Cozumel is a small island that really packs a punch just off the coast of mainland Mexico 40 minutes on a ferry from Playa del Carmen. The island is best known for its epic Scuba Diving, which is what brings most people on to the island. In this post, I’m going to share with you my local knowledge of Cozumel so you can make the most of your time there both above and below the water. Here are 14 of the best things to do in Cozumel.
It really is the best thing to do on the island bar none. If you aren’t already a certified diver never fear, Cozumel is a great place to learn. You can either do a Discover Scuba Dive where you have a bit of instruction and then go out on a dive, or you can do your Open Water Certification during your trip.
You can’t go wrong with visiting any of the dive sites in Cozumel as most of them are teeming with marine life. The water is always warm year-round, and the drift diving makes it a bit more fun. On a typical dive in Cozumel, you can expect to see nurse sharks, turtles, green moray eels, and plenty of bright and colorful tropical fish.
I personally always go diving in Cozumel with ScubaTony as they really are the best company on the island, just check TripAdvisor if you don’t believe me. Before you go scuba diving in Mexico, make sure you have travel insurance. We use and recommend SafetyWing, which covers diving and only costs $37 for 4 weeks. Click here to check it out and sign up.
Take a lap around the Island
To do this you are going to want to rent a car. I did this with another blogger friend Roaming Nanny and we had a lot of fun! If you want to have the full Cozumel experience then rent an old VW bug (cost is around $35 USD for the day including insurance), and be sure to stop off for a quick photoshoot.
There isn’t so much to see over the other side of the island but there are a few cool places to stop on the way like the Mayan Ruins, some nice beach clubs, and of course Punta Sur.
Visit the Mayan ruins
It’s no Chichen Itza or Coba, but the small Mayan Ruin site of San Gervasio is a fun way to spend a few hours. Be sure to go early though, as if you get there after 10 am you are likely to be joined by huge crowds of tourists on day trips from the cruise ships.
Relax at a beach club
What better way to spend a day on a Caribbean Island than relaxing at a beach club? I have two that I frequent depending on my mood. If I want a sandy beach, swimming pool, and access to swim in the sea then I head to Buccanos.
They have a cover that is less than 200 pesos (which you get as a credit to spend there) and you can stay there daily until 5 pm. If I just want a place to sunbathe, listen to live music and access to the water via a pontoon then it’s the Money Bar all the way. Whichever you choose, chilling at a beach club should be on your list of things to do in Cozumel.
Drink some locally made beer
Yes that’s right – Cozumel has its own microbrewery, and the beer is pretty darn good if you ask me! So if you are an ale connoisseur, or just fancy a pint in a cool location then make your way to Cerveceria Punta Sur. They also have a wood fire pizza oven which makes the best pizza on the island, I highly recommend the Lionfish pizza.
Fill up on Mexican chocolate
Chocolateria Isla Bella is a pure delight. All of the chocolate is hand made right there in their shop and they always have plenty of samples for you to try. You can buy gifts to take home, or just do what I do and buy one single chocolate every time I walk past. I don’t trust myself to buy more as I don’t think I could resist eating them all at once!
Go hunting for pearls
This isn’t just a fun thing to do on the island, it’s also really interesting and will help towards the sustainability of pearl farming. In fact, they are the only pearl farm in the world that are cultivating pearls with this particular species of oyster making their pearls unique.
As well as being able to buy sustainable pearls here, you can find out exactly what goes into making each one. This is an activity best kept for a rainy day, or if it’s too hot to sit on the beach! Definitely add the Cozumel Pearl Farm to your list of things to do in Cozumel!
Taste the best tacos on the Island
When I first moved to Cozumel everyone told me I needed to visit Mr. Taco because they had the best tacos al pastor on the Island. Advice like this I always take with a pinch of salt, but oh wow! I can confirm, Mr. Taco have THE BEST tacos in Cozumel. It’s a little way away from the downtown area, but worth the distance. It’s cheap too, so even if you get a taxi there and back it will still be half the cost of eating in one of the restaurants in the center.
Go Salsa dancing
Every Saturday evening from 12 am in La Casa del Habano Cozumel (the upstairs bar opposite the ferry), there is a wonderful Cuban band that plays until the wee hours of the morning while locals show off their salsa dancing skills.
Take a yoga class
Need to stretch your body after all of that traveling and sleeping in lumpy hostel beds? Then get yourself to one of Cozumel’s Yoga studios. The two that I always go to now have a joint pass so you can go to either one for a small fee. Both accept payment by donation, so even if you are a little short on cash you can just pay what you can afford.
Treat yourself to a spa day
This one won’t be everyone’s cup-of-tea, but it’s something I love to do in Cozumel, mostly because it’s just so darn cheap! If you want to go and have an incredible facial, or a little non-surgical help with any other body issues you may have, then go and seen the ladies at Lalik. Don’t think my face has ever looked so good as it did after my last visit.
Or if it’s a massage you are after, then Erika is the only person on the island I would recommend. I once went to one of the places in downtown and it was the longest hour of my life. I couldn’t wait for it to be over! Erika at Cozumel Wellness Spa is more expensive, but you get what you pay for!
Visit El Cielo
El Cielo means the sky, or heaven, in Spanish. When you visit here and see it for yourself you will understand why. It really is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world. I have never in my life seen water like it!
As well as having water the color of the sky, you will find an abundance of starfish here in the shallow water, just adding to its heavenly atmosphere. Make sure you bring your snorkel and mask with you to fully enjoy this natural phenomenon. But please remember not to touch the starfish, ever.
This is not somewhere you can visit without a tour guide sadly as you can only access from the sea, but you won’t have any issues finding a guide to bring you here.
Enjoy some French delicacies
One of my favorite hangouts on the island is Sucré Salé – a cute French cafe just off the main square in the downtown area. As well as having the most delightful cakes and great coffee, it is well set up for anyone needing a temporary office for the day. When I’m not working from home this is where you will find me typing away. Each of the tables along the back has its own plug socket and the wifi is pretty good (by island standards).
Take a surf lesson
Yes, that’s right, there is surf in the Riviera Maya. Okay so it may not be the best surf in the world, but it’s actually not a bad place to try out surfing because the waves are so small. There are several small surf schools on the other side of the island to choose from. It’s worth just messaging ahead first though to check there are some waves.
And that’s a wrap! One thing’s for sure – there are always plenty of things to do in Cozumel!
Where to Stay in Cozumel
There are plenty of places to stay in Cozumel to satisfy all budgets. From backpacker hostels, to quaint guest houses, to luxury hotels, this small island really has it all when it comes to accommodation.
We always use Booking.com to seek out a good deal.
If you can’t find anything that interests you on Booking, head over to Airbnb. There are lots of good-looking spots on there for Cozumel. You can even find an entire house for rent with a pool if you’ve got a group. If you’re not on Airbnb yet, follow our link to sign up and get 15% off your first booking up to a whopping $400!
Author Bio: Claire Summers is a dedicated traveler and Digital Nomad. At 34 she sold all her worldly possessions that wouldn’t fit into 3 boxes and hopped on a one-way flight to Guatemala.
She started writing her blog Claire’s Itchy Feet as a way to inspire other women to pack their bags and head off on their own solo adventures. With no plans to ‘settle down’ anytime soon she is always looking for her next crazy adventure be it attempting to surf, hiking volcanos, or hunting for sharks.