Cozumel Travel Guide
Discovered by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, the island of Cozumel is an extraordinary earthly paradise of white sands, turquoise waters and tropical atmosphere. Located in the Mexican Caribbean, it faces Playa del Carmen and is close to Cancun.
Beautiful and authentic, Cozumel preserves its nature in an almost virgin state. Therefore, it is a perfect destination for travelers who love ecological tourism and also for those who seek to explore simply unique sea beds.
Cozumel’s hotels, restaurants and all services are ready to welcome its visitors. It also offers leisure activities for all tastes, ranging from multiple activities in nature to excursions to Mayan ruins such as San Gervasio.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Cozumel
- What to do in Cozumel
- When to visit Cozumel
- How to get to Cozumel
- Where to stay in Cozumel
- How to get around Cozumel
- Cost of living in Cozumel
- Where to eat in Cozumel
Top 5 reasons to visit Cozumel
The natural aquarium
In Cozumel, incredible and full of life sea beds are waiting for you. The variety of marine animals, colorful and curious, seems to be infinite, and moves among the vegetation and the reef in waters so crystalline that they impress and display all the shades of blue that you can imagine.
Many of Cozumel’s beaches are secluded and very relaxing, so you can simply sit on the fine sand and gaze out at the sea to wash away the stress. Discover stretches of coast of unparalleled beauty at Playa Uvas, Playa Azul, Playa San Francisco, Playa Mia or come to the Mr Sanchos beach club, which features a restaurant and bar.
The Cozumel Island Museum
The museum spaces offer a very complete panorama of the island, its history, the pirate ships, the marine life, the Mayan legacy and the present time. In addition to the exhibits, there is a bookstore, a souvenir shop and a restaurant overlooking the sea. It can be visited in guided tours; the entrance fee is MXN$ 76.
Chankanaab National Park
The fame of this park is due to the fact that a few meters away from the beach a fantastic coral formation is discovered that overflows with life. It invites to snorkel and dive in its transparent waters. In the park you can see the image of the Chankanaab virgin, protector of all those who enter the sea.
The Palancar National Park
This was the area that made Jacques Cousteau fall in love. On June 11, 1980 it was declared “Refuge for the protection of the marine flora and fauna of the western coast of Cozumel Island”. Today it offers an amazing area to practice scuba diving.
What to do in Cozumel
Tour the center of San Miguel de Cozumel
In the centre is located the most commercial area of the island. In addition, there are restaurants for all tastes and budgets, many of them on the Malecón line of Avenida Rafael E. Melgar. At the market you can also try local cuisine at affordable prices.
Discover the botanical garden of Chankanaab Park
With its biodiversity-rich trails, the botanical garden offers an area where you can observe attractive botanical collections and learn about the Mayan culture. As you walk through the trees you can hear the melody of the song of the wide variety of birds that inhabit the place. General admission costs MXN$ 100.
Visit the lighthouse of Punta Celaráin
The environment of the lighthouse is one of those landscapes worthy of the most attractive postcards. It houses lagoon systems, mangroves, coastal dunes, reefs and impressive lonely beaches. You can visit the small Navigation Museum, installed inside the lighthouse, where you can also find the lighthouse keeper’s house.
Tour Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
This is the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel. By visiting it you will be able to discover several natural wonders, such as exotic birds, crocodiles in their natural habitat and an impressive wild flora. It is located in the area of the Punta Celaráin lighthouse.
Explore the road to Punta Molas
This path is located in the northern part of the island, runs parallel to the beaches and allows you to alternate between hours on the beach and visits to various archaeological sites. Indeed, there you can stop to admire the sites of San Benito, Los Cocos, Castillo Real, Las Grecas, Aguada Grande and Punta Molas.
When to visit Cozumel
The best months to travel to Cozumel are those that coincide with the end of winter and the beginning of spring, which means February, March and April. Temperatures are great all year round, but it is important to know that the season for storms, hurricanes and cyclones occurs between the beginning of June and the end of November.
If you travel at the end of April, you can witness the festivities of the Day of the Holy Cross, an event in which Cozumel families perform the traditional “pig’s head” and “ribbon dance” in the town of El Cedral. A livestock fair is also organized and other activities are proposed.
How to get to Cozumel
Many travelers arrive in Cozumel through the Cozumel International Airport (CZM), located less than 3 kilometers from the city center. You can get to your hotel through different minibus services with variable prices. If you choose to take a taxi, it will cost you about MXN$ 30 and you will be in downtown in about 10 minutes.
From the airport you should exit on Antonio Gonzalez Fernandez street and then take the cross street that best suits you to get to San Miguel de Cozumel. To travel to and from the town of El Cedral you should go to Rafael E. Melgar Avenue and drive for 30 minutes.
Overseas ferries depart from Playa del Carmen during almost every time of day. This is an efficient and comfortable service; completing the journey takes about 40 minutes. The price of tickets ranges from MXN$ 60 for the basic service to MXN$ 200 for the Premium Plus service.
Airports near Cozumel
Where to stay in Cozumel
Cozumel is home to hotels of different categories and prices. The Fiesta Americana Cozumel All Inclusive Hotel, an all-inclusive establishment with rates of around MXN$ 4605 per night, is in the highest range.
Within the intermediate range, there are hotels such as the Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel, where you can stay for around MNX$ 1010 per night. And if you’re looking for a budget hotel, opt for the Caribo Cozumel, a cozy hostel with shared kitchen that offers rooms for around MXN$ 400 per night.
Popular neighborhoods in Cozumel
Center. This is the area that houses interesting nightlife options, all kinds of shops, restaurants and cafes, and also attractions such as the Cozumel Island Museum.
Gonzalo Guerrero. This is a district close to downtown, although its atmosphere is quieter. Here you can find the Dolphinaris Cozumel, the ferry dock that connects the island with Playa del Carmen and the Sea-Trek theme park.
April 3rd. 10th. Located between the center and the airport area, the 10th of April district is home to the Casa de la Cultura de Cozumel Ixchel, the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe and several restaurants, such as the El Pescozón seafood restaurant and Diego’s taqueria.
How to get around Cozumel
By public transport
Public transportation in Cozumel is only viable on ADO buses, which cover short trips within San Miguel de Cozumel. It does not reach the beaches and attractions on the outskirts. Tickets cost MXN$ 5 for adults and MXN$ 4 for children.
Taxis have a system of fees by zones, ranging from MXN$ 26 to MXN$ 49.
Cozumel airport is served by car rental companies such as Hertz and Mex Rent a Car. It is possible to book a compact car to move around Cozumel for MXN$ 450 per day.
Cost of living in Cozumel
The downtown district of Cozumel is home to nightlife options and most restaurants, boutiques and clothing stores, shopping malls and water sports shops. Go to the Punta Langosta shopping center, where you’ll find a wide variety of prestigious brand name fashion stores, jewelry stores, perfume shops and entertainment alternatives. If you want to buy handicrafts, visit the Mercado de Artesanías, which is set up steps away from the main square and the area of the malecón.
Supermarkets and grocery stores
There are several supermarkets and grocery stores throughout the city of Cozumel. They include Mega Soriana Supermarket, Soriana Super, OXXO and Chedraui Cozumel Centro. You can assess the price level on the island considering that a liter of milk costs about MXN$ 10 and a dozen eggs MXN$ 9.
Where to eat in Cozumel
The restaurants in Cozumel present a wide variety of alternatives. Among the most typical dishes of the island are many recipes based on fish and seafood, meat cuts, traditional dishes with Mayan, Yucatan, Mexican and international influences.
One of the most elegant restaurants on the island is Buccanos at Night, where you can try various fish and seafood dishes.
Keep in mind that appetizers cost around MXN$ 15 and main dishes around MXN$ 25. At Diego’s restaurant you can taste authentic Mexican food and have different breakfast dishes for MXN$ 5, fajitas for MXN$ 12 or cocktails for MXN$ 10, among a varied menu. A lunch or dinner in a mid-priced restaurant costs between MXN$ 30 and MXN$ 50.