Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Cozumel, an island just off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, is one of the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations. Offering plenty of day time activities and nighttime fun, Cozumel has no shortage of things to do. Whether you are a beach goer, a history lover, or an adventure seeker, you will want to read our list of the best things to do in Cozumel on a cruise. Be sure to check one of these great activities off your list during your next visit to the island.
Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Explore the Ancient Ruins
With a rich Mayan history and culture, Cozumel and the nearby mainland of Mexico offer some of the best archeological sites. San Gervasio is the largest Mayan site in Cozumel, though small compared to the sites on the mainland. San Gervasio was a religious site of worship for the god of fertility, Ix Chel. Every Mayan women was expected to make the journey here at least once in her lifetime to make an offering. Today, several temples still stand that you can explore to gain some insight into the history and culture of this ancient civilization, including the Las Manitas structure with its mysterious 4-fingered handprints. A visit to San Gervasio can be coupled with other attractions in Cozumel for a full day of sightseeing and exploration.
If you want to explore some of the larger Mayan ruin sites, then you will have to venture to the mainland. Chichen Itza is a 6 square mile UNESCO world heritage site and a natural wonder of the world with several well-preserved structures to explore. Be aware that there is extensive travel time involved from Cozumel, so it is recommended that you only book this excursion through your cruise company.
Chichen Itza – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Tulum and Coba, though not as famous as Chichen Itza, are also great options that are a bit closer to Cozumel (They still require a 45 minute ferry ride and 1+ hours of drive time.). As the only Mayan city built on a coast, Tulum offers amazing views and its own beach. The most prominent remaining structure at Tulum is the Castillo which is perched on a limestone cliff. Coba, located 30-45 minutes inland from Tulum, is not nearly as excavated or reconstructed. It is most famous for Nohuch Mul, the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula. Those daring enough may climb the steps to the top for panoramic vistas. The jury is still out on which site cruisers prefer, so you will have to decide for yourself.
Coba Ruins – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Get Back to Nature
Chankanaab, located in Cozumel’s National Marine Park, is the perfect excursion for groups of all ages. This park is located a short taxi ride from the cruise pier in Cozumel and offers plenty of activities in one location. You can choose to relax on the gorgeous beach, take a dip in the pool, or enjoy some one of a kind snorkeling. At Chankanaab, you also have several opportunities to explore the flora and fauna; you can enjoy the nature trail and botanical gardens, take in a sea lion show, visit the crocodile exhibit, or marvel at the fish in the saltwater lagoon. If that’s not enough, you can explore Mayan replicas, partake in a tequila tasting, or dine on Mexican cuisine in one of the onsite restaurants. While many activities are included in the standard admission price of $21, additional experiences can be purchased as well. These include ziplines, Dolphin Discovery, glass bottom kayak rentals, and more.
Chankanaab – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Punta Sur Eco Park, the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel, is located a bit further from the cruise port but offers more great opportunities to explore nature. Punta Sur is another great snorkeling location (although you do have to swim a bit further out) and is home to the most beautiful beach with hammocks in the shade. This area is also the perfect spot for birdwatching and observing crocodiles in their natural habitat and the sea turtle nesting area. While at Punta Sur, be sure to also explore the El Caracol Mayan ruins, the Faro Celarain lighthouse, and the Navigation Museum. The Faro Celarain lighthouse offers the best view of island! For an additional cost, you can stop by the visitor’s center to schedule a kayak or catamaran tour around Laguna Columbia.
The name of this park says it all! You can “Discover Mexico” with a trip here during your next visit to Cozumel. This is a great excursion for those who want to get a taste of the local flavor but don’t have time to explore the whole country. With so much history and culture, it is easy to see why this experience makes our list of the best things to do in Cozumel on a cruise. There are several tours available at the Discover Mexico park depending on your interests including history and culture tours, a Tequila experience, a Chocolate workshop, and a sampling of Mexican cuisine including handmade corn tortillas. A combo package is also available that includes admission and transportation to/from Chankanaab.
Tequila Tastings – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
With the Mexico Past and Present tour, you will learn about the evolution of this ancient civilization, get to explore replicas of Mexico’s popular attractions, and marvel at local artwork. During the Jose Cuervo seminar, you will learn the art of making a perfect margarita and get to sample 3 distinctly different tequilas. For the chocolate lovers, there is even a chocolate workshop where you can make your very own chocolate bar and purchase other handmade chocolate products. While visiting the Discover Mexico park, be sure to check out the papantla flyers, daredevils who launch themselves from a 90 foot pole secured only by a rope tied to one ankle during a ceremonial act.
Paradise Beach, located about 10-15 minutes from the cruise pier in Cozumel, comes with a high rating on TripAdvisor. For only $3, you can gain access to the facilities including a chair by the beach or heated pool. There is WiFi available, full food and beverage service, water equipment available for rental, and a Fun Pass to utilize the water toys for $18. There is a $10 minimum suggested food and drink purchase for use of the facilities for the day.
Paradise Beach – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club, also located only a short distance from the cruise pier, offers an all-inclusive beach pass for $55. For this price, you can enjoy free WiFi, all you can eat and drink, and access to the beautiful beach. For an additional cost, you can also enjoy the aqua park, wave runners, parasailing, horseback riding, massages, and more. Mr. Sancho’s certainly offers fun in the sun for the entire family.
Another cruise favorite is Naci Cocom, offering a more exclusive feel for only 100 guests. At this all-inclusive beach club, you have access to the ocean, pool with swim up bar, Jacuzzi, plenty of food and drinks, hammocks, WiFi, and more. For a price of $55 and a short 15 minute taxi ride from the cruise pier, Naci Cocom is the perfect way to spend a day in Cozumel. For an additional cost, there are also a limited number of other activities including waver runners, banana boats, and snorkeling.
Isla Pasion, a private island paradise located just north of Cozumel, offers another all-inclusive experience for Cozumel cruise-goers featuring a beautiful beach, a Mexican buffet, open bar, hammocks, water sports, and more. There are several excursions offered to Isla Pasion including a catamaran ride, a Jeep ride through the jungle, a kayak through the mangroves, and a twister jet boat ride. Whatever your mode of transportation, you are sure to love this escape.
If you are looking for something a little more low key and authentic than an all you can eat and drink experience, then head to Playa Palancar. This beach has free access and is a bit less touristy. With plenty of sand and sun, you can spend the day relaxing or possibly partake in a watersport activity. Boat trips for snorkeling at the off-shore Palancar Reef and kayaks are available for hire, as well as food and beverages for purchase.
Playa Mia is another beach and water park option while visiting Cozumel. With several different activities, Play Mia is great for families of all ages. For a $30 admission fee, you will have access to waterslides, a floating park, kayaks, sailboats, paddleboats, volleyball and soccer courts, snorkeling, a children’s waterpark, and more. For an additional fee, parasailing, wave runners, and other shore excursions are also offered. For $60, a buffet and open bar can be enjoyed in additional to everything listed above!
Playa Mia – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
If you are looking for a little adventure while in Mexico, then you might want to take a ride in an x-rail vehicle to the Jade Caverns. Get ready for a bumpy and dirty ride through the jungle on your way to Cozumel’s largest cenote. Here, you can admire the cave formations, learn about the Mayan culture, and take a dip in the freshwater cenote.
If you want to explore more of the natural formations in Mexico, you can take an Amazing Secret River tour. This tour will guide you deep into an underground cave where you will hike and swim your way through the Rio Secreto while admiring its beauty and history. It is recommended that you book this excursion through your cruise line due to transportation to the mainland. Also, be aware that you will be required to wear a wetsuit.
Rio Secreto – Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise
If you thirst for adventure is still not quenched, try visiting the Xplor Adventure Park. At Xplor, you have access to ziplining, amphibious vehicles, cave rafting, and swimming. When you are finished thrill-seeking for the day, you can enjoy a buffet lunch. Again, this park is located on the mainland of Mexico, so it is best to book the excursion through the cruise company to avoid missing the ship!
Do you agree with our list of the Best Things to Do in Cozumel on a Cruise? What is your favorite thing to do when visiting this popular port of call? Drop us an anchor below to help fellow cruisers make the most of their visits to Cozumel.