One Day In Cozumel
The island of Cozumel is one of the most visited cruise destinations in the world, with over 4 million cruise guests landing here every year, and we all have one thing in common, we only have one day in Cozumel to fit in everything we want to do. We have put together a few itineraries below to give you some ideas for your day in Cozumel.
1. Eat, Shop & Snorkel
Make sure you are ready to disembark when you dock to make the most of the day on Cozumel. First things first, jump in a taxi and head on over to ‘La Choza’ for breakfast and try the ‘Migas’ (scrambled egg with bacon), a real local favorite. Head over early before the tourists arrive for a real local experience. Next stroll through San Miguel town to check out the local shopping. Cozumel is a duty free area so you can find some great bargains on perfume, alcohol and electronics but you should really be looking for the locally crafted goods to get some true authentic gifts to take home, and support the local economy. All around San Miguel you will find some great examples of Mexican handicrafts, hand woven blankets, silver and amber jewelry and the local favorite combination of local tequila and hand rolled cigars.
Once you have shopped and dropped, you will be ready to hit the beach. The good news is you do not need to head to far from town to get to the best beaches on the island. We recommend Paradise beach or Mr Sanchos for families, Dzul Ha or Playa Corona for snorkeling. The beaches are free, but you will pay a cover charge or be required to buy food or drinks to use the facilities. This is common all down the west coast, and the price is generally very modest for the quality of the facilities. We have full details of the best west coast beaches in our Cozumel beach guide.
Whichever beach you choose to chill on for the afternoon, you must jump in the sea and try snorkeling. If you’re feeling adventurous you can head out to sea on an organized tour, or if you feel more comfortable closer to the shore, you can get a great underwater experience in the shallow waters of any beach on the west coast.
After all that relaxing, you will be ready to eat If you are here in the winter you want to find a good place to watch the sunset. Widely considered the best place to watch the sunset is the Terrace at El Palomar. Here you can combine a great cocktail with some great local cuisine and an amazing sunset view, before heading back to your ship in time for the sail away party
2. Tour the Island
If you want to head further afield, we think a self-guided island tour is a good way to see the sights. Rent a car in advance either online or through your cruise line, or head to one of the local car rental companies at the port. The main road, ‘Quinta Roo C-1 goes round the south coast and a journey round the island without stopping inly takes 45 minutes. However, there are plenty of places to stop at along the way!
Renting a car is the best way to see the quieter east coast More rugged than the west, it’s great if you want to find a peaceful beach to chill for a few hours away from he busy touristic areas. If you are a more confident swimmer, you can find some more interesting places to snorkel along the east coast but be aware the currents can be a lot stronger on this part of the island. Try the small, protected lagoon at Playa Chen Rio for some quiet snorkeling, and head further up the coast to Restaurante Punta Morena for some local fresh fish, live music, and tableside massages!
Next head to San Gervasio to look at some real Mayan Ruins, although small, it is interesting to see unrestored ruins slightly off the well beaten tourist path. Stop off at the Kaokao chocolate factory on your way back into town for some chocolate tasting and to pick up some souvenirs to take home.
Drop the car back off at the port and head over to the Lobster Shack over the road from the port for a lobster roll before jumping back on your ship for a sunset sail away.
3. Head to Chichen Itza
For the more adventurous, you could opt for a full day tour to Chichen Itza. On the plus side, this amazing Mayan Ruin is one of the new 7 wonders of the world, it’s the largest example of Mayan culture that still exists, it is in great condition and it on many may bucket lists. The downside is it is a long journey so will take up the whole of your day, so consider carefully whether you are happy for this to be the only thing you do with your day. You start by taking a ferry over to Playa del Carmen from the Ferry Pier, which takes around 45 minutes (the ferry pier may be a 10 minute drive from the cruise ship, depending on the pier you arrive at). Once you are in Playa Del Carmen, it is a 2 1/2-hour journey to Chichen Itza which means most tours will only have around an hour to look around.
If you do decide to brave the journey, you will be in for a treat. Though it and be crowded, you cannot help but be amazed at the time temples, Casa Colorada, and the most photographed Temple of Kukulkan.
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