What is There to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise (and What Should You Pack)?

From beach lounging, a city tour on an E-bike, snorkeling, diving, or even shopping from countless souvenir options, Cozumel is a special stop on your Caribbean cruise experience. The island’s charm, and beauty, and its own flavor of fun, makes it one of those destinations you would like to go back to.
What is There to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
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As Cozumel Island rises to the pantheon of the best Mexican destinations, it only makes sense that big cruising lines include it in their stops to the Caribbean. For Cozumel is a wonder that keeps growing with every visit.

What Cruise Lines Go to Cozumel?

Cozumel, along with the rest of the Caribbean is a cruising mecca for vacationers and frequent cruisers all over the world, there’s a plethora of cruise line that has stops in Cozumel.

The Carnival Cruises, growing since 1972, is arguably the most famous cruise line in the world, and it’s no surprise with Cozumel’s growing reputation that they included the island in one of their cruising stops. Celebrity Cruises offer a Caribbean cruise package that sails from Tampa, Florida to Belize and Cozumel.

Disney Cruise, popular for families includes Cozumel as one of their prime destinations, highlighting the beauty of nature and the historical value of the island. Another hit cruise, with an array of ships to choose from, is the Norwegian Cruise Line, embarking from Miami, hits Cozumel, along with many other key destinations in the Caribbean.

Other cruise lines include Holland America Cruises, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Most of these cruise lines can be found through online booking platforms and other various travel portals on the internet.

How Many Cruise Ships Go to Cozumel?

Being one of the popular cruising destinations in the world, Cozumel sees about 20 to 30 cruise ships a week. This is approximately 70,000 to 80,000 cruise guests.

The staggering amount of ships and guests that the island hosts is an incredible feat, making Cozumel a premier destination for vacationers all over the world.

How Long is a Cruise to Cozumel?

Depending on the itinerary of cruise lines, typically, it may take up to 5 days to get to Cozumel from various points in the Caribbean and Florida, USA.

But cruising along Cozumel Island, including port stops, island tours, and excursions usually takes up to 8 to 9 hours, up to one full day, others take a good couple of days.

Is It Safe to Go on a Cruise to Cozumel?

Generally, with all the protocols and security across the Caribbean and on the island, it is safe to get on a cruise to Cozumel. In this sense, however, cruise lines are more responsible for ensuring safety to its guest going to Cozumel at sea.

Ocean cruise lines have standard safety and security protocols, as they carry more than 3,000 guests, taking them to various points in the Caribbean, or any cruising hotspots for that matter.

But upon getting in Cozumel, the island is generally safe for cruise guests and island holidaymakers, as there are various guidelines for those visiting the island, and security protocols are in place in the main attractions.

Are Cruise Ships Docking in Cozumel?

The island is a regular stop for most of the many cruise lines that offer a Caribbean experience. Cozumel has 3 different docks for cruise lines, situated in different areas along the western coast of the island.

Punta Langosta, the public port in San Miguel, located just downtown is the most convenient dock for guests. The International Pier, located 3 miles south of the San Miguel. And, Puerta Maya, the farthest from the central town, 5 miles further south.

Where Do the Cruise Ships Dock in Cozumel?

Along the eastern shores of the island, there are 3 main ports where cruise ships dock. The cruise lines are linked with which port they dock so it’s best to look up your itinerary, and plan off your Cozumel experience from there.

Punta Langosta, Cozumel’s local pier, doesn’t only host cruise ships, cargo ships as well, ferries, and other cruise lines. This is the best port to dock to start a Cozumel exploration from the central town of San Miguel.

The oldest pier on the island is the International Pier, 3 miles south of San Miguel. Disembarking from this port will feel less of a hassle as it isn’t a public port – it’s a cruise port, exclusive for guests from cruise lines. The pier has its shopping area, and a line of restaurants fit for an immediate immersion of the island.

The vast expanse of Puerta Maya is located 5 miles south of the central town. However, this port is only exclusive for Carnival cruise guest, and other cruise lines affiliated with Carnival Corp. It boasts 50 shopping outlets, and its food venues are not to be missed as well, as it hosts restaurants that serve Mexican and Caribbean dishes, perfect to start the Cozumel experience.

What to Do in Cozumel When You Get Off the Ship?

There are many things that you can do upon getting off the ship, like checking out the best food places and shopping right at the port, or you could get one-day island excursions, dive tours, and snorkeling that is accessible from the town, and the beaches just along the Avenida Rafael E. Melgar.

If you disembark in either Puerta Maya or the International Pier, you can take a taxi to San Miguel, which is cheap and haggle-worthy – that is, if you take unregulated taxis. As you get to San Miguel there you can find plenty of things to do.

From having a do-it-yourself food tour, rent a scooter, and check out the town and the rest of the island. You can look for tour companies around the town that offers many kinds of excursion on the island – from dive tours, snorkeling, and even dolphin encounters.

The ports on the western side of the island can all be accessed via the coastal Avenida Rafael E. Melgar, dotted with some of the best beaches. You can easily get to many of the most recommended beaches as you run across this coastal avenue.

How Do I Spend a Day in Cozumel?

From the cruise ports, you can take a taxi to San Miguel. An exploration of the central town is one of the go-to activities if you only have a day of exploration. San Miguel boasts an abundance of shopping stores, restaurants, and bars that offers a more relaxing vibe.

You can also take island tours that let you see the other side of Cozumel, the rugged, and more scenic eastern side. Scooter and Moped rentals are a thing on the island, so if you have one full day for exploring, make sure you get one them.

The island is famed for its relaxing, more laid-back feel than its mainland counterparts, you can go to beach bars around the island, like the popular Buccanos, the elevated bar and restaurant of Coconuts, and Alberto’s just near the best hotels.

What Are the Best Shore Excursions to Do in Cozumel?

Before coming to the island make sure you’ve decided on what experience you want to get, as the island offers a diverse set of experiences that makes it one of the places to be on this side of Mexico.

You can have a city tour of San Miguel via jeep or taxi – readily available at the cruise terminal. You can also take a Pedego electric bike and visit key places and sights around the central town.

Aside from E-bikes you can also take Scooters and do a Scooter Tour not just around the central town, but around the East Coast as well.

While you’re on your e-bike and scooters you can take a ride around town for a Food Tour and check out the best food places that offer authentic Mexican and Caribbean dishes, as the food in Cozumel, does not disappoint.

Snorkel tours are also a thing on the island as Cozumel is one of the best places to snorkel, whether just by the shores or around the reefs near the coast. You can also check out dolphins in Chankanaab Park where you can meet, pet, and play with them.

What Can You Do in Cozumel if You Don’t Do Excursions?

Lounging on the beach is a go-to activity in Cozumel as the shores are blessed with beautiful turquoise blue waters and scenic waterfronts. Several beaches dot the western side around the cruise ports.

Another thing is to enjoy everything central San Miguel de Cozumel can offer. A laid-back, charming, colonial town that has plenty of interesting things to see, to do, and even to eat.

What Can You Do for Free in Cozumel Port?

There are tons of free things to do in Cozumel and the island is quite popular for it. Probably the most popular free delights are the free beaches in Cozumel and there’s one right at the port.

While it doesn’t have any access to water, it is a man-made beach that has some loungers with a view of the docked ships, it is convenient and free, plus, the laid-back feel it offers is worth it. Just take a left from the Punta Langosta and you can easily spot it.

While the rest of the things you can do near the port isn’t free, they’re extremely cheap. Head down to the closest bars like the Three Amigos, and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and buy some cheap drinks.

And the best free thing to do is to explore the port area, Punta Langosta has plenty of things to do as it is just right at the central town, it is also right up north from the International Pier, so you can take a taxi for cheap from there. Puerto Maya has a secluded tourist area, that has attractions in itself.

How Far is the Beach From Cozumel Cruise Port?

The Cozumel Cruise port sits right along the west coast of the island that is lined with the most number of beaches so getting to these beaches is easy and fast. They’re all less than an hour away.

Playa Mia Beach is one of the closest beaches from Cozumel cruise port, just a rough 15 minutes from the port, it’s one of the best beaches in Cozumel. However, it’s one of the most expensive too.

The most popular beach near the port is Playa San Francisco, its best features have to be the beach clubs that inhabit its shores – Nacho Cocom and Mr. Sanchos. Playa San Francisco is roughly 20 minutes from the port.

Can You Walk to the Beach From the Port in Cozumel?

Most of the public beaches are far for walking. You have to take a taxi ranging from 8 US Dollars to 18 US Dollars depending on the distance. The trip will take you for about 10-20 minutes.

What Should I Buy at Cozumel Port?

Apart from the necessities that can be bought right off the port shops, the best things to buy are souvenirs. Make sure you buy locally made items to help support the local economy.

Many of these include woven hammocks or hamacas. They say hammocks from this region are arguably the best in the country. Ceramics, pottery, carving, and trinkets can also be found in port shops, they range from the ornately designed to the simple yet creative.

Mexico, at one time, produced the best Vanilla extract in the world so it makes sense they’re also sold by the port in Cozumel. Tequila or Mezcal, a Mexican classic, if you come from the cruise ships its important to get a bottle of these. Leathergoods are also sold and can be found with intricate Mexican patterns and designs that represent the thriving culture of the country

What Restaurants Are Near the Cruise Port in Cozumel?

There is an abundance of recommended food places that sit near the port that serves good, authentic Mexican, and Caribbean food. One of the Three Amigos, a touristy bar with a party atmosphere that serves classic Nachos and Guacamole, and Burgers as well.

Fat Tuesday keeps the drink flowing and the food coming, this restaurant-bar is not the best place if you have kids with you.

Pancho’s Backyard, a good choice for those looking to get away from the rowdiness of a party. Right on the waterfront, Pancho’s an authentic Cozumel experience with its relaxing atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a bit culture-oriented, La Casita de Indio is one of those off-the-beaten-path places that have an authentic flavor, it offers great food and a homey feel.

Just three blocks from the ferry dock, overlooking the Caribbean Sea on Avenida Rafael E. Melgar, Guido’s is a charming European dream in the Caribbean. A Swiss-Italian restaurant that offers Italian classics like pizza, lasagna, it also has an extensive bar and wine choices.

How Safe is Cozumel at the Cruise Port?

While there is no place in the world that is completely safe, Cozumel island, in general, is generally safe. It boasts a low crime rate and is enough to alleviate fears of any criminal mishap during any of your tours.

The local authority has made good steps to keep the crime low and ensures the safety of the 100,000 local inhabitants and visitors that come to the island.

Do I Need a Passport to Go on a Cruise to Cozumel?

A passport is required as each destination of the cruise is in different countries across the Caribbean, like Belize, or Mexico. International guidelines and border laws will be implemented even for cruise guests.

While there are “closed-loop” destinations that may not require a passport for US Citizens, it is still recommended in case of an emergency, especially medical ones.

What Should I Pack for a Cruise to Cozumel?

Everything necessary for the trip is always a must. Like proper toiletries, medical supplies like seasickness remedies, and medications for digestive problems, you will never know how your stomach will respond to certain food and situations.

A proper fashion is also important, the Caribbean tend to have hotter climates, especially from March to August. It’s best to research and be well-informed about the climate before coming.

And while you’re at it, it’s also best to look up water temperatures around the time of your visit in case you plan to go diving as water temperatures may require different suits.

What Should I Pack for a Cruise to Cozumel in February?

Aside from all the necessities for a vacation on a cruise ship. It is recommended to bring at least, long-sleeved shirts, and a good pair of pants, a windbreaker, or at least a lightweight jacket as February is one of the colder months.

It is generally warm in southeastern Mexico, even during hurricane season, but temperatures at night tend to drop.

What Do You Wear on a Cruise to Cozumel?

A reference to Spring-Summer appropriate clothes is recommended. It will give you an idea of the proper outfits to wear if you plan to walk or strut along the streets of the island. But the most important thing to consider is the climate and your level of comfort.