Why go to Cozumel?
Hidden local gems abound for foodies, history buffs and beachgoers
To find authenticity, cruisers have to pass through a building of duty-free wares
Cozumel seems like a tourist trap, but it offers lots for cruisers with varied interests
Cozumel Cruise Port Facilities?
Cozumel has three piers, all of which are found on the built-up western side of the island. Punta Langosta is ideally situated in downtown San Miguel. The International Pier, the oldest cruise ship pier on the island, is located about 3 miles from San Miguel (a long but scenic and safe walk). Carnival Corp.'s Puerta Maya, located about 5 miles from San Miguel, acts as a standalone destination, with restaurants, jewelry stores, local craft carts and a beach.
The growing Royal Village Shopping Center sits right across the street from the International Pier. The complex features a cozy Wi-Fi cafe, Cafe Punta del Cielo, which sells coffees, sodas and delicious pastries. The mall is also home to about a dozen popular stores like Harley-Davidson and Swarovski, as well as a Hard Rock Cafe. An especially fun store to browse for Mexican handicrafts is Viva Mexico at the intersection of Avenida Melgar and Adolfo Rosado. A shopping village with some two-dozen souvenir shops, as well as another Cafe Punta del Cielo can also be found at the Costa Maya terminal.
Good to Know?
Be aware of mopeds, motorcycles and bicycles. They're prevalent, and drivers won't always yield to pedestrians. As you should when visiting any city, leave unnecessary valuables in your cabin safe. Finally, be sure to negotiate and settle on a fare before getting into any taxi.
On Foot: Depending on your pace, downtown San Miguel is at least a 45-minute walk from the International Pier, and even farther for passengers arriving in Puerta Maya. It can get very hot, so most passengers opt to take a taxi into town. Once there, downtown San Miguel is very walkable, with most shops, bars and restaurants clustered around the waterfront.
By Taxi: Taxis line up at the entrances to the piers and cost about $5 to $10 per ride to San Miguel, depending on which pier you dock at. Rates to the beaches can cost $10 to $15; to avoid being ripped off, be sure to ask to see the rate card and settle on a fare before departing.
Word to the wise: Some drivers aim to overcharge for longer trips, so bargain carefully. Also, if you give the walk a try and decide midway that you've made a mistake, it is easy to grab a cab. Just wave when the driver toots his horn. Settle on a fare before he takes his foot off the brake.
Renting a Car: Some passengers who don't take one of the shore excursions and want to travel on their own might want to rent a Jeep or four-wheel-drive vehicle. Beware of additional charges for insurance and gas. You'll find an Alamao stand inside the International Pier and at the Costa Maya terminal.
By Moped: This is a popular and inexpensive way for one or two people to get around Cozumel, although many cruise ships warn against doing so because of the dangers of an accident while navigating among reckless drivers. Hidden stop signs and stretches of severely potholed roads also present hazards.
By Fun Car or Scoot Car: These automatic-transmission buggies, resembling souped-up golf carts, are another possible option. They're able to reach speeds of 45 mph, and you can find the rental booth on the ground floor of the Punta Langosta shopping arcade.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Local currency is the peso. However, most stores prefer U.S. dollars, so it's not necessary to change money. ATMs are located in several areas throughout the main plaza in Cozumel, near the cruise docks.