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 is, you will need to transit through Playa del Carmen.
Looking for fun things to do in Cozumel? I highly recommend scuba diving in Cozumel the second largest reef in the world, learn more here. I also wrote a full Travel Guide to Cozumel you can read here with lots of ideas of fun things to do.
Need accommodation in Cozumel?
Check out my guide to accommodation in Cozumel here, or if you don’t have time here are 3 places I personally recommend.
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.
Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GuateGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from my time living in Guatemala and they look after their customers.
If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them and they are always there to help. If you book through them you will pay a little more than if you book in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.
Did You Get Travel 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, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master
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.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. If you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre-load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
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.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for short trips.
Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about all 4 companies.
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.
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.
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.