Cozumel, Mexico is one of the most popular Caribbean cruise ports and there can be up to 6 cruise ships in port on any given day. Virtually all cruises to the Western Caribbean stop in Cozumel and there are a variety of things to do while in port.
If you are heading to Cozumel on a cruise and are looking for something to do while in port, here are a few options that you may want to consider.
Ruins in Tulum
Even if you have visited other Mayan ruins, the ruins in Tulum are well worth visiting. If you do plan on visiting Tulum, this is one shore excursion that you will want to book through the cruise line. Since this is an all day tour, it will usually take around 8 hours.
The reason that Cruise Fever recommends that you book through the cruise line is because you will have to take a ferry over to mainland Mexico, and then a bus to Tulum. On my last cruise to Cozumel, the ferry carrying the passengers that went to Tulum arrived a little less than 30 minutes before the cruise left port.
The Mayan ruins in Tulum are set on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, making for picturesque views. The ruins are unlike any other that you can visit in the Caribbean and something that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Paradise Beach is one of the nicest beaches in Cozumel and only a 10 minute cab ride from the port. There are a variety of activities and something for everyone.
The beach is lined with palm trees and beach chairs. It is a great place to relax in the shade of the palm trees or work on your tan in the sun. The loungers do cost $3 with a $10 minimum food purchase. This also gives you access to the pool.
The pool is one of the largest swimming pools in Cozumel. It is a beautiful tropical area that has a bar, changing area, and a few shops.
On the beach, you can get a massage, rent a waverunner, and even parasail. Paradise Beach really has everything. Even though there are a ton of activities, I had no problem finding a quiet place to sit and relax.
Rent a Car/Scooter
There are a number of places that rent cars, jeeps, or scooters in Cozumel. I saw two car rental agencies, Alamo and Target. I rented a car from Target for $45 (plus taxes/fees/insurance) for the day. When I got home and looked at my credit card bill, it said Alamo so they are really the same company just running with two different names and storefronts.
Car rentals start at $40 for a stick shift and $45 for an automatic. The advantage of renting a car is that you can drive the loop around the island exploring the different beaches, shops and local restaurants along the way. The drive is really beautiful and there are some great spots to snorkel. It seemed that most cruise passengers preferred to rent a scooter.
Yes, the locals can be a little aggressive trying to sell you things when you walk around Cozumel. However, the port area can be a fun place to walk around and shop as you take in a little Mexican culture. I saw 3 older men dressed in traditional Mexican outfits playing guitars and singing to a young couple. It really set the mood for my day in port.
There are all of the traditional stores (Diamonds International, Cariloha etc.) that you find in most cruise ports. There are also a number of great Mexican restaurants located right on the water.
If you want to party in Cozumel, Fat Tuesdays and Senor Frogs are always lively and a good time.
Discover Mexico Park
If you want to immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture and traditions, Discover Mexico Park is the place to visit. The islands oldest ruins are located here.
You can often see macaws, iguanas, and turtles in the tropical gardens. There is an abundance of tropical plant life including coconuts, papayas, and bananas. Since it is not a large area, it will only take about an hour to visit the park.
Discover Mexico Park is rated the 5th (out of 89) most popular attraction in Cozumel.