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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Check out our Best Beaches in Cozumel Without the Crowds Guide
2. Spend the Day at a Beach Club
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
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
RECOMMENDED PLACES TO SNORKEL BY BOAT
- El Cielo Reef
- Playa Palancar
- Columbia Reef
4. 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.
Want to Scuba Dive in Cozumel? Check out our Cozumel Diving Guide
5. Jeep Tours
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
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
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.