cozumel beaches map
Cozumel Map - Click to enlarge

When To Visit Cozumel

  February to June is considered by most to be the best time to visit Cozumel. The days are sunny with daytime temperatures lingering around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit… and the nights are a warm 65-75 degrees.

  July & August can be too hot for some with daytime highs reaching the high 90’s.

 September to mid-November is peak rainy season. Great for no crowds though!

  Late November to early January are the chilliest months but still quite sunny and nice. Temperatures range from the lower 60s to the lower 80s, so bring a light jacket or layers.

Another Beautiful Day in Cozumel!. Things to do in Cozumel
Another Beautiful Day in Cozumel!

How to Get to Cozumel

There are a few ways to get to Cozumel.

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

   By Ferry: The ferry service between Playa Del Carmen on the mainland and Cozumel is extremely popular and efficient. The ride takes about 45 minutes. If you’re coming from Cancun or Tulum, the ferry companies also offer shuttle service to the Playa Del Carmen ferry terminal.

   By Cruise: Cruise ships stop at Cozumel daily, though you won’t have nearly as much time to explore the island. For obvious reasons, we don’t recommend this.

Ferry to Cozumel. How to get to cozumel
Ferry to Cozumel

Cozumel Highlights!

The Top 7

  1. Snorkeling at Playa Palancar
  2. Swimming and walking the beach in Punta Sur Eco Park
  3.  Visiting Passion Island
  4. Having a sundown cocktail at La Monina or Hemingways
  5. Diving any of Cozumel’s Reefs
  6. Stop for a snack and a cervesa at Mezcalito’s Last Frontier
  7. Spend an afternoon at Paradise Beach Club
Playa Palancar. Things to do in Cozumel
Playa Palancar
Sunset from La Monina. Things to do in Cozumel
Sunset from La Monina

Where to Stay in Cozumel

There are all types of accommodations in Cozumel. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to hostels. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for.

There are numerous hotels all over Cozumel’s primary town San Miguel de Cozumel. Some are closer to the main square (on the water near the ferry terminal), while others are farther out towards the island’s interior. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle or take lots of taxis, it might be better to stay closer to the town center.

Outside of town, you can go north to large oceanfront luxury hotels or south towards the all-inclusive resorts. Check out our Cozumel hotel guide below for great recommendations at all budget levels.

Casa Mexicana Cozumel. One Of The Best Hotels And Resorts In Cozumel

For hotel recommendations, check out our Cozumel Hotel Guide

What to Do in Cozumel

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!

1. Visit a Wild Beach

Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park, Cozumel one of the best beaches in cozumel

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 Best Beaches in Cozumel Without the Crowds post. Here are some of our favorites.

The Best Beaches In Cozumel, Cozumel Best Beaches

Check out our Best Beaches in Cozumel Without the Crowds Guide

2. Spend the Day at a Beach Club

Cozumel Beach Club. Things to do in Cozumel

There are a number of 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.

3. Snorkeling in Cozumel

Snorkeling in Cozumel

Cozumel is one of the best places in the Caribbean for snorkeling and diving. The Mesoamerican reef system begins here and stretches all the way down to Honduras. There are lots of beautiful places to snorkel from the shore on Cozumel, OR you can join a boat tour to some of the further reefs. The choice is yours!

RECOMMENDED PLACES TO SNORKEL FROM SHORE

  • Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
  • Playa Corona
  • Money Bar (aka Dzul Ha)
  • Chankanaab Eco Park & Beach
Snorkeling in Cozumel. Things to do in Cozumel

RECOMMENDED PLACES TO SNORKEL BY BOAT

  • El Cielo Reef
  • Playa Palancar
  • Columbia Reef
Reef Snorkeling in Cozumel. best snorkeling cozumel

4. Diving in Cozumel

Scuba diving in Cozumel. Things to do in Cozumel
Scuba Diving in Cozumel

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 beginners Discovery dives, to advanced drift dives, there’s something for everyone around Cozumel.

Some Popular Dive shops include Deep Blue, Scuba Life Cozumel, Salty Endeavors, Scubatony and Maple Leaf Scuba.

Diving In Cozumel. Scuba Diving In Cozumel

Want to Scuba Dive in Cozumel? Check out our Cozumel Diving Guide

5. Jeep Tours

Jeep Tour in Cozumel. Cozumel attractions
Jeep Tour in Cozumel

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 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 see much of what Cozumel has to offer.

6. Catamaran to Passion Island

Catamaran to Passion Island, Cozumel. Cozumel attractions
Catamaran to Passion Island, Cozumel

Passion Island lies just off the northern coast of Cozumel. This little speck of white sand and palm trees is a destination unto itself. But 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 daily and have different inclusions. Rum punch, lunch and snorkeling are all typically included.

If you don’t want to sail 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. A restaurant on the island serves a buffet and offers loungers and cocktails.

7. Take a Mexican Cooking Class

Cooking Class in Cozumel. Cozumel attractions
Cooking Class in Cozumel

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.

     Yucatan Highlights Map

This map shows many of our Mexican Caribbean highlights. To open the table of contents, click on the icon in the top left corner of the map. This will allow you to sort through the different types of highlights! Click on the points of interest or the icons on the map itself to access additional info.  You can open the map in its own window to make it larger if you’d like.

     Rotate mobile to expand map
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This Post Has 3 Comments

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

  2. 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.

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

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