Best Things to do in Cozumel: beaches, snorkeling, family activities, culture, shopping, food and drinks
If you’re going a Western Caribbean cruise, there’s a good chance that you’re wondering about the best things to do in Cozumel.
Even if you’ve been there before, I’m willing to be that you haven’t seen and done it all. Cozumel is an awesome cruise port, with many fun excursions and activities available for families, couples, beach lovers and culture enthusiasts!
In this article, you’ll find 21 of Cozumel’s best excursions and most recommended activities for cruise ship visitors
However, before we get to the best things to do in Cozumel, Mexico, here’s some useful information about the cruise port that should be helpful for planning your day.
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Arriving by cruise ship to Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, about 45 miles north of Cancun. Contrary to bustling Cancun, Cozumel is a quieter and somewhat less developed area to visit. It’s also a ferry trip away from popular Playa Del Carmen.
However, when arriving by cruise ship, Cozumel will will feel anything but quiet. There are often 5-8 cruise ships in port, so you can expect it to be busy.
This is why I always suggest doing a bit of research before you arrive, so you know which Cozumel excursion you should plan for the day.
There’s nothing worse that getting off your cruise ship and becoming so overwhelmed, that you give up and head right back the other way! I’ve heard of this happening to many cruisers, and we don’t want this happening to you.
Your cruise ship will dock at one of these 3 Cozumel piers: Punta Langosta (downtown), International pier, and Puerto Maya. All of them are well developed and you will have no difficulty getting to any of the major attractions from any of these piers.
Quick Tips for Cruise Passengers visiting Cozumel, Mexico
Getting around Cozumel
It’s very easy to get around Cozumel by cab. When you exit the port, you’ll find the taxi area with the taxi fares displayed. Fares to most beaches on the west side will amount to about 5$ a person/per way (1-4 people 15$).
If you book an excursion with the cruiseline or a tour operator, most often you will meet at the pier outside your ship. However follow any instructions you are given.
Currency in Cozumel, Mexico
The currency used in Cozumel is the Mexican Pesos, however US dollars are readily and happily accepted. Major credit cards are also accepted, however you’ll want to keep some smaller bills 1$, 5$, 10$ handy for cab rides and a bit of haggling at the shops.
Free Things to do in Cozumel
Not everything has to cost money right? There are some things that are free or very inexpensive to do in Cozumel.
San Miguel is in the downtown area of Cozumel. It’s closest to the Punta Langosta pier, so its actually an easy walk. If you’re at one of the piers further west, you can either take a longer walk, or take a 10 minute cab ride. Since Cozumel tends to be very hot, a cab ride may be your best bet!
In San Miguel, you’ll find many local shops selling souvenirs, local crafts, silver jewelry, and my favorite – beautiful white casual and beach wear.
If you enjoy just getting out and walking, the waterfront view is gorgeous, and of course, window shopping is free. You can also walk and stop in at Benito Juarez Park and visit the charming (and old) San Miguel Church.
2. Playa Corona Beach
While you won’t get all the bells and whistles that comes with some of the resort style beaches, this FREE beach has amazing snorkeling! Plus, its only a 15 minute cab ride away from the pier.
You can enter for free and bring your own snorkel gear. They do also rent equipment if you need it.
There is also a family owned bar and restaurant on site if you decide to sit and grab a bite.
Tip: While other activities mentioned below are not free things to do in Cozumel, there are a few that are inexpensive. Cozumel is a port where you can enjoy and keep to a budget.
Family Friendly Activities in Cozumel
Cozumel has some of the best activities for families. Whether you’re looking for a beach day or a family adventure, you’ll find it here.
3. Playa Mia Grand Beach Park
If you’re on a cruise, you’ve likely heard of Playa Mia. This is an excursion often offered by the cruise ship, however you can also book this on your own and even get transportation included.
This family friendly resort truly has a lot to offer. Here are some of the main attractions with are included with your Beach Access Pass:
A large pool, water-slides, young children’s splash park, floating water park, paddle boats, underwater Mayan village for snorkeling and more!
The “included” attractions are some of the best I’ve seen at any beach resort day pass, however there are other experiences available at an additional cost.
If you would like food and drinks included, you can opt for a package which includes this.
4. Mr. Sanchos Beach Club
Mr. Sanchos is a very popular excursion for both families and couples alike. If you like to pay one price for all you can eat and drink (yes, including those frozen margaritas and other good stuff!), then this might be the a great plan for you.
The beach is gorgeous, the food and drinks are good, and it is a 15 minute cab ride from the cruise port. Along with this, you can also kayak and enjoy a pool with a swim up bar.
Please note that although a lot is included, there is an additional charge for wave runners, para-sailing and the use of an inflatable water park.
5. Paradise Beach
An easy 15 minute cab ride from the cruise port, Paradise Beach has been a fan favorite for years – and it just keeps getting better.
Here you’ll find a beautiful large pool area, a stunning beach front, and clean facilities. There is a nominal entry fee of 3$ a person, which includes a lounger.
There is a large inflatable water park which is quite popular! There is a fee to use this, however you need only purchase a pass for those who use it. Something fun to know is that if you do use the water park, you also get access to the kayaks, which is a nice additional activity.
Paradise Beach has always offered restaurant food made fresh and brought to you at your table or lounger. However, they’ve recently introduced an all-inclusive option, where fresh food and drinks are included.
My family has been coming here for years, and we genuinely love it. On our last visit, we especially enjoyed the freshest and most flavorful mojitos we’ve ever had, made by Freddie at his Mojito Stand.
Detailed review and guide: Paradise Beach Cozumel Review (What you want to know)
6. Chakanaab Beach and Snorkel Park – Dolphin Discovery
Chakanaab Beach and Snorkel Park is unique in a world of beach resorts with pools and water-slides.
It’s actually a natural park located in the Marine National Park of Cozumel. If you are looking for a more authentic beauty in the marine life and botanicals, Chakanaab is a must!
At Chakanaab you can snorkel as well as swim and interact with dolphins and manatees.
This marine park is located about 15 minutes by cab from the cruise port.
7. Amazing Cozumel Race
Could this be any more fun for a family? Pretty close to the actual TV show, this is an off the beaten path family friendly scavenger hunt that cruise passengers rave about!
This is an active excursion which involves a lot of walking and even a boat ride, so just make sure the whole family is up for an enjoyable, but active day.
Best Cozumel Excursions for Couples
Many couples cruise to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary, so why not plan a romantic day in Cozumel?
8. Nachi Cocum
There are a lot of very beautiful beaches and resort areas. However, Nachi Cocum offers a more exclusive beach day experience than what you’ll find at some of the more family friendly beach resorts.
At Nachi Cocum you’ll get an all-inclusive beach break excursion. It offers a beautiful beach, pool and jacuzzi and more. However, what sets it apart is that is limits the number of guests to only 130. Cozumel beaches can get very crowded, so having a more secluded beach feel is extra special.
9. Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel
This is made for couples! Who wouldn’t enjoy sipping champagne while enjoying a romantic sail around the turquoise waters of Cozumel?
Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling in the world (it is home to the world’s second largest reef). If you don’t usually snorkel, why not give it a try? You’ll come back with amazing memories of your couples cruise.
10. Mr. Sanchos Beach VIP All Inclusive Romance Day
This is really a perfect day for those that are looking for a something romantic to do in Cozumel, while still enjoying one of the most popular spots close by to the cruise port.
Mr. Sanchos offers couples an all-inclusive food and drink package, along with a 30 minute massage, a beautiful cabana and some VIP treatment.
Best Cozumel Sightseeing Tours for History Buffs
Cozumel is well known for 2 archaeological sites. If you aren’t into beaches and water sports, and prefer learning and experiencing the culture when cruising, you will enjoy either of these Cozumel excursions.
11. Mayan Ruins of Tulum
Visiting Mayan Ruins is a bucket list item for many! One of the most well known and well preserved ruins are the Mayan Ruins in Tulum.
It’s known not only as an incredible archaeological site, and for it’s preserved temples and hieroglyphs, but also for it’s truly spectacular views overlooking the Caribbean Sea. This is definitely a place for Insta-worthy photos!
It’s about an hour away from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen by ferry and is considered a full day excursion. While you can book this on your own, depending on what time your ship is due to leave the port, you may want to book this with the ship.
12. San Gervasio Ruins
If you would like to visit Mayan Ruins which are closer to the ship than Tulum, opt for an excursion to San Gervasio. These ruins are considered to be significant to the Mayan culture and an interesting archaeological site, which is only about 30 minutes away from the Cozumel cruise port.
A bonus is that there is the small entrance fee of 5$, so this is a relatively inexpensive Cozumel shore excursion.
Museums and Mayan Culture
13. Discover Mexico Park Cozumel
There’s quite a lot to do at this cultural theme park, located about 10 minutes from the cruise port. Things to do include a museum of Mexican traditional arts, a video experience room, a unique take on a botanical garden, and performances by Papantla Flyers.
On top of this, they offer some add-on tours for those that are interested. One tour that is quite popular is the Jose Cuervo tequila tasting.
Located in the San Miguel area of Cozumel, this small museum offers great information about Cozumel’s history including it’s Mayan past, it’s geography and it’s ecological side. You’ll also see ancient artifacts all for 4$ a person. There’s a nice restaurant on site with a beautiful view should you decide to stay for lunch.
Best Cozumel Excursions for those that love the water!
Cozumel has some of the very best snorkeling and diving in the world, with its 3 well known reefs: Columbia Reef, Palancar Reef an El Cielo Reef.
The waters are extremely clear with a high level of visibility. When you’re looking for things to do in Cozumel, snorkeling excursions are highly recommended excursions, especially if you want to see truly magnificent marine life.
15. Catamaran Sail and Snorkel
Snorkel at 2 or more shallow reefs and swim with colorful fish among the vibrant coral reefs. Sailing by catamaran is one of the most comfortable ways to head over and enjoy the day (and my most favorite!). Most tours come with drinks including rum punch.
16. Snorkeling by Glass Bottom Boat
This is a unique way to experience Cozumel’s underwater world. The combination of the ability to snorkel, as well simply enjoy the glass-bottom viewing experience, allows for people who don’t necessarily swim or snorkel, to come along and enjoy. Most tours come with water, beer and rum punch.
17. Atlantis Submarine
If you want to experience the gorgeous turquoise Cozumel waters surrounded by a variety of tropical fish swimming in and out of coral, without actually being in the water, this is the excursion for you!
It’s exactly like it sounds (pretty cool!). You’ll be fully submerged in a comfortable submarine diving as deep as 100 feet. You’ll see stunning marine life and possibly even a shipwreck. This tour comes highly recommended by guests and tends to sell out, so if it interests you, don’t wait too long to book.
Cozumel Excursions that are Off-the-Beaten Path
If you are looking for an adventurous excursion in Cozumel, there are great opportunities to do something different that most people haven’t heard of. If you enjoy more things to do in Cozumel that are off the beaten path, these 2 excursions are most recommended.
18. Amazing Secret River
For something completely different and unique, consider visiting Amazing Secret River. This is an underground river within stunning crystal caves where stalagmites surround you. This is a guided tour where you will get wet, as you’ll be swimming or wading through the waters.
This is located in Playa Del Carmen rather than on the mainland, so you will have to take a boat-ride there. My recommendation is to book with the cruise line or ensure you book with a reputable tour operator.
19. Take a Jeep or ATV Tour to Jade Cavern
The ultimate fun excursion is an off-road trip over to Jade Caverns by Jeep or ATV. You’ll see wildlife and vegetation along the way. Once you arrive at Jade Caverns, you’ll enjoy swimming in the breathtaking natural pool. If you’ve been to a Cozumel beach in the past, this is be a fun way to see a different part of the island.
Cozumel for Foodies
One of the best parts of travel is trying the local cuisine and enjoying the variety of food and drink. Cozumel has many restaurants and bars available, however if you want an authentic experience, these are 2 highly recommended Cozumel shore excursions for foodies.
20. Cozumel Food Tour
If you love food and culture, you’ll really enjoy eating and learning about Yucatan cuisine. This is an opportunity to visit a few of the “best eats” in Cozumel and taste authentic Mexican cuisine. Enjoy beer and a local beverage agua fresca along with delicious pastries. My mouth was watering as I wrote this!
21. Tequila Tasting Tour
It wouldn’t be Mexico if we didn’t include a Tequila Tasting Tour. This tour is housed in Discover Mexico Park Cozumel and it’s about more than drinking tequila.
While you’ll taste several tequilas, you’ll also visit the facilities and learn about how tequila is made. Cruisers report enjoying small margaritas and very tasty tacos, and even learning how to make margaritas at home (winner!).
Recap: These are the top 21 most recommended things to do in Cozumel
Whether you book a shore excursion with the cruise line, a tour operator or explore Cozumel on your own, there’s plenty to do and see!
Cozumel cruise port tip: There are shops, bars and restaurants located right at the cruise port, and very closeby to your cruise ship. It can be a good idea to get back to the cruise ship area early, and save some time to shop for your souvenirs at the end of the day. Ofcourse, always make sure to get back to your cruise ship with time to spare.
Have you been to Cozumel or are you planning to by cruise? What’s your favorite thing to do? Please let me know in the comments below.
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