Cozumel in the east von Yucatan, Mexico right in front of Playa del Carmen– a diver’s paradise and a very popular destination for cruise tours. What is here to see? We stayed in Cozumel for two entire weeks, and have (almost) seen everything. The daily show at the cruise port has certain regularities and characteristics.
Cozumel – How to Reach by Ferry and Else
From the mainland you reach Cozumel by Ferry. There are several ferry companies: the two well-established ones are Mexiko Water Jets and Ultramar. The latest addition is called Barcos Caribe. A single trip is 6 to 8 Euro; there is no reason to book tickets in advance or by a roundtrip right away. I would even advice against it. Some of the companies only offer trips every other hour. But there is always a ferry from another company in between. The best way to do this is to go to the ferry port, find out which ferry is the next to leave and buy a ticket for that one. There is always one ticket counter open, the one has the next tour.
The ferry takes 30 to 45 minutes to Cozumel. Usually, this was pretty smooth. On a few days, the sea was rough and the ride gets bumpy. On these days, there was a band on board playing music; the band was not there any other time.
By ferry, you reach San Miguel de Cozumel, capital and center of the island.
Cozumel also has an airport which can be found north of the capital. This is a good way to reach the island directly. Some American airlines have non-stop flight to Cozumel.
Another way to reach Cozumel is on a cruise ship. A bit south of the regular ferry port, Cozumel has a cruise port. In particular in winter, many big cruise ships stop here. Some of them come early in the morning at around 6, other later in the middle of the day. Most of them leave early, at around 4 to 5 pm.
How These Cruise Ships Affect Cozumel’s Daily Life
These cruise ships stay at their own port. Sometimes only one ship sometimes five or even seven. That’s always different and people from Cozumel can always tell you about that. Cozumel has a new shopping mall right at the cruise port, here you find the Hard Rock Café. Most products are made for one-day-visitors: jewelry, tequila, hot sauces and restaurants. This place is quite nice but not one of the island’s highlights.
The cruise ships appear on the horizon in the mornings, the closer they get, the more obvious their sheer size becomes. They look more like a skyscraper. I was surprise to see that many people indeed don’t get off the ship. Of course, that can always change. Some of these ships have as much as 5000 to 7000 passengers: several times really only a few of them left the ship and came to the island. I really wasn’t expecting this.
In the mornings, the cruise guests are not around, most of the time they come between 10 and 11 and usually only till 3 or 4 pm. Of course, there are busy days with 5 to 6 ships around. Anyways, most cruise guests don’t make it far on the island. Standard would be the cruise port, town of San Miguel (9 km north) and the Chakanaab Park.
San Miguel de Cozumel
When you go to Cozumel by ferry, the first thing you see is San Miguel de Cozumel. The promenade at the coast is quite fancy, many stores and restaurants, all of them made for tourists.
If you have a Cozumel hotel, you are most likely somewhere in this area (a bit further north or south of the town, along to coast road). When you go a bit intown, off the coastline, the town’s appearance changes drastically: It’s less clean; things are less polished and less shiny, no more fancy roads and stores. But, in the end, this off-the-main routes area is more real, authentic less artificial. But there isn’t much to see or do.
Along the Coast Road Quintana Roo C1 in the Island’s West: Cruise Port and Going to Chakanaab on the Small Road
At the ferry port, go south. You can see several stores and restaurants; this is the tourist center of the island.
The first interesting spot is the cruise port (mentioned above). On this 4 km route, the town barely ends, apart from restaurants and shops there are mostly diver stores and stores that sell day tours for divers, snorkelers and everything else about the ocean.
Until you reach the cruise port, you need to share the road with cars, residents and regular traffic. At the cruise port, the main road goes a bit inland. There is a smaller road for scooter and cyclists right at the coast, here you can drive easily even if you feel a bit unsure about your scooter and you don’t disturb all the other traffic.
Next interesting stop is the Chakanaab Beach Adventure Park (10 km from the ferry port, 20 km or 15 min from the cruise port). This is a little adventure park. The route is very easy you can go by scooter or take a cab. These 10 km are always busy; it’s the main tourist route of the island.
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