Just like the rest of the Yucatan, each of its jewels has its flavor and Cozumel’s laid-back island living vibe just might be its main flavor. While you can just go and have a getaway anywhere in the Yucatan given its hospitality and beauty.
Cozumel’s single central town, one long coastal road, two completely different sides, and a plethora of beaches will give you the small island feel with big experiences.
Where in Mexico is Cozumel?
Cozumel is an island just off the coast of Quintana Roo, 19km across Playa del Carmen, along the Riviera Maya. Isla de Cozumel or simply yet famously known as Cozumel is located east of the Yucatan facing the Caribbean Sea. Being one of the jewels of Caribbean Mexico it has exquisite beauty and natural wonder that make it a popular hotspot in the Yucatan.
What is Cozumel Best Known for?
Other than being the premier island just along the coast of the Riviera Maya. With its beautiful blue waters and stretches of beaches all around, Cozumel is also best known for the many reefs that sit under its southern waters.
Cozumel, an island in the Caribbean, is an extra slice of Yucatan beauty that competes with its Mayan ruins, lush vegetation, pristine beaches perfect for diving, and it is dotted by reefs just across its waters, like the Santa Rosa and the Palancar Reefs.
Which Mayan Ruins Are the Best to See in Cozumel?
The best known Mayan ruin featured in Cozumel is the ruins of San Gervasio. While you can take a day-trip to the mainland via ferry to charming Playa del Carmen and see the many more ruins that dot the Yucatan, it’s better to spend less and see San Gervasio on the island.
The whole of Quintana Roo prides itself on its Mayan heritage, and all its ruins along with it. The ruins of San Gervasio is Cozumel’s pride. A temple dedicated to the Mayan fertility goddess, Ixchel. Mayans make pilgrimages to this island offering presents. They venerated this place like how Christians and Muslims do with Jerusalem and Mecca.
What is There to Do in Downtown Cozumel?
San Miguel is lined with hotels with plenty of activities on their own. Shopping for souvenirs and other retail must-haves are also a thing. Munch down on some food tour across the calles and the main avenue, Avenida Rafael E. Melgar.
Visit Museums that showcase the island’s rich history, And while the island does not have the same party-scene, the bars here offer the same drinks, from the cheap to the high-priced.
The island’s main downtown area is San Miguel where visitors can find a plethora of things to do and see. As this is where most of the island’s local population resides, you’ll find that the buzz of a tropical island life beats in San Miguel.
What Can You Do for Free in Cozumel?
Probably one of the many famous non-costly things to do in Cozumel is hitting its free beaches — two of which are Playa Corona and Playa Sa De Martin. You can even enjoy DIY activities like a food tour along with San Miguel, and picnics along the waterfront are also a thing on the island, given its beautiful waterfront views and free beaches.
Despite being a popular destination, the island boasts activities or places that are relatively cheap for those looking to scale down spending. Museum tours like visiting the Museo De La Isla De Cozumel where you’ll find out more about the island’s history. And cheap booze near the port like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
How Many Days Do You Need in Cozumel?
It will only take 2-3 days to see and experience the magic of Cozumel. The island is famous for a long list of activities but it’s not as grand as its mainland counterparts.
While there are rich ancient history and natural wonders, and plenty of things to do, you can plan an itinerary that is good for 2-3 days. Especially, if you want to see the entire island in the shortest amount of time, which you can in less than a day. You can set the extra amount of time for other activities like snorkeling, diving, and shopping.
Which Side of Cozumel is Better?
The West Side is arguably the most famous as it houses the central downtown area, the best white sand beaches, and it sits just across the waters of the Palancar Reef. The East Side also has something to behold. It’s more rugged, rocky, and unprotected, it lets you see the raw beauty of the island.
While you can stay on the West Side’s towns and enjoy everything it can offer, it’s also best to see the other side to get that full experience of the island’s beauty. Cozumel Island is gifted with all the natural wonders you could need in a tropical island, and every side of Cozumel has something to boast.
Where Should I Stay in Cozumel?
Most of the best places to stay in Cozumel are just around the central town of San Miguel. There are plenty of Airbnb’s, hostels, and hotels across the beach of the town.
If you want to stray out of the San Miguel area to get a stronger feel of the island, you can stay in hotels and resorts by the beach along the south of San Miguel.
Does Cozumel Have All-Inclusive Resorts?
Tourists flock to Cozumel for its dive-worthy waters, amazing nearby reef, and its powdery beaches, so it’s all-inclusive beaches are not exclusive to its mainland neighbors like Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
Some of the best All-Inclusive resorts are, Cozumel Palace, Intercontinental Presidente, Fiesta Americana, Iberostar Cozumel, and Royal Level.
The Cozumel island is a hit for cruisers, day-trippers from Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and vacationers which makes it a hotspot of all-inclusive resorts that answer to holidaymakers’ desires.
Where Should I Eat in Cozumel?
The best, and the most popular area to munch down good Mexican food has to be in the city center of San Miguel, there you can find scrumptious authentic food from the cheap to the very expensive.
San Miguel offers a plethora of food choices like taqueria stands like the Cuatro Tacos and Mister Taco, seafood places that serve fresh catches right off the coast like Alberto’s Beach Bar, and even an elevated bar like Coconuts, where it is perched at possibly the highest elevation in the entire island, and according to seasoned visitors Coconuts could get rowdy during happy hours.
Apart from San Miguel, there are plenty more places to check out at Palancar, along Avenida Rafael E. Melgar just outside San Miguel de Cozumel.
Is It Safe to Eat and Drink in Cozumel?
Mexicans who care about their visitors will almost always tell you to be wary of what you eat and drink in Mexico. And that might need an extra bit of consideration when you’re in Cozumel. An island off the mainland might have less desirable conditions with the water.
Be informed about the kind of water food places use. Find a way to make sure that they’re using clean, filtered water on their food preparation. Make sure you drink from bottled waters in restaurants, and in hotels, even the water you use to brush your teeth should be from bottles, just to be sure.
And when you’re eating in buffet-style places, eat the food immediately once they serve it as food that is not kept at the right temperature will spoil quickly and that spells bad for your tummy, and the entire trip.
Is the Food Safe to Eat in Cozumel?
Their produce and the bounty of Mexican food is generally safe to eat, food places in tourist destinations are checked by authorities to ensure safety for visitors.
There are sanitary requirements, and protocols to follow for food places, not just around the Yucatan but in entire Mexico as well. Generally, Mexicans do not take food preparation lightly as food culture is a big thing in Mexico.
However, make sure to research and be well-informed with restaurants and other food places that serve with sanitary protocols, just to be extra cautious so nothing can worry ruin your Cozumel trip.
What is the Best Time of Year to Go to Cozumel?
Mexico’s sunny all-year-round climate always makes it a good idea to hit this side of the country.
But the best time is from March to June. Where the warmth and the winds are just right for an island getaway, and just right before the hurricane season begins.
What is the Best Month to Visit Cozumel?
The months of mid-March to late May, are the best months to lounge and take a dip on the beach and explore the town and the many different parts of the island.
April arguably has the best weather as it’s just entering summer so it’s not too hot to walk around under the Mexican sun.
What Are the Coldest Months in Cozumel Mexico?
Cozumel’s coldest months are December and January, with January being the coldest with average temperatures of 23.2C or 74F.
These are also Cozumel’s lowest season. This means, fewer people, fewer crowds, and cheaper prices – you might want to consider those.
What is Cozumel Like in December?
While December is Cozumel’s coldest month, it’s also just after the end of the hurricane season so fewer rains, but generally colder temperatures.
So that means colder beaches, fewer people, and cheaper prices on everything. While the cold might be a dealbreaker to some, lesser crowds, and cheaper prices are ideal for others.
Is December a Good Time to Go to Cozumel?
You can still enjoy the beaches, do some snorkeling, island tours, and more, they could come with cheaper prices, fewer people to go with, but somehow it may take away a bit of the fun but it still offers quintessential Cozumel.
Is Cozumel Warm in January?
No. January is considered Cozumel’s coldest month. But, just like the rest of Mexico, it’s still sunny and is still worth visiting.
The temperature may have slightly dropped this time of the year, but Cozumel’s beauty never goes away.
What Are the Hottest Months in Cozumel?
Cozumel’s hottest months are July and August, with August being the hottest. The temperature in August range up to 33C or 91F. This is also the hurricane season that lasts up until November.
Apart from December-January’s low season, this time of the year also sees fewer visitors as holidays during the stormy season aren’t ideal for many.
How Hot is Cozumel in July?
July isn’t as hot as August but it is still one of the hottest months of the year in Cozumel.
The temperatures in July can go up to 31C or 88F.
What is the Rainy Season in Cozumel?
Cozumel’s wettest months are from October to January where the island experiences the most amount of rain with the extremes of 245mm or 9.6in during October.
Does It Rain a Lot in Cozumel?
The rainiest months of Cozumel are from October to January. Rains in October to November coincide with the hurricane season so in this sense it rains a lot, as well as the winter season of December and January.
Rains in this period take a bit longer than the quick sudden rains in summer – which in March-July
What Are the Rainiest Months in Cozumel?
The months of October to January are the rainiest in Cozumel, and on this side of Mexico as well.
June to November being the hurricane season and August to October experiencing the most rain.
Is It Safe to Go to Cozumel?
Like the rest of tourist-friendly Mexico, Cozumel is considered relatively safe for visitors. Being one of the prime destinations of the famous Yucatan, Cozumel and its mainland neighbors have placed security and protocols to ensure safety for the visitors.
There are no rising crime issues within the island but it is always better to exercise safety precautions, and not just in Cozumel but wherever you go that is packed with tourists.
Do your research and be well-informed about the changes in health and safety protocols when visiting, it is always best to be vigilant, and careful.
Is Cozumel Safe at Night?
Yes. Cozumel is generally safe at night, However, visiting in sketchy, dim-lit, and remote areas are always discouraged. Always stay where there are people and security, but still, you have to watch out for pesky pickpockets – small-time theft is still common anywhere.
Unsupervised areas and places without security can be breeding grounds for illegal activity as well, so make sure you’re not getting into one. A smart tourist is a safe tourist.
Is Cozumel Safer Than Cancun?
With fewer people and a smaller area of coverage, it is considered that Cozumel is safer than Cancun.
The big star of the Yucatan, despite its beauty and the excitement it offers, is still an ideal place for crime big or small, whether directed to foreigners or not.
Can You Drink the Water in Cozumel?
Although the water in Cozumel is treated with Chlorine, it is not advisable to drink from the tap. Some resorts have filtered water systems, but still exercising precaution is encouraged.
There are water bottles with different volumes available in local grocery stores and restaurants, use your extra budget for this necessity.
Is Ice Safe in Cozumel?
Ice in Cozumel are made from bottled water, so don’t be surprised if food places don’t offer up ice in abundance – bottled waters will cost everyone a little extra.
Is Cozumel Dangerous in Any Way?
Cozumel is generally safe for the locals, and tourists, even for expats. There are no emerging crime issues from Cozumel apart from the usual tourist traps in every touristy place, and petty crimes like pickpocketing.
However, nature could be more dangerous in any way for visitors wanting to get the most of the island. Especially the eastern side of the island where there is little protection for the rawness of nature. The shores are rugged, full of rocks and stronger waves.
Is Cozumel Expensive?
Generally, Cozumel is not an expensive destination to be spending in. Especially if you compare with other places in Caribbean Mexico. It is naturally gifted, worth-visiting, and yes, cost-friendly as well.
But you can always spend as much and as little as you want depending on the type of trip you’re going for and the budget you have.
\Why is Cozumel So Cheap?
Cozumel is cheaper than Playa del Carmen or Cancun is because while it has plenty of activities and sights to see, its smaller atmosphere leaves less for spending. The island is considered more relaxed, and less touristy, and party-central. You can still experience the expensive side of the island in hotels and fine dining places.
Cozumel is not as touristy as its mainland counterparts and it’s largely underdeveloped. the most developed part of the island is concentrated on one side and the central town of San Miguel is the most developed area. But the island is more like a getaway for relaxation, both for the body and the wallet.
How Much Does a Beer Cost in Cozumel?
A typical 12 ounces of beer would cost around 1.5 to 3 USD. This range applies to local and international beers.
Liquors like beer almost always have cheaper prices.
How Much Money Should I Bring to Cozumel?
Cozumel is relatively cheap, so a good 250 USD for an entire week, for one person is enough to enjoy the many things the island has to offer.
While you can always spend less or more than that, this is what is typically suggested by travelers who have been to Cozumel.
How Do You Pay for Things in Cozumel?
While Cozumel is developing rapidly from all the tourism it receives, it is still advised to be well-prepared when it comes to money matters. ATM, Credit Cards, can be used here, even US dollars are accepted but there are cautions when using traditional spending methods on the island.
Cozumel is more developed than what many expect so don’t be surprised if you can pay stuff via PayPal especially for advanced bookings like car rentals, or AirBnb’s.
What Currency is Used in Cozumel?
Cozumel uses the Mexican Pesos and is encouraged to be used by tourists for transactions.
It is also encouraged to have your money exchanged to the smaller denominations to tip helpers in your trip, or for paying smaller businesses that thrive off of the tourism culture.
Do They Accept Us Dollars in Cozumel?
US Dollars and even Euros are accepted in Cozumel but it is advised to exchange them in advance in your local banks as exchange rates in many businesses will leave you at a disadvantage.
Upon arriving in Mexico, or Cozumel there are money exchange houses or Casa de Cambio that offers Mexican Pesos exchange for tourists.
Do I Need Pesos in Cozumel?
Yes, in fact using Mexican Pesos is encouraged.
It will help you with spending as it will not complicate your budget and leave you at a disadvantage as many businesses charge at different rates.
Should I Get Pesos Before Going to Cozumel?
Yes. Check out local money exchange centers in your city, or banks before flying to Mexico.
There are also Casas de Cambio or money exchange houses in Mexico, and especially in a tourist destination that offers money exchange at a proper rate.
Should I Use Pesos or Dollars in Cozumel?
Getting Mexican Pesos is more encouraged, but Cozumel and other tourist hotspots in the country also accept US Dollars, sometimes even euros. Using pesos for your transaction is much better and will not leave you scratching your head on all the conversation that just might throw off your budget.
Plus, many businesses have different exchange rates and this might spell bad for your spending.
Does Cozumel Take Credit Cards?
Yes, many businesses accept credit cards.
But make sure you inform your Credit Card’s bank that you’re going to travel outside the country and will likely spend and use the card. This will inform them of your future purchases with different currencies.
What Else Should I Know Before Traveling to Cozumel?
Since the island is one big beach town, it is best to travel around on rentals. You can rent motorcycles and jeeps for that extra mobility that lets you see the entire island.
In fact, you can see the entire island in less than a day. So squeeze in some budget for rental vehicles to have that full experience of the island.
Other than its pristine, Caribbean beaches, its laid-back feel, cheaper spending, and best dive spots, Cozumel is mostly about relaxing, and getting away from the fun and noise of mainland Quintana Roo, not that it’s not fun on the island. You’re going to be in the Caribbean, that already spells fun.
Cozumel, often seen as the underrated treasure of the Yucatan, is seeing lots of reception and island-loving nomads for the authentic Caribbean island life feel of it. But, honestly, that’s exactly what it is and more, and that’s what makes it another frequent entry on travel lists of seasoned vacationers everywhere.