Get there by

Car or Bus, Ferry

Getting to Cozumel requires first getting to Playa Del Carmen (45-60 minutes) then ferrying to Cozumel (another 45 minutes). Flights into Cozumel International Airport (CZM) exist but can be limited and expensive.

Population

100,000

Avg. Night Stay

$84

ON THE MAP

Cozumel

As the largest island on the Mexican Caribbean, Cozumel is surrounded by magnificent coral reefs making it the ultimate scuba diver’s paradise.

 

Activities in Cozumel

 

Cozumel, an island just off the coast of Playa del Carmen, is packed with activities on both land and sea--from spa treatments and yoga classes to jet skiing and sailing. The island’s sole city, San Miguel, has the flair of a Mexican Caribbean town with pink and purple bougainvillea blooming on the street sides. Away from the city, white sand beaches lead into the inviting crystal clear waters where an underwater playground awaits. 

 

cozumel purple bougainvillea

 

An Underwater Playground

 

The entire island is surrounded by coral reefs as part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, making Cozumel best known for its colorful marine life. Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park is the most popular spot for diving and snorkeling where you can see corals of all shapes and sizes like Gorgonian sea fans and rare black coral. Threatened species such as the Cozumel splendid toadfish and loggerhead sea turtles call this place home, along with many other exotic sea creatures like green moray eels, nurse sharks, foureye butterfly fish, and barracudas. 

 

cozumel snorkeling

 

You don’t have to go very deep to see the marine life. Even while snorkeling, you will swim among coral heads, fan coral, and a variety of tropical fish. The Palancar Reef and Columbia Shallows located in the national park are the best places to snorkel with water visibility reaching as far as 200 feet. If not snorkeling at the Arrecifes de Cozumel, snorkel on your own to a coral reef from beach shore places such as the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, the Snorkel Center or the Monkey Bar. Want to see the famous reefs without getting in the water? Glass bottom boat tours are also available to see the colorful marine life beneath you.   

 

Although Cozumel is famous for its underwater playground, there are plenty of other ways to experience the tranquil waters from the surface such as paddle boarding, surfing, or kayaking. You can also arrange excursions for sport fishing to catch the likes of wahoo, grouper, and snapper.

 

cozumel kayaking

 

Mayan Worship Site 

 

Cozumel is home to the Mayan archeological ruin, San Gervasio, known as a place of worship for the goddess, Ix Chel, the deity of fertility and childbirth. In the Mayan time period, women often made pilgrimages to San Gervasio to offer gifts and sacrifices. Today, anyone can easily secure a tour from San Miguel to the site, which has four structures open to the public. Here you can see painted hand prints in the Las Manitas structure, a vaulted-roofed tomb, and a small chapel.

 

cozumel san gervasio

 

Getting Around

 

Cozumel has a small international airport with direct flights from Canada and the U.S. If you’re flying in from the Cancun International Airport, book a second flight through MAYAir to Cozumel, which flies the route six times daily. You could also take an Express bus or taxi from the Cancun International Airport to the Playa Del Carmen bus station, which is a two block walk away from the ferry port to get to Cozumel. 

 

The ferry dock is located at Calle 1 Sur, east of 5th Avenue. Once there, you can buy your ferry ticket for 163 Mexican pesos ($9 USD). The ferries run frequently throughout the day and take 50 minutes to get to the island and will drop you off at the port in the town of San Miguel.

 

For transportation around Cozumel, you could use taxis, shuttle vans, and buses. Rental car agencies are also an option that offer Jeeps and scooters. If staying in the downtown area, you’ll find several produce markets within walking distance serving local treats like freshly squeezed orange juice, caramelized limes and yogurt with walnuts.

 

Interesting Facts

  • Avoid shopping near the cruise ship ports as prices will be more expensive compared to shopping farther inland.

  • Find your own private paradise by exploring the east side of the island with a 4x4 Jeep.

  • Try a spicy Mexican corn-on-the-cob at the San Francisco Beach.