Cozumel is a small island with the most remarkable reefs to scuba dive and snorkel. The island is super touristy and at the same time, a sleeper town. Basically everything pretty much closes at 8 pm. Cozumel is a super clean place, and I loved walking around! I literally did not see one single piece of trash on the ground. I was amazed!
Scroll down if you’re only interested in what to do there during a cruise stop in Cozumel.
What can I do in Cozumel for a weekend getaway?
I think a weekend trip (2-3 days) is plenty of time in Cozumel. We spent 3 full days there and had plenty to do.
Getting to Cozumel:
You can take the ferry to Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen. There’s two companies that offer a ferry there: Ultramar and Winjet. They’re both around the same price. I think Winjet is a TINY bit cheaper. The ferry companies have a kiosk towards the ferry pier where you can purchase tickets. You can buy one way tickets or round trip tickets. We went with Winjet and they gave us tickets that were the wrong time. I didn’t realize that until after I was walking to the ferry. The workers didn’t care though and still accepted my ticket (I didn’t say anything though). We also bought round trip tickets and didn’t indicate when we were coming back… So I think they might be super chill there? I recommend just buying a one way ticket though and buying another one on the way back. The ferries leave pretty frequently but you can look up their departure times.
The ferries have bathrooms and also sell food. It’s very limited food though like chips and drinks. The ferry has air conditioning and comfortable seats. I recommend getting there a little early so you can walk on the ferry and choose your seat. Both times I went (there and back) I got really sea sick. They handed out plastic bags for people to throw up in so that was nice. I recommend taking a motion sickness pill or make sure to sit on the bottom level of the ferry, near a window, and if you can, lay horizontally. It helps with motion sickness. You can also bring your big luggage onto the ferry. You’ll hand it to the workers before you get on the boat, and they’ll place it in a different compartment.
Where to stay Cozumel:
We stayed at an Airbnb and it was reasonably priced. It was a short 4 blocks away from the city center. The room was able to fit 4 people in the room (1 king bed and 2 single beds) and had a mini-kitchen. The place also had air conditioning, fans, hot water, clean, and the host was phenomenal! The host, Lupita, was super accommodating and provided a ton of information and recommendations for us to do. She always went above and beyond for us! The Airbnb also had free bicycles which is why we booked her place. We didn’t end up using the bicycles, but it’s a nice option to have.
If you want to stay at the same Airbnb I picked, you can look at it here. If you don’t have an Airbnb account, you can get $40 off your booking if you sign up with my link. I highly recommend staying at Lupita’s place though! She was a great host and it was a nice place.
If you’re staying near the city center, you’ll be able to walk everywhere. You can also rent a bike and bike everywhere too. If you want to go to other places on the island, you’ll need to either rent a car, scooter, or book a tour.
Book a tour to scuba dive or snorkel:
There’s SO many tour companies that offer scuba diving trips or snorkeling trips. In my group, we had one scuba diver and 2 snorkelers so we wanted to try to find a company that would take all of us out on one boat. Not many companies do this… for obvious reasons, the scuba diving locations are different than the snorkeling spots. We found one company called Eco Divers, and they were the only company that we came across that said they’d be able to take all of us out on the same boat. If you’re looking to go with both snorkelers and divers, then they might be a good company to go with.
It’s a small family owned dive shop, and everyone was very friendly. They’re super relaxed and laid back. I probably don’t recommend this if you’re just going snorkeling because the spots we went to were geared towards scuba divers. There was one spot called Palancar Gardens which was beautiful for both snorkelers and divers. My friend and I who were snorkeling also felt we were kind of left out and were the random people on the boat since everyone else was diving. I recommend just looking up companies on TripAdvisor if you want to snorkel or dive.
Go to a temazcal and indulge fully into a traditional Mayan ceremony.
A temazcal is a traditional Mexican sweat lodge. A temazcal is a symbolic passage between the heavens and underworld. It’s a very cleansing and healing process. Each temazcal experience is different from the other. Our temazcal ceremony was led with Eduardo. My friend previously saw him, and really liked him. You can contact him on Facebook and see what his availability is. If you don’t have Facebook, you can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Facebook has lots of pictures of different ceremonies he has done if you want to take a look.
I also go into detail about my temazcal experience and what it consisted of in my Temazcal experience post.
Have an incredible experience and go night swimming with octopuses and other night critters:
Dany will take you to a secret spot in the ocean. He provides the snorkel gear and water. I suggest you bring a towel to dry off afterwards and obviously a waterproof camera!! If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Dany takes lots of videos and pictures for you. During the swim, you encounter a lot of sea life. We saw stingrays, urchins, lobsters, squids, 2 octopuses, a bunch of fish, and so much more! My friend was really scared swimming in the ocean, but the location is completely safe! Dany provides a lamp and a flashlight so it’s pretty bright since you’re sticking together. Every time I had to (carefully) stand up to fix my mask, Dany instantly checked on me to make sure I was okay.
I found the first octopus, and it was HUGE. His head was ginormous, but he wouldn’t come out of the rocks. It took us a long time to find an octopus that was out and about hunting. Dany did not give up though and persisted to find us one. We finally found one, and I was amazed watching the octopus change colors and camouflage every few seconds. Dany was trying to take a picture of the octopus and it all of the sudden inked and vanished. Swimming in the pitch dark… where did it go? Oh there it is – it’s on Dany’s BACK! I guess octopuses do that to their predators. They’ll ink so the predator can’t find them and then they’ll latch onto the predators back so they can’t eat them anymore. It was a hilarious!
The entire thing from start to finish was incredible. Dany is also such an interesting and awesome guy to be around. I cannot recommend this enough!!! When are you going to be able to have an experience like this? Never. So book this tour! You will not be disappointed! If you’re staying there overnight, you MUST do this!!! If you’re only there for a day, talk to Dany (guide) and see how you can still go and then make the last ferry ride.
Rent a car and drive around the island:
Renting a car is a little different than you would back home. When you go into rental company stores, a lot of them take cash only and you basically just sign a little receipt. You pretty much have to get Mexican insurance from every rental company, and your credit card insurance doesn’t count. They’ll either charge you a ridiculous amount to use your credit card or they’ll only take cash.
Our rental was a small car, air conditioning, and in great condition. We received it on a full tank (which seems like a given, but we were given our rental car in Tulum on empty). Our rental plus insurance was around 400 pesos ($20). That was cheap!! When we were scouting out which rental company to use, majority of them ranged from 600 – 900 pesos. Make sure when you rent a car to probably get a car that covers you. When we went, it was off and on raining. We originally wanted a convertible but we were so glad we got a covered car… it was off and on pouring during our road trip.
It takes about 40 minutes – 1 hour to drive around the island. It’s small. You can stop along the way. There’s little stores, restaurants, and of course, the beach. On the other side of the island, there’s a Cozumel sign that you can take pictures with. The drive was easy and not too many potholes or speed bumps popping out of nowhere. It was a fun way to get around the island and have a little road trip.
We rented our car from Dany, our night snorkel guide. He can be contacted on WhatsApp at +52 1 938 113 6242.
We didn’t get to do this, but heard it’s a really cool museum. It’s open 8 am – 4 pm every day except Sunday. Unfortunately it didn’t work out with our schedule, but we wanted to go! Discover Mexico is full of culture, history, and a unique experience. There’s a mini-Mexico where everything is small and you’re this big giant overlooking everything. There’s a few different tours that you can do as well so I suggest looking at their website and seeing what you want to do.
Watch the sunset on the beach:
It was so nice watching the sunset over the horizon. You can’t really watch the sunset over the horizon in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen since it’s facing east. So I recommend watching the sunset in Cozumel! We went to La Monina. It was absolutely beautiful and the restaurant has good drinks! It was the first place I found wine at a restaurant in Mexico! My friend had a Miami vice and it was SO good. It’s walking distance to the ferry too so you can walk to the ferry afterwards. I recommend putting bug spray on after the sun sets… those little mosquitoes bit my booty cheek THROUGH the chair when I was sitting on the beach.
Down the street (going further away from the ferry) there’s a patch of grass that a lot of people were sitting on and watching the sunset. It’s about a 5 minute walk and has a big patch of grass and small cart vendors selling food and drinks. The grass is right next to this Rastafarian looking place. It looked like a cool spot, but we wanted alcohol so we went to an actual restaurant.
Other good places to watch the sunset are Money Bar Beach Club and Turquoise Beach Bar. Turquoise Beach Bar is a nice restaurant where you can swim there and watch the sunset. Money Bar Beach Club is a great place to watch the sunset and dance.
Eat traditional Mexican food at La Choza:
I didn’t have the time to eat there, but my Airbnb host recommended it. She said it’s where the locals go. You can ask for the “la comida del dia” which means “meal of the day”. There’s no printed menu for that since the menu of the day changes every day.
I’m stopping in Cozumel for a cruise stop. What can I do within a day?
Cozumel is super touristy. There’s Hooters, Hard Rock Cafe, Senor Frogs, McDonald’s… let’s just say there’s a lot of big chain restaurants that you can go to. But why go to Cozumel and have the same meal you can get back at home? I’ll be honest… I’m guilty. We were craving comfort food and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe LOL. Not only did we go to Hard Rock Cafe, but we went on a huge mission to find it because we wanted the location that had two stories… I was basically in a food coma for at least 10 hours.
Depending what you want to do, my two best recommendations are to either go to a temazcal or book a tour to go scuba diving/snorkeling.
Solely focus on cleansing and healing yourself with a traditional Mayan ceremony.
If you read above in the post regarding the temazcal, you’ll know if this is something you’ll want to dedicate your entire cruise stop to. We got picked up around 11 am and finished around 4 pm. It ended sooner, but we decided to sit together and chat. You can contact him on Facebook and discuss the hours if you’re worried about getting back to the cruise ship on time. We chose to be picked up at 11 am because that was the time our ferry got to Cozumel. If you don’t have Facebook, you can also email him at email@example.com. His Facebook has lots of pictures of different ceremonies he has done if you want to take a look.
Book a tour to go scuba diving or snorkeling.
Since you’ll be on the ship, I recommend booking a trip ahead of time. You can wait until you get off the ship, but just know that most of the tours will leave early in the morning and are full days. You can read above for more details about booking a tour.
Go to Discover Mexico, walk around the city center, and go to the beach.
Please read above regarding Discover Mexico. You can also walk around the city center afterwards. There’s a lot of shops and restaurants.
Go to the ruins.
In order to go to the ruins, you’ll need to either rent a car or book a tour.
Did you enjoy Cozumel as much as I did? What did you do there? Let me know if you have any questions or comments by commenting below!
This place seems amazing and your article surely captures the magic of it all. Well done!