If you are in Playa del Carmen or Cancun you miss out on a visit to Cozumel. The island reserves the best snorkeling and diving opportunities along the Riviera Maya, with an astounding display of colorful coral and a parade of tropical fish and sea creatures. It’s located just opposite PDC and it takes no more than 40 mins to get there by ferry.
Yesterday we had a wonderful getaway from our temporary base in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I would like to share with you some of the photos we took and tips that can make your day easier.
How to Get to Cozumel
There are 2 ferry companies in Playa del Carmen which operate to Cozumel: Mexico Waterjets and Ultramar. The boats depart every hour, make sure to check the schedule before you go, because it changes depending on the day of the week. You can buy tickets online or at the pier before the departure.
I suggest you come at least 15 mins before the ferry leaves. If you go to the island for one day, try to go earlier to have a chance to do more things. We left Playa del Carmen at 10 am. The price of the one way ticket is 163 pesos ($12). The boats are very comfortable, with AC, TV, Wifi and toilets on board. As is typical in Mexico, at the start of the journey tour operators will come around and explain the various tours they offer. Prices did seem quite reasonable and comparable to what I’ve seen at other places, so I don’t think there are any rip offs taking place here.
If we had to choose, we’d say the Ultramar boats are slightly more modern and comfortable, but you can’t really go wrong with either of them. It’s a basic service that only lasts 40 minutes, so it’s not going to make any big difference either way. We really enjoyed our trip to the island and back.
Where to Rent a Scooter/Car in Cozumel
There are a lot of shops offering cars and scooters for rent. The prices are almost the same everywhere. You can rent a vehicle starting from $25 per day. We rented our brand new scooter from HTL and were very happy about. The shop looks serious and almost all the vehicle they have are new and in a good condition. We paid $30 (including third party insurance $5) for our Honda Dio 110. It was powerful enough, very comfortable and spent just a little bit of fuel for all the trip. I would recommend you to rent your vehicle from these guys, it was really a good experience for us.
What to Do in Cozumel
As you arrive you will meet a lot of vendors at the port trying to sell you different tours, renting out cars and bikes. So if you didn’t do any research beforehand, you can just compare prices and opt for one of several offers. If you don’t trust these people you can just follow our plan and spend one amazing day on the island. 🙂
Cozumel is largely uninhabited except for the bustling port city of San Miguel. You can easily take a walk around downtown (not much to see here except for souvenir shops), then hop on a scooter or a car and have a picturesque trip around the island. The coast road is fantastic for those who decide to go on this route which takes you half way around the island. You will love the cool breeze and refreshing perfume of the ocean and trees combined. Prepare for a day long session of aroma therapy for free. 🙂
The nice thing about the coast road of Cozumel is that there are actually two roads. The narrower one sits closer to the coast and is supposedly reserved for use by bicycles. However it is in practice used mostly by scooters, and we also encountered cars and jeeps on the same road. The speed limit on this road is 30km/h, but it’s not enforced. Nevertheless, I suggest you stick to that speed because it’s perfect for driving and soaking up your surroundings at the same time. Drive faster than that and you’ll find it hard to talk to your pillion rider and you’ll also have to keep fully focused on the road rather than the beaches or trees around. The wider road is used by faster moving traffic and has a speed limit of 80km/h. You can switch between the two roads at various points along the route.
While driving around Cozumel you might have several stops for a meal, drink or a swim. Our first stop was at the Money Bar. It’s a famous place for snorkeling. We had our lunch (the food is quite good and not very expensive) and then sunbathed and snorkeled there. This place is very convenient: you can borrow snorkeling gear for free, use the shower and bathrooms, changing rooms, sun chairs and get refreshing drinks from the bar. The water in the sea is crystal clear! As soon as you take a dip you’ll see a lot of fish even without wearing a mask. We loved the place!
Have a good lunch, snorkel, take a shower and continue your trip! You will have a lot more of opportunities to stop: there are quite a number of bars and restaurants ahead and breathtaking beaches with amazingly transparent water of an unbelievable color. We were awed by the views!
The whole trip from Cozumel downtown around the island and back is around 68 km. It took us a few hours to accomplish it. It’s more than enough for one day. Full of positive emotions and a beautiful experience to treasure we headed back to Playa del Carmen at 6 pm.
I think that’s all that I wanted to tell you. If you have questions or comments just leave them below, I will be very happy to get a feedback from you! Have a good trip to Cozumel!