If you’ve been following my Mexican adventures on Instagram, then you already know how much I love this island! So much so I visited 3 times in 3 months, if you’re just discovering my page now, welcome! Allow me to fill you in. For the first half of 2021 I decided to relocate and was living in Playa del Carmen. Traveling solo is incredible and something I recommend everyone to do at least once in their life. If relocating is something you’ve always thought about, read my Solo Female Mexico Travel Guide. I’ve been living as a digital nomad for over 6 years now and have relocated to several countries. Trust me it’s worth it!
Don’t like to travel on your own but don’t have anyone to go with? Join my bestie Jamie Kidd and I in Cozumel. We are hosting group trips with a complete custom itinerary we’ve designed to show you why Cozumel stole our hearts! On the trip, you’ll be sure to meet other like-minded women, create epic photography and have some quality time with us! Book your spot now!
Cozumel is Mexico’s third-largest island, located on the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and right in front of Playa del Carmen. It is also the most inhabited island, with the majority of the population living in San Miguel. It’s also a popular stop for cruise lines, which is why I never thought too much about visiting. I imagined it as overly touristy and nothing special. Well, I was very wrong. Cozumel blew my mind. I visited Cozumel 3 times during the 5 months I lived in Mexico. Each time discovering more which made me fall deeper in love with this island.
Cozumel is home to beautiful beaches and some of the best diving in the Western hemisphere. The island has plenty to offer from adventure, water-sports and relaxation. In this post I’ll show you this island has plenty to offer and why you need to visit it on your next trip to Mexico!
How to get to Cozumel?
The island can easily be accessed via ferry from Playa del Carmen with ferry boats running every hour of the day. The ferry from Playa del Carmen only takes 45 mins and will cost you about $12.50 USD one way (256 MXN). There is also a small domestic and international airport.
There are two ferry companies that alternate days so depending on which day you book you can either be traveling with Winjet (orange) or Ultramar (blue). Winjet is cheaper but Ultramar is better, either way, you’re on your way to paradise.
HOT TIP: Don’t bother booking your tickets online, just get them when you get to the ferry port. Getting them early doesn’t make it any cheaper and you need to be there 15 mins early to collect your tickets, which is usually a long lineup. If you get them on arrival there are so many people selling, just walk up to the counter. You can book roundtrip or one way, either way it’s the same price.
How to get from Cancun Airport to the PDC Ferry Terminal?
Landing in Cancun International Airport (CUN) there are a few ways you can get to Cozumel.
By bus: Taking the bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is definitely the most economical way to go (compared to a private shuttle/taxi) and will take you about 45 minutes hours, depending on traffic. If a bus is your preferred traveling method I would recommend looking into ADO bus.
The buses are in great condition with big comfy seats. On average a bus ticket from Cancun – PDC will cost you around $65 pesos (approximately $3.30 USD/ one way).
By taxi/private van: It isn’t a cheap trip considering the other options, but if you’re arriving with a group splitting a private car isn’t so bad and it is definitely more comfortable. I’d recommend this one if you are traveling with several bags and/or with another person or more. (Around $45 USD). If you already know your return date you can book a return trip with a private shuttle. They will pick you up at the ferry terminal and drop you at the airport.
Top things to do in Cozumel:
Now for my top recommendations. Cozumel is a magical island and there is so much to experience. Although it can be visited as a day trip from Playa I highly recommend you plan and spend at least 3 days on the island. I hope this post makes you see why.
Try Peanut Butter Coffee
First stop off the ferry, you need to make your way to Coz Coffee Roasting Company to try their famous Peanut Butter Coffee! Try it hot or cold, personally, my favorite is hot. You can really taste the creaminess the peanut butter brings. Hey, don’t knock it till you try it. This coffee will change your life.
I posted about it on Instagram after trying it for the first time. I came home and was determined to make it myself until I can get back to Cozumel. In doing so, it went viral with you guys on Instagram. I now get tagged in daily videos of my audience making it for themselves.
Coffee aside, the cafe is really cute. It’s colourful, quirky and the food isn’t bad either. I’ve tried their banana bread and avocado toast, both really good. I was really impressed to see such a generous portion of avocado on my toast.
Freediving / Scuba diving
Diving is one of Cozumel’s main attractions. Divers from all over the world come to the island to explore the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere and second largest in the world.
You can expect great visibility underwater, a beautiful variety of marine life, and awesome coral reefs. Majority of the island is a protected reef, Cozumel actually has it’s own marine park. So you’re sure to spot incredible beauty underwater. Before going, make sure you are aware if the Marine Park Rules.
If you’re looking for the best diving in Cozumel (scuba or freedive) I highly recommend Freedive Cozumel with Julie and Rolando. I’ve been diving with them a few times and they showed us the best spots on the island to explore the underwater. Julie was actually a US record holder for freediving!
Once I discovered freediving, I quickly realized how much more I love it over scuba. It’s such a freeing feeling working with your own breath and something you can really see improvements with over time vs relying on a tank. If you’re looking to learn more check out my freediving tips you need to know.
For diving, you can expect to pay about $80 USD for a two-tank dive (add a bit more if you need gear rental). If you are looking to get your PADI open-water certification, it can cost between $350 USD to $450 USD.
Rent a Jeep / Bike
There’s no better way to get around the island then by cruising top down, music blasting in a jeep. You can start in one spot and cruise around the entire island in a day. Plus there’s something fun about exploring parts of the island you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. We rented from Explora Tours, we started in the city and drove around stopping to take in the beautiful ocean view and ending at Punta Sur park for lunch and to spend the afternoon on the beach, before arriving back to the city.
Did you know Cozumel is known for hosting Ironman? It’s true, Cozumel actually hosts many Ironman and Ultra-Ironmans around the island. During the competitions the island functions with a single lane to get around the entire island. So if you are looking for a quieter experience while visiting the island, keep this in mind and plan your stay outside of those dates.
Rent a boat and visit El Cielo
El Cielo is one of the most popular excursions on the island and with good reason. El Cielo (“heaven” in spanish) in Cozumel is a snorkeling spot that is only accessible by boat where you can snorkel in crystal clear turquoise waters and see tons of starfish line the white sand floor.
El Cielo can only be visited by boat. Most tours will plan an excursion for you where they stop off at a sandbar first before heading to El Cielo, lunch is typically provided on the boat. You can either book a tour or take a boat directly from Cozumel.
If you’re like me and you plan on taking a ton of photos it might make more sense to book a private tour. This way you aren’t holding up the other guests and you have the entire boat all to yourself, which means you can spend as much time as you want with the starfish.
We booked our private boat through Mr. Yatch and our experience was incredible. We had so much fun with the staff on board and they served us the most incredible lunch platter. To top off an already incredible day, we spotted dolphins on our way back. They were so playful and kept swimming right up by our boat!
A private island located in the northern part of Cozumel just barely one kilometre long. Due to its privileged geographical location, there are three different ecosystems on the island. All this natural biodiversity makes the island a true paradise.
Just a 20 minute boat ride off the island of Cozumel is a tiny little paradise called Isla Pasion. Typically this is a hot spot for guests coming off cruise ships via catamaran. The white sand beach, turquoise waters, private huts for rent, and all all-inclusive menu make this the perfect place to relax for the day.
Due to the pandemic there are no cruise ships running, we were one of 6 people on the entire island. It was such a perfect day having the entire beach nearly to yourself, not to mention perfect for photos!
Punta Sur Park
A natural reserve with over 1,000 hectares filled with a wide variety of flora, fauna, and lagoon systems. It’s the perfect spot for nature lovers, with its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and numerous sea gardens that extend throughout the reef.
Located on Cozumel’s southernmost point, the park also features a lighthouse. From the top, you get some of the best views on the island.
This is the day we did the Jeep Tour. It was a great way to discover more of what the island has to offer away from the town centre. We finished off a Anemona de Mar where we spent the afternoon enjoying these pink beds, the clear water and a light lunch before heading back to our hotel.
Pueblo de Maiz
Pueblo de Maiz is a Mayan experience that combines theater, culture, music, dance and the ingredients of ancestral heritage of the mayan culture. This excursion was so much more than I was expecting and would definitely recommend it.
We entered and were immediately greeted by our Mayan guide who painted our faces and introduced us to the village. We were guided through the property all along learning about the Mayan history and culture. The tour was also very interactive, we made our own chocolate and tamales. Which were so yummy!
At the end of the tour, they performed a ceremonial dance, and we played a traditional Mayan ball game. This was such an excellent and different experience. I highly recommend going here if you are in Cozumel.
The Cozumel Pearl Farm offers a really unique experience. Here they will take you through the process of pearl farming and showing you how they innovated based on the oysters they have in Cozumel. I really was so impressed on how they stayed curious and adapted for their needs.
The coolest part about this day was being able to snorkel and free dive around the pearl farm. After learning all about the extraction process, the boat takes you out so you can see their efforts underwater. Here you and snorkel/ freedive around the underwater statue protecting the pear farm.
If you’re looking for great places to eat while in Cozumel here are some of my top recommendations. I also linked them in the Google Map I shared above to help you map out your time on the island.
- Coz Brewing Company
- B Unique Hotel
Has this post convinced you to visit Cozumel yet? If you want to visit but don’t want to go alone, join Jamie and I on the trip of a lifetime. Jamie will teach you tips and tricks from years of modeling on how to pose and feel confident in front of the camera. Lisa will help you understand your camera and the right settings to use to bring your vision to life.
Together we will have you laughing all day long!! Want to know more? Click here!
I hope this post is helpful and you enjoy Cozumel. If there are any new activities or excursions in Cozumel that pop up please share them with us so we can share them with future travelers.
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