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Cozumel Island in Riviera Maya of Mayan Mexico (Photo: Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock)
Cozumel Island in Riviera Maya of Mayan Mexico (Photo: Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock)

6 Things to Do in Cozumel that Cruisers Will Love

Cozumel Island in Riviera Maya of Mayan Mexico (Photo: Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock)
Cozumel Island in Riviera Maya of Mayan Mexico (Photo: Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter
Marissa Wright

Last updated
Nov 17, 2023

Read time
5 min read

Cozumel is a popular cruise destination in the Caribbean and it's impossible to not see why. The island boasts a traditional, slower tropical lifestyle but simultaneously includes thrill-seeking adventures like snorkeling, exploring breathtaking reefs, and nature and wildlife tours that share the island's beauty.

Cruises heading to the Western Caribbean are popular for their sun-soaked days and an endless supply of fun-filled excursions and opportunities for adventure. If your cruise stops in this hot Western Caribbean port, brush up on your knowledge of the top six things to do in Cozumel so you can take full advantage of the island.

1. Shopping in Cozumel Is Easily the Top Thing to Do in the Cozumel Cruise Port

Leather handbag on display at a local shop (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Leather handbag on display at a local shop (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Step off your ship and you’ll find yourself among plenty of stores and shops selling everything from blankets and throws to vanilla, leather goods, traditional knick-knacks and Cozumel souvenirs. Shopaholics of all types can have a field day while shopping in Cozumel and nearby San Miguel.

Two open-air shopping malls are placed strategically near Cozumel’s three ports, making it easier for cruisers to pick up souvenirs quickly before returning to the ship. Cozumel shopping is easy, which makes it one of the top things to do here.

Shopping in Cozumel gives cruisers access to a wide array of goods and you can find items at discounted rates compared to shopping at home.

Looking for a unique item to bring home with you? Hammocks are one of the few woven items that are made locally (at least in the Yucatan peninsula, specifically the city of Merida). At the Mercado Municipal, you'll find them on display in the tiny hole-in-the-wall stores just outside the central market, which mainly sells food and is where locals shop.

Most shops accept dollars or pesos, but keep in mind that you may get a lower price if you pay in pesos.

2. Explore Cozumel with Fun Shore Excursions

Golden Fans sailing in Cozumel (Photo: Marilyn Borth)
Golden Fans sailing in Cozumel (Photo: Marilyn Borth)

Step away from the shopping streets and tour the wilder parts of the island by booking shore excursions. The most popular excursions are water-based activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and exploring underwater reefs.

Those looking to learn more about the local history can book a trip to San Gervasio, where you can explore Mayan Ruins. Other popular tours include visiting Chankanaab National Park, private Jeep tours, ATV adventures, culinary classes, ziplining and tours of the whole island.

3. Try Relaxing Things to Do in Cozumel, like Visiting a Beach Club

Playa Mia in Cozumel Mexico (Photo: Marilyn Borth)
Playa Mia in Cozumel Mexico (Photo: Marilyn Borth)

Those seeking more rest and relaxation may find their bliss at a Cozumel beach club. If you’re uninterested in Cozumel shopping and don’t see the thrill of exploring the island, a day at a beach club may be just what you need.

Popular beach clubs have amenities ranging from restaurants and water sports to relaxing offerings like comfortable sun loungers and umbrellas. Beach clubs offer access to the beach and some provide private pools for guests to enjoy.

Top-rated beach clubs include Mr. Sanchos Beach Club, Paradise Beach, The Money Bar Beach Club and Buccanos Grill & Beach Club Cozumel. Please note that you’ll want to arrange transport to and from the cruise port to access beach clubs quickly and easily especially if you're cruising with the whole family.

As one of the top things to do in Cozumel, visiting a beach club is a great way to spend stress-free hours enjoying the sun and sand with your favorite drink in your hand.

4. Check out the Art Scene for a More Creative Thing to Do in Cozumel

Your one-stop-shop for ceramics, pottery, carvings, trinkets and sculptures made in Mexico is Los Cinco Soles, which you will spot as soon as you get off the ship at the International and Puerta Maya piers; it's also available in San Miguel, a few blocks north of the main square. The goods here are not cheap, but they are authentic.

On each display, you will find a mounted card explaining the history and the provenance of the ceramics, as well as a sticker on each plate or bowl authenticating that it's made in Mexico. The majority is made by Alba Ceramica, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. You can get all sorts of designs and colors, but perhaps the most fun are the Day of the Dead-themed ones.

5. Sign Up for Fun Adult Experiences in Cozumel: Tequila Tasting for Liquor Lovers

Tequila tasting Ensenada Carnival Radiance shore excursion ( Photo by  K.  Alex  Beaven)
Tequila tasting Ensenada ( Photo by K. Alex Beaven)

You can't leave Mexico without a bottle of tequila or mezcal. The good news is that there are tequila tasting experiences where you can taste test and sample the goods via a tasting experience with the experts.

You may also be surprised to know that tequila does not have to be slammed -- that's really just for gringos -- it should be tasted, sniffed and sampled just like you would whiskey. Just make sure you look up current customs guidelines about bringing alcohol back into the U.S.

6. Discover Beautiful Beaches, One of the Most Quintessential Things to Do in Cozumel

Cozumel (Photo:CAN BALCIOGLU/Shutterstock)
Cozumel (Photo:CAN BALCIOGLU/Shutterstock)

If you’re not interested in beach clubs but want to have a relaxing beach day with your friends and family, there are many public beaches to choose from. You’ll find rocky and white sand beaches along the coast where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the land and sea.

Popular free beaches near Cozumel include Playa Caletita, Playa Corona, Play las Rocas and Chen Rio Beach. You don’t have to pay for the privilege of enjoying a public beach, but you’ll want to bring cash for things like food and drinks.

You may be hard-pressed to choose just one activity or excursion with so many fun things to do in Cozumel cruise port. Plan ahead and make the most of your time on the island with our list of the top six things to do in Cozumel.

Publish date October 10, 2019
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