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Cozumel Guide

Oh, how I love Cozumel. One day I’m moving to this beautiful Caribbean Island. But for now, I’ll just have to make do with visiting as often as I can. In this Cozumel guide, I’ve included everything I know about Cozumel to help you make the most of your visit.

Many people visit Cozumel on a cruise ship. They dock for a day and spend a few hours exploring a small part of the Island, hardly scratching the surface. Others visit Cozumel on a diving vacation, spending most of their time under the sea and enjoying the best private tours in Cozumel

But there is so much more to Isla Cozumel than cruise ships and scuba diving (although I Scuba Diving in Cozumel is my favorite thing to do).

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

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The ultimate cozumel travel guide
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Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Cozumel ToursClick here to check out the top Cozumel tours
Best Cozumel Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Cozumel
Best Cozumel Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Cozumel

Top 10 Things to do In Cozumel

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

1. Go Scuba Diving

Of course, scuba diving in Cozumel is my number one thing to do. It’s what first brought me over to the island after all. There are so many amazing dive sites along the second largest reef in the world (second to the great barrier reef). On a normal dive, you can expect to see turtles, nurse sharks, toadfish, green moray eels, and if it’s the season you might get lucks and see spotted eagle rays. I only ever dive with ScubaTony on the island as they are hands down the best dive operator there. It’s a great fun thing to do if you are up for the challenge.

2. Relax at a beach club

What better thing to do in between dives than chill at a beach club?! The best way to make the most of your time is to rent a car in Cozumel that way you can easily get around to all of the good beach clubs! If you want one close to town then I’d recommend Playa Azul which has a sandy area or Bucannos

3. Eat at Buccanos

After scuba diving, most of my favorite things to do on the island involve eating. If you are a foodie then don’t miss eating at Buccanos at Night. The beach club closes at 5 pm and the evening restaurant opens at 6 PM. Ocean views and good food, what more could you want? They also have an Asian Fusion restaurant next door which is equally as good.

4. Rent a car and drive around the Island

As I’ve already mentioned the best way to see the island is to rent a car and drive around it. It can actually end up saving you quite a bit of money doing it this way as taxis in Cozumel can get pretty pricy. Be careful who you rent with though as most of the companies like to rip off tourists. The only company I recommend is Fiesta Car Rental. They are a local company and honest. Their deposits are reasonable and they release the money back on your card as soon as you give back the car. They also will deliver and pick up your rental car from your accommodation.

5. Eat Lion Fish

Pretty much the only fish you can eat with a totally clear conscience is lionfish. There are a few places where you can get lionfish in Cozumel. My personal favorite is the lionfish pizza at Cerveceria Punta Sur, which also happens to be a microbrewery.

6. Go Surfing

Yes, that’s right. You can go surfing in Cozumel. But you will need to head over to the other side of the island to do so. Another reason to rent a car in Cozumel. I have yet to do this, so no recommendations. But I’m planning on taking some classes soon.

7. SUP at sunset

What better way to watch the sunset than on a SUP board floating around in the blue Caribbean sea? The sea is generally calm and flat all year round and so nothing quite beats this. Living in Playa del Carmen we get sunrise, not sunset. So I’m always super keen to make the most of each and every sunset while I’m in Cozumel.

8. Do a tour on a glass boat

Scuba diving, is not your thing? Not a fan of snorkeling? Still, want to see what’s below the surface of the sea? Well, now that’s not a problem because Cozumel has a small fleet of completely clear boats! I was lucky enough to have been invited to one recently and it was incredible. And way more fun than I was expecting! You can do a short tour or a longer one to el Cielo. It’s fun to do with friends, but also perfect to do with families. I know my mom would LOVE it. Book through Vanessa and tell her I sent you for the best price. Send her a message in English or Spanish on WhatsApp.

9 Visit El Cielo

In Spanish El Cielo means heaven. When you take a tour to El Cielo Cozumel you will understand the name. It really is incredible. I have never seen water so blue and clear in my life. El Cielo is known for having an abundance of starfish so grab your snorkel gear and GoPro Dome it’s time to put your freediving skills to work. Sadly the only way to see El Cielo is on a boat tour. It is impossible to access by car (believe me I’ve tried). It’s also pretty far away so you will need at least half a day. Book through Vanessa and tell her I sent you for the best price. Send her a message in English or Spanish on WhatsApp. This can be done as a day tour from Playa del Carmen with her too,

10. Check out the Street Art

Cozumel has an abundance of cool street art. it was all commissioned a few years ago as part of a project called Sea Walls. There is a map (which is difficult to read, but not impossible) and you can easily spend several hours finding all of the pieces on it. Check out this post for more info. I made it around almost all of the pieces by bike (it’s too far to walk) but I flaked towards the end as it was too hot. Pace yourself, start early in the morning so it’s not too hot.

QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contact

I’ve been working with Turismo Channel in Playa del Carmen for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for tours, private airport transfers, and rental cars. Vanessa and Oliver are personal friends of mine and I have 100% faith that you will have a wonderful time with them.

You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes when booking online to save $$$ clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours).

You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

Food in Cozumel

As I’ve already confessed, my second favorite thing to do in Cozumel is eating. 

I’m going to share a few of my personal go-to restaurants suitable for all budgets.  For a more comprehensive full guide to restaurants in Cozumel, read this post on the ScubaTony blog.

Tips for Finding Cheap Eats

Firstly if you are on a budget and want to eat more economically stay away from any restaurant on the waterfront or close to the central plaza. Eating tacos and quesadillas like the locals is always going to save you money. You just need to know the good places.

Best Tacos in Cozumel

You will find the best tacos in Cozumel at a place called Mister Taco. It’s a bit of a way out of the main tourist area, maybe a 20-minute walk. But easy to get to if you have one. a car or scooter. 

If you want fish tacos then I believe Diegos is the place to go, although I’ve still yet to verify this myself! 

Best quesadillas in Cozumel

I love love love Chilangos. It’s cheap and the food is good. Nothing special to look at. But I have a rule that you don’t get good Mexican street food at restaurants that don’t have plastic chairs and tables haha. This one is up on the 30th too. Better if you have a bike or car.

Best budget restaurant in Cozumel

If you want cheap eats in Cozumel then Cocina Económica Las Palmas will hit the spot. It’s open from 9-6 pm, so better for lunch or an early dinner. Here you can get a set meal for less than $100 pesos (soup, main, drink). It’s good honest Mexican food.

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Best Breakfast in Cozumel

My go-to breakfast spot is Corazon Contento. I’m a sucker for the little pastries they bring to your table. The food is always good here and the coffee is refillable. Sometimes it can get pretty busy, especially on weekends.

Best Cafe in Cozumel

I love Sucre Sale it was pretty much my office when I lived in Cozumel. I went every day for breakfast, lunch, or just for coffee and delicious French treats. The wifi is ok, the staff are great, and they have plug sockets everywhere!

My favorite restaurants in Cozumel

I dream of this pasta. It’s always the first place I want to go and eat when I get to Cozumel. Everyone I recommend to go there reports back how good it was. It’s up on 30th so on the edge of the main town, more in the local’s area. They have a super nice roof terrace you can eat at or you can take away. It’s an Italian restaurant and everything is super fresh… My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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Next up is Buccanos. This is more of a treat as it’s a bit more pricy, although, considering the quality of what you get, it’s actually incredible value. You would pay triple these prices somewhere like New York City. This is another place I tell anyone who will listen to go eat and they always write back thanking me. It’s the only place I would ever pay $24 for Mac and Cheese (with lobster) and not feel one pang of guilt. Worth. Every. Penny.

Cozumel Guide

Cozumel Money Saving Tips

If you want to keep the costs down in Cozumel I have a few suggestions. Most people blow their budget here on food and transportation (and diving haha). So some easy ways to save are knowing the cheap places to eat, and not having to take taxis everywhere.

Street Eats

There aren’t so many street food carts in the main town. But if you head out a bit to mega you will find some spotted around. Eating at places like Mister Taco and Las Palmas will help though. As I’ve already mentioned, just stay away from the waterfront restaurants.

There are also 2 large supermarkets in el Centro so get a hostel with a kitchen and go shopping.

Rent a Bike, Moto, or a Car

Public transport in Cozumel is unlikely to get you to anywhere you will need to go. I use colectivos all the time in playa, but not in Cozumel. For. a full guide to transport in Cozumel, read this. In short, if you can afford it rent a car or scooter. If you can’t rent a bike, or find accommodation that comes with a bike. The price of taxis is pretty outrageous, it’s more than double what I pay in Playa for the same distance. So I avoid at all costs.

Learn Spanish

As always, learn some Spanish! It’s an instant way to save a lot of money. I took this course ran by my friends at Heart of Travel.


Cozumel Travel Guide

Cozumel Packing Advice

Cozumel is a small Caribbean island. It’s hot and humid, most of the time. Summer can be unbearably hot and winter can get pretty chilly. Cozumel also has what we call nortes, strong (cold) north winds. They often blow in and sit over the island for a day.

When packing for Cozumel I’d advise you to pack for the heat and humidity, but don’t forget to pack a rain jacket and at least one sweater, just in case!

If you are planning on diving, then bring warm things for the boat, it can get pretty chilly out there sometimes, especially during the winter.

Quick Tip: View my full Cozumel packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Cozumel Essentials shopping list here.

Where to Stay in Cozumel

I’m not going to go into lots of details about accommodation in Cozumel in this post, I already did that in this blog post.

However, I will recommend a few of my favorite places to stay in Cozumel depending on your budget. All are in great locations and have excellent options. Even Amigos hostel has a swimming pool!

Casa Phoenix 

Presidente intercontinental Cozumel

Casa del Solar 

Amigos Hostel

Two women standing next to a car on a dirt road in Cozumel, Mexico.

Map of Accommodation in Cozumel

How to Get to Cozumel (and how to get around)

I’ve written a super detailed guide on how to get to Cozumel which I’d advise you to read. But I’ll cover the basics here for you too.

Most people fly either into Cozumel airport. Or they fly into Cancun and travel by road to Playa del Carmen before taking a ferry to Cozumel… otherwise known as the bag drag.

If you are traveling by road, you first need to get to Playa del Carmen where you will need to take a ferry to the island. It is possible to take the car ferry, but it’s a pain in the backside.

Read the full post here.

Regarding getting around, I’d advise you to limit your use of taxis to save money and rent a car instead. Personally, I drive a scooter over there, but I’ve seen way too many tourists crashing there, so unless you are very confident on a scooter and know the island well, I’d advise strongly against it. 

To rent a car contact Fiesta Car Rentals (a local company).

To rent a Scooter speak to Mario, he will give you a great price and normally deliver and pick up from you. The cost is $25 USD a day and you can send him a message on WhatsApp in English or Spanish +52 9875642651

Alternatively, rent a bike!

Coworking in Cozuemel

Working online in Cozumel can be tricky. Sadly it’s nowhere near where Playa del Carmen or even Tulum is. And Tulum is pretty terrible.

So there are no functioning co-working spaces in Cozumel. And there are no cafes with good wifi. So basically your options are to get an Airbnb with good wifi, or go and suffer in a cafe! 

That said if you are just doing minimal stuff you will be fine, but if you need to take zoom calls or do lots of uploading and downloading, not so much.

The best wifi I’ve found is in Rock’n’Java, but it’s a bit too noisy for calls, and it’s not particularly cheap. I mostly worked from Sucre Sale which has ok wifi, great coffee, and they don’t mind you sitting there all day working. 

Things to do in Cozumel

Cozumel Travel Guide planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Cozumel?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Cozumel which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Cozumel on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Cozumel?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Cozumel?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a  lot of options available!

If you are traveling from Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

🤿 What is the best diving operator in Cozumel?

I strongly recommend ScubaTony on the island as they are hands down the best dive operator there!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

CozumelSafety Advice

Cozumel is pretty safe, especially when comparing it to Cancun, Playa, and Tulum.

That said, watch your stuff. Don’t go swimming leaving all your things on the shore. Be careful walking the street alone late at night. And be extra careful where you park your bike or scooter (I had my scooter stolen from outside my house one night). Also, never leave anything in your car!

The Best Time To Visit Cozumel

Wondering when the best time to visit Cozumel is? Well, the truth is that there is no bad time to visit. Obviously, the winter gets cooler, but it’s actually perfect. The daytimes are hot and it cools so you can sleep at night. The summer can be pretty intense if you aren’t used to that kind of heat!

The only months I would tell you to avoid if possible are September and October, because of the rain (and risk of hurricanes). November-December is considered high season, so prices will rise. Same for April.

In my opinion, if you are a diver, come in November. Prices are up a little, but you have a good chance of seeing spotted eagle rays.


The ultimate cozumel travel guide

What to Read in Mexico

Where would we be without the trusty Lonely Planet Mexico book?!? It really is the best all-around guide to Mexico. The only issue I ever have with these books is that often the information can be outdated, but if you want to really explore Mexico, not just the tourist trail version of Mexico then get this book on your Kindle. It’s oftern free if you have a kindle unlimited subscription.

It’s all about the food here in Mexico. Especially in Oaxaca, thought of as the culinary heart of Mexico. This Mexican cookbook is the first true introduction to Oaxacan cuisine by a native family, each dish articulates their story, from Oaxaca to the streets of Los Angeles and beyond.

The book showcases Mexican “soul food” serving up 140 authentic, yet accessible recipes using some of the purest pre-Hispanic and indigenous ingredients available. 

As much as I don’t want to perpetuate Mexico’s reputation as a county full of cartels, drugs, and danger. It can’t really be ignored, and I know many people are interested in learning more. So I’ve included Midnight in Mexico on my list of books to read. It’s a true crime book written by a Mexican-American journalist and migration lawyer. It’s about as close to the truth as you can get. Being. journalist here in Mexico is one of the most dangerous arrears you can have. But Corchado is known for never shying away from the truth reporting on government corruption, murders, and the drug cartels of Mexico. In 2007, Corchado received a tip that he could be their next target, he had twenty-four hours to find out if the threat was true…

Are you even alive if you don’t know who Frida Kahlo is? If you are a Friday fan then this is the perfect fictional accompaniment to your Mexican vacation. Especially if you will be visiting Mexico City.

Using several of Frida’s notebooks as inspiration acclaimed Mexican novelist F. G. Haghenbeck was inspired to write this touching fictional account of her life.  Through the book, you are taken on a magical ride through this imagined life of Freida 

An old, but a goodie! This one is for all of you lovers of romance novels! It’s described as:

“A novel of passion, food, and magic, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit – and recipes.”

Forbidden love, family obligations, and seduction by food… what more could you ask for in a novel!

I must confess, my friend Mexico Cassie wrote this book. That doesn’t mean it’s not a bloody brilliant guide to moving to Mexico, because it is. As someone who moved to Mexico there was so much of this book that resonated with me, even though I moved here myself, without a family. 

She goes in to great detail about the visa application process and some other notoriously tricky things like trying to buy a car or find a good school for your kids. 

If you are considering a move to Merida, or anywhere in Mexico actually this is a great read!

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