mexican travel advisory

Cozumel

Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean Island. Located in the Caribbean facing Playa del carmen, Cozumel is one of Mexico’s premier vacation destinations because of its plentiful snorkeling and diving opportunities. With white sand beaches, endless sunshine and island charm, the island welcomes visitors from all over the world. 

It’s not another Cancun yet, but Cozumel’s days as a rustic divers’ hangout are history. Less than five percent of the island is developed; and most of the undeveloped land is rugged jungle with quiet, deserted beaches. Without doubt, Cozumel is a diver’s paradise, and if you are a diver or you want to learn how to dive, the island should feature in your Mexico itinerary.

Table of Contents

Why should you visit Cozumel?

Mexico Cozumel

Cozumel is one of the most bucket-list-worthy Mexican islands out there. Its chill vibes, stunning landscapes, amazing culture and close proximity (45-minute ferry ride) from Playa del Carmen make it an irresistible Mexican destination. Since you are already thinking of visiting the Riviera Maya, you can’t not go there. 

  1. Cozumel is a dive and snorkel paradise. The island precedes itself as being on the the world best location for scuba-diving. Many people go to Cozumel´s turquoise water to check what is all the fuss about. 
  2. Tranquil and electic vibes: There’s a wide variety of creative arts to be seen around the island, from paintings to sculptures to murals and more.
  3.  Breathtaking beaches: The eastern coast is rocky and unprotected, and there’s only one road that leads to the beaches. On the west coast, there are two sandy stretches of paradise where will find also the famous Palancar Reef (south west for fantastic diving and snorkeling.
  4. Mystical mayan ruin: A special place to explore in the island is the San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site definitely worth the visit. It was built as a sanctuary to the Goddess Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and healing.

When is the best time to go to Cozumel?

Cozumel in Mexico

You can visit Mexico year-round, but the best time to visit Cozumel is during the months from March to June, before the hurricane season starts. The hottest months are July and August which coincides with the hurricane season that lasts until November. Winter is Cozumel’s busiest period and it runs from December through to March.

How to get to Cozumel?

Cozumel - Mexico

There are 2 ways to reach the island, by flying to Cozumel International Airport or by taking a 30-minute ride ferry from Playa del Carmen

Most people will arrive at the Cancun airport. From here, you have a few options to get to the ferry terminal. From Cancun, take the ADO bus or a colectivo to Playa del Carmen, hire a taxi, or opt for a shuttle from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Make your way to the ferry port and board the ferry. You can also cross with your car if you are renting one during your stay in Mexico. There are to Companies run ferry to Cozumel: Ultramar & Winjet. Winjet is not operating now (update sep 2020)  for the Covid-19 pandemic but will return soon.

People ferry

Leaving from the main port ferry in Playa del Carmen, the Ultramar and Winjet ferry leave about every hours. You can buy your ticket getting there or book it. Find here to book tickets for the fast ferry to the island or to know the time schedule

  1. Ultramar:  $250 Pesos Adults and $200 Pesos Kids (one-way)
  2. Winjet: $220 Pesos Adults – $140 Pesos Kids (one-way) NOT OPERATINING NOW. WILL RETURN SOON

Car ferry

This is a good option if you are renting a car in Mexico and travelling with friends or familly. Make sure you arrive early at the ferry boarding deck to have a spot on the ferry as there are limited spaces. If you can not getting in, you will have to wait the next ferry.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, times are always changing and it is quiet hard to get the right informations. The last updates (sept 2020) about time schedule, from Playa to Cozumel were 8.00am, 10.15am, 1.30pm, 16.00pm Check the time schedule or call ultramar number +52 1(998) 293-9092.

  1. Family Cars (with 4 passengers) – $400 Pesos each way.

Cozumel Ferry Time Table - Mexplor

Is Cozumel safe?

Cozumel Mexico

Like many other areas of Mexico, Cozumel is a relatively safe destination for tourists to visit. Violent crime is low, however, there have been reports of tourists drinking tainted alcohol at all-inclusive resorts, and there were two incidents involving explosives on tourist ferries.

Common-sense precautions are the name of the game when it comes to staying safe in Cozumel. The main town on the island, San Miguel de Cozumel, generally has low crime rates, though the island has special tourist police who speak English and are available to help visitors. Risks of violent crime like mugging is low in the island, though it would be a smart idea to leave your best jewelry and watches at home anytime you travel. However, avoiding isolated areas, like beaches and empty streets, at night is always good practice when it comes to staying safe. 

 
Cozumel best hotels

What can I do in Cozumel?

Best things to do in Cozumel Mexico

Whether you are visiting Cozumel for a few days or for a longer vacation, there are many activities you can do in Cozumel.

  1. Scuba-diving: Known as dive paradise, the island offers spectacular dives on the reef such as wall dives (Santa Rosa and Colombia), drift dives or coral formation dives in crystal clear water.
  2. Take a snorkeling tour to El Cielo, get to  snorkel in 2 stunning snorkel points and discover the magic beach El Cielo.
  3.  Visit the San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site
  4.  Road trip around the island on a jeep
  5. Spend the evening in san Miguel downtown
  6. Visit the farm chocolate
Relax on the beach in Cozumel

Is Cozumel expensive?

It’s always good to have numbers. You should plan to spend around M$711 ($34) per day on your vacation in Cozumel, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.Also, the average hotel price in Cozumel for a couple is M$537 ($25). So, a trip to the island for two people for one week costs on average M$9,949 ($471).

While meal prices in Cozumel can vary, the average cost of food in Cozumel is M$175 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Cozumel should cost around M$70 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in the island is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

The cost of a taxi ride in the island is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent M$247 per person, per day, on local transportation in Cozumel.

If you plan to go diving, you will pay for 2 tanks around M$3000 ($135) and a snorkeling tour will cost you around M$1,000 (50$)

Crossing with the Car ferry from Playa del Carmen

Snorkel Cozumel

As we had our own car here, we decided to bring it to Cozumel to have more freedowm to move around. You have to know that the taxi rides are quite expensive, especially if you want to explore the island. We roughly knew the ferry timetable (check it prior to you travel by calling ultramar +52 1(998) 293-9092 if you don´t want to have unpleasant surprise like us!!!!) but when we arrived at the ferry deck, the security guide told us the the ferry was full and left half an hour earlier. WHAT!!!!! Yes, things like this happens! We had to wait for the next ferry at 1.30pm, 2h30 later. All good, we always have an emergency plan. We went to a gorgeous beach in Playa del Carmen called Playa Punta Esmeralda. It is located at the far end the the 5th avenue going North where the locals like spending weekends far from the busy town beaches. Then we went back to the ferry and arrived in Cozumel after a 30 minutes late departure and 1h15 ride.

TIPS: Arrive minimum 1 hour before departure time to make sure to get a spot. Sometimes, people lined up for 2 hours! 

Punta Esmeralda Playa del Carmen - MExplor

Where to stay in Cozumel?

MExplor selection

As we mentioned, our travel mission is to find typical places and make the local home owner get profits out of the tourism industry. In Cozumel, various types of accommodations are available, from cheap hostel to luxury all-incluisive resorts. We found a lovely apartment to rent for our 3 perfect days in Cozumel called Studio XH. Located right in the center of Cozumel, it offers a simple comfortable studio apartment with bathroom, queen size bed, wifi and terrace where you can chill at the end of the day. PRICE: M$ 1349 ($60)

Travel Agency in Mexico

Other options are available from budget accommodation to luxury resorts.

Budget

  1. Casa Calido : central location and well-equipped accommodations featuring free WiFi in Cozumel, double bed and shared bathroom PRICE: M$376 ($16)
  2. Casa de Yoli : entire apartment located in the town center od San Miguel de Cozumel with patio, specific units are air-conditioned and have a dining area and a seating area with a flat-screen TV.  PRICE : M$ 573 ( $25)
  3. Casa Coral Cozumel : This hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge and air-conditioned accommodations with a patio and free WiFi. PRICE : M$ 984 ($43)

Hotels

  1. Hotel Cozumel & Resort : Conveniently located in Cozumel, Hotel Cozumel & Resort is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. PRICE : from M$ 1505 ($69)
  2. Casa Mexicana Cozumel : Cental located, offers its guests free breakfast buffet and complimentary Wi-Fi connection. There is coffee service available in the lobby area. All rooms are air conditioned and have cable TV.  PRICE: M$1657 ($75)
  3. Kinta Kan Hotel Boutique Cozumel : Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, garden and views of pool,  private bathroom, air conditioning, and certain rooms also offer a patio. PRICE : M$ 1108 ($49)

Resorts

  1. El Cid La Ceiba Beach: This beachfront resort is on the beautiful island of Cozumel in Mexico. It offers 2 pools, tennis courts, a spa and free meals. All air-conditioned suites have a balcony with ocean views. PRICE: M$2309 ($103)
  2. The Explorean Cozumel All Inclusive : located in Cozumel, right on the Caribbean Sea. It is surrounded by jungle and features on-site snorkelling. PRICE : M$ 5987 ($267)
  3. Grand Park Royal Cozumel All Inclusive : Turquoise often crystal clear waters are just offshore. Beneath the surface are breathtaking reefs to attract undersea divers (and fantastic undersea life) from around the world and the Grand Park Royal Cozumel is in the center of it all.  PRICE : M$ 6717 ($299)

If you plan to not bring a car, here is the people ferry time table.

Cozumel Ferry Time Table - Mexplor

BE AWARE THAT THE CAR FERRY & PEOPLE FERRY DO NOT LEAVE FROM THE SAVE PLACE.

Travel Agency in MexicoTravel Agency in Mexico

Our 3 days in Cozumel

Best places to visit in Mexico -MExico Travel Guide Blog MExplor 2020

Rent a Car and enjoy Cozumel at the fullest

Before going to Cozumel, you need to know there is not many public transport option and taxi drivers charge a lot of money. Of course, depending on how long you stay and what you will do, you might don´t need a transport. But if you are thinking to stay a few days and visit the island, we recommend renting a car in Cancun or Playa del Carmen and cross with the car ferry in Playa del Carmen.

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