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  • Writer's pictureAlliey Kutynec

Cozumel, Mexico Travel Guide

Cozumel is located just off the west Yucatan coast of Mexico, it is a 40 minute ferry ride from Playa Del Carmen. It is the largest Island in Mexico, it is 48km long and 16 km wide. As the island is quite large, it only has one town; San Miguel and holds a population of 88,000 people. Most tourists come here for 3 reasons; 1) to snorkel, 2) to scuba dive and 3) holiday at a all inclusive resort. As this island holds lots of water activities, it does hold one of the best places dive and snorkel in all of Mexico, the reef is located around the south end of the island. There Is plenty of beach clubs set up in these areas, most have entry fees and others have purchase food and drinks to snorkel.


The weather on the island is very hot and humid. There is plenty of cloud coverage most days, but has a high UV so make sure you prepare for a sunburn because it will happen.


If your not into water activities Cozumel has plenty of Mayan Ruins to explore, or they have the town Centro area that has plenty of shops and places to eat that have an great ocean view.



Where to Stay

Since covid the prices in the Yucatan have sky rocketed, it isn't as cheap as it used to be when it comes to accommodation and food prices. We are always looking for the inexpensive place but having a kitchen and make sure the areas are clean. Cozumel has a few good hostels, just depending on location and facilities you are looking for.

Recommended stays:

We had stayed here for 10 days, it wasn't too expensive - it wasn't cheap either but the cleaning standards were great, it was comfortable and it has a pool. The host gives you a list of the best restaurants in town, best snorkel and diving shops, best place to do laundry and gives you a map of the island of the must sees. It is a very chill hostel and very laid back. Located on the south east side of town about 17 min walk from the ferry. Don't worry its worth the walk.

Cost 260 pesos per night.

This hostel is located on the Malecon, about 5 minute walk from the ferry. It is a boutique hostel, has parking available out front for 10 USD a day and they have bicycle rental for 12 USD a day. Check prices on website, as they are always changing.

This one is also located on the Malecon also 5 minutes away from the dock. There rooms are very tight and squishy but they have great reviews. If you book directly with them they give a 10% discount on your stay. The only con about his place is they don't have a full kitchen, just a half kitchen its a great stay if you were only staying for a couple of days. Booking direct cost 360 pesos per person and 390 pesos per person online.


Best Places to Eat

Although the town is not that big, there is plenty of places to eat. Most places open later than usual around 8am - 9am and not much of a night life.

is it a crime to have Indian food in Mexico? Sometimes eating to many tacos everyday can make them not as appetising. This restaurant is just a block down from the Malecon, it is not a fancy place but it has a great menu with lots to pick from especially if you are a vegetarian. The food is so Gooood!

$$ - ranges from 150-250 pesos per meal

okay but like Indian food is pretty good... but what about fresh homemade pasta? or fresh bread. One of the locals was telling about how amazing this place and how they opened just before covid; so we had to check it out! aannnnd I gotta say it is the best pasta I've had, they have lots of different pasta to pick from and you can pick one of of 8 sauces. They have homemade ginger beer, water of day and wine from the Yucatan Region.

They serve bread every second day from sourdough, garlic or Parmesan bread.

They do have a lunch menu that looks delicious, but never did try it.

Highly recommend

$- 100-150 pesos per meal

When you walk in there is an mini organic store, they have a fridge of homemade kombucha, and ginger beers, also have a natural hygiene section with plenty of deodorants, soaps and facial products. They also have fresh peanut and almond butters, and teas.

The restuarant seating are is quite large and had outdoor seating out front. The menu is big with lots of vegan, vegetarian and meat options. They have plenty of fresh juice, smoothie options and mushroom coffee. I had visited this restaurant a few times, it has a chill vibe to it, it has all your organic needs. Their hours are 8am -6.

$$- 120-200 pesos per meal

It has such interesting name. When I type it into google it tries to flag me haha. I saw this restaurant walking down towards the ferry terminal, it is located one block east from downtown. The hours are 5pm - 10pm, it is fully vegan menu, they have good smoothies. I would say the meals are mostly plant based, they have a variety to pick from and use fresh ingredients.

$$ - 150 - 250 pesos per meal

It is more on the expensive side.

This one is located just near the ferry dock. Honestly I would say this hast to be my favourite vibe/chill breakfast place I've ever been. They had live music in the morning, and place was full. Tyhey have lots of board games and seating area, its very spacious. There is lots to pick from on the menu, the portions are very filling. Honestly If I wanted a great social place for breakfast on a Sunday morning this would be the place.

$-$$ - price ranges depending on what you get.


Beaches

As Cozumel is more of a place for reef exploring and snorkelling, there isn't much options for a beach day. It is a very tourist destination, most of the beaches cost a fee to visit, especially towards town. The east coast beaches don't have a fee to sit and enjoy for the day.

Punta Morena

Located on the East Coast. It it a fairly large beach, has really good waves. I would suggest heading here in the Nov - April as the seaweed and hurricane season can really effect this beach making it good experience. This beach is free, park up on the side of the road and lay a beach blanket out.

Note* only way to the beach is by car, scooter, bicycle or taxi. Make sure to tell your taxi what time you are wanting to get picked up as there is no service on this side of the island.

Playa Chen Rio

It is located south east of the island. As this is supposed to be one of the best beaches to visit on the island, we didn't get that experience. We had went through seaweed season and made the beach un pleasant. They say it a great beautiful blue. I would recommend visiting this beach. It is very picturesque.

Note* as there is no service make sure you tell your taxi what time to be picked up.


Passion Island

This is an very insta picturesque spot to visit. North of town about 30 min.. not available to drive with a rental car or scooter but can be accessible by boat tour, ferry or jeep as 4x4 will be required. Note* the rental and scooter companies do have gps on them so they know where you are headed. Many people head here for the day as it is supposed to be very beautiful.

Playa San Martín

Is located on the east coast between Chen Rio and Punta Morena. The Beach is quite large so lets of area to yourself. During off/rainy season there is not much going on over here, but it is a wonderful place to check out or lay a beach towel for the day.

Note* there is no service on this side

Punta Sur Eco Park

The entry fee is $18 USD pp for the day, it has lots of activities to get up to for the day. There is a scenic tower, a spa, museum and nature trails. Also have the option to rent kayaks and visit one of the prettiest beach of Cozumel. Snorkel equipment cost 15 USD to rent.

Playa Mirador

Another beach on the east coast, very south east. It has cool rock formations you can take pictures on. When the waves are high you might get splashed. If renting a scooter or a car, just park off on the side of the road, you'll see plenty of other people exploring this area.

Playa Palancar

Here is one of the Beach Clubs that charge an entrance fee of 10 USD per person or 150 pesos worth of food and drinks to cover the cost. Most people on cruise ship days come here and rent a beach chair for $15 dollars or head to a snorkel tour. This place can be very busy on cruise ship days but has to be one of the nicest beaches for a swim or spend the day in the sand. Make sure you bring water as the beach club charges 50 pesos per water. The food is inexpensive about 150 pesos per meal. If you wanting to go in for free don't sit down at a table sit on the beach with towel for a few hours.

Playa Castillo Real, Playa Ixlapak and Playa Hanan

These beaches are located north of the island road from the ring road on the north east corner. It is only accessible by your own 4x4. As the rental companies due have gps on them they will know if you are on this road.

Best Places to Snorkel

Cozumel is known for its big reef that surround half of the island, there is plenty of tours to go out for the day that will take you to the best places. As we are budget travellers we had decided to rented a scooter for the day and tour'd the island ourselves and found some spectacular places to see under water life. The scooter gives you more freedom to see more places for less amount of money spent on a tour.

When we arrived on the island we didn't expect that all the reef space would be privately Owned and costed a fee to snorkel.

Here are places we recommend for cheap to snorkel at


Playa Azul

This place isn't really a beach, but it does have some sand. You can roll out you beach blanket and enjoy the reef around you. Around Playa Azul there is free areas to jump in the water for a snorkel. They do have a entrance fee or a buy food and drinks to snorkel here. It is located north of town towards Punta Norte.

San Miguel

On the Malecon there are stairs you can walk down and jump right in with goggles and gear and see the sea life right near the ferry. They do have a seating area to put your stuff but don't leave it unattended.

More Snorkelling Options:

The places above are closer to town and easy accessible by foot or bicycle. The ones listed below are only accessible by bicycle, scooter, taxi or collectivo. The collectivo does not run on Sundays only if its a holiday weekend or busy season. It can add up in price when heading to these destination if going by collectivo or taxi especially with the entrance fees and snorkel rental.


Here is some places I recommend heading for a snorkel below:

Playa Corona

Playa Chankannab

Playa San Francisco

Playa Parasio

Playa Mia

Playa Del Sol

Mayan Ruins

As the Yucatan is very popular for the Mayan Ruins, there is quite a few on the island to visit. The main ones are El Cedral and San Gervasio, and the others are not as known but accessible. The ruins hold a huge part of Mayan culture in this area, if wanting to know more details I would suggest contacting a visitor centre in Cozumel for the best advice and which ones to visit.

El Cedral

Buena Vista (Rancho Buena Vista)

Tumba Del Caracol (Tomb of The Snail)

Castillo Real

San Gervasio

Car & Scooter Rental

Cozumel has plenty of rental companies to adventure for the day or a couple day rentals. As covid has changed everything it hasn't really updated on google. I would suggest finding the best rental company with the best reviews and go from there or check with airbnb or the hostel you are staying at for the best deals and their recommendation on who they trust in the area.

El Chacal

We had booked through our hostel and they dropped off - picked up the scooter after we finished. They were super accomodating, they don't need a deposit; just a credit card number just in case of damage. We had got insurance for 200 pesos a day which was worth it. It had costed 350 pesos a day, and costs 60 pesos to fill. Super cheap.

Supermarket(s)

Cozumel has a few places to get groceries for your stay, they have three main supermarkets Chedraui located on the very south end of town. They have Mega Soriana located by the Chedraui. They also have a Super Aki if your staying on the east side of town. They all have a produce section of fruits and vegetables.


There is a Municipal market which has fresh produce all day until 4pm and fresh meat and seafood until noon. They also have good local eats In the market as well. The prices are cheaper at the market then at the big chain stores, plus you are supporting the local community.


Things to Note


ATMS - There is plenty of banks on the island that have good conversion. Never use an atm that's not in the bank as the bank fees are almost double. Always say no to the conversion rate at the bank they take a 6% markup on the money you take out which could add up

Laundry- There are plenty of places to get your laundry done in Cozumel but you could get over charged. We went to a place called Siti Laundry that the hostel recommended and costed only 100 pesos for a large bag of clothes.

Collectivos- They do not run on sundays unless its a holiday weekend, make sure you communicate with them on the schedule and how much it is to travel to each place. Some head down to the farthest beaches depending on the weather.


How to get here & Away

Cozumel has two different ferry ports one for car transportation and one just for passengers. To get here the dock in Playa Del Carmen just on the edge of 5th ave by the shopping centre. There is two different companies that operate to Cozumel and they have different prices. Make sure you look up both companies and book online for the best and right deal


This company is known for the Cozumel ferry and the Isla Mujures ferry, they offer deals for both island if visiting. You would save around 100pesos.

They have a few different prices on their website, first class and regular. First class cost 600 pesos round trip and 500 pesos for regular round trip. If you are booking at the office make sure you know the prices.

This company is cheaper the Ultamar, and they run on the opposite schedule. If you arrive at the dock early, either book a round trip or book one way ticket. The schedules often change and the tickets don't work on each others companies. The price one way cost 220 pesos per person and 442 pesos for round trip.





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