Located near Cancun, just off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is a small Mexican island in the Caribbean. Cozumel travel is possible for a number of Southeastern American airports. It’s an easy, warm haven for Americans wanting to get away from the harsh winter climates or spring breakers eager for ample beaches for relaxing. Cozumel’s clear turquoise waters and powdery sands bring travelers to this 185-square-mile island off the Yucatán Peninsula. Cruise ships are a constant feature of Cozumel’s coastal views, and the atmosphere on this charming island is often interrupted by tourist chatter. In fact, Cozumel’s charms are so effective that the shopping plazas along the waterfront stay congested much of the year.
But crowds shouldn’t deter you from discovering what this tiny Yucatán island has to offer, especially as Cozumel’s real allure is far away from the downtown area. You can hire a fishing or diving charter boat to discover the shallow reefs along the coast (this is one of the best diving destinations in the world), take a glass-bottom boat on a tour around the island or simply find a quiet beach where you can relax and do nothing. Once the cruise ships clear out, you should head down to the plaza for some live music and the real skinny on this little island. To learn more about the Yucatan Peninsula go here, or visit the beautiful beaches of the Yucatan peninsula. Enjoy reading everything you need for a Cozumel Travel beach vacation.
When to Go (Weather)
The tourist season peaks during May, June, and July, when daytime temperatures are in the low 80s and nighttime temperatures dip into the 70s. August to late October is the rainy season; hurricanes are not uncommon, and temperatures soar into the nineties. If you are prepared to risk heat and bad weather, though, you can score big deals on vacation packages, making your Cozumel travel even more affordable. Peak tourist time is winter when northerners from America and Europe escape harsh climates. The prices are highest then and crowds are thick.
Entry & Exit Requirements
You’ll need a passport to visit Mexico, plus a tourism card (FMM) that can be issued at any Mexican consulate, border-crossing point, Mexican tourism office, or directly from your airline. FMMs are usually issued free of charge upon arrival. Be sure to hold onto this card for the duration of your trip, as you will need to present it upon departing the country. It’s also a good idea to leave your passport and FMM in a secure location and carry a photocopy of both documents with you at all times.
Getting to Cozumel
A few national and international flights land at the Cozumel Airport, but flights to Cancún are usually less expensive. A small airline called Mayair offers comfortable twin turbo-prop service between Cancún and Cozumel, and luggage is limited to 44 pounds per passenger. A budget alternative is to take a bus from the Cancún airport to Playa del Carmen and then the ferry to Cozumel. If everything runs on schedule, the trip should take about three hours. The Cozumel airport is less than 10 minutes from downtown. On arrival, take a colectivo (a van seating up to eight) to your hotel.
Getting Around in Cozumel
The best way to get around in Cozumel is on foot, as most of the attractions are centrally located. Cozumel’s downtown streets are well-organized and easy to navigate. But be careful as you walk: The traffic can be hectic, and vehicles don’t usually stop for pedestrians.
Because so many activities are centralized in San Miguel, there is very little need for a vehicle. But if you’re going beyond the downtown area or staying in one of the hotels on the west side, a rental car is a good idea. If you do decide to drive, your U.S. driver’s license is valid in Mexico.
Taxis provide cheap and easy transportation around town, and rates have been standardized to curb rip-offs. Even so, it’s wise to agree on the fare before getting into a taxi.
Mopeds are a particularly popular mode of travel, but hectic and pushy local traffic can be dangerous for novice drivers. Wear a helmet – getting caught without one can earn you a hefty fine.
Cozumel – San Miguel in particular – experiences relatively little crime. Special tourist police can assist you with any safety concerns. The main concerns should regard food and water safety. Never drink the tap water in Cozumel; drink bottled water instead. According to local sources, most restaurants prepare their food with bottled water, but you should confirm this with your server before eating. Be sure to wash all produce thoroughly with bottled water before consuming. You should brush your teeth with bottled water, as well.
Must See Places
Faro Celerain Eco Park (Punta Sur Eco Beach Park)
If you’re a wildlife lover, then this is a must. This ecological park sprawls across the southern tip of Cozumel. Its 2,500 acres shelter a variety of indigenous species, including exotic birds, crocodiles and sea turtles. But don’t let the animals distract you from everything else the park has to offer. Take some time to explore the El Caracol Mayan ruins and the Faro Celerain Lighthouse, where you’ll find a small maritime museum. Also, make sure to pack a swimsuit to enjoy the calmer waters of the Laguna Colombia.
Palancar Beach, one of the best all-around beach spots on Cozumel, is especially acclaimed for its water sports, including kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and diving. You can rent a dive charter and also grab some grub at the nearby restaurants.
Paradise Beach is a popular beach on the western side of the island. Families, couples, locals and tourists – plus plenty of cruise ship passengers – flock to this beach, so prepare for crowds. This pristine shoreline boasts soft sand, turquoise waters, a pool, a restaurant and shopping. For $3, you’re granted access to all the facilities, as well as a chair by the beach or the pool, and for about $18, you can purchase a Fun Pass to use all of the inflatable water toys, water trampolines, a coconut tree climb, kayaks, snorkeling gear and stand-up paddleboards.
Chankanaab National Park
This outdoor park hosts diving and snorkeling tours, dolphin encounters, a relaxing beach, zip lining, a tequila factory, gardens, nature trails and generally pleasant grounds for both exploring and relaxing. More experienced divers may want to charter their own tour and head off the island, but Chankanaab is also a fine alternative for families with small children and amateurs seeking to improve their diving skills.
Things to Do
Scuba Tony Cozumel
ScubaTony specializes in small groups and quality service, we make the needs of our guests our focus. Dive trips are 6 divers max on a fast boat with amenities like fresh fruit, fresh water shower and surface intervals on the beach. You can even private charter the boat just for you. For more information call 52-405-698-2318, or visit them on the web at Scuba Tony Cozumel.
Booking with Cozumel h2o means top notch service from those with the Cozumel waters in their hearts. You wanna learn to scuba dive? You want to dive adventures reefs? Or you just want to snorkel to enjoy the water of Cozumel? Go h2o! For more information call 52-987-876-2021, or visit them on the web at Cozumel H2O.
We specialize in small groups (8 divers max or 12 snorkelers max). We can customize your boat tour as for your party needs and combine Diving, Snorkeling and El Cielo tours. We also specialize in private tours and can easily adapt to your time schedule. For more information call 52-954-999-4215, or visit them on the web at Chili Charters.
Ha Haak Paddle Boarding Cozumel
Paddle boarding lesson and rentals. Home and resort rentals. Paddle tours by boat or Jeep. We deliver and pickup paddleboards. Our base at Mr.Sanchos beach club in Cozumel. Tours at different locations around the island. Fun for everyone. Flat water, Downwind, surfing, touring, sunset tours and by boat to “el Cielo”. For more information call 52-987-800-3022, or visit them on the web at Ha Haak Paddle Boarding Cozumel.
Best Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$ Burritos Gorditos
If you’ve got a hankering for a hole-in-the-wall place that serves cheap, delicious meals, Burritos Gorditos fits the bill. The made-to-order shrimp burritos are excellent and big enough to split; a solid assortment of tacos and salads is also available, but no alcohol is served. Seating is limited (which is why locals call ahead for takeout). If the tables are full, place your order and wait for one to open up or eat outside on the wall. For more information call 52-987-120-0237 or visit them on the web at Burritos Gorditos.
$$ El Moro
You’ll have to work hard to find El Moro, but your perseverance will be rewarded with one the better meals in Cozumel. This family-owned, open-air restaurant has been feeding hungry locals and tourists for years. The service is excellent—and the portions are large. A wide range of seafood and beef dishes offers something for everyone. After dinner, try a taste of Xtabentun, a traditional Yucatecan liqueur made of fermented honey and anise seeds. For more information call 52-987-872-3029, or visit them on the web at El Moro.
Enjoy the blissfully air-conditioned dining room, romantic outdoor garden, and impressive menu. The owner, Chef Kris Wallenta, whips up sophisticated interpretations of classic Mexican fare in his open kitchen. The menu is updated often, but favorites dishes include savory black bean soup, pork in a smoky pasilla chile sauce, and filet mignon with huitlaoche (a corn truffle) and cheese. Hand-crushed mojitos and fruity sangria add a refreshing lilt, and the budín de la abuelita (bread pudding with Mexican chocolate and caramel sauce) is a fitting end to a stellar meal. For more information call 52-987-869-0544, or visit them on the web at Kinta.
$$$ La Cocay
This casually sophisticated dining room and garden is a local favorite. Although the menu changes frequently, you can expect to find salads laced with fruits, pastas dishes, steaks, and seafood entrées like seared sashimi-grade tuna. Consider sharing several small plates from the tapas menu (the blue-cheese phyllo rolls with black-cherry sauce, salmon meatballs, and octopus with garlic are top picks). Also on offer are reasonably priced wines by the glass from Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. As everything is made fresh, popular menu items tend to run out, but everyone seems to leave happy. For more information call 52-987-872-5533, or visit them on the web at La Cocay.
Margaritaville is not just for another Restaurant but a State of Mind. We are famous for Cheeseburgers in Paradise but our menu also features the best of Local Caribbean Cuisine and Surprising Drinks in a Fun and Familiar Atmosphere. For more information call 52-998-885-2375, or visit them on the web at Margaritaville Cozumel.
Señor Frog´s Restaurant, Bar and Souvenir store is the place to visit if you feel adventurous and want to experience “the real thing”. Full of colors, light, sounds, textures and fun, Señor Frog´s features humor, outrageousness and a casual atmosphere. For more information call 52-987-869-1648, or visit them on the web at Señor Frog´s.
Great spot to grab some food and drinks while touristing it up in Cozumel. For more information call 52-987-869-0214, or visit them on the web at Thirsty Cougar.
Visit Wet Wendy’s when in Cozumel – known for the Margaritas and great food. I recommend “The Elvis” which is some Loco Tequila, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana. For more information call 52-987-872-4970, or visit them on the web at Wet Wendys.
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa – All Inclusive
Located in Cozumel, 13 miles from Playa del Carmen, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa features free WiFi access and free private parking. The resort has an outdoor pool and hot tub, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. You will find a gift shop at the property. You can play tennis at the resort. The resort also provides car rental. For more information, pricing, or to make reservations visit here.
This property is a 18-minute walk from the beach. The property is air conditioned and features a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some units have a sitting and/or dining area. There is also a kitchen, fitted with a microwave and toaster. A refrigerator and coffee machine are also provided. Villas Mundaca also includes a year-round outdoor pool. Bike rental and car rental are available at the property and the area is popular for biking. For more information, pricing, or to make reservations visit here.
Fiesta Americana Cozumel – All Inclusive
Year-round outdoor pool and fitness center. The resort has a playground and views of the sea, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. There is a 24-hour front desk and gift shop at the property. This resort has a private beach area and car rental is available. You can play pool at this resort, and the area is popular for snorkeling. For more information, pricing, or to make reservations visit here.
Casita de Maya Boutique Hotel – Best Bargain!
Casita de Maya Hotel is a charming tropical-style property with an outdoor pool, a bar and restaurant. Each stylish air-conditioned room has free Wi-Fi.
Rooms at the Casita de Maya are decorated in warm tones, and include satellite TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries. Some rooms also have a microwave and fridge. Casita de Maya Hotel is just a 15-minute walk from the shops and restaurants of San Miguel de Cozumel. The beach and ferry terminal are one mile away. For more information, pricing, or to make reservations visit here.