Off the northeast coast of mainland Mexico, opposite Playa del Carmen, is Cozumel, a beautiful island that boasts sundrenched beaches, a plethora of cultural attractions, and truly amazing snorkelling and diving opportunities.
Cozumel is believed to have been first settled by the Mayans, who occupied the island until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Mayan ruins can still be seen on the island at the archaeological site of San Gervasio and include an arch, an altar, and a number of house-like structures.
Tailored to accommodate tourists, Cozumel is a highly popular cruise destination and is a staple on Caribbean itineraries for cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines. Passengers can shop, swim, snorkel, dive, eat, drink and learn more about Mexico’s history and culture during their time on the island.
Cozumel has 3 docking points for cruise ships: Puerta Maya pier, Punta Langosta pier and the International Pier. Which dock you disembark at will depend on your cruise line. All of the piers are situated on the island’s west coastline. The International Pier and Puerta Maya pier are very close to each other, while Punta Langosta pier is a 10-minute drive north.
Each of the docking points have an array of facilities within walking distance or available as part of a terminal which passengers must pass through to exit.
Facilities at the Puerta Maya pier and cruise centre include:
Restaurants and bars
International pay phones
Car rental agency
How to Get Around
There are several ways to explore Cozumel, including via taxi, bicycle, moped, ferry or rental car. Depending on which attractions you are visiting, you may also be able to explore on foot, although it can get extremely hot during the summer months. Public transportation for tourists is limited in Cozumel and bus routes will not likely include popular highlights. If hailing a taxi, remember to always agree on a fare before departure.
Travel times from Puerta Maya pier and International Pier:
It is a 1 hour and 32 minute journey to Discover Mexico
It is a 1 hour journey to Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
It is a 56 minute journey to San Miguel.
It is a 10 minute journey to Discover Mexico
It is a 32 minute journey to Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
It is a 10 minute journey to San Miguel.
Currency – The currency in Cozumel is the Mexican peso, which is signified by the $ sign and the MXN currency code. Coins are available in 5 centavos, 10 centavos, 20 centavos, 50 centavos, $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20, while notes appear in $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, and $1,000. US dollars are also widely accepted.
Time Zone – Cozumel operates on Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight savings can apply, but exact dates of application tend to differ from year to year.
Weather – The island of Cozumel enjoys fairly warm temperatures throughout the year; August is usually the hottest month and has an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, while January is generally considered to be the coolest month, with an average of 24 degrees Celsius. If planning to visit Cozumel between August and November, keep an eye out for any hurricane warnings, and be aware that September tends to experience higher rainfall.
Discover Mexico – Part theme park and part museum, Discover Mexico is home to a number of different attractions that will educate and fascinate you. The Video Experience room presents a vibrant collage of videos that instantly immerses visitors in the Mexican culture. The Popular Art Museum showcases a wide variety of handmade pieces from local artists, while the Outdoor Walk Through Time and Space includes replicas of Mayan pyramids that will delight visitors of all ages. For those interested in learning more about Mexico’s favourite drink, professional tequila tasting is also available.
Palancar Reef – Located off Cozumel’s southwest coast, Palancar Reef is a popular snorkelling and scuba diving site that houses a myriad of aquatic creatures, including turtles, eels, seahorses, and many different types of fish, as well as stunning coral life. The reef is often included in offshore excursions, as it can be enjoyed by novice divers and snorkellers.
Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park – A part of Cozumel’s National Marine Park, this fun-filled adventure park has a wide array of activities to choose from. Swim with dolphins, watch sea lions perform, take a dip in the swimming pool, laze on the beach, hop on a glass bottom kayak, take a walk in the onsite gardens or check out the crocodile exhibition. For a little bit of everything, this is the place to go.