Things to do in Cozumel
Cozumel is a beautiful island that attracts thousands of tourists a year for its imposing Mesoamerican reef and its spectacular Caribbean sea. This beautiful Caribbean destination offers a large number of options to discover, and make you fall in love with it, that is why I have prepared this article with a list of Things to do in Cozumel so that you will soon add it to your list of places to visit. Take note.
Is it safe to travel to Cozumel during the pandemic?
During my days in Cozumel I saw that hotels, restaurants, attractions and service providers are complying with all hygiene and safety regulations in order to operate. Antibacterial gel, sanitizing mats as well as signage are present everywhere and that gives the traveler confidence, in addition to all this, in public areas the use of face masks is mandatory.
Let us remember that the issue of bio security during the pandemic falls not only on the destination or service provider but it is also our responsibility and we must abide by the new rules for our integrity and that of others.
In summary I can say that the whole time I felt safe and that allowed me to enjoy Cozumel.
Now that this point has been clarified, let’s continue with the information on this beautiful Mexican destination.
But first, a little history:
The island of Cozumel is part of the state of Quintana Roo, it is the third largest in Mexico and the second most populated, its name in Mayan (Cuzamil) means ‘Land of Swallows’.
The first wave of settlers arrived from the Caribbean around the s. II BC and the second were from the Mayan region of Petén in the 3rd century BC. Over time, Cozumel became a sanctuary where Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, was worshiped.
In 1518 Juan Grijalva discovered the island and performed the first Catholic mass in Mexico, later the population was drastically reduced by the diseases that the Spanish brought to the island.
At the end of the the nineteenth century, the repopulation of the island began with inhabitants of several localities in the Yucatan peninsula and the boom in the trade of henequen gum or chicozapote and coconut began.
With the passage of time the beauty of the Cozumel waters and its imposing reef placed this Mexican paradise in the eyes of the whole world, starting the tourism of cruise ships and fans of diving and snorkeling.
How to get to Cozumel
The City of San Miguel de Cozumel can be reached by air and by sea:
Cozumel has an airport that receives domestic and foreign flights.
A round-trip flight from Mexico City to Cozumel by Volaris costs between $ 2,000 and $ 3,500 ($ 100- $ 170 USD), this depends a lot on the flight date.
The FlyCozumel company has flights from Cancun (from $ 120 USD one way) and Playa del Carmen (at $66 USD) of 20 and 10 minutes respectively. A comfortable, safe and, as you can see, very fast option.
There are currently two companies that take you to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen:
General public: $ 250 ($ 12 USD) single adult and $ 500 ($ 25 USD) round.
Residents of Quintana Roo: $ 150 (USD $ 7) Single adult and $ 300 (USD $ 14) child.
Seniors: (INAPAM) $ 90 single and $ 180 round.
General public: $ 235 ($ 11 USD) single adult and $ 455 ($ 22 USD) round, $ 155 ($ 7.5 USD) single child and $ 295 ($ 15USD) round child.
Quintana Roo residents: $ 175 ($ 8.5 USD) Single adult and $ 335 ($ 17 USD) child.
Seniors: (INAPAM) $ 80 single and $ 160 round.
Visit their pages for prices and schedules.
Cozumel is one of the favorite cruise destinations and some of the lines that call this island are: Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Regent, Holland American Life and Celebrity Cruises.
What is the best time to go to Cozumel?
The high season runs from November to March (when foreigners flee the cold weather).
The average season goes from June to August, which is when there is more national tourism.
It is considered low season from September to October.
In summary, the best months to visit Cozumel are: February-March (for carnival), April, September and October since there are fewer people and the weather is very pleasant.
How to get around in Cozumel?
One of the options to get around the island of Cozumel is a car rental that ranges from $ 725 ($ 35 USD) to $ 1,200 ($ 58 USD) per day depending on the model. Something important to consider is whether the place where you will be staying has parking. Do not forget to include insurance for expenses, preferably a comprehensive coverage, it is necessary to have a credit card to be able to rent the car.
There is also the option to rent a scooter for $ 500 ($ 25 USD) per day.
Another more comfortable and faster but more expensive option is to move by taxi, if your stay is short it may be the only option or if not, take tours with transportation included.
If you come on a budget plan, you can move on public transport that is only available within the city. A local can help you with the places they do pickups.
Do you have a very good physical condition? Then you will like this other option: Rent a bicycle.
There are those who actually «go around» the island to visit a large number of places of interest without haste, at their own pace and to their liking. It should be noted at this point that the road has parallel lanes exclusively for bicycles, which makes it very safe and also has privileged views. Renting them for 24 hours costs between $ 200 and $ 500 ($ 10- $ 25 USD) depending on whether it is a city bike or a mountain model. For those who answered that their physical condition is not correct, there is also an option: An electric bicycle.
What to do in Cozumel
1. Dive and snorkel
The Island of Cozumel has the largest set of coral reefs in the northern hemisphere, which is why it is an ideal place for diving and snorkeling. Its water is very transparent which allows a spectacular visibility ideal for both experienced divers and beginners.
The prices of the diving tours range from $ 1,900 to $ 2,900 ($ 85- $ 140 USD), this depending on the location and duration.
Where to dive
- Paso de Cedral
- Santa Rosa
- Punta Sur
2. Rest on Isla Pasión
North of Cozumel is this island surrounded by crystal clear waters. It is reached by boat trip that takes approximately 10 minutes from the far north. There we can find a beach club with all the services to spend a relaxing day. Admission includes transportation, access, and food.
The prices of this beach club are $ 1,580 adults ($ 76 USD) and $ 1,480 children older than 5 years ($ 72 USD). For more information click here.
3. Learn at the Cozumel Museum
In order to know and understand more about the culture of Cozumel, the ideal is to enter its permanent and temporary rooms of this interesting and interactive museum that shows us the origin, its history, as well as the culture of this island. Take a walk and learn more about the pride of the Cozumeleños.
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
$ 198 ($ 10 USD) ask for prices for nationals.
4. Get to know Cozumel’s gastronomy
Cozumel’s gastronomic proposal is interesting as it mostly combines the fresh flavors of the Caribbean with a contemporary touch of international cuisine. Here are some recommendations to get to know its culinary scene:
Its food is made with fresh, local and seasonal products in a relaxed atmosphere on a terrace with beautiful views. The combination of flavors and their attention is the best. Order the mango pizza with shrimp or multiple dishes at the center to share.
$ 150- $ 400 ($ 7- $ 20 USD)
Buccanos is one of Cozumel’s favorite spots for its creative mix of cuisines that create multi-sensory sensations. You have to go try their lobster nachos which are made with fried plantain and goat cheese or the Buccanos panuchos.
$ 200-500 ($ 10- $ 25 USD)
Emblematic restaurant of the Cozumeleños in one of the oldest houses on the island and which enjoys a privileged view of the sea. Its dishes are made with local products to support the economy of its inhabitants. Ask for some mezcal shrimp tacos or some cochinita, they are delicious and a cocktail to refresh you.
$ 100- $ 330 ($ 5- $ 16 USD).
10 Experiences Tour
This is a boutique gastronomic tour where through a 10-course tasting you discover a lot about the states of the Mexican Republic, this is accompanied by a pairing specially designed for this experience. All this happens in an intimate setting and few diners to make it even more special. Highly recommended.
$ 160 USD
5. Explore Punta Sur
To the south of the island is the Punta Sur park, a place to find Mayan vestiges, an observation tower, the Celarain lighthouse, the Navigation Museum, beach clubs as well as observation trails.
Adults $ 324 Pesos ($ 18 USD) | Children $ 198 Pesos ($ 11 USD) (4-12 years) | Children under 3 do not pay entry. Mexicans with identification (National Plan): $ 216 adults and $ 162 children
Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Anémona de Mar Beach Club
Inside Punta Sur is the Anémona de Mar beach club, ideal for resting, swimming, having a drink or eating. Its relaxed atmosphere makes you enjoy it to the fullest, you have to go. Ask for the 7 chilli ceviche, very good and not so hot.
Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Inside the Punta Sur Park.
It can be consumed from the restaurant and bar or purchase a package. Click for prices
6. Catch the sunrise or sunset
If you are one of those people who enjoy sunrise, the ideal would be that you go to the other side of the island to take advantage of the views and enjoy the first rays of sun so that later you continue visiting the beaches of that area that I mention in the next point. If you don’t feel like getting up early, then you can enjoy a sunset from the boardwalk, or a terrace while having a drink or even from the window of your room. Remember to check the sunrise and sunset times in advance so that you can schedule yourself and do not miss them.
7. Go to the beach (free)
Visit the southeast coast of the island to discover those beaches of beautiful tones of blue that will surprise you, these are public and in some you will find points of interest such as viewpoints, restaurants and other establishments that I will mention later. I recommend taking the Transversal highway that crosses the island on the narrow side (15 km) to get to Playa Mezcalitos and from there start your beach tour. This first point is good to see the sunrise, the establishments open at 9-10 am so that you take it into account.
Be careful if you are in a motorcycle or bike the waves and wind can be strong.
Chen Rio Beach
5.6 km from Playa Mezcalitos is Playa Chen Rio, a place to rest and swim since despite being open sea, there are some rock formations that allow you to do it safely and with the whole family. Once you are there it will surely make you hungry so take the opportunity to eat at El Pescador and ask for some of the suggestions. Right there you can practice or even learn to surf with the famous Nacho, take advantage. Ask for some fresh and delicious coconut shrimp or shrimp in love. My mouth is already watering.
Following the road to the south for 1 km you will find the Mirador Chumul, a place to contemplate the views and walk along its beaches. At this point there are no services so take the opportunity to buy something or go to the restrooms in Playa Chen Rio.
At 6.4 km from Playa Chen Rio begins Playa Bonita, a long beach that many consider ideal for surfing. Tour it on foot and discover its views and its rock formations, just be careful, do not try to walk on them as they are sharp.
The next stop deserves to travel the next 7.8 km to get to it, it is the Box Beach, this does not refer to the pugilistic sport, in Mayan box means black, that’s why some locals may be called boxito (boshito) from appreciation. I’ll be clear, the stop rather than the beach is for its famous Liquor Box bar, which claims to be the only one open 25 hours a day. Make that stop and order their traditional mojitos and if you like, a snack to accompany while you enjoy the views from a hammock.
Price of Mojitos: $160 ($8 USD)
8. Eat like the locals
They say that to learn more about the culture and customs of a city, you have to go into its heart, leave aside the most touristy places for a moment and thus taste the flavors that make the locals happy. On this trip through Cozumel I looked for some places that they recommended to me to live a 100% Cozumelean experience… and also MUCH cheaper.
A traditional seafood restaurant on the island with an extensive menu that allows you to enjoy a wide variety of fresh foods such as empanadas, tacos, ceviche, snacks, cocktails among other dishes. The lobster empanadas are delicious.
$ 70- $ 220 ($ 3.5- $ 10 USD)
Coctelería La Estrella
Its menu has delicious dishes since 1998 but its ‘pimitos’ are its star on the menu. These are a thick tortilla (in some places they are known as sopes or gorditas) with edges to be able to carry a stew on top. Although these are known in other populations in the Yucatan peninsula, in Cozumel they have had a great acceptance. There are snail ones that are one of the favorites but there are also ceviche or fish ones. Which one would you like to try?
$ 25- $ 130 ($ 1- $ 6.5 USD)
Restaurante El Hangar
If you are looking for either a meal or just a pre-drink, take a walk around El Hangar (near the airport). There they have live music by a local band that enlivens the time with friends while you enjoy their snacks.
$ 30- $ 90 ($ 1.5- $ 4.5 USD)
No Name Bar
This bar is part of the Barracuda Hotel and is frequented by locals and especially by cruise ship personnel when they escape to enjoy the island’s nightlife, to be discreet with that, the bar ‘has no name’.
$ 90- $ 150 ($ 4.5- $ 7.5 USD)
9. Tour the center of San Miguel de Cozumel
A few meters from where the ferries arrive is the Benito Juárez Park, there you can see its beautiful clock that has been in operation since 1910, its Isla de Cozumel colorful letters for the traditional photo and visit its shops.
The following activities are on my to-do list and since I know I will return and they have been recommended to me, I share them as well. If you already know them or you get to go before me, tell me what you think of these places.
10. Visit San Gervacio
This is the best-preserved settlement on the island and at the same time of greater importance since the Mayans made pilgrimages to worship the goddess Ixchel.
This point stands out for having been a key and strategic point for trade and political development.
The name is due to the fact that it is located in what was the Rancho San Gervasio.
$ 188 ($ 10.50 USD)
Children under 13 years old (Accompanied by an Adult), INAPAM Official Credential, Official Teacher Credential and / or students enter free.
11. Conoce Chankanaab
Chankanaab, which means «Little Ocean,» is an adventure park located within the Cozumel National Reef Park, where you can enjoy its beautiful beach with thousands of colorful fish, a true natural aquarium. There you can snorkel or dive, enjoy a cenote, go zip-lining, go on nature observation walks and even have a massage in its spa. This site is one of the favorites of those who visit Cozumel.
Adults $ 468 ($ 26.00 USD)
Children $ 324 ($ 18.00 USD) from 4-12 years old, minors enter free.
Adults: $ 270 ($ 13 USD)
Children: $ 162 ($ 8 USD)
12. Escape to Playa del Carmen
If you came directly to Cozumel, it is well worth escaping by ferry (or private flight Fly Cozumel) to this beautiful destination to see its beaches, walk along its famous Fifth Avenue, go to a bar and have a great time.
13. Dance at their carnival
It is one of the most iconic carnivals in Mexico that lasts several days with various events such as the coronation of its kings and queens. The island is practically paralyzed because the Cozumeleños actively anticipate this festivity that gives the island its identity.
During the week of the carnival festivities you can enjoy many activities such as comparsas and costume contests, the traditional burning of Juan Carnaval, reading of the will and the highly anticipated parades that run through the main streets.
In Cozumel Carnival you can enjoy elaborate floats, colorful costumes, batucadas and music that sets the atmosphere, enough elements to get the whole island to enjoy and dance. Would you dare to visit Cozumel this season?
14. Live the Cedral Fair
This fair that lasts up to 5 days is of religious origin and commemorates the day of the Holy Cross as well as the arrival of the 21 founding families that took refuge in Cozumel in 1848 during the Caste War.
The celebration includes traditional displays, artistic and cultural activities, music and above all a lot of food.
Where to Stay
Cozumel has a great variety of accommodations for all types of travelers and budget. Just identify what your tastes or needs and you will surely find the one that best suits what you are looking for. In Cozumel I stayed in two hotels that I recommend below:
El Cid La Ceiba
This hotel stands out for the good service of its collaborators who are attentive to the guests at all times. Its rooms are very spacious and fresh, those that are located on top have a spectacular view of the sea that can be enjoyed from its large balcony.
El Cid La Ceiba Hotel is an all-inclusive, it has a pool, beachfront restaurant, spa, gym, WiFi, parking, bar, air conditioning among other services.
Between $ 2,200 and $ 3,800 approximately in a double room.
Hotel B Unique
Hotel B Unique is relatively new and its location gives spectacular views of the different shades of blue of the sea. Its rooms are spacious where the minimalism of its architecture that combines with the textures and colors of the Mexican crafts that decorate every corner.
It has a pool, parking, free WiFi, spa, restaurant, free bicycles.
$ 4,200- $ 5,800 ($ 205- $ 280 USD) in double occupancy.
As you can see, the Island of Cozumel offers a wide variety of activities which makes it a destination for all types of travelers, for those who like to travel alone, couples, friends or the whole family. Here everyone is going to have a good time, you’ll see. If you have any doubts or questions, write them in the comments.