What are the best Cozumel excursions

Isla Cozumel, Mexico - travel tips, sights and the most beautiful beaches

Ready for the island? Mexico's largest Caribbean island of Cozumel is a true paradise for beach lovers and underwater activities.

I got off the boat that took me to Cozumel from mainland Mexico and fell in love. Although it was already dark, I recognized the crystal clear water in the glow of the harbor lights. And loads of fish. Like in an aquarium. How cool is that, was my first reaction, which turned into a real Cozumel euphoria in the coming days.

I have ever visited the most beautiful beaches and while snorkeling I saw sea turtles, stingrays and all kinds of fish in various sizes and shimmering colors. Find Nemo? Not here - I had it in front of my goggles practically all the time. The visit to the island was an absolute highlight of mine Yucatan round trip.

Why you should definitely visit Cozumel Island

At a length of 45 km and a width of 16 km you will find dreamlike, Caribbean sandy beaches (Ferrero advertising sends its regards), Mayan sites and fabulous underwater worlds on the island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island is perfect for relaxing if you are a little away from the constant cruise tourism.

Here you can relax, swim in the turquoise water, dive or snorkel on the second largest reef in the world or sip a coconut under palm trees. I spent two weeks here and totally enjoyed my stay. So that you can do that too, you will find my best tips about the island here in the Isla Cozumel Guide.

How To Get To Isla Cozumel?

Getting to Cozumel is really easy. You take one of the from Cancun airport ADO buses to Playa del Carmen (from 183 MXN = approx. 9 €) Then it goes to the ferry terminal Terminal Maritima Navegal, Av. Benito Juarez, Playa del Carmen (is conveniently located right next to the bus terminal around the corner). There you have the choice between two different providers who will bring you to the island. There is no difference, both are equally fast and leave every hour on the hour.

  • Ultramar (Yellow-blue): one way from 220 MXN (approx. € 10.30), there and back 400 MXN (approx. 18.70 €)
  • Winjet (orange): one way 170 MXN (€ 8)

Getting around on Isla Cozumel - preferably by bike

The bike was my most loyal companion in Cozumel. It's just a lot of fun touring the beaches by bike and stopping wherever you like. So I had one or the other Caribbean dream beach (next to a few sunning lizards) all to myself. Also cool - there are no hills on the island. So even inexperienced cyclists reach their destination relaxed.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the beach cruisers, with which you can comfortably explore the island. Of course, you can also find other types of bicycles such as mountain bikes or e-bikes. You will find a large selection among the lenders. The prices are around US $ 10-15 per day.

You can find the following providers on Cozumel:

Important: in Cozumel rental bikes need a badge from the authorities. Make sure to pay attention to this when renting!

San Miguel de Cozumel - the capital of Isla Cozumel

The island life takes place in the only town of San Miguel de Cozumel. Everything here is geared towards tourism. Countless shops, restaurants, car & scooter rentals and tour operators can be found along the promenade. This is also where the landing stages for the giant cruise ships are located and accordingly many tourists are on their way around this area.

The tourism business is the main source of income. Most of the visitors to Isla Cozumel are US-Americans and prices are often quoted in dollars. San Miguel is not particularly rich in attractions. It doesn't have to, because the gorgeous beaches are waiting for travelers at the gates of the city. In addition to really great street art (rather unusual for an island) there are some good bars and restaurants. Here are my favorites:

  • Taqueria Diaz - My Mexican friends swear by it and I fell in love with this authentic Mexican taco restaurant immediately! Super tasty tacos (My tip: Taco al Pastor) at reasonable prices (15 MXN = € 0.70 per taco). Beware of the hot sauces, they have a lot of steam. (Avenida Licenciado Pedro Joaquin Coldwell 73, 10 de Abril)
  • La Perlita - Beautifully decorated fish restaurant with very good dishes from swordfish to ceviche. (Avenida 65 - Norte 70)
  • Lobster Shack - Small bite with delicious lobster burritos. (Calle 3 Sur, Local 2)
  • The pub - English pub with a nice courtyard and a good selection of beers (Calle 4)

Excursions & sights on Isla Cozumel

In addition to cycling, you can also explore the island by scooter or rental car. Fancy things like beach buggies or quads are also on offer. You will find countless landlords along the harbor promenade. However, always pay attention to the condition of the vehicles. You can find out which places you should explore here:

San Gervasio - in the footsteps of the Maya

Cozumel was a sacred island for the Maya and with San Gervasio and El Cedral there are two other places on the island that you can visit. San Gervasio is located in the middle of the island and is the most important building on Cozumel. Here the goddess Ix Cel was worshiped. The main building is the Ka’Na Nah complex. It is believed that this was the central structure for worshiping the goddess of fertility.

Anyone who has visited other Maya buildings in Mexico will not be particularly impressed by San Gervasio. But it offers an interesting insight into the life of the residents at that time. You can reach San Gervasio via the Transversal de Cozumel road, which connects the east with the west. A sign indicates the Maya buildings. (Entry 100 MXN = approx. 5 euros)

The oldest Maya building on Cozumel is El Cedral in the south of the island. This Mayan ruin, a fertility temple, is the size of a small house and has no special decoration. A small church was built right next to the temple and has great religious significance for the residents to this day. The village of El Cedral is 3 km west of the Carretera Costera Sur at km 17. A white and red arch with the inscription El Cedral cannot be missed.

Punta Sur - natural paradise in the south of Cozumel

Punta Sur Eco Beach Park is the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel. In addition to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, you can take a boat trip through the mangrove landscape of Laguna Colombia and watch exotic birds, raccoons or coatis. With a little luck you will also see crocodiles in their natural environment.

Climb the historic lighthouse Faro Celarain and enjoy the sensational panorama of this special coastal landscape. On the left the calm lagoon, on the right the ocean with waves. In the lower part there is a small museum that provides information about the history of seafaring around the island. There is a sea turtle hatchery near the lighthouse.

The entrance to the park is quite high (350 MXN = approx. 17 €), but worth spending a full day here.

Chankaanab - the little sea

Chankaanab (Small Sea in Maya language) is 8 kilometers south of San Miguel. This touristic water park embedded in nature has a lot to offer. The Acuario Natural lagoon, a large pool of water, is connected to the sea by a canal. As a result, you can watch many tropical fish passing through the channel here. There is a beautiful botanical garden (Jardin botancio tropical) and a Zona Maya, where you can see replicas of Mayan structures.

Swimming with dolphins is also possible here, but it is also very expensive. In addition, you shouldn't support that - dolphins belong in the sea and not in such amusement parks. Of course, you can also snorkel and dive. Many fish of all colors and sizes can be discovered in the rocky sea. Sea turtles and various rays also have their home here.

Chankaanab also has a diving museum, various restaurants and diving shops. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission US $ 23

Cozumel - The Most Beautiful Beaches & Snorkeling Spots

Cozumel is the ideal place to snorkel & dive as it has the most beautiful beaches and reefs you can imagine. It is exciting to explore the underwater world and meet amazing ocean creatures such as sea turtles, starfish or stingrays. Especially on the south-east coast there is one dream beach after the next.

Some of these beaches are only possible with a visit to a beach club. The visit including deckchairs is tied to a certain consumption flat rate. It's best to ask in advance how much that is. If you are mobile, just drive along the coast - there are also many publicly accessible dream beaches that have no name.

Playa Palancar

One of my favorite Cozumel beaches is about 15 kilometers south of San Miguel. A beautiful fine sandy beach with crystal clear water - perfect for snorkeling. You can rent equipment on site, there is also a restaurant and deck chairs.

Experienced divers have the option of exploring the underwater mountains of the Palancar riffs to visit as part of a diving tour. Incidentally, it was the famous researcher Jacques Costeau who was the first to describe the extraordinary beauty of this reef.

Playa Chen Rio

Welcome to the wild side! The east coast of Cozumel is the exact opposite of the west. The ocean is wild and rough here and the diving goggles can confidently be exchanged for a surfboard or kite. Nonetheless, this stretch of coast is beautiful and at Playa Chen Rio, a small bay surrounded by rocks offers the opportunity to swim in calmer water. Nevertheless, you have to be careful here, as the current is incredibly strong (watch out for signs). Incidentally, there is a very good fish restaurant here.

Playa El Cielo

The sky (El Cielo) is not the main actor here, but the sea - in the most beautiful light blue that you can imagine. Quasi heaven on earth. El Cielo is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the whole of the Caribbean and is known for the high number of starfish, some of which can be admired here by the hundreds. El Cielo can only be visited as part of a tour by boat. The tours cost from around US $ 50.

Accommodation in Cozumel

There are tons of really nice AirBnbs on Isla Cozumel. A whole range of accommodations is covered here, from simple rooms to luxury villas on the beach.

Find AirBnb on Cozumel *

I'll give you € 30 for your first night with Air BnB

I can also recommend Guido's Boutique Hotel to you. The beautiful hotel is only five minutes away from the ferry terminal, directly on the sea. Junior suite from € 75

Book Guidos Boutique Hotel *

You see, you shouldn't miss a trip to Cozumel when traveling to Mexico. If you like the post, please leave me a comment.