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Cozumel Travel Tips!

Cozumel is every tourist’s dream destination on the Caribbean Sea. After all, it is known for its white-sand beaches, clear, turquoise waters, and pleasant weather all year-round. Aside from its stunning natural beauty, the island is also rich in culture and delicious food as well. It is not surprising why it is one of the top destinations in Mexico.

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Cozumel Travel Tips!

Considered to be Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, Cozumel is 30 miles by 10 miles in terms of size. Although it is not that big, you can explore the small island in just one day. It is large enough to pack plenty of tourist attractions. In fact, this is one of the stops that you should consider when traveling to the Riviera Maya! Located in the state of Quintana Roo, this is the perfect place to get your much-needed R and R. 

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Getting to Cozumel 

The island of Cozumel is just 12 miles off the coast of Playa del Carmen and is 45 miles north of Cancun. Getting here is easy if you are in Playa del Carmen since the ferry terminal is in the downtown area. Aside from purchasing ferry tickets from the terminal, you can also book online. You can take a ferry from there which will take less than an hour to get to the island. 

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On the other hand, if you are in Cancun, you should take the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, then board the ferry from there. There are different ferry companies here that you can choose from. However, you can also book a flight from Cancun Airport directly to Cozumel airport but this will be more expensive. If you are flying from a foreign country, there are direct flights to this island too.

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Once you arrive, you should consider your mode of transport. There are rental cars on the island that you can book ahead of time. Aside from that, you can also opt for a scooter rental if you want to explore at a leisurely pace. Of course, taxis are available but you will need to haggle with the taxi drivers for the trip. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Cozumel?

As was mentioned before, Cozumel has pleasant weather the entire year. However, just like with other tourist destinations, you need to determine when the right time is to visit. Generally, the best time to take a trip to this Caribbean destination is from December to early June. After all, they fall outside the hurricane season which happens from June to November. 

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The high season runs from December to February so expect to see more tourists in the area. On the other hand, if you want to avoid the crowd, then plan your trip here between March to June. Take note that August and September are the hottest months in the Caribbean. 

Cozumel Tourist Destinations and Activities to Add to Your Itinerary 

The Caribbean Islands boast of white sand beaches, gorgeous blue waters, and warm weather. In fact, many snowbirds fly out here to enjoy the warm weather and the beaches like in Cozumel. But there is more to the largest island in the Caribbean than its beautiful beaches. If you want to maximize your time here and enjoy the best that Cozumel has to offer, you should think of adding the following to your itinerary. 

  1. Eat a Hearty Breakfast at San Miguel 

Now that you are in Cozumel and have picked up your scooter or car rental, it is time to have some breakfast. The good news is that there are plenty of options in the town of San Miguel de Cozumel. If you need a good cup of coffee then head to . It is literally just a few steps away from the ferry dock. 

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Aside from their delicious coffee, they serve a good breakfast too. In fact, you’ll love this spot since their prices are quite cheap for food that will energize you. Keep in mind that you are in Mexico now so sit back and relax. 

  1. Explore the Mayan Ruins

Who would have thought that there would be ancient ruins on the island? The San Gervasio Mayan Ruins are the perfect stop on your day trip here. Although the ruins here are not as amazing as Tulum’s, it is still quite fascinating to see. In fact, this was where Mayan women go to ask for fertility by giving tribute to the Mayan moon goddess, Ix Chel. 

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The good news is that this site is open all week. There is an entrance fee of $10 which you can pay cash or with your credit card. Aside from that, you can also pay a little extra to have a tour guide come with you. They will show you around the site and even explain a few interesting tidbits about the ruins. In fact, you should wear hiking shoes or sneakers for this trip since you are going to do a bit of walking.

  1. Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park 

If you are looking for the best beaches on the island, then Punta Sur Eco Park is where you should go. It lies south of the island and covers a whopping 2,500 acres of land. Nature lovers are sure to enjoy their stay here since there is plenty of wildlife to see. Think sea turtles, wild exotic birds, crocodiles, and more. 

One of the highlights of the park is the Celarian Lighthouse. It was built to warn off boats that they might run aground. Today, it is part of the maritime museum. Aside from that, you can climb all the way to the top to get a great view of the island and the surrounding waters. 

  1. Go Diving or Snorkeling

If this is your first time visiting Cozumel, then one of the activities that you should do here is to go scuba diving or snorkeling. In fact, you will find that this island is home to some of the best reefs in the world. After all, they are part of the second-largest reef in the world which is the Mesoamerican Reef or Great Mayan Reef. It falls second to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. 

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Most of the reefs that you will find in Cozumel are under the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park. This means that they are under protection and kept in pristine condition. The good news is that there are several tour operators on the island that can take you out to the reefs. Even if you just want to go snorkeling, you should book a boat tour to hit the best snorkeling spots. They have experienced divers to assist you during your scuba tour. 

One of the best things about diving in Cozumel is that you will go in small groups. This way, there is less risk of damaging the coral reef. Also, the divemaster will be able to keep an eye on everyone too. Some even let you choose where you want to dive which is a plus. Having a customized dive in Cozumel is a real treat here. In fact, you can opt for a night dive too! After all, there are plenty of amazing dive sites here. 

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  1. Take Photos at El Mirador

A trip to the rugged east coast of the island means a good opportunity to take photos. In fact, El Mirador is one of the best places to stop and snap some shots. One of the reasons why this is a popular spot is the arched rock formation that serves as a “bridge” over the water. Go up the rock formation for some epic shots and just enjoy the sea spray from there. 

Aside from that, there are a few vendors here where you can buy fresh coconut drinks from. You can sip your drink down by the beach if you don’t want to hike up the rock. However, you shouldn’t swim on the eastern side of the island. After all, it is pretty windy here which is causing large waves and strong currents. Save your swimming and snorkeling when you are on the west coast. 

  1. Check the Beach 

Cozumel is the best place to enjoy the beach away from the crowd. In fact, tourists visiting Cancun and Playa del Carmen often go on a day trip here for some peace. There are plenty of public beaches here that you can head out to for a swim or just laze on the beach. Aside from that, there are private beaches dedicated to inclusive resorts, beach clubs, and more. 

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As was mentioned before, the waters on the east side of the island tend to be rough. If you are looking for beaches with calm waters, the western side of the island is where you should be. In fact, you should head to Paradise Beach. It is part of the Paradise Beach Club, where you can lounge by the beach or pool.

Aside from that, you can even enjoy different water sports here like kayaking and snorkeling. The best way to maximize your stay on the beach is to buy a fun pass in advance. This will give you access to the beach club and its amenities the entire day. 

  1. Bring the Kids to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park

The Mia Grand Beach Park is an ethical adventure park that you can add to your itinerary. This marine park is ideal for families since the animals here are not held captive. Although there is no shortage of marine parks on the island, they often held wild animals in cages.

Playa Mia has much to offer its guests. In fact, you can go snorkeling, swimming, or kayaking even. Aside from that, they also have land-based sports too such as volleyball. Also, they have water slides which your kids are going to enjoy. There is an entrance fee of $30 but it will be worth it once you step inside the beach park. 

  1. Walk Around the City Center

San Miguel de Cozumel is the main town of the island. It is quite huge to explore on foot but not its city center. In fact, the main square, called Benito Juarez Park, is where tourists often flock after arriving at the ferry port. You can take a selfie on the “Isla Cozumel” sign as well as on the clock tower. Take a walk around 5ta Avenida Norte where cafes and small shops are. 

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After you have eaten, continue your walk along the waterfront avenue. The esplanade is quite picturesque with more shops and cafes to check out. You can even spare some money to ride a horse-drawn carriage! There is much to see and do here so take your time to explore the city center.

  1. Walk Around the City Center

The Mia Grand Beach Park is an ethical adventure park that you can add to your itinerary. This marine park is ideal for families since the animals here are not held captive. Although there is no shortage of marine parks on the island, they often held wild animals in cages.

Playa Mia has much to offer its guests. In fact, you can go snorkeling, swimming, or kayaking even. Aside from that, they also have land-based sports too such as volleyball. Also, they have water slides which your kids are going to enjoy. There is an entrance fee of $30 but it will be worth it once you step inside the beach park. 

  1. Head to the Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park 

As was mentioned before, there is no shortage of marine parks on Cozumel. In fact, if you are looking for the best one, this is it. What sets this apart from the others is that it is an eco-archaeological park beside the beach. Aside from that, they have tons of activities that you can do here. Among these are tequila tasting, snorkeling, and even checking underwater statues

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Swallow’s Cave

If you are looking for adrenaline-pumping activities then check their zipline ride. Not only will it give you the rush that you are looking for, but also a different perspective of the park. Aside from that, you should also do the SeaTrek! This is a helmet-diving tour where you will wear a fully enclosed diving helmet. You will then sink to the ocean floor at 20 to 25 feet in depth. Yes, there is an entrance fee and it might be a bit pricey for some. However, you will get your money’s worth once you see and do all the activities in this eco-park. 

  1. Sail Around Cozumel on Catamarans or Small Cruise Ships

Sailing around Cozumel is a good idea. After all, there is much to see out there in the waters. You can either relax on board the boat while sipping your drinks if you like. Aside from that, you can even go snorkeling in the clear waters. The reefs here play home to various marine life. This means that you can come across turtles, rays, and various tropical fish. 

The good news is that the waters here are a safe place for snorkeling and swimming. Just make sure that you pay attention to your guide when out in the waters. If you are not fond of snorkeling, you can still enjoy the waters on board a glass-bottomed boat. Thanks to the visibility of the water, you will see various fish and sea creatures down below. Just keep your camera on the ready! 

  1. See the Cozumel Pearl Farm 

There are a lot of good places to head out to in Cozumel. In fact, if you are looking to do something unique, why not check Pearl Farm? This unique excursion will require a boat ride to a secluded location on the island. Since this is not accessible through the main road, you will need to hire a boat to visit this farm. 

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The first part of the tour will be about their pearl farming techniques. This family-owned pearl farm has been operational for decades which means they know what they are doing. Meanwhile, the second part is taking a trip to the pearl hatchery.

You can bring out your snorkel gear here to see how they grow their pearls. Of course, there is more to this tour than checking the hatchery. You will also learn a thing or two about the reef system. In addition, you can also view the submerged life-size statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe here. 

Afterward, you can rest on one of the hammocks or have some lunch here. This tour is one that you will not forget any time soon. 

  1. Head to the Jade Cavern

If you are going on a road trip around Cozumel, then make sure that you visit Jade Cavern. This tourist attraction lies in the heart of Cozumel. You will go off-road driving for about half an hour until you reach the Jade Cavern. This natural sinkhole boasts jade-colored waters that you can swim in or jump into. There are water tubes here if you just want to laze on the water. Aside from that, you can go snorkeling too. Go under the rock formations to see more wonders inside the cavern. This is an added bonus if you are going on a Jeep or ATV tour on Cozumel.

  1. Visit the Mayan Cacao Company

Who can say no to chocolate? In fact, Cozumel is a great place to learn a thing or two about this dessert. The Mayans were well-known for the chocolate that they produce through cacao beans. After fermenting, drying, and roasting, the Mayans ground the cacao beans into a paste. Add some hot water and they made the first-ever chocolate drink. 

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This tour will take about 70 minutes where you will learn the history of Mayan chocolate. You will see where they harvest the cacao beans from. Also, how they transform them from beans to delicious chocolate drinks. You can also try an ancient recipe to learn a thing or two about their methods. For sure, you will not forget the taste of the chocolate here. In fact, you should go and buy some to bring back home. 

  1. Try a Temazcal 

No matter which parts of Mexico you visit, you should try the Temazcal. This ancient Mayan ceremony is quite popular in Cancun. However, you can do the same here in Cozumel. Guests will enter a brick hut that has been warmed by volcanic rocks. Think of it as something similar to a sauna with the exception that a shaman will be greeting you. 

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Afterward, the shaman will conduct the ancient ritual of the Temazcal. This involves the process of cleansing, relaxing, and purifying your body. The last step of the ritual is to swim in the cool waters of the cenote nearby. This is a spiritual experience that you should try at least once when you are visiting Cozumel. In fact, you should add it to your itinerary right now! For sure, you will feel better after.

  1. Go on Board the Atlantis Submarine

The best part about visiting Cozumel is that no one gets left out. In fact, if you are not a licensed scuba diver, there is still a chance for you to see the mysteries of the deep. One way to do this is to ride the Atlantis Submarine. 

As the name suggests, this is a small submarine that will take you up close to the denizens of the sea. You will get near the reefs where various fish are thriving. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, and lobsters. Aside from that, the submarine can take you to various shipwrecks too. This is a unique experience that you don’t want to miss. 

Meanwhile, the submarine departs from the docks every 2 hours starting at 10 in the morning. If you want to experience this, make sure that you book ahead of time. After all, this is a popular tourist activity on the island, especially during the peak months. 

  1. Try Your Hand in Deep-Sea Fishing

One of the reasons why people visit Cozumel is to go deep-sea fishing. There are different companies that offer this water sport on the island. The first thing that you should look for is a company that has years of experience behind it. After all, you will want to be taken where the big fish are.

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Even if you are not a deep-sea fishing enthusiast, this is an experience you should try yourself. In fact, if you book this tour, the crew will do their best to give you a great time. Aside from providing you with all the gear for fishing, they will teach you how to catch fish too. Among the large fish that you can find here are Mahi Mahi, barracuda, and triggerfish. 

It is possible to hook a tuna all year round. On the other hand, if you are here between March and July, then there is a good chance that you can catch a sailfish or blue marlin even. First-timers often feel the thrill once a fish tugs at their line. Who knows? You might be a deep-sea fishing enthusiast soon.

  1. Indulge in Local Food 

Cozumel is one of the most amazing places that you can visit in Mexico. It is rich in natural beauty and amazing waters. Aside from that, the food here is an experience you should not miss out on. In fact, you should sample their street food while you are here. Among the local cuisines that you should try are tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. 

Aside from that, you can pair them with alcoholic beverages like mezcal or even their famous tequila. After all, you are in Mexico, and what better way to enjoy yourself than enjoying the local food scene? 

  1. Join a Chef Tour 

Foodies should not pass up the chance to join a chef tour in Cozumel. This tour will take you to several restaurants on the island where you can drink and dine. Aside from that, the restaurants that you will visit are often off the beaten path. However, you will not regret joining it since the food served are all delicious. 

Even if you are a vegetarian, there are restaurants that will cater to your diet. This is one of the reasons why you should join this tour. Not only will you be treated to a wide array of local cuisine, but you will feel like a local too! After all, there is no better way to enjoy authentic Mexican food than eating it in Mexico. 

  1. Find the Sea Walls Street Art

Have you spotted several wall art around San Miguel? They are part of the Sea Walls which is a public art initiative. Their goal is to give voice to the ocean through stunning artwork. Every two years, the group invites artists from across the globe to participate in their wall street art. Their artworks often center on water pollution as well as overfishing. 

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The best way to see all of these amazing artworks is to explore the town on foot. You can take photos of them too if you like. These are not just for visual purposes but to bring a lesson across. 

  1. Visit El Cielo

If you are looking for the perfect day trip in Cozumel, then visit El Cielo. This starfish sanctuary lies on the south of the island. You can say that this sandbar is rightly named since El Cielo means “heaven” or “sky” in Spanish. In fact, the local government is running a promotion called the beach El Cielo en la Tierra. It means “heaven on earth”. Aside from the colorful starfish, you can also spot stingrays and plenty of tropical fish. white-sand beaches

Families with small children will enjoy El Cielo because of its shallow waters. They can learn how to snorkel here too. 

Tips and Tricks for Your Trip to Cozumel 

Mexico City is not the only town that is rich in history. In fact, Cozumel is one of those towns that has its own fair share of amazing past too. From the ancient Mayan ruins to cenotes and gorgeous beaches, you have plenty to enjoy here. Aside from that, it is a safe destination for tourists too. 

That said, there are a few tips and tricks that you should also think about if you want to travel here. 

  1. Check Stoplight System

Cozumel is opening up even with the ongoing pandemic. However, they are implementing the stoplight system. Red means that you should avoid those areas because of high covid cases. Yellow means that it is relatively safe but practicing social distancing and wearing masks is a must. A green light means that the area is safe. The important thing here is to ensure that you follow all the safety protocols implemented on the island. This is for you and the safety of others. 

  1. Travel Insurance

Cozumel is a beautiful place to get lost in. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t forego getting travel insurance. After all, you are not sure if you will fall ill or get into an accident during your vacation. Read the fine print, especially when it comes to Covid-19 testing since it may not be part of the insurance. 

  1. Book Your Accommodation

Before you head to Cozumel, make sure that you already have accommodation. The hotel zones in Cancun are worth checking out if you are thinking of visiting Cozumel on a day trip only. On the other hand, if you plan on staying on the island itself, then there are plenty of Cozumel resorts to check out.

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The cheapest way to get a hotel room is to travel before or after the peak season. The lean months tend to have lower rates. 

Wrap Up

Traveling to Mexico is not a bad idea. In fact, it is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! After all, where else can you find a country that promises a whole lot of fun? With white sandy beaches, gorgeous blue waters, live music at night, and plenty of historical sites, Cozumel has everything and more. 

You can explore Cozumel for just a day or you can plan a week-long stay here. Either way, you have tons of activities to do that you will be thinking of on your return trip already. I would! Tourists often speak about their recent visit to Cozumel as being one of their most memorable in Mexico. You would too once you immerse yourself in the beauty of the island. 

The next time you are thinking of heading to Mexico, skip the usually crowded beaches of Cancun. Time to really enjoy your vacation away from the hustle and bustle of these party beaches. Cozumel is the perfect getaway destination if you want some peace and quiet. And with the sound of the waves accompanying you as you laze around the beach, you know you have found a slice of paradise here in Mexico.  

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