Cozumel Guide

White Line

Cozumel Travel Guide - 11 Best Things to do, Excursions - How to Get Here

Table of Contents

Where is Cozumel?

Cozumel is an island located near Mexico‘s Yucatan Peninsula, across from Playa Del Carmen and about 1.5 hours away from Cancun airport. It is situated on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef system globally. Cozumel is an excellent destination for diving, snorkeling, gorgeous beaches, and clear Caribbean waters. It’s the perfect place to experience the island life.

Cozumel Island Beach Map
Cozumel Island Beach Map

Cozumel Quick History

Cozumel is an island situated near the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula a busy Mayan community with a population of up to 10,000 residents. The island held special significance to the Mayan Moon Goddess, Ix Chel, and served as an essential pilgrimage site for women seeking fertility. Today, one can observe the small ruins of San Gervasio in the island’s forested interior as a remnant of that once-flourishing civilization.

Cozumel became well-known in the 1950s when Jacques Cousteau and his team found the wall of reefs off its coast. Today, it’s recognized as one of the top 5 dive sites globally. There are 40 different dive zones around the island, with depths of up to 30 meters or 100 feet. The reefs feature limestone tunnels and caves, and divers can experience a variety of marine life like turtles, sharks, parrotfish, and the Cozumel toadfish.

Cozumel Today

Cozumel is now a popular tourist spot that we hold dear, after 2,000 years have passed. The island has a contrasting setting: you can enjoy modern conveniences in San Miguel, the main town, and also find plenty of serene locations on the far side of the island to escape from the crowd.


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:


What is The Best Time to Visit Isla Cozumel

If you interested in finding the ideal time to visit Cozumel? Cozumel has a predictable and simple tropical climate, with average temperatures of around 83°F all year round. However, travelers should take note of the rainy season, which may affect their travel plans.

January – April

The current season is great in terms of warm and clear weather, but it’s also the busiest time for tourists. If you prefer fewer crowds, keep this in mind. Additionally, keep in mind that the ocean and unheated swimming pools may still be a bit cold for some people.

May – October

From May to October, the weather is hot and rainy, but there is still plenty of sunshine. During the summer, the water is warm and great for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts during September and October because it’s the peak of the hurricane season. It’s a good idea to have travel insurance just in case. There are fewer tourists during this time, which means hotels, resorts, and tour companies typically offer lower rates.

November – December

The best time to visit Cozumel is during the autumn and winter months. This is because hurricane season has ended, the humidity is low, and the Caribbean Sea remains warm. However, it can get slightly chilly in the evenings, so it’s recommended to bring a light jacket or sweater.

Is Cozumel Safe?

Cozumel is a safe travel destination with a low crime rate, particularly in tourist areas where the crime rate is almost zero. The island is secured by a robust police presence and the friendly locals make it safe for tourists and residents around the clock.

When Is Hurrican Season in Cozumel?

Hurricane season in Cozumel runs from late May until early November, with the highest likelihood of a hurricane occurring between September and October. Despite only six hurricanes hitting the island in the last 30 years, hurricanes near Cozumel can still bring severe weather. Checking weather reports beforehand is recommended, and getting travel insurance during these months is also advisable.

How to get to Cozumel - Ferry to Cozumel
How to get to Cozumel – Ferry to Cozumel

How to Get to Cozumel & How to Move Around

To get to and around Cozumel, there are various options available. It is advisable to check with larger resorts in Cozumel if they offer complimentary airport transportation.

Check out the best resorts in Cozumel and the top hotels on the island.

By Air

Cozumel has direct flights from various airlines, such as American Airlines, United, Southwest, Frontier, and Sun Country. The airport, Cozumel International Airport (CZM), is quite small and has only 5 gates. Passengers have to disembark from the planes using roll-up stairs directly onto the runway, as skywalks are not available. It is important to note that American Airlines and United occasionally reschedule their Cozumel flights to Cancun flights without prior notice.

The trip to Cozumel from Cancun airport can be very inconvenient. Passengers would have to arrange for overland travel for 45 minutes to Playa Del Carmen, then walk a considerable distance to the ferry, and finally take a 40-minute ferry ride to Cozumel. This can add several hours of travel time and significant extra expenses.

  Search for great deals on flights here.

By Ferry

To reach Cozumel from Playa del Carmen, you must take a 40-minute ferry ride. The two companies that offer passenger-only services are Ultramar and Winjet. A one-way ticket costs $8 to $13, and a round trip is between $17 to $25. The ferry departs from the Playa del Carmen ferry terminal, which is located three blocks away from the ADO bus station on Juarez and 5th Avenue. The station is where buses arrive from Cancun. Also, you can look at your options to get to Cozumel from Tulum and your options on how to get from Cancun to Cozumel.

Read Next:

By Car

If you plan on doing a lot of exploring, renting a vehicle may be the best option for getting around the island. Rental cars can be as cheap as $30/day and the roads are fairly straightforward and safe. However, we advise against renting a scooter unless you are an experienced motorcycle/scooter rider.

 Search for the best deals on rental cars here.

By Taxi

Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation on the island, they are no longer allowed to pick up people at the airport. You can easily flag them down in town or call for one through your hotel. However, keep in mind that prices are fixed and regulated, but they can become expensive if you need to travel from the resort areas to town or to the wild east side of the island. Therefore, discuss prices with the driver beforehand to avoid any surprises.

By Cruise Ship

There is much to see in Cozumel, passengers on cruise ships only have a limited amount of time to explore the island. Cruise ships typically make a daily stop at Cozumel and dock at one of three ports: Punta Langosta, which is conveniently located near shops and restaurants in town, or Puerto Maya and the International Cruise Terminal, which are situated about 10 minutes south of town.

  Search for great deals on cruises here.

Airport Shuttles In Cozumel

If you don’t have someone to pick you up in Cozumel, you’ll have to use a shuttle to get to your hotel from the airport. Taxis are not allowed to pick up customers at the airport, but private and group shuttles are available. You’ll find the shuttle kiosks outside the baggage claim area, after passing the timeshare sellers. The prices are regulated and there’s no need to negotiate.

Best Things to Do in Cozumel

Cozumel’s Top Things and Excursions

Cozumel offers a wide range of activities that can make each day special. You can choose from options like diving, snorkeling, jeep tours, and beach lounging. There’s plenty to do on the island!

Cozumel one-way roads, except for a coastal highway that goes around the island. On the western coast, there are few beach restaurants and long stretches of empty sand. The eastern side has limestone cliffs and great waves for surfing but not for swimming. To explore the island’s parks, mangroves, and jungle, you can rent a car and take a scenic drive.

Best Things to Do at Cozumel - scuba diving
Best Things to Do at Cozumel – scuba diving

You can go scuba diving in Cozumel from December to March, you may see eagle rays, and from May to September you may see sea turtles. While scuba diving is a popular activity in Cozumel, there are other ways to experience local culture. You can venture into the jungle and visit the once-sacred Mayan site of San Gervasio or sample Mayan cuisine along Rafael Melgar Avenue. You should also make sure to try the Lionfish, which can be found in the coral reefs of Cozumel and served in local restaurants.

1 | Go Snorkeling

Cozumel has excellent water along its coasts tourists. You can go snorkeling in various locations either by entering from the shore or taking a boat tour to the attractive coral reefs. If you’re short on time, then a shallow reef snorkel tour may suit you. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a full-day snorkel excursion that explores deeper sections of the reefs. This will give you a chance to spot some of the bigger species that call these waters home. Regardless of your choice, you’ll have a great time!

Make sure to visit our Cozumel Snorkeling Guide, where you can find the top snorkel locations and recommended tour companies.

2 | Unwind at at a Beach Club

Cozumel’s west side boasts stunning turquoise waters and many gorgeous beaches. While on the island, you can find several excellent beach clubs that provide access to sandy beaches, amazing pools, beachfront restaurants, bars, sun loungers, water sport activities, and more. The fees generally range from $20 USD to $65 USD per person, with the more expensive options being all-inclusive with food and drinks.

3 | Visit The Untouched East Side

Don’t miss out on the incredible east side of the island! Unlike the west side which is mostly occupied by hotels and beach clubs, Cozumel’s east side boasts secluded beaches and charming local beach bars that are truly amazing.

The east side has some great spots like Chen Rio and Punta Morena where you can relax on a lounger, eat fresh fish tacos, and swim. The best thing about this area is how natural and peaceful it is. Don’t miss the chance to get a freshly made beach cocktail at Rastas, Welcome to Miami, or Mezcalitos (or all three!) while enjoying the sea breeze and hammocks.

Expert Tip: From May to August every year, there has been a consistent occurrence of Sargassum (seaweed) on the beaches of the east coast since 2008. This seaweed may accumulate on the sand and have a slight odor. If you find that there is an excess of seaweed on the east coast during your visit, we suggest checking out Punta Sur or one of the incredible Beach Clubs on the west coast as an alternative.

  To reach the wild east side you can rent a car, hire a taxi in town or book a private tour in a van, jeep or dune buggy.

Expert Tip : Get Travel Insurance

It is very essential to have Travel Insurance when planning an international vacation. Your regular health insurance most possibly not cover you when you are out of the country, and Travel Insurance can ensure that your medical expenses are taken care of in case of an accidental injury or food poisoning. Additionally, Travel Insurance typically covers trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage, Covid-related issues, flight delays, missed connections, and other unforeseen circumstances. We believe that Travel Insurance should be included in your international trip budget without a second thought. You can compare the best-rated Travel Insurance plans easily by clicking here.

4 | Take A Fascinating Tour With A Local

Make your Cozumel vacation more memorable by embarking on a tour with a local guide. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to discover the island and its charms through the eyes of a resident who ad it. Interested in exploring Cozumel’s lush interior? Consider a jeep tour to Cedral, the island’s initial capital village, which is surrounded by forests on all sides.

During your stay, you can explore the jungle off-road and visit caves, trails, and a cenote where you can swim. Alternatively, if you prefer a water experience, depart from the local marina (not the tour boat marina) for fishing, snorkeling, and exploration en route to Passion Island. Upon arrival, swim in the clear waters and enjoy a beach BBQ in the style of a local family!

5 | Go Diving

Scuba diving in Cozumel is popular worldwide because of its proximity to several excellent dive sites and the Mesoamerican reef system. This reef system is’s second-largest, and it has a lot of coral and marine life with excellent visibility. Cozumel offers dive options for people of all skill levels, including beginner discovery dives and advanced drift dives. To learn more, you can check out the Cozumel Diving Guide, which provides extensive details about the top dive shops, reefs, and schools.

 6 | Visit the Stunning Punta Sur Ecological Park

Punta Sur is a nature preserve located at the southern end of Cozumel island. It offers visitors the chance to experience the island’s natural beauty, including stunning beaches and fascinating mangrove marshlands with crocodiles and birds. A climb to the top of the lighthouse provides breathtaking views in every direction. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

To fully experience Punta Sur, it’s recommended to arrive early and bring additional cash for beachside restaurant purchases. There are numerous activities to enjoy at this location.

There are three options for reaching Punta Sur: renting a car, hiring a taxi in town, or booking a private tour in a van, jeep, or dune buggy.

7 | Take a Bike or E-Bike Tour

If you are looking for adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty, Cozumel is an ideal location. With flat roads, amazing views, and warm weather, exploring the island by bicycle or e-bike is a fun option. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just enjoy casual bike rides, taking a bike tour in Cozumel is a great way to see the island’s stunning landscapes, peaceful coastlines, and rich culture.

8 | Go Shopping

When you’re on vacation in Mexico, shopping is a must, and Cozumel is a great place to do it. There are many shops that offer a range of items from high-end silver jewelry to beach bags. You can find almost anything you want there. Although most people tend to go to the town center or the Royal Village Mall near the cruise ship port, it’s recommended that you explore further afield to discover some hidden gems. You may even end up purchasing a hammock from a local who just finished making it on their front porch!

9 | Take a Mexican Food Cooking Class

Cozumel offers a variety of Mexican food options, including traditional Yucatecan cuisine and homemade classics like enchiladas and street tacos. Learning about Mexican cooking can be a fun way to create new memories and gain valuable skills during your visit to the region. Cozumel, there exist several cooking classes which are highly renowned among people.

10 | Try Sport Fishing

Cozumel is seeing a rise in popularity for deep sea and bottom fishing. The crystal-clear water and great weather make for an attractive environment to participate in this exciting sport. Visitors passionate about fishing should consider booking a private boat to partake in the adventure of a lifetime.

The waters surrounding Cozumel have beautiful fish, such as Sailfish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Kingfish, Barracuda, and many others.

If you are traveling around Mexico make sure you Read Next the Top Things to do in Cancun, the best activities for Playa del Carmen and the best things to do and experience in Tulum.

11 | Take a Jeep Tour

There are some paved roads on the island, many areas in Cozumel can only be accessed via dirt roads. One popular way to explore these parts is through a Jeep tour. These tours take you through the woods and allow stops at various beaches. While the ride can be bumpy, it provides an excellent way to discover the lay of the land on the island.

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.