The 22 Best Things To Do In Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is a popular cruise destination, playing host to over 4 million cruise passengers every year. While most cruise ship passengers head straight to the beaches to enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving in the crystal-clear Caribbean Waters, there’s a huge number of other things to do in Cozumel for foodies, history buffs and the more adventurous. There’s so much to do you could easily stay a week or two and not manage to see everything. Look through our ultimate guide to the things to do in Cozumel.
Cozumel is 18 kilometres off the coast or Mexico, close to Playa Del Carmen, and 60 miles from Cancun, the party capital of Mexico. Cozumel is quieter than Playa Del Carmen, you can take a ferry across in around 45 minutes.
If you're coming to Cozumel on a cruise, be sure to check our Cozumel Port Guide for the inside track
Head to the Mayan Cacao Company to learn how the Mayans used Cacao beans as currency, visit the Mayan Hut to find out about Mayan life and finish the day with chocolate tasting in the Auditorium. Top off at the shop on the way home to pick up the best chocolate on the island.
Cozumel has some great reefs which make fishing a pleasure. The warm waters are home to several different fish. There are a few different charter options: * Deep Sea Fishing – spend a day out on a trawler to catch Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi and Barracuda * Bottom Fishing – head out to see and drop the lines deep into the water to get some of the best fish for the grill. Expect to catch Red snapper and Triggerfish. On most excursions you can get the crew to clean and prepare your fish ready to go straight on the barbecue. A lot of hotels in Cozumel will be happy to cook up your caught fish for you too! * Fly Fishing – The Northern lagoons are great for fly fishing. You can easily catch Bonefish, and may also be able to bag a Taron, Permit, or a Barracuda.
Cozumel Island Tour
An island tour is a great way to quickly see the main sights of the island and get your bearings. Then you can choose where you want to go back to. If you are on a cruise, you can choose to join one of your cruise ships’ own excursions, or you could prearrange it online. You can also pick up local tours at the port, or you can book a taxi for a 4 hour tour for 4 people for $120 - $200, depending on how far you want to go (as of summer 2020). The full taxi tariff is published at the cruise port (taking a snap of the rate information when you get off the ship is a great idea), and you should always agree the prices before getting in the taxi. Taxi drivers in Cozumel are required to carry rate cards which you can ask to see if there’s any confusion. You can also rent a car, either online before you arrive, through your cruise line of in person at the port. Cozumel is a very driveable island so getting around on your own isn’t a daunting task.
Cozumel Food Tour
Cruise tours are offers both by the cruise lines and local tour operators. Local food has a mixture of Mexican and European influences (primarily Spanish). The tours typically feature street food and food markets, as well as a visit to a ‘Cocina Economica’, fresh fish and a lot of local information. The Quesadillas ae a local favourite and be sure to sample some of the fresh local seafood. Food tours generally last between 2 and 4 hours, meaning if you’re on a cruise, you’ll have plenty of time to add in more activities or excursions while you’re on the island. If you prefer to discover local cuising at your own pace, we have compiled the 34 best restaurants in Cozumel, as rated by locals and tourists.
Cozumel is rated as one of the top 10 best places in the world for scuba diving. The west coast if the prims place for most of the dive centres, and all cruise lines will offer a number of different scuba diving excursion options The Mesoamerica Reef is one of the largest reefs in the world, with huge caverns and walls teeming with marine life. For more advanced divers, head to the north and east of the island.
Snorkelling is one of the most popular things to do in Cozumel. Even if you don’t have much time, make sure you put aside an hour to jump in the sea and take a peek at the local marine life. You can opt to go it alone one of the great snorkelling beaches in Cozumel, such as Dzul Ha (of the Money Bar Beach as it’s also known) or Playa Corona. If you’re on a cruise and stuck for time, Sunset Beach is the closest snorkel beach to the cruise port, 10 – 15 minutes in a taxi. Here you will also find the Subaquatic Snorkel Museum!
The Atlantis Submarine is a great option for anyone who wants to experience underwater Cozumel without getting wet. The submarine takes you over 100 feet down, giving you great views of the underwater reefs, and even a few shipwrecks! The submarine is fully pressurised and air conditioned. The submarine leaves 3 times per day, cost is $105 for adults, $65 for children (summer 2020).
The 7th Wonder of the world! Chichen Itza features on many people’s bucket list so a visit is a must if you’re close by. This is the largest and most popular of all the Mayan ruins, however the journey from Cozumel is a long one, and if you’re on a cruise it will take up the whole day. You’ll need to take the ferry to Playa Del Carmen, before a 2-3-hour bus ride. For a day trip, you’ll only get around an hour to see the Chichen Itza before heading back.
Chankanaab National Park
Chankanaab is a protected marine park and is one of the most visited attractions on the island. The park features dolphins, sea lions, ziplining and water sports such as kayaking and snorkelling. The park also has almost 400 different plant species in its botanical gardens.
Swimming with Stingray
The appropriately named ‘Stingray Beach’ is where you’ll want to go for a swim with stingrays. You can get up close and personal with the stingrays in the shallow waters, or head further out to swim with them, and even see some gentle sharks in the deeper waters.
For adventure, Cozumel has its own ziplining park. The main attraction of Xtrem Adventure park in Chankanaab National Park is the zip line circuit which takes you through the jungle and across the lagoon on almost 1km of ziplines! The park also offers laser tag, sealions and snorkelling. Xtrem park is a great day our for families.
Every beach in Cozumel on the west coast offer water sports. Check out our full Cozumel beach guide for the best options. Expect to see everything including Kayaking, Parasailing, paddle boarding and Jet skiing.
Dune Buggy or ATV Tour
Dune Buggy adventures can be booked from cruise lines or from local agents. The dune buggy excursion will take you out in into the jungle, where you’ll see Mayan ruins and get an opportunity for a swim in a Cenote (an open water pool connected to an underwater lake). You may also stop at a beach club giving a chance to snorkel or chill.
The centre of San Miguel is a great place for shopping. Make sure to pick up local cigars and tequila, and you’ll get a great choice of local crafts and souvenirs.
Punta Sur Ecological Park
This park on the southern tip of the island is home to sea turtles, crocodiles, and a vast array of tropical birds and other wildlife. The Maritime museum features the Celerain lighthouse offering clear views right across the island. You can also tour the marshlands to see the crocodiles or visit the ‘Caracol’ Mayan ruin.
Hit the beach for a day of fun, or a few hours of relaxation on the beautiful white sands. Check out our full Cozumel beach guide for the inside track on the bast spots. Our top picks for families are Paradise Beach, Mr Sanchos or Playa Mia on the west coast. For snorkelling you should try Dzul Ha (Also known as money bar beach) or Playa Corona and for a great stap for your Instagram, head to Passion Beach.
Cozumel Pearl Farm
For something a bit different, Cozumel Pearl Farm is a family owned farm in a secluded part of Cozumel. Here you can learn about pearl farming techniques, and snorkel in the hatchery and see the pearls being grown. Lunch and drinks are included and the beach features hammocks for your afternoon siesta.
Experience a Temazcal
A Temazcal is a low heat Mexican ‘sweat lodge’, much like a sauna or Turkish bath, but inside a stone igloo. The ceremony is a relaxing experience, much like a massage or spa treatment. Water mixed with herbs is added to hot stones while chanting normally accompanies the ceremony. If you enjoy meditation, massage or spending time in the sauna or steam room then you will enjoy the Temazcal.
Watch the Sunset
One thing that Cozumel has over the rest of Yucatan Peninsula is of course that half of the island faces west, meaning there are literally hundreds of great places to watch the sunset. The beaches that line the west coast are great for watching the sunset. If you are in town, head to the promenade to watch the sunset, although it can be busy, this is a good spot if you need to get back to your cruise ship not long after the sun sets. 5 minutes north of the ferry terminal, the terrace at El Palomar is widely regarded as the best restaurants in Cozumel to see the sunset.
Try the Underwater Oxygen Bar
Clear Lounge Cozumel at Puerto Maya is a unique experience popular with Cruise passengers. The experience lasts 30 minutes and features scented oxygen and an underwater photo booth. Check it out.
San Gervasio is a small archaeological site on the northeast side of the island, dating back to 100 BC. The site is dedicated to the goddess ‘Ixchel’, the goddess of fertility, midwifery, and medicine. The site hasn’t been restored, making it a more natural way to experience Mayan ruins, and you can still make out a number of the structures. Although not as impressive as Tulum or other ruins on the mainland, this is a nice easy trip out of town if you have a few hours to spare.
The Mayan ruins in Tulum are a favourite for archaeology or history buffs. The ruins are located along a cliff. Tulum City was built in the 13th – 15th Century, one of the last to be built by the Maya. The Temple of the Frescoes, Temple of the Descending Gods and El Castillo are the 3 most prominent buildings you’ll want to see. You’ll need to take the ferry over to Playa Del Carmen (30 – 45 minutes) and get a bus to Tulum. If you’re visiting Cozumel on a cruise you can do this by yourself, but an organised tour will mean you won’t miss the boat! There’s a great beach right next to the ruins to chill out afterwards.
Car hire deals
The Best Restaurants in Cozumel For 2021
It wasn't easy to whittle it down, but these are our top picks for eating out or grabbing a quick bite in Cozumel this year
The 19 Best Beaches In Cozumel
Snorkel, scuba or stretch out on the sand, Cozumel has something for everyone
The Ultimate Guide To Cozumel Port
Heading to Cozumel on a cruise? Check out our Cozumel port guide
One Day In Cozumel
Taking a cruise to Cozumel? Check out our top tips for spending a day on the island
12 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Cozumel
Check out the 12 things you need to know before heading to Cozumel. Plan in advance to ensure a stress-free trip