I recently returned from another fantastic vacation in Cozumel Mexico! I’d like to share some places you have to see should you visit this Mexican island. Cozumel is one of those destinations where the best places are hidden gems.
Whether you are visiting for a day while on a cruise or staying in Cozumel for a week, you can significantly increase your enjoyment by taking some tips from someone that has been there before.
Here are my recommendations, but don’t stop with just these, seek out the advice of others as well. This will ensure your trip is mucho bueno!
1. Dive Palancar
Scuba diving is the most popular activity in Cozumel for good reason. Diving in Cozumel is excellent! I dove for the first time on this trip and it was amazing. If you get the chance, you definitely want to dive. I saw a nurse shark, sea turtle, Eagle Ray and more fish than I could count!
There are literally hundreds of dive shops on the island. The shear number of choices will make your head spin. I can save you a lot of time and trouble by recommending one of the best. Dive Palancar is an excellent shop with very convenient daily dives. I was very pleased with their promptness, courtesy and professionalism. You can’t go wrong with Dive Palancar!
Photo by globalreset
2. Playa Corona
Not a diver? Still want to enjoy the beautiful Cozumel ocean life? You can snorkel right from the beach at Playa Corona and see a lot of nice fish and maybe even an Eagle Ray or eel. This is a very small beach club with some very nice snorkeling. They even rent snorkel equipment if you don’t have your own.
There is no charge for the snorkeling if you have your own mask and fins. However, be sure to order a beer or piña colada while drying off. This is also an excellent place to watch some beautiful sunsets over the Caribbean! Photo by Rob Inh00d.
3. Paradise Beach
Looking for a great beach to kick back in a lounge chair, sip a tropical drink and munch on some delicious snacks? Give Paradise Beach a try! It is a fantastic place for a lazy day in the sun. There is no admission fee like some of the other beaches charge, but no lack of fun either.
Of course, if you want to do more than just lay on the beach, there are a ton of things to do at Paradise Beach. Why not try parasailing or renting a WaveRunner? You can pick and choose the activities that suit your mood and only pay for what you do! Photo by steews4
When you are ready to get out and see a little more of Cozumel, then rent a car or scooter and head out to the windward or east side of the island. Here you will find Coconuts Bar and Grill. Coconuts sits on top of a cliff facing the ocean and offers absolutely the best view on the island. It is worth the trip just to sit at one of the tables near the edge and watch the waves roll in from the beautiful Caribbean Ocean.
While at Coconuts order a margarita, guacamole and chips and salsa. You will not be disappointed! Photo by BluEyedA73
Jeanie’s is a great, small beach club located right in downtown Cozumel. Admittedly, the beach is very small, but if you the lack time or transportation to go farther, then there is plenty to enjoy at Jeanie’s. They have a full restaurant that serves delicious food. I had the chicken enchiladas which were great! They also have a small beach with lounge chairs and a dive shop.
You can snorkel or scuba at Jeanie’s. There is a sunken airplane and some other interesting stuff just a few yards off shore that make it worth checking out. If you aren’t scuba certified, but still want to get a taste of the underwater world in Cozumel, then you might want to try Jeanie’s SeaTrek or Snuba offerings. Photo by triplezero
Once you get tired of eating Mexican food in Cozumel, it is time to check out Guido’s for some awesome Italian cuisine! Don’t be deceived when you walk by. From the sidewalk, Guido’s looks small and uninteresting, but they have a very nice garden courtyard just out-of-site. Also, you won’t find better food on the island than at Guido’s!
I ordered the homemade Spaghetti Bolognese and my wife had the Four Seasons pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. Both of these dishes were excellent! Photo by ?o??ƒx™
7. Pancho’s Backyard
Pancho’s Backyard is a beautiful courtyard restaurant located in downtown Cozumel. You have to walk through the Los Cinco Soles store to get to Pancho’s. This restaurant is usually a little of a splurge for my wife and I, but the food and atmosphere are well worth it. I think we usually end up spending about $50 for the two of us. However, we always make it a point to visit Pancho’s on every trip to Cozumel.
I would highly recommend going to Pancho’s at night, if possible. The lighting after dark makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable! Photo by Brave Sir Robin
8. Casa Mexicana Hotel
Looking for a great place to stay on the island with convenient access to restaurants and other activities? We have enjoyed two stays now at Casa Mexicana. This is a fantastic hotel that is clean, spacious and very accommodating. The staff is very hospitable and the free breakfast buffet is a huge bonus!
Be sure to get an ocean-view room! It is worth every additional penny you have to spend. The views are absolutely gorgeous. You can watch the cruise ships come and go right from your balcony! Photo by Skinned Mink
9. Downtown Plaza on Sunday Night
Every Sunday evening in Cozumel, the locals congregate in the downtown plaza just after sunset. It is a fantastic opportunity to people watch and enjoy some free entertainment. There is always a band that plays and you will see various street acts and artists perform. There are also several street vendors with food and desserts to enjoy.
We love going to the plaza on Sunday evenings! It is a great way to drink in some of the culture of Cozumel. The people are all very warm and friendly. Several restaurants surround the plaza so you can easily make an entire night of this experience.
Photo by Brave Sir Robin
10. The bank of your choice
I have one last recommendation that may seem a little odd. I would suggest making a bank in Cozumel one of your first stops on the island. The banks offer the best rates for exchanging dollars to pesos. During our visit, the banks were paying at least 13.75 pesos per dollar.
Every establishment on Cozumel will take your dollars as payment, but you will lose money based on the exchange rate they offer. Most places will only pay 10 or 12 pesos per dollar compared to the 13.75 paid at the banks. This adds up!
If you exchange $100 at the 12 peso rate instead of 13.75, you are losing over twelve dollars! My experience is that dealing exclusively in pesos will generally save you quite a bit of money in Cozumel. Be sure to take your passport with you when you go to exchange money. Some of the banks require it before they will proceed with the transaction.
Photo by eliazar
Have a fantastic time in Cozumel!
Cozumel is a great place to go for vacation. It is a very fun, warm and safe place to visit. We always immensely enjoy our trips to the island! In fact, we are already scheming on how to get back before the end of the year. I hope you enjoy these wonderful places as much as we do. I am confident that they will add a great deal of satisfaction to your trip!
Adiós Amigos and happy travels!
Have you been to Cozumel? What was your favorite place to visit?