The Ultimate Guide to Cozumel, Mexico

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Visited by several cruise ships each day, Cozumel, Mexico is one of the cruise industry's most popular destinations. Welcome to a land of crystal clear waters, tacos, & tequila! This small island has so much to offer.  

Working on cruise ships ourselves, we have been to Cozumel, Mexico a combined amount of about 100 times! That's why we're here to help you navigate and decide how to spend your time on the island.

With the ultimate guide to Cozumel you'll find fun things to do, where to find the best food, and how to save. So without further ado, let's jump right in!

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Where is Cozumel, Mexico?

Cozumel is a small Caribbean island that is off the southern coast of Mexico. It is located off the Yucatan Peninsula, just outside of Playa del Carmen.

where is Cozumel Mexico

Cozumel is located off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

What is the Easiest Way to Get to Cozumel, Mexico?

There are quite a few ways to get to Cozumel, including flying, cruising, or taking a ferry from the mainland.

Getting to Cozumel by Cruise

Did you know that Cozumel is one of the most popular and busiest ports for cruise ships in the world? The small island is found on most western Caribbean cruise itineraries, and all of the most well known companies sail there.

port of Cozumel, Mexico
cruise to Cozumel Mexico

Cozumel is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.

Where Do I Fly Into to Get to Cozumel?

There is a small airport on the island of Cozumel that has direct flights from the US and other parts of Mexico. American Airlines flies from Dallas and Miami, and United and Southwestern both fly from Houston. In addition, Air Canada flies from Toronto.

Flight Tip: Use Skyscanner's explore option to see the calendar of the cheapest dates to fly to Cozumel each month!

Getting to Cozumel by Ferry

If you are already in Mexico and want to visit from the mainland, this is also an option. Cozumel is a great place to visit on a day trip if you are staying in Playa del Carmen, as it is just 45 minutes by ferry and only $10 USD one way.

How Often Does the Ferry Go to Cozumel?

Ferries run pretty regularly, making it almost like hopping on a bus. The two ferry companies that run this route are Ultramar and Winjet. Ultramar has departures every two hours starting from 8 am to 10 pm, and Winjet has departures every two hours from 9 am to 7 pm. This means that you can hop on the ferry every hour!

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Entry Requirements for Mexico

While many people will be visiting Cozumel via cruise ships, it's still important to know exactly the requirements for entering. Here is everything you need to know for what to do in Cozumel when it comes to entry requirements.

What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Cozumel?

Back in the day, Americans were actually able to travel without their passports. It's been a while since that has changed, but I still think that it's important to address (since I have met hundreds of cruisers thinking they could go onboard without a passport). Whether you are visiting Cozumel via cruise ship or on your own, you will in definitely need your passport to travel.

Covid Entry Requirements for Mexico

From day one Mexico has been way more accepting to letting people in during times of Covid. Luckily, conditions around the world have been getting much better, and there are no longer any restrictions when it comes to Covid whether you are visiting via air or by cruise ship.

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Local Adjustments for Traveling to Cozumel

When you travel there are things that may be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to the island of Cozumel, and throughout Mexico.

Language: Do You Need to Speak Spanish in Cozumel?

The official language in Cozumel is Spanish. It helps to learn a bit of the language to enhance your experience. However, being such a touristy island there are also many people that speak English.

What is the Best Currency to Use in Cozumel?

The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso. Being that Cozumel is such a touristic island though, the USD isn't just widely accepted, but many will request it. 

We always take out Mexican pesos, and say that it's all we have, as prices are always cheaper using the local currency. It's important to have pesos on you if you want to go to some of the more local spots (such as the local market). Use the ATM to get the best rate, as opposed to exchanging in Cozumel.

Psst! Want to learn about our little secret of how we never pay any ATM fees? Buy us a cup of coffee and we'll share it with you!

What Plugs are Used in Cozumel, Mexico?

Mexico has the same outlets as the rest of North America, which support plug types A & B. The standard frequency is 127 V and 60 Hz. If you are coming from the US you will not need an adapter.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Cozumel?

It is notorious that you shouldn't drink the water in Mexico. We have to say we did in fact drink the water from the tap in other parts of Mexico and were fine. However, as it is an island, it is not safe to drink in Cozumel.

Tipping Culture: How Much Do You Tip in Cozumel?

The tipping culture in Mexico is very interesting. As it has mass tourism from the US, the tipping culture has changed dramatically, and now is very ingrained into the service industry. We suggest tipping around 15% for normal service, and 20% for great service.

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What to Do in Cozumel, Mexico

It can be overwhelming to choose what to do, especially if you are visiting just one day! Here are a few of the different options you can look into.

Sail Around via Catamaran

What could be more fun than going with your group on a private boat? Catamaran trips in Cozumel, Mexico usually run around 4 hours and include food, unlimited drinks, snorkeling, and a stop at a beautiful beach. What could be more perfect?

Expect to pay between $60-80/person. If you have a small group there are shared catamarans, but if you have a big group you can rent your own private charter! Try to find a contact to plan in advance, as getting them the day of can be a little more difficult.

Catamaran in Cozumel, Mexico
catamaran in Cozumel, Mexico
catamaran in Cozumel, Mexico

Sailing in a catamaran is a great way to see the best of Cozumel, Mexico.

Want to book a catamaran? We have both public and private excursions down below:

Snorkel at El Cielo

This is actually a place that many catamarans stop at, so it is kind of a two-in-one! Here is where you will experience the clearest, most stunning waters of Cozumel. The area is known for its marine life, and for having a lot of starfish!

El Cielo, things to do in Cozumel, Mexico

El Cielo has the clearest waters in Cozumel, and is known for its marine life.

Please do not touch the starfish! It is can be very harmful, or even kill them.

Want to book an excursion to El Cielo? Just check the different options below:

Rent a Jeep

Cozumel is a very small island, and very easy to get around by car. With just one main highway going around, it is nearly impossible to get lost. Grab a jeep and some beers, and beach hop.

Jeep in Cozumel Mexico

Renting a jeep gives you freedom to explore more of the island.

One of our favorites is on the other side of the island from downtown Cozumel, called El Pescador. This is a free beach, with a natural pool like area formed by the rocks. It isn’t very crowded, and also has a bar/ restaurant on site.

El Pescador, Cozumel Mexico

El Pescador is one of the best beaches in Cozumel

*Note: Buggies are also available outside the port and are super fun! Just make sure you have someone with you that is able to drive manual.

Want to book your jeep in Cozumel? Here are a few that you can reserve in advance:

Take a Ride to Isla Pasión

Isla Pasion (otherwise known as Passion Island) is a small island that usually ship excursions go to. Clean and beautiful, this is a great place to go for the day. The easiest way to get there is of course by booking with your cruise line. However, if you like adventure and want to save a few bucks, we’ve found a way!

Isla Pasion, Cozumel, Mexico

Isla Pasion is small slice of paradise right off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.

How to Get to Isla Pasion on Your Own

Step 1: Rent a car

The airport is without a doubt the cheapest place to get a car. Conveniently located just 10 minutes from the cruise ports, and with cars as low as $6/day this is a no-brainer.

Try to get a bigger car, or make sure you drive extremely carefully, as the road is a dirt path that is not clearly marked.

Step 2: Drive to the north of the island

As stated above, you need to drive carefully. If you search in google maps there will be a line that you need to follow until you get to the most northern tip of the island. It’s not marked clearly and is a little bumpy so drive safe!

Step 3: Take a small boat ride

There may be just one or two random men with their wooden boats when you reach this point, Offer them $5-10 round trip and they will likely take you over. They may try to sell you a package, but it is not necessary.

pier to Isla Pasion

This pier is where you can find a local to take you on their boat to Isla Pasion.

Step 4: You have arrived!

Enjoy the beautiful beach and make sure you arrange when to get picked up from your boat. The island will empty out early because almost everyone there will be there because of an excursion from a ship.

Relax at Hotel B

Looking for a relaxing day with a lot of food and an infinity pool? Hotel B is the place for you. The last we’ve checked, it was $30/person for a day pass, but $20 went towards food and drinks, which goes a pretty long way in Cozumel Mexico. 

Hotel B, Cozumel, Mexico
Hotel B food Cozumel, Mexico
Hotel B, Cozumel, Mexico

Hotel B has a picture perfect infinity pool.

Indulge at an All-Inclusive

These aren’t our personal favorites, but once in a while they can be a good choice for certain people. Places like El Cid and Park Royal are close to the cruise ports and easy for larger groups to go to, with everything included.


They can be pricey and not the best quality food, but are relaxing, and a safe choice with plenty of activities if that’s what you are looking for.

all-inclusive resort Cozumel Mexico

Park Royal All-inclusive Resort

Save the Turtles

Right on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, between the months of April and November, is one of the sweetest experiences we have ever encountered.


On this excursion (done through some cruise ships, but can also be set up separately) you will be taken in a small group to a local beach, where you will dig in the sand to find baby turtles who need help being saved.

 Once you get all of the turtles you will release them into the sea to begin their life.

save the sea turtles, experiences in Cozumel Mexico

Saving the turtles is one of the best programs to participate in.

Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

Cozumel, Mexico is well known for it's marine life and beautiful reefs, so it's the perfect place to take a dive and enjoy all that these waters have to offer.

snorkeling Cozumel Mexico

Cozumel , Mexico is an excellent place to snorkel and dive.

Here are some fun snorkeling tours that you can sign up for:

Visit Chankanaab Park

This adventure park has a small beach, archaeological tour, sea lion show, manatee and crocodile exhibition, snuba and seatrek tours, swim with dolphins tour, spa, and tequila tour.

They also have a restaurant with an all inclusive option. Tickets are available through cruise lines, online, and directly at the park.


*We DO NOT support the dolphin or sea lion program, as we do not agree with having animals used in this way. This park is best for families with children, and is much more commercial than the places we choose to go to. 

We urge people not to participate in swimming with the dolphins that are offered in the touristic Caribbean islands, as they are always in small closed-in pools.

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Check out the different activities at Chankanaab:

Explore Punta Sur Eco-Park

This is a 247-acre ecological park that covers the reefs, beaches, lagoons, and low forest of the surrounding area. This park is located on the south eastern tip of the island. Here you can find crocodiles, nature, and a light house to visit. All of the animals are in their natural habitat and not held captive.

Punta Sur EcoPark, things to do in Cozumel, Mexico
Punta Sur EcoPark in Cozumel, Mexico
Punta Sur Eco Park, best things to do in Cozumel, Mexico

Punta Sur is an Eco Park in the South of Cozumel, Mexico.

Check out the different tours that include Punta Sur Eco Park:

Head to the Mainland

Just a 45 minute ferry ride away, Playa del Carmen has so much to offer. Whether you just want some great shopping and beaches, or some exciting excursions, you have plenty of options for a day trip to the mainland of Mexico.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is a long trip from Cozumel, but is one of the seven wonders and not one to miss! The ships usually have excursions to Chichen Itza via ferry and bus ride, or by flight! We have done both, but here are the differences:

Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula
The cheapest way:

If you would like to go on your own, you can catch the local ferry for $10 to Playa del Carmen, and then you can either get a taxi to Chichen Itza (which is about an hour away), or you can rent a car in town and drive yourself.

Cars can be rented for as low as $15/day if you book in advance. The commute in total will take about three hours, so if you are on a ship for just a day this can be very risky. We would recommend this option if you are staying a few days on the island.

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Cozumel Mexico Pin
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The easiest way:

Every cruise line has excursions to Chichen Itza for usually anywhere from $100-150/person. There is usually a boxed lunch included, along with all of the transportation.

 This option is good because you are guaranteed by the security of being back on time with everyone, and even if the tour is running late, the ship will wait!

The most exciting way:

A fairly new way to see Chichen Itza is by plane! This was one of the best experiences by far, and can only be done from Cozumel, Mexico Some ships offer this excursion for just one small group sharing a chartered plane of 12 people max. To book separately, contact fly cozumel

The flight is a 45 minute scenic ride to the airport right outside Chichen Itza. You get there before all of the giant tour groups do, its not as hot out, and you have a small and intimate group setting.

The excursion costs around $500, but is definitely a bucket list item to splurge on if you only plan on visiting Mexico once. If you are not on a ship, you can reach out directly to Fly Cozumel, who we highly recommend!

Chicen Itza by plane

Taking the excursion Chichen Itza by Plane is one of the best ways to visit the world wonder.

Visit one of the great natural parks

Now when we say park, we don't just mean any park. Excaret has several different parks with different activities, restaurants, and animal interactions, all surrounded by the real beauty of nature. Almost all parks are available through excursions on ships, which include the entrance and transportation.

If you are going on your own, you can grab the ferry to the mainland, and then either rent a car or get a taxi to any of these parks. Some are closer than others to Playa del Carmen, so keep this in mind.

If you have an action camera make sure to bring it, as there are so many great opportunities to use it. Bathing suit, towel, and sunscreen are also a must! 

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This is definitely the most popular of all of the parks, as it is the original. Excaret has it all. The park is laid out in 6 different zones, all with different types of attractions. Included are beaches, cenotes, an underground river, shops, restaurants, a Mayan village, an aquarium, and more.


They also put on spectacular shows at night so if you are staying in the area for more than just a day, we highly recommend going during the evening as well as in the day. This park is located just 25 minutes from the center of Playa del Carmen.

Excaret Park Mexico

Xcaret Park has  so many different options for things to do.

Get your tickets to Excaret Park:


This park is for the water lovers. Xel-Ha is a natural aquatic park with cenotes, an underground river (where you can tube down), ropes courses, and a giant water slide with the most fantastic view. The restaurants are all included, and for all inclusive this is some of them best you will find!


They truly have an incredible variety, as well as the best margaritas. Xel-Ha is Ithe furthest park away from Playa del Carmen, 40 minutes from the center.  If you go here with a ship's excursion, we suggest that you use your time wisely, and plan for which activities excite you the most.

Xel-Ha Cave Park
Xel-Ha Park Mexico

Xel-Ha is a large natural waterpark.

Grab your ticks to Xel-Ha:


This is the park with the most excitement. Here you will find a Jungle adventure park with zip-lining, amphibious vehicles, rafting & underground rivers. This park is the closest to Playa del Carmen, being just 10-15 minutes away.

Prebook your Xplor tickets:


This park is something a little bit different. Xsenses is a place where you can rediscover your emotions. This outdoor amusement park is full with sense-themed activities & optical illusions, making it fun for all ages. It is also located right next to Xplor park, just 10-15 minutes away from Playa del Carmen.

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Swim in El Rio Secreto

El Rio Secreto is an underground river with crystal caves. It is absolutely gorgeous. The only downside is that you can not bring cameras and photos run at a pretty high price.

Check out tours to Rio Secreto:

Visit Tulum

Tulum is a little far from Cozumel, Mexico, but in our opinion, the most beautiful place to visit in the area. In order to get here you can take the ferry to Playa del Carmen, and then it is an hour away by car.

Selina Tulum
Hotel Zone, things to do in Tulum
ruins in Tulum

You can do a day trip from Cozumel to Tulum and visit the ruins and cenotes.

Tulum has gorgeous ruins perched right on the beach, a cute village with beautiful boutique hotels, and stunning cenotes nearby.

Want to know more about the amazing things to do in this chic beach town? We have a full article about visiting Tulum that you can read.

There are so many things to do in Tulum, and it's becoming one of the biggest hotspots in Mexico! It's no wonder why when this trendy beach town is located just two hours from Cancun, and is surrounded with so much charm and beauty.This place is growing fast, so take

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Swim in the Cenotes

There are over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula! These sink holes are all unique. Some are in caves, some have cliffs you can jump from, and some have swings or zip lines over them.

gran cenote
Cenote Calavera Tulum, Mexico

The majority of these cenotes are located over in Tulum. So head to the mainland, rent a car, and check out the cenotes!

Did you know that there are a few thousand cenotes in the Yucatán península? With so many to choose from, which are the best cenotes in Mexico to check out? Well we're here to help!First things first: What is a cenote? Well it's something that is truly unique and that

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Food & Drink in Cozumel, Mexico

We don’t need to tell you to eat tacos and drink tequila, which everyone already knows. But we do have some spots that have great food and prices and tips of what to avoid.

Mercado Central

The local market in Cozumel Mexico is far from luxurious, but the food is incredibly tasty and cheap! With fresh squeezed juices and tacos at $1 you can’t go wrong. Find the area in the corner with a small seating area and the food on display. Order a gordita and your perspective on Mexican food will only get better.

shrimp tacos

The Mercado Central has some of the best local Mexican food.

Make sure to bring cash (preferably pesos mexicanos) as many places don’t accept card


In Cozumel, Mexico coconuts are fresh and usually only $2! What better way to keep you hydrated?


This alcoholic beverage is Tequila's sister. Made from the heart of the agave plant, this is the true spirit of Mexico. Try some local Mezcals and Tequilas, or go on a tour to a distillery to find out how these liquors are made!

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Pro Tip: Eat Local

If you walk around downtown Cozumel Mexico, the further you get from the water, the more local you will get. There are some delicious and cheap restaurants you can find, and generally speaking, the less colorful and touristy they look, the better the place will be.

You can find homemade guacamole for $2 or mouth watering enchiladas for as little as $3. Go explore!

Want to know more about typical  Mexican dishes to try? Check out our full article below:

Getting Around Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico is small and doesn’t have any easily accessible public transportation. We recently found out that there is in fact a public bus, though we're fairly sure it is just for within the city center. If you want to know the best apps to get around, check them out on our article of the  9 Best Travel Apps.

Can You Walk Around Cozumel?

There are two cruise ports, so unless you are at the downtown pier, you won't be able to walk anywhere. If you are docked at the downtown pier, you can walk to the city center and around the town. However, there is a lot more to Cozumel than just the town, and none of the beaches or other things to do in Cozumel are within walking distance of the downtown area.

Getting Around Cozumel, Mexico: The easiest option 

The most hassle-free (but most expensive) option is a taxi. This is our least favorite, as for us it seems to be a waste of money, but if you are willing to spend and want to save time, this can be an option.

taxi chart Cozumel Mexico

Taxi Chart Port of Cozumel

*Make sure you check the charts for prices. Often they will make you share and then have both parties pay the full price each. Don’t let this happen to you!

Does Uber Operate in Cozumel?

No, there is no Uber or Lyft in Cozumel unfortunately.

Getting Around Cozumel, Mexico: The most fun and adventurous option

Get a jeep or buggy. If you are going a longer distance, this will also save you money, and give you flexibility of where to go.

buggies, getting around Cozumel, Mexico

Getting a buggy is a fun way to get around the island of Cozumel.

Getting Around Cozumel, Mexico: The cheapest option

Renting a car from the airport is actually the cheapest way that you can get around Cozumel. Rent online and you can find extremely cheap prices. We have even found cars in the past as cheap as $6/day! Even if you just want to go one place, this will hands-down be the money saver.

Grab a taxi for 200 pesos ($10) to the airport which is just a few miles away. The process is rather quick and easy as there is not much traffic in the airport at all.

Book your car rental in Cozumel:

Let’s be honest...who doesn’t want to have the best vacation in the Caribbean? The area is full of paradise beaches, crystal clear waters and a relaxing vibe. The list of places to go is huge. But while they are might be amazing, they can be super pricey if you don't

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Where to Stay in Cozumel, Mexico

I'll be honest- I have been to Cozumel over 100 times, and never stayed a night. Working on a cruise ship, the cruises only spend the day there. However, I do know the best areas to stay in Cozumel. I personally recommend the downtown area, as you can easily walk to plenty of great restaurants, and have more accessibility to the highlights of the island. However, if you have a car, there are plenty of resorts along the beach as well. 

Check the map below to see the different accommodation options in Cozumel:

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Is Cozumel Mexico Safe?

Mexico gets a really bad reputation when it comes to safety. However, the island of Cozumel is super safe, and as many times as we have been there, we never had an issue. There is nothing to worry about while on a visit to Cozumel, Mexico, especially if you are planning on just visiting for a day on a cruise.

Is Cozumel Safe to Walk at Night?

Cozumel is very safe, so you have nothing to worry about walking around at night. While we haven't experienced Cozumel during the nighttime, we do have friends that live there and have confirmed that there is nothing to worry about in regards to safety.

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Weather & What to Bring to Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico is sunny and hot year-round. Here are some of the things we suggest you to pack for a trip to Cozumel:

As Cozumel is a very relaxed island, you won't need to bring any fancy clothes or heels. Stick to casual, comfortable, and light clothing, and save the club clothes for Cancun.

palm trees Cozumel

The weather in Cozumel is hot and sunny year round.

Cozumel, Mexico is a great place to visit and has so much to offer! So get out there and see all of the amazing things that this island, and the Yucatan Peninsula have to offer.

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