So, you want to visit Cozumel in Mexico, good choice. It’s no secret that I love visiting the Island as there are so many fun things to do in Cozumel, especially to go scuba diving. But Cozumel is an island and getting there can put people off visiting, especially if you need to get from Cancun to Cozumel. In this post, I’ve going to go through all of the ways you can get to Cozumel from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, as those are the most common starting points.
The main hong to know when figuring out how to get to Cozumel is that unless you fly into Cozumel airport then you will have to get the ferry to Cozumel. There is no Cancun – Cozumel ferry only a Playa del Carmen – Cozumel ferry so wherever your starting point, you will need to transit through Playa del Carmen.
How to get to Cozumel from Cancun airport
The best way to get from Cancun to Cozumel is really going to depend on your budget and how much of a rush you are in! If possible it’s worth checking if you can fly direct into Cozumel airport and skip Cancun altogether. Even if it’s $100 extra, it’s probably worth it with the time you will spend traveling and the cost of that travel.
You can fly from Cancun Airport to Cozumel, but many of the companies only operate during peak season and you will probably need to book a private plane to make this journey. Expect to pay at least $500 USD for the plane.
If you can’t fly directly to Cozumel and renting a private plane to get you there is out of your budget, then you are going to have to go by land and sea. There are several different ways of doing this depending on your budget and comfort level. As I already mentioned you will first need to get to Playa del Carmen and then from there take the ferry to Cozumel. If you want to avoid all fuss then book a private transfer and ferry service like this one.
Option 1 – Fly from Cancun Airport To Cozumel
If you have the budget, this really is the way to go! Especially right now when the ferries are still chaotic because of the pandemic. Chartering a plane is easy via Fly Cozumel and you can fly direct from Cancun Airport to Cozumel airport with them. No ‘bag drag’, no crazy ferry lines, no fuss. To get a quote for a private plane to Cozumel (or from Cozumel to Cancun airport) click here.
Option 2 – Taxi and Ferry
I personally would not take a taxi from Cancun airport as they are way overpriced and as a tourist, especially if you speak no Spanish you are going to get ripped off. Even if you agree on the price before you get in the taxi they will often demand large tips from you, so I’d just avoid them unless you have no choice.
If you do take a taxi do not pay more than $1500 pesos and ask them to take you to the Cozumel Ferry. They can’t drop you right there, but they can get you a short walk away. If you have a lot of bags there are guys on bikes that can help with your luggage for a fee.
Option 3 – Private Transfer and Ferry
If you want to be as comfortable as possible then this is the option to choose. You can book a private transfer to Playa del Carmen with Cancun Airport Transportation for as little as $50 USD. They will be there waiting for you at the airport, normally with a cold wet towel so you can freshen up! If you are a solo traveler this probably isn’t the best option for you, but if you are in a group then this is going to be a good choice to get you from Cancun to Cozumel. You can also use a private transfer service like this one which includes your ferry transfer too.
Option 4 – ADO Bus and Ferry
If you are on a budget and don’t want to pay for a minibus all to yourself then the ADO bus is going to be the best way to get from Cancun to Cozumel for you. From Cancun airport head to one of the ADO bus stations and book a ticket to Playa del Carmen. It will cost around $10-15 USD but you will need to pay in cash, so make sure you have some pesos on you (there are ATMs in the airport). The buses run regularly and are airconditioned. The ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen is very close to the ferry to Cozumel so your walk will be about as far as if you get a taxi or a private transfer.
Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry
From Playa del Carmen you will need to take the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry. There are 2 companies operating this route and they both charge the same price and depart at the same time (bonkers I know) which is on the hour every hour, there are some exceptions in the morning and at night, but this is the general rule.
As soon as you get out of the taxi, mini ban, or bus you will have people shouting at you trying to sell you tickets to Cozumel. Personally, I always walk past them and buy from the office closer to the ferry.
This is because I prefer to pay on a card and 9 times out of 10 when I’ve bought from the small booths either the card machine isn’t working, or it’s so slow I’ve missed the ferry (true story). Anyway, it doesn’t matter so much, they all charge the same. I normally use Ultramar as I prefer their boats, but there isn’t much difference between the 2.
You can book a one-way ticket or a return, there isn’t much of a discount for booking a return. The cost of the Cozumel ferry for tourists is around $400 pesos for a round trip. You can pay a little extra for a first classed ticket, but I never do.
Once you have your ticket it’s time to go inside and get in line. As both ferries go at the same time it often gets crowded. Just look out for the line of the company you booked. You will all enter together and have to go through security before being able to go on the ferry.
Some notes about the ferry to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen:
- You can take your bike on the ferry no problem for no extra charge, you will be directed to a different entrance on the ground floor so you don’t have to try and get up the escalator with your bike!
- It’s the same if you have a lot of luggage or in a wheelchair. You just go under the escalator and enter from there.
- Personally, I always sit indoors in the ac rather than outside, but that’s probably because I’m not a tourist and it’s not so exciting for me anymore.
People selling you stuff
On both sides of the ferry, you are going to have a lot of people trying to sell you stuff. Do yourself a favor and just walk right past them. You will never get a good deal on things to do in Cozumel in Playa, and you will never get the best deals as you are leaving the Cozumel ferry terminal. Just hold on and wait until you get to your Cozumel accommodations and ask them for the companies they recommend. It’s always better to go off recommendations than trusting the salespeople at the ferry terminals who will tell you anything just to close the sale! You can find all of the Cozumel tour companies I recommend here.
I highly recommend renting a car in Cozumel as it really is the best and safest way of seeing the island. Do not be tempted to rent from any of the companies at the ferry though, instead book ahead of time with a reputable local company. I always use Fiesta Rentals, they are the most honest and reliable company on the island. They will drop you off and pick you up at your accommodation so you don’t need to stress about having to go to them and their prices are very reasonable.
How to get from Cozumel to Tulum
Getting from Tulum to Cozumel is pretty similar to getting from Cancun to Cozumel. You can even book a private plane to fly you there, or you need to get to Playa del Carmen and then take the ferry to Cozumel from Playa.
I wrote a whole post on getting from Playa to Tulum if you want an in-depth guide. But in brief, you can take a taxi, book a transfer, hop on a colectivo, or take the ADO bus. The cheapest option is a colectivo which will drop you pretty close to the ferry on Calle 4. But it’s not the most comfortable. You can also book a deal with Ultramar with transfers from Tulum included.
Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry prices
The cost of a round trip is normally $500 pesos (around $25 USD), but if you book online it is actually more expensive! If you are local then you can get a very good discount, so be sure to show your local ID card.
Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry timetable
For the latest ferry time to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen click on the links to the ferry companies’ websites. In general, though the ferries leave on the hour every hour at least from 9 am until 9 pm.
Ferries run from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen from 8 am until 8 pm.
Car Ferry to Cozumel
There is a car ferry that will get you from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. There are two companies that operate this route, Ultramar and Transcribe. They both leave from the Port of Calica on the south side of Playa del Carmen (close to Xcaret). They arrive into Muelle in Cozumel.
For the Cozumel car ferry timetables click the links below:
Ultramar car ferry timetable
Transportation in Cozumel
Need to rent a car in Cozumel or wondering how best to get around the island? Then take a read of this post on the ScubaTony Blog.
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.