Cozumel travel guide

Before you go

  • get cash from your bank for the best exchange rate and lowest fees. Try to do this at least 2 weeks in advance. I recommend at least $75 per person per week

Getting to Cozumel

Cozumel is an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, about a 45 minute drive south of the area’s major airport in Cancún (✈️CUN).

From most destinations, you’ll be flying into the Cancún airport. These options are for how to get from the Cancún airport ✈️CUN to Cozumel.

The easiest option is to book a flight with MAYAir from ✈️CUN to the small airport on Cozumel, ✈️CZM. There are limited flights though, and sometimes the timing doesn’t work out well.

Alternative method - Ferry from Playa to Cozumel

If you aren’t flying all the way to ✈️CZM, the next best option is to take a ferry to the island. The ferry terminal is about 45-60 minutes from the airport by car in the city of Playa del Carmen.

There are two ferry companies that operate the route Playa ↔ Cozumel, Ultramar and Winjet. They operate on alternating hours, with one ferry leaving every hour. The cost and quality are close enough that it’s not worth booking in advance. I book the tickets when I get to the ferry terminal. This results in the shortest wait and avoids any stress about missing the ferry I booked.

The last ferry from Playa is usually at 10 or 11pm. I find 15 minutes early is enough time to get a ticket and get on board. If it’s your first time or you have a lot of luggage you may want 30 minutes.

Getting to the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen

There are 2 options for getting to the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen from the airport; a bus to Playa and a taxi the rest of the way, or a taxi from the airport to the ferry terminal.

Taking a taxi is the easiest option - they pick you up at the airport and the drop off spot is a 2 minute walk from the ferry terminal. If you book the taxi online before your trip, it costs about half as much as if you pay for it when you get to the airport. On my most recent trip in July, the taxi cost $50 online or $100 in person. Those prices are good for up to 3 people. It may differ for a larger group. There is only 1 taxi provider at the airport, so don’t bother shopping around.

The bus is cheaper but more work - The bus is about $10 at the airport. It will take you to the bus depot in Playa. From there you will need to either walk or take a taxi the rest of the way to the ferry terminal.

Eating in Cozumel

I was surprised to find the food in Cozumel was generally both cheaper and better than in Playa. Here are a few of my favorite spots.

Restaurant Food Price (pp) Takes 💳 card Notes
Los Nopales Tacos $3-$8 Cash only Try the gringas (~$3)
Jolly Breakfast/brunch $8-$15 Drinks are great too. 🍌 latte
Cozumeleños Fresh & local $3-$8 Above $200MX Banana & bean tostada is great
Aquí + Ahora NA drinks & vibe $3-$8 The rooftop has a DJ at night and overlooks the water.
Novena Ola Fancy Mexican $15-$30 Rooftop overlooking the water. Great place for a sunset dinner/drinks/desert

Diving in Cozumel

We dove with Aldora Divers. They hold your gear and have it set up on the boat for you every morning you dive. Great service. Some recommended dives:

  • The Palancar reef to the south of the Island is why it’s famous. Make sure to dive this area! The coral is unbelievable. I could dive this every day and never get bored.
  • Night dive at Yucab. Request Rich as a guide, he’s a champ at finding Octopus and Splended Toadfish (a gorgeous fish endemic to Cozumel)
  • They offer a “black water” night dive. It’s like being in outer space with aliens floating by. Extremely unique and highly recommended.