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Plan Your Cozumel Holiday: Best of Cozumel

About Cozumel
Cozumel is a dream destination for divers, with underwater marvels such as the Palancar and Columbia coral reefs. While much of the action on this small island off the Yucatán Peninsula takes place in or near the water—especially the round-the-clock parties at the many beach clubs—there are plenty of worthwhile experiences to have away from the coastline (and cruise ships.). At 29 miles long and 9 miles wide, it’s easy to see the entire island in one trip. The city centre of San Miguel offers excellent dining, as well as activities like food tours and cooking classes to join. Farther afield, take a day trip to explore ancient Mayan ruins or beautiful Passion Island. Want to see it all? Check out our recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Cozumel

How to do Cozumel in 1 day

Glitzy beach clubs, Mayan temples, and beautiful barrier reefs
Read on

A guide to LGBTQ Cozumel

In Cozumel, you’ll spot just about every colour of the rainbow when you dip below the surface to explore the Great Mayan Reef. Back on dry land, things are getting just as colourful. Most notably, this warm and welcoming island recently saw the opening of its first gay bar. As a repeat visitor of Cozumel, these are my top spots for LGBTQ travellers.
  • Pose Bar Drinks & Tapas
    1
    Cozumel has been a destination for LGBTQ travellers for years, so it’s surprising it took so long for the island to get its first gay establishment. It was definitely worth the wait. In a former dive bar, Pose opened in 2023. The tapas are locally sourced and the drinks are potent, making this place great for dinner and a show. Weekly events include drag shows, karaoke nights, and even a Cozumel’s Got Talent competition.
  • Buccanos at Night
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    Same-sex couples are definitely part of the mix at Buccanos at Night, one of my favourite spots to enjoy the sunset. While the ocean views command your attention, the main draw is the freshly caught seafood. Can’t-miss items include the grilled octopus, tuna tartare, and miso butter lobster. Don’t pass up the chance to indulge in the caramel apple cobbler with house-made cinnamon ice cream—it’s dessert heaven.
  • The Westin Cozumel
    1,173
    While Cozumel doesn't have any gay resorts just yet, there are plenty of hotels and guesthouses where LGBTQ travellers will feel right at home. The beachfront Westin Cozumel is an excellent option, whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway or a group of friends in search of a party. The rooms here are sleek and spacious, and the palm-lined rooftop pool is my favourite on the island.
  • New Especias Restaurante
    727
    Great Mexican fare is everywhere in Cozumel, but if you’re looking to change things up head to the island’s best Italian restaurant. This elegant eatery is rightly famous for its lionfish, served in several different ways—the night we were there, it played a starring role in the gnocchi. Don’t miss the bacon-wrapped shrimp. The bar’s impressive wine list features Mexican and Italian wines (their house red does the trick). Guitarists keep the atmosphere lively.
  • Starfish, Stingrays and the Turtle Bay Experience by Catamaran
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    You’re not getting the full Cozumel experience until you explore its crystal-clear waters. Run by Cozumel Tours and Excursions, this catamaran tour takes you to great dive spots in the reefs surrounding the island. The team provides snorkelling gear so you can swim through shallow areas with patches of vibrant coral. Expect a few close encounters with stingrays, starfish, and sea turtles.
  • Mr Sanchos Beach Club Cozumel
    9,074
    With a relaxed vibe, Mr. Sanchos Beach Club draws an incredibly diverse crowd. Kick back and enjoy island life with unlimited drinks and all-you-can-eat food that’s fresh and hits the spot. Also included are kayaks, snorkelling equipment, and other gear for exploring the coast. You’ll find capacity swells when cruise ships are in port, but this expansive property never feels too crowded.

Browse collections

Dive into underwater views

Get up close and personal with tropical fish and coral reefs

Paradise found

Clubs that make a beach day even better

All about the Maya

Ancient ruins and history with local guides

See the island’s wild side

Adventures, tours, and eco parks

Feeling fancy-ish

Luxe experiences worth every peso

Cozumel Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Cozumel

crazymike

If your cruise ship stops in Cozumel leave all the crowded shopping stuff behind. Rent a car (a Jeep is ever better) and drive around to the eastern shore.

macbear

If you must plan...plan to do nothing... and then start from there.

carden

Climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse for the spectacular view.

Rileygolden

Cozumel is an accessible tropical destination with a variety of lodging choices, above-average coral reef systems, clear, warm water (season dependent), plentiful and delicious restaurants for most budgets.

Cozlover2002

Friendly people, beautiful blue water, and great food. Such a laid back, relaxing atmosphere that we return home sad but rejuvenated.

lakeeriebeachbums

A small, intimate island with a huge heart.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

The Cozumel International Airport is the only airport serving the island. Hotel shuttles are available.

ferry

Visitors can make their way to Cozumel via one of two ferries. Both depart the city of Playa del Carmen on the mainland of Mexico. Mexico WaterJets departs four times per day and UltraMar departs almost every hour from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting Mexico from overseas, check with the government’s Visa website.

When is the best time to visit?

Spring and Summer: Cozumel is gorgeous all year long, however, travelers should try to visit between the months of March to June. The temperatures during these months hovers at 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celcius) making it a great time to get in some warm sun.

Get around

bus

There is a city bus that runs several routes around downtown. The bus costs 8 pesos and begins and ends at Chedraui Plaza.

taxis and rideshare

Both taxis and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are readily available.

driving

Rental cars are available, however, visitors may want to consider renting a moped. The streets tend to get crowded and parking can be tough, but the two-wheeled vehicle can make that much easier.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Eastern Standard Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in Mexico is 127 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plug has two flat parallel pins.

What is the currency?

The Mexican peso.

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Bartender

$1 (about 24 pesos) a drink or $2 for a more labor-intensive cocktail

Restaurant

15-20%

Bellman

$1 to 3 per bag

Housekeeper

$2 (about 50 pesos) - $3 per night

Taxis/rideshare

15-20%

Shuttle driver

$1(about 24 pesos) - $2 per person

Tour guide

10-20%

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The minimum legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old.

Walking

Walk to the right of the sidewalk and step off to the side of the sidewalk if you want to stop to check your phone, look up directions, or want to take in a view.

Public transport

Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat and stand to offer seating to pregnant women or someone with a disability.

Try to speak the language

Learn a few basic phrases as a sign of respect. Locals will often switch to English for your ease and comfort but they appreciate the effort.