Welcome to the beautiful island of Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico!
Our last day in Mexico we decided to spend it on the paradise island Cozumel! Early in the morning we went to Playa del Carmen and took the ferry to Cozumel, Mexico‘s largest island nestled just 12 miles off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen and close to the Yucatán Channel.
With their new fast boats, regular schedules and convenient service, we disembark at Punta Langosta Pier in 30 minutes. You can buy your tickets right before you depart like we did, or they can be bought in advance. Space on the boats is ample so you do not have to worry about availability. The approximate cost for a round-trip Playa del Carmen – Cozumel – Playa del Carmen is about $16 per person. During the ride you will be able to watch TV ads of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, which contain useful information on both places, and in most boats you can also sit outside and enjoy the scenery.
But watch that last ferry! We ran a little to catch our ferry back to Playa del Carmen! If you get late to the pier you will be spending the night in Cozumel and there may or may not be rooms available, depending on the season.
Exploring Cozumel is so easy! After we got off from the ferry we were right in the downtown of the island! Taxis are all around the island and bring you anywhere u want, because Cozumel is very small. It is advisable to ask the driver how much he or she is going to charge you before boarding the cab.
But we wanted to tour the island and knew that we can easily drive all of the Cozumel roads in less than an hour. So we decided to rent for all day long a Jeep Red Safari. It was the first time we ride this and we were so excited! I definitely recommend you to rent one of this because it’s very cheap (70$ for a day) – we even rented without having the identity and credit cards on us – and is the best way to tour the island, especially if u don’t want to stay in one place for long.
Cozumel measures 28 miles long & 10 miles wide,and is world renown for it’s dazzling white sandy beaches and the remarkable clarity of the azure Caribbean ocean in which it rests. The climate is subtropical & the people native to Cozumel are of Mayan descent. The Maya were a great culture of farmers, fisherman & warriors who ruled from Campeche to Guatamala for over 2000 years before the arrival of the Spanish Explorers in the 15th Century. They were quite an advanced civilization and the legacy of their culture survives in the vestiges of the huge cities that they built during their reign. One of the lesser known, but very interesting sites is here on the island and is called San Gervacio. Now a park with a restoration project to study the Mayan culture, this was once a sacred site where Mayan women journeyed to worship the Goddess Ixchel, Goddess of fertility.
Traffic from north to south across the island has the right of way, so it doesn’t stop. Traffic from east to west will have to stop at every intersection until the north-south traffic has passed. You’ll pick that up right away. There is one road you’ll want to remember. It runs to the south end of the island, along the east coast, and back through the center into downtown.
Easy, right? So really, there’s nothing keeping you from every square inch of adventure on Cozumel.
Cozumel it seems to me very safe place but also very poor and desolating. You can go everywhere at anytime. There are no areas in town that tourists cannot venture to; however, it is good common sense to stay near tourist zones. Going east from the Pemex gas station where we fulled up with gas, on Ave. Benito Juarez will take you to the other side. The road leading to the other side is about 8 miles. When you finally get to the ocean, there is a cute little beach-side bar that serves some good munchies like ceviche, guacamole, nachos, and cold beer. There are gift shops selling Mexican blankets, shells, and souvenirs. The road to north is not easily drivable except for the first mile or so. We don’t recommend you take a rental vehicle up this road. It is strictly prohibited by your car-rental contract. That 15-mile long dirt road to north leads to the Punta Molas Lighthouse and to “El Castillo” – Cozumel‘s highest Mayan structure perched beside the turquoise shore. There is no access allowed to this ruin. If u want to visit anyway the hidden treasures of Cozumel‘s northeast there are a few tours available.
The paved road leads you south along the ocean-front on the east side of the island, makes a loop along the south side, then heads north along the west side, leading you back to the heart of downtown San Miguel.
Going South we discovered that East Coast is unique – mile after mile of lonely beaches with just a few small restaurants scattered here and there. You can take your time and go from one beach to another and one restaurant to the next, like we did! We simply pull over and park our jeep and walked a few steps to every beach. If you like to walk on the beach, search for seashells, or just lay in the sand, you will find the east side awesome! But keep in mind that the surge is usually stronger on the east coast, so be very careful when entering the sea.
I felt it when we stopped at Punta Morena Beach where it used to be a rustic palapa beach bar and restaurant. The buildings were ruined in Hurricane Wilma, Oct. 2005. There used to be cute bungalows and a delicious restaurant. Coconut’s beach used to be the center for the turtle hatchery too. A great restaurant bar above the only ‘cliff’ on this side of the island, with a fantastic view and good food.
We heard that Cozumel beaches are breathtaking, so we wanted to find the most beautiful one with clean soft white sand and clear turquoise Caribbean water with gentle surf. These beaches change constantly, with time, with storms, by people. Some of them are full service beach clubs with pools, showers and a wide range of services for their guests; others are just simple restaurants on the beach, that have taxicabs waiting all the time outside.
One of the most beautiful beach we found on the East Coast was Chen Rio. Another one of Cozumel‘s picture perfect half-moon shaped beaches that seems to stretch on forever with sand so soft you sink ankle deep with no effort as you comb the beach for treasures.
At the northerly end of this beach area (in front of the restaurant) there are tall iron shore rocks providing a long wave break which makes a very protected sandy bay. This calm water area runs 4-5 feet deep and is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and exploring the small rock island sitting just out from shore. The safe swimming areas are marked with buoys and typically there is a lifeguard in the tower but swimming is at your own risk just as with other Cozumel beaches.
We left Chen Rio with a regret that we couldn’t stay longer and we found Mirador beach that was blown away also, in October 2005 in Hurricane Wilma. The reggae music plays in the background of the nice cozy laid back little bar with snacks and cold drinks. There are hammocks on the beach side for a nice siesta. Watch out for the undertow here, too!
After passing down a lengthy entrance road the jungle we reached to a lovely beach area that was recently opened to the public –Alberto’s Beach Bar where i drink my first mexican margarita!
You say you do not like crowded beaches?
There is no such thing in Cozumel! Is among the very few destinations where u can comfortably choose one of the deserted beaches just for you and your family. It’s not surprising that is one of the top destinations for Honeymooners.
We were the only clients here at Alberto’s! For me it was very strange because I was used with the crowded beaches from Playa del Carmen! Anyway margarita was delicious!
As we head south, along the beachfront road, we found many others beach-clubs like Carlos’n Charlie’s – the newest beach on the island that has an abundance of pristine white crystal sand and tall coconut palm trees swaying in the breeze to go perfectly with its amazingly turquoise waters.
After we explored every beach we decided to choose one of Cozumel‘s hotels beach – Paradise Beach is Cozumel’s best beach for having fun in the sun or taking a break in the shade! We took advantage that we could walk through any lobby and go straight to the beach. There was a restaurant also that serves wonderful whole fried red snapper, a pier, kayaking, jet-ski rental and lots of fun activities.
Free internet, changing area, showers, bathrooms and a couple of new shops as well! All over looking their magnificent beach where the crystal clear turquoise waters rival that of the blue tiled pool. This is all in addition to what everyone has always known and loved – the beach.
CCozumel is not only a Caribbean Island paradise; it’s one of the world’s top diving destinations, because here you can explore the largest reef in the Western hemisphere, Mesoamerican Reef. It not only attracts divers, but over 250 species of tropical fish including the queen angelfish and the illusive toad fish, seen nowhere else in the world, as well as turtles, stingray and more. And the crystal clear waters allow you to see miles of Caribbean treasure. If you are a diver, you may hire a dive tour with one of the many dive shops on the beaches. If you are not a diver, there are many other options to see Cozumel‘s underwater world such as submarine rides, snorkeling tours and glass bottom boats.
Whether you spend your days snorkeling with stingray, exploring the ancient Mayan ruins of San Gervacio, or swimming among starfish in a place called Heaven, you’re sure to do something you’ve never done before. Above the sparkling surface of the water, the trees are speckled with frigate birds, brown pelicans, cormorants and others. If you look closely, you may catch a glimpse of a tree frog, a crocodile or the prehistoric iguana resting in the lush vegetation. But no worries, our locals are the friendliest in the world.
Cozumel offers you everything you want for a great vacation – the sun, the sky, the water and the wind! It’s always a beach day in Cozumel, as the water ranges from a warm 77 to 82 degrees throughout the year. Enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches…sunbathe, swim or spend time reading on hammocks feeling the gentle breeze away from crowds.
It’s an experience you will never forget!!!
From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel the warmth of the people!
Because in Cozumel, hospitality isn’t simply a practice, it’s a belief…and its roots stretch deep into the days of Maya!