The intention of this section is to provide interesting and useful information to the users of our website; we will try to upload one new section every month.
Cozumel, Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, is located off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula on the eastern side of Mexico, 41 miles (71 km) south of Cancun. The island is 26 miles (41 km) long from north to south and 9 miles (14 km) wide. With a population a little over 75,000, Cozumel now welcomes almost 4 million visitors every year and is considered one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico.
Cozumel has an international airport with many direct scheduled flights from cities in the USA, Mexico City, Cancun and Cuba. Many charter airlines also fly to Cozumel. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Cancun airport and make the connection to Cozumel by bus and ferry. The journey takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on wait times (55 min by bus to Playa del Carmen and another 45 min by ferry to Cozumel). The cheapest bus operator from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen is ADO. Tickets can be purchased in the main airport terminal and the buses are clean and efficient. There are two ferry operators but there is little difference in service or prices between the two. It’s best to simply take whichever one is leaving next. Cruise ship tourism is also big in Cozumel. Many ships stop over for a day in Cozumel on Caribbean cruises to or from Florida and Texas.
Cozumel is perfect for simply relaxing on the beach in one of the many beach resorts on the west side of the island or the more deserted beaches on the east side (but beware of dangerous currents when swimming on the east side). The strong tourist industry means you are spoiled with numerous choices of shops, bars and restaurants where you can find many bargains and avoid paying tax on luxury items. Water sports are very popular in Cozumel, with scuba diving on the island’s beautiful coral reefs being the most practiced. There are many excursions in Cozumel like sport fishing, sailing, snorkeling, surfing and cycling around the island. The island is also host to a Nicklaus designed golf course.
Absolutely. Cozumel is a great holiday destination for the whole family. Most hotels offer children’s’ activities and the majority of the restaurants and bars are also “kid-friendly”.
The first Mayans settled in Cozumel from 300 AD and the name Cozumel comes from the Mayan word Cuzamil, which means “land of the swallows”. The Mayans believed Cozumel to be home of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and the moon. For this reason many Mayans sailed to Cozumel on pilgrimages. In the 16th century the Spanish arrived to Cozumel, bringing with them violence and diseases and by the end of the century the island’s population dwindled to only a few hundred. The island remained mostly deserted until the 17th century when it became a popular base for pirates, including the famous Henry Morgan. In the late 19th century the island became settled again and grew into an important hub for distributing chicle (natural chewing gum) from the mainland. With the improvement of road transportation this business slowed in the first half of the 20th century and tourism began to develop later, mainly driven by an increased awareness of beauty of the island and its reefs with a Jacques Cousteau television documentary in the 1960s. Since then tourism has grown and is now the prevalent industry in Cozumel.
Cozumel has numerous hotels, ranging from luxurious all-inclusive beach resorts to cheap and cheerful bed and breakfast style establishments. Almost all are in San Miguel – the island’s main town – or on the coast to the north and south. Many foreigners also own or rent holiday properties in Cozumel, where again the range is vast.
Public transport in Cozumel is almost non-existent, so you will need to rent a moped - or perhaps safer, a car - to get around the island. Alternatively you can get around by taxi or bicycle. There are many vehicle rental agencies on the island including some big international names. If you shop around you can get a good deal.
Not usually. Most North Americans and Europeans can enter Mexico with a tourist card – valid for up to 6 months - which you get by simply filling out a form on the airplane or upon arrival at the airport. However, rules can change, so check with your local Mexican embassy or consulate if you are not sure, if you are visiting for more than six months or for purposes other than vacation.
Mexican pesos and US dollars (bills, not usually coins) are accepted in Cozumel. You may get a better deal paying in pesos since you won’t lose money on the exchange rate. Major credit cards and travelers’ checks are also widely accepted and most cards will also work in Mexican ATMs. Tipping in either currency is common practice in Cozumel.
Cozumel has a subtropical climate with an average temperature around 27°C - 80°F. Because Cozumel is surrounded by water the climate is always humid often around 90%, but there is often a breeze to cool things off. All year round there are sunny days and warm water. Rainfall is rare apart from during the rainy season (September- November) when showers can be frequent but not disruptive.
Spanish is the official language of Mexico and is spoken everywhere in Cozumel. However, due to tourism, English is also widely spoken in Cozumel and non-Spanish speakers should have no problem getting by. You may also hear some locals speaking Maya, the ancient native language of the region.
A new Southeastern Time Zone was created for the state of Quintana Roo, including Cozumel, on Feb. 1, 2015. Southeastern Time is equivalent to Eastern Standard Time year-round and does not use Daylight Saving Time. During winter months, the state is one hour ahead of Central Standard Time, which applies to most of Mexico, including Mexico City. When the rest of Mexico changes to Daylight Saving Time (April 25 to Oct. 25, 2015; April 3 to Oct. 30, 2016) Quintana Roo's local time is the same as central Mexico.
Crime is low in Cozumel due to it being an island community dependent on tourism. As with anywhere with large groups of tourists it is always wise to keep money and valuables safe from pickpockets and petty thieves, but violent crime is extremely rare. Some biting insects such as mosquitoes and sand fleas can be an annoyance, but they do not carry diseases such as malaria. They can easily be avoided by using repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk and by using air conditioning, fans or insect nets to sleep.
Plan your activities ahead of time. Many tours and excursions have limited availability and waiting until the last minute to make arrangements can cause unpleasant experiences.
When looking for lodging, think about what activities you will be doing. Depending on that you will be able to choose between the different types of hotels, vacation rentals and other accommodations.
Print the maps and get familiar with the area. Cozumel is a very easy place to drive and get around so you shouldn’t have any problems in doing so.
Scooters are dangerous! It is better to spend a little bit of extra money and rent a car with all the comfort and security they offer. Remember that many times accidents may not be your fault, but caused by other careless drivers. Don't ruin your vacation, you are here to enjoy yourself.
If renting a car, PLEASE make sure to read and understand the driving rules in Mexico, Believe us, it is very simple.
Cozumel is in the Caribbean, and most likely it will be a lot warmer than where you are right now. But be sure to bring a sweater, you never know what mother nature will do!
Make sure you bring a picture ID, passport and all the necessary papers for your trip.
If you make your reservations through us, you will receive your confirmation number by email. PRINT that and bring it with you.
A TABOO in Mexico is "Don't drink the water"! Not true. All places sell bottles of water and use purified water in the preparation of food and ice. Even if they are not "Evian" brand, they are ok. Remember that your stomach is not used to our food, but that does not mean that our food is bad, you just have to let your stomach get just to it.
IMPORTANT. Cozumel is an island and it is a very safe place for you and your family. We could probably say we don't have crime, so enjoy yourself and don't worry. Cozumel is a very safe place to visit.
If you come on a cruise, make sure you write down the local phone number of the "Agencia Consignataria". This is the agency that deals with cruise ships and takes care of problems with any passenger while in Cozumel. You can get their number onboard your ship.
Also if you come on a cruise, remember that many times “ship time” is different than local Mexican time, beware.
We hope this helps you plan your trip and you have a great time in Mexico. If you think we forgot to mention something, please let us know by sending us an email to: [email protected]