Cozumel Mexico will forever go down as our favourite island in Mexico – scratch that our favourite place in Mexico! Not only is it home to the best scuba diving we’ve seen, but the island itself has a whole lot to offer! We spent a few days running around the island but could have easily spent our whole time here exploring this tropical island.
We love that Cozumel Mexico has a great central location close to popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Tulum, and nearby Playa del Carmen. Many people who visit the Yucatan Peninsula are deciding between an island day trip to Cozumel or Isla Mujeres. While both are worth a visit, if you have to pick one, we’d say Cozumel!
Cozumel Island has gotten some well deserved global attention as being one of the most beautiful islands, home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world! It’s located along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world and these tropical Caribbean waters are full of life.
Samara first visited Cozumel on a Caribbean cruise and has been dreaming about returning to this beautiful tropical island ever since. This was the spot where Samara first fell in love with being underwater. After going snorkeling in Cozumel and experiencing all the beauty of the underwater world she’s been obsessed with the ocean, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
When we got the opportunity to go back and visit Cozumel, we knew we needed to spend as much time as we could exploring this beautiful island. After renting scooters to tour the island, snorkeling, scuba diving, exploring Mayan ruins, and lazing at beach clubs it’s safe to say we thoroughly experienced this amazing island.
We created this Cozumel guide to help as many people as possible experience all this island paradise has to offer. We think this is a must visit for anyone heading to the Yucatan Peninsula.
Okay, we’ll stop rambling… here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Cozumel Mexico.
Table of Contents
Where is Cozumel?
Cozumel is the largest inhabited island in Mexico and we can see why – what a dream place to live! Home to around 100,000 people and welcoming about 3.5 million tourists annually, you’ll be in good company here. This island is 46 km (29 miles) long and around 14 km (14 miles) wide making it a great size to rent some wheels and explore.
The island of Cozumel is surrounded by the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It sits just 16 km (10 miles) off the coast of Playa del Carmen and is easily accessible with a short 45 minute ferry ride. After sailing through the Cozumel Channel you’ll arrive at the Cozumel ferry terminal in San Miguel de Cozumel.
How To Get To Cozumel Mexico?
There are many ways to get to Cozumel Mexico. As this is an island, you will have the choice of entering by air or sea.
You have two options for visiting by sea: with a ferry, or with a cruise ship.
There are two ferry operators to choose from: Ultramar and Winjet.
- A Winjet Ferry ticket will cost you 285 MXN ($23 CAD/$17 USD) from Cozumel and 301MXN ($24 CAD/$18 USD) from Playa del Carmen or a combo round trip ticket for 585MXN ($47 CAD/$35 USD).
- Ultramar has more options for routes and luxury. If you’re booking online you’ll want to select “Carmen Beach” as that is the Playa del Carmen terminal. Then you can select Premium Plus for 290MXN ($23.55 CAD/$17.31 USD) one way or book a return ticket for 580MXN ($47.11 CAD/$34.62 USD)
Cozumel is a popular cruise ship destination having 3 cruise ports – Punta Lanosta, International Pier, and Puerto Maya. Each Cozumel cruise port is owned by different companies and is located close to the town of San Miguel. Taking a taxi or organizing an excursion with included transportation is the best way to get from the cruise ship port to different areas of Cozumel.
If you’re looking for a more direct route to Cozumel you can use Cozumel airport. You’ll fly into The Cozumel International Airport (CZM). Cozumel flights from Cancun can be as cheap as $128 ($94 USD) to $1150 ($850 USD) with an average of $677 ($500 USD). Once you arrive you can take a taxi or organize a private shuttle from Cozumel Airport to take you to any hotel on the island.
Cozumel from Cancun
If you’re wondering “How far is Cozumel from Cancun?” we’d recommend expecting the trip to take about 3 hours, depending on your ferry time.
The route from Cancun to Cozumel involves driving along the MEX-307 highway from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. This drive takes about an hour and a half from the city and about an hour from Cancun Airport. You will then need to catch the ferry to Cozumel which takes about 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for all your options on how to get to Playa, you’ll find them in our Playa del Carmen travel guide.
If you are looking for a faster way to get from Cancun to Cozumel, you can also take a flight from Cancun International Airport to Cozumel International Airport, which will get you to the island in about 15 minutes.
Cozumel from Playa del Carmen
To get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen you’ll be taking the Cozumel ferry. The ferry takes about 45 minutes and the ride is absolutely beautiful! We’ve never seen so many shades of blue and green as we did on this boat ride. It made us so much more excited to start exploring the island.
Cozumel from Tulum
How far is Cozumel from Tulum? Like Cancun, you will have a drive+ferry combo with first having to head to Playa. You will first drive about an hour north along the Mex-307 highway. From there you’ll catch the Cozumel ferry from Playa del Carmen.
How To Get Around Cozumel?
Cozumel is a fun place to explore. It seems like you’re never more than a short walk away from the beach.
If you’re staying in San Miguel Cozumel, the main city of Cozumel, you’ll be able to walk everywhere. You’ll find shops, restaurants, and lots of sites to explore. This is also a great place to take a nice walk along the water.
Our favourite way of getting around wherever we travel is by scooter. It all started scootering around Thailand and then we were hooked. It gives you the freedom to go anywhere, any time you want – and it’s a cheap way of getting around. Your Cozumel scooter rental should cost around $30 CAD ($22 USD) per day. This is also something you can haggle the price down on- but be reasonable!
Pro Travel Tip: If you decide to take a Cozumel scooter rental you should use your smartphone to take a video of the scooter. This way you have proof of existing damage to avoid a conflict when you return it. The shop will also see you do this and not give you a hard time. This works everywhere we’ve rented a scooter.
We loved scootering in Cozumel – the island is absolutely perfect for it! There aren’t many roads around which means you will not get lost and will have an easy time seeing all the sites. The east side of the island is lined with a stunning beach with large waves that are perfect for windsurfing. This beach is a lot quieter as it is away from the tourist path. Watch for signs as you drive leading to the ruins of San Gervasio – we loved visiting these!
We didn’t take a taxi the whole time we stayed on Cozumel – probably ‘cause we had a scooter. Taxis are a good way to get around if you’re planning an excursion that doesn’t include transportation. It’s also a great way to get around if you are coming from the Cozumel ferry terminals.
It’s best to come to an agreement on Cozumel taxi rates before you start your journey – especially if the meter is off. Check the meter to make sure it’s not started at a higher amount than around 40 MXN. Paying in Mexican Pesos will also get you the best rate.
Best Time To Visit Cozumel?
Like most travel destinations there is a best time to visit – Cozumel is no exception. The best time to visit Cozumel Mexico depends on a few things.
One of the biggest factors to determine when you should travel to Cozumel is the weather. Like most tropical destinations Cozumel has a dry season and a rainy season.
- Cozumel Dry Season is from November to April. This is the time that Cozumel gets the lowest amount of rain and lowest humidity meaning sunny days and comfortable nights. It’s also peak tourist season and quite busy. We traveled to Cozumel in March and the weather was amazing and it wasn’t too busy. Win-win!
- The Cozumel Rainy Season is from May to October. It’s rainy and humid – but the rain comes in short bursts. You’ll still be able to chill at the beach – just be ready with an umbrella.
This time is Cozumel low season meaning it’s a whole lot easier on your wallet. You can expect lower costs for accommodation and activities. Watch out for Cozumel hurricane season, between August and early October.
- If you’re a budget traveler looking to get a good deal, consider traveling in Cozumel shoulder season (April, May, October, and November) for fewer crowds and better deals.
For those of you in the cold parts of North America: Cozumel weather in December is amazing. One of the best times to visit Cozumel, December brings sunny skies and warm weather.
Cozumel Diving Season
If scuba diving in Cozumel is on your travel bucket list (and trust us, it should be!) May to September is when the waters are the clearest. You’ll have impressive water visibility of up to 50m (164 ft) depending on the plankton blooms, currents, and weather. May to September is also whale shark season in the area.
No matter when you visit Cozumel, you will have water temperatures between 25-28℃ (75-80℉) and impressive water clarity of more than 30m (100 ft).
Where to stay in Cozumel?
Despite being a small island, Cozumel Mexico is home to every kind of accommodation you could hope for. In San Miguel city, the main area of the island, you will find many of the top places to stay. When looking for Cozumel hotels, we highly recommend opting for one with a rooftop pool. We spent all our “hotel time” taking in the views at ours!
If you’re going to do an all inclusive resort, Cozumel is the place to do it! Cozumel all inclusive hotels scream luxury. This is the best way to soak up a lazy island life and make laying on the beach and getting a tan your full time job. Not only that but you can snorkel from the beach at many Cozumel resorts.
- Iberostar Cozumel is one of the best all inclusives in Cozumel. The stunning oceanfront location allows you to choose between spending the day at one of the many pools or relaxing by the Caribbean Sea. There’s epic snorkeling right from the beach and the food on site is amazing!
- The Cozumel Palace All-Inclusive Resort is perfect for those wanting to hang out in town but also enjoy all the luxuries of an all inclusive resort. You can sit by the pool overlooking the ocean for the ultimate relaxing island vibes.
- If you don’t need a Cozumel all inclusive hotel and would rather just have a really nice hotel, we’d recommend the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa. It has the perfect location close to the main San Miguel city center. The water around it is epic and you can snorkel right from the private beach.
If you’re looking for budget friendly accommodations, we’d recommend heading to Hotel Plaza Cozumel. We stayed here and had a great experience. Not only was the price right, but we had the whole hotel practically to ourselves. It had a perfect location downtown San Miguel and the rooftop pool was absolutely epic, especially during sunset.
Is Cozumel Safe?
Cozumel’s safety shouldn’t be a concern. While you may have some concerns in bigger cities like Cancun and Mexico City, crime in Cozumel is very minimal and mostly comes in the form of petty theft like pickpocketing. While you’re living the lazy island lifestyle here, just be sure to practice basic street sense by avoiding walking down dark streets alone and staying alert in heavily crowded areas.
Is it safe to swim in Cozumel?
Not only can you swim in Cozumel, but we HIGHLY recommend it!! The island is practically surrounded by stunning coral reefs (sitting on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef) and has some of the most beautiful swimming and snorkeling conditions we’ve ever seen! The hot Caribbean Sea is crystal clear with a beautiful turquoise hue.
Most of the beaches in Cozumel have a white sand bottom making them that much more appealing to jump in for a refreshing swim. We bought a snorkel set before we left and we’re so glad we did! We brought it with us everywhere we went traveling in Mexico and got so much use out of it.
What are the best beaches in Cozumel?
It’s not hard to find the best beaches in Cozumel. Honestly, it’s hard to find a bad one. There are a few Cozumel beaches that stand out from the rest though.
- Paradise Beach Cozumel – the most popular beach club on the west coast of Cozumel. Paradise Beach offers a large pool, a water park, a restaurant, a bar, and many activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and more This beach is absolutely stunning and we even went diving just off the coast of it.
- Playa Mia Cozumel is a beach club again on the west coast of Cozumel. Playa Mia Grand Beach Park has a huge pool, a water slide, a floating park, a buffet, a bar, and many activities such as scuba diving, jet skiing, sailing, and more
- Mr Sanchos Cozumel – a popular beach club on (you guessed it!) the west side of Cozumel. Mr. Sanchos Beach Club has a pool, a spa, a restaurant, a bar, and many activities such as horseback riding, parasailing, fishing, and more
- Punta Morena – This is a beach club that offers a pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a surf shop. You can enjoy the views of the ocean, relax on the hammocks, or try surfing or boogie boarding.
- Playa Chen Rio – A public beach that has a natural rock pool that protects you from the waves and allows you to swim safely. You can also find some local food stalls and vendors selling souvenirs
- Playa Bonita – A public beach that has a calm lagoon where you can swim or snorkel. You can also rent kayaks, paddle boards, or bikes to explore the area.
If you are looking for something to eat in Cozumel, you’ll be happy to know you have a lot of options! The streets of San Miguel de Cozumel are lined with many different types of restaurants. From traditional Mexican food, Indian food, Italian food, and more, you will have no shortage of options.
- If you keep a vegan lifestyle, you’ll be happy to know there are a lot of vegan restaurants in Cozumel. Nutty Treesome is one of our favorite options with vegan sushi, ice cream, and cool boho vibes.
- If you’re touring the island and looking for a good seafood restaurant on the eastern coast, head to Coconuts Bar & Grill!! Not only will you get epic waterfront views but the restaurant itself is quirky and fun showcasing an international vibe. The staff is incredibly friendly and the food is DELISH!
- Three Amigos Cozumel is a tasty oceanfront restaurant located right by the cruise ship terminals and has good Mexican food and even better margaritas!
- If you’re in the mood for some Italian food, it doesn’t get better than Guido’s Restaurant and Bar. The cute little restaurant has such flavorful Italian food that is absolutely delicious!
Myles is obsessed with margaritas so we had to try Wet Wendy’s – they have 30 flavors of margaritas.
What to do in Cozumel?
We had such a blast exploring all the fun things to do on Cozumel. Island life is our vibe… slow paced, easy going and focused on fun!
There is so much to see and do in Cozumel. From Punta Sur, exploring the San Gervasio Mayan ruins, visiting the Cozumel Pearl Farm, and shopping in San Miguel, you have no shortage of Cozumel attractions to choose from.
- Looking for fun Cozumel excursions? You can choose between parasailing in the water, ATVing through the jungle, and even riding in a submarine!
- By far the best things to do in Cozumel is to go snorkeling and scuba diving. This is what the island is known for! Scuba diving on Cozumel is some of the best conditions in the world. If you’re already dive certified, we HIGHLY recommend exploring these waters. If not, this is an EPIC spot to try diving for the first time.
Is Cozumel Worth Visiting?
Yes, absolutely! Cozumel is our favourite place to visit in Mexico. We’ve visited multiple times and will definitely be back. If you’re coming to Mexico to enjoy water activities, this island is an absolute must.
Thanks for stopping by!
Visiting Cozumel Mexico was one of the best parts of our holiday. The lazy island vibes and the epic Caribbean location made for some of the best vacation memories we have. If you are looking for the best way to enjoy all that Mexico has to offer, a trip to Cozumel is an absolute must! From epic sunsets, amazing scuba diving, and adventurous jungle experience, this tropical island has it all!
Enjoy that island life!
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