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Cozumel Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated October 2021

Cozumel Visitors Guide. What to do in Cozumel
Cozumel Visitors Guide. What to do in Cozumel

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

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.  Map

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

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

May – October

The hottest and most rainy months of the year but still plenty of sunshine and fantastic warm water for snorkeling & diving. Also, the hurricane season peaks in September and October so keep an eye on the forecasts and definitely get travel insurance just in case. Fewer tourists mean 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 sometimes though.

A Sunny Day In Cozumel
A Sunny Day In Cozumel

Getting There & Around

There are a few ways to get to Cozumel and around the island. Note that some larger resorts in Cozumel may provide free airport transportation, so check ahead.

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. American Airlines*, United, Southwest, Frontier and Sun Country all service Cozumel from the U.S.

You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Taxis are no longer allowed to pick up at the airport, but there are a few other shuttles you can book at the airport near the kiosks of people selling timeshares.

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.

Island Life Mexico

By Car

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. The roads around the island are fairly straightforward and safe. We recommend booking your car here for the best prices.

Island Life Mexico

By Taxi

Taxis can no longer pick up at the airport but they are a convenient way to get around the island. They can easily be flagged down in town center or can be called by your hotel. Costs 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 don’t get overcharged.

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. There is just too much to do in Cozumel!

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!

1
Visit The Wild East Side
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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.

  To reach the wild east side you can rent a car, hire a taxi in town or book a private van and driver for the day.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

When going on vacation in the time of Covid, Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Most of the current policies cover Covid medical issues as well as vacation delays due to Covid. They typically even cover your hotel if you test positive in Mexico and have to extend your trip a few days until you get a negative test. Our visitors almost unanimously choose a Trawick International Safe Travels plan which was a Forbes top-rated travel insurance plan of 2021. Easily compare the different Trawick, Generali and other top travel insurance plans here.

2
Go Diving
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2. 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 for extensive information including recommendations for the top reefs, dive shops & dive schools.

3
Spend the Day at a Beach Club
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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 $10 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
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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. By the end of the day, you will have enjoyed an authentic piece of Cozumel, just like a local.

  To arrange a private tour with locals, contact Arturo at Smiggie’s Excursion Concierge.

5
Go Sailing
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5. Go Sailing

There are few things as fun and perfectly tropical as going sailing on the Caribbean Sea. The turquoise water rippling like jewels beneath the bow while fresh fruit and rum punch are passed around. Cozumel is an incredible place to take a sailing tour, be it a catamaran voyage to the remote beaches of Passion Island or a sunset cruise with friends, family or a loved one. While there are many “sail” boats in Cozumel, Grand Cozumel Catamarans is one of the few that actually raise the sails, making their trips a special experience. Their Passion Island day tour is a blast that includes a great lunch at the beach, drinks, snorkeling and lots of fun with water toys like kayaks and SUP boards. Without a motor running, the sound of the waves lapping on the hull, fun music and jovial conversation accompany you on a truly “tranquilo” time out on the water.

  For incredible Passion Island Sailing Tours and Sunset Sailing Tours, contact Grand Cozumel Catamarans.

6
Go Snorkeling
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6. 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.

7
Go Shopping
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7. 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.

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Take a Mexican Cooking Class
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8. 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 few popular cooking classes available in Cozumel.

  This 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 and an open bar! Interested in Mayan food? Check out this highly rated Mayan Cooking Class.

9
Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park
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9. Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park

The entire southern point of Cozumel island is a sprawling nature preserve known as Punta Sur, and is one of the best places to see the island’s vast natural habitat. With some of the most beautirufl 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 a Punta Sur, be sure to get there early and bring some extra money for food and drinks at the couple of beachside restaurants.

  To reach Punta Sur you can rent a car, take a tour or book a private van and driver for the day.

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Go On A Jeep Tour
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10. 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.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

When going on vacation in the time of Covid, Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Most of the current policies cover Covid medical issues as well as vacation delays due to Covid. They typically even cover your hotel if you test positive in Mexico and have to extend your trip a few days until you get a negative test. Our visitors almost unanimously choose a Trawick International Safe Travels plan which was a Forbes top-rated travel insurance plan of 2021. Easily compare the different Trawick, Generali and other top travel insurance plans here.

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.

What To Pack For Your Mexican Vacation

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

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This Post Has 10 Comments

      1. We are coming Nov13-Nov18 2021. This is our 1st time. Our son will turn 15 while on the cruise and this is his surprise birthday present

  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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