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Cozumel Shore Excursion Reviews

Cozumel (Photo:CAN BALCIOGLU/Shutterstock)

Popular Things to Do in Cozumel

Cozumel is a Mexican island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea; it's one of cruising's most popular ports of call. Home to about 100,000 permanent residents, Cozumel is not a small island and offers cruisers a variety of shore excursions to occupy their visit. The most popular excursions in Cozumel require getting in the water -- Jacques Cousteau once proclaimed that its underwater reefs were among the most beautiful in the world. For those looking to stay dry, nearby San Gervasio is a prime example of Mayan ruins, while authentic handicrafts can be found in the shops of San Miguel, Cozumel's largest city.

Cozumel is humid, with a tropical climate and a significant rainy season (wettest months are September and October). Because of this, the best time to visit is February through April, or the dry season. Expect daily temperatures to hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The local currency is the peso, and the language is Spanish, but because tourism is such a huge economy in Cozumel, you'll find that most shops accept U.S. dollars and most people speak English.


Find Things to Do in Cozumel

40 Excursions Found (Displaying Results 1 - 25)

#1 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Beach

696 Reviews
Take a beach break tour to enjoy a leisurely day of sand and sun. Sit back and enjoy Cozumel's beaches and relaxed scenery, or participate in one of the many aquatic activities offered.
#2 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Snorkeling

485 Reviews
What's really beneath Cozumel's waters? You may encounter some of the island's unique vibrant colored fish on a snorkeling adventure.
#3 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Mayan Ruins

425 Reviews
Do not miss out on Cozumel's famous Mayan Ruins! Learn about Mayan civilization, culture, folklore, and unsolved mysteries.
#4 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Chankanaab National Park Tour

256 Reviews
If you're looking for a day in the sun, venture into Chankanaab National Park. With scuba, snorkeling, a historical walking trail, and not to mention great food, Chankanaab provides the perfect relaxing atmosphere for your time in Cozumel.
#5 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Private Resort Day Pass

222 Reviews
Enjoy excellent cuisine, tropical cocktails, and other fabulous amenities as you relax in the comfort and privacy of a first-class resort.
#6 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Jeep Tour

166 Reviews
A Jeep tour is the ultimate way to see Cozumel. Venture off into jungles and isolated terrain for a day full of fresh air and sun.
#7 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Amazing River & Cavern Explore

158 Reviews
These remarkable caverns connected by underground waterways are sure to astonish you. Enjoy breath-taking stalagmites and other incredible forms that will bring a new appreciation to Cozumel's subterranean world.
#8 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Catamaran tour

151 Reviews
Take to the seas on a private catamaran charter and experience the bliss of Cozumel's scenic coastline and crystal blue waters. To add more adventure to your day, choose an excursion that offers snorkeling and other activities as well!
#9 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Tequila Tasting

143 Reviews
Curious about the process that goes into making tequila? Have equal or greater interest in drinking it? Taste why it's one of Mexico's most popular drinks!
#10 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Tulum

140 Reviews
Experience the ruins of the walled city of Tulum, which rise above the Caribbean Sea. Explore the archeological monuments of this ceremonial center, which were left as a reminder of this ancient Mayan culture.
#11 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

ATV Adventure

126 Reviews
Off-road on an ATV adventure across bumpy terrain and through sandy beaches to Cozumel's coastline for the best views of Mexico.
#12 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Scuba

125 Reviews
With offerings geared toward certified or beginner scuba divers, this excursion allows you to view underwater gardens of coral and visit with schools of unique marine life while venturing off in Cozumel's waters.
#13 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Best of Cozumel

121 Reviews
Cozumel welcomes more than one million cruise passengers annually, with an array of offerings from the avid shopper to the sports enthusiast. Whether it's finding great deals on jewelry and Mexican handcrafts, or delving into the rich island history, there is something for everyone.
#14 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Nachi Cocom Beach Club

117 Reviews
The Nachi Cocom Beach Club & Water Sports Center is a great place to relax during your time in Cozumel. Space for this unique Nachi Cocom Beach Club is limited to 100 guests per day, making it the most exclusive beach on the island.
#15 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Salsa & Salsa

111 Reviews
Become completely immersed in Latino culture as you learn the fiery dance, Salsa, in Cozumel!
#16 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Dune Buggy

108 Reviews
Roar through the jungle in an all-terrain dune buggy to get your adrenaline pumping and enjoy scenic views of Cozumel.
#17 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Culinary Tour

99 Reviews
Mexican cuisine is colorful and delicious. Satisfy your palette on a culinary tour to hot spots and hidden gems on the island of Cozumel.
#18 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Submarine Tour

97 Reviews
Prefer to stay dry during your day in Cozumel? A submarine tour provides visitors with a glimpse of Cozumel’s reefs and tropical marine line.
#19 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Island Tour

92 Reviews
From its world famous coral reefs and wild jungle to the multitude of museums, ruins, and other noteworthy buildings, there is much to see on a guided tour of beautiful Cozumel Island.
#20 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party

84 Reviews
This boat-and-beach shore excursion is the perfect mix for those who want a little bit of everything under the sun.
#21 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Mayan Village and Beach

69 Reviews
For cruisers who have just a short time in Cozumel, a Mayan Village and Beach excursion is a good way to experience a bit of local culture and history and still have some time to relax on the beach with a drink in hand.
#22 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Stingray Swim

50 Reviews
Encounter one of Cozumel's most popular marine animals is the stingray. Interact, feed and touch the stingrays as you swim side by side with them in this unforgettable experience.
#23 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Bar Hop

49 Reviews
Board a bus for a night of dinner and bar hopping as you enjoy some of Cozumel’s most famous spots for tasty local brews.
#24 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Ziplining

49 Reviews
Glide through Cozumel’s jungle and ruins on an exhilarating zipline adventure among the island’s natural settings and wildlife.
#25 of 40 Cozumel Shore Excursions

Amazing Cozumel Race

42 Reviews
Perfect for family and friends, this interactive clue-based adventure game is a unique way to explore the nooks and crannies of Cozumel.

Food and Drink in Cozumel

Food in Cozumel is rich with cultural traditions and fresh ingredients. You'll find plenty of pork, chicken and seafood offerings and dishes that draw heavily on Mayan culture in the Yucatan region. (That means plenty of corn tortillas, beans and rich sauces.)

Pancho's Backyard: A great place for margaritas and wonderful Mexican specialties, you can sit inside on the terrace and cool off beneath whirring ceiling fans while listening to the soothing sounds of trickling fountains. Pancho's is attached to one of the best shopping venues on the island. (Av. Rafael East Melgar 27 between calles 8 and 10; +52-987-872-2141; open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m.)

La Choza: For some of Cozumel's best home-cooked cuisine (particularly for breakfast), pay a visit to the family-run La Choza restaurant in San Miguel. Preparing specialties like pozole (corn soup), pollo en relleno negro (chicken in blackened sauce) and their signature avocado pie, this is a favorite for cruise ship crew members, so it gets busy during the afternoon. The fish tacos and mango margaritas are highly recommended. (10th Avenue # 216, between Adolfo Rosado Salas and 3rd Sur; +52-987-872-0958; open daily, from 7:30 a.m.)

Guido's: Considered the island's best Italian restaurant, choice tables are located on the patio out back. (Av. Rafael Melgar No. 23 between calles 6 and 8; +52-987-872-0946; open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m., and from 3 p.m. on Sundays)

Casa Denis: A solid option for atmosphere and tradition, Casa Denis has been on Cozumel since 1945 and features some amazing historic photos on the walls, including one of a young Fidel Castro. (Calle 1 #132 Centro; +52-987-872-0067; open Monday to Saturday, from 7:30 a.m.)

La Mission: Serving phenomenal, authentic Mexican food at exceptionally reasonable prices, the open-air surrounds provide respite from the heat, and menus are available in Spanish and English. We highly recommend the tortilla soup. (Just off Av. Rafael E. Melgar, the main street that runs in front of the pier; +52-987-872-6340; open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Las Palmas: Providing a truly cultural experience that was recommended to us by a local, Las Palmas eatery -- with its outdoor patio "cocina" -- specializes in authentic Mexican food, but be warned: The staff doesn't speak English, so bone up on your Spanish before visiting, and be prepared to point at what you'd like from the menu. (Avenue 25, between calles 3 and Jose Maria Morelos; open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.)

Beaches in Cozumel

The best beaches for swimming, snorkeling or lounging under the sun are on the western side of the island, where the winds are light and waters usually calm. Don't forget plenty of sunscreen, unless you want to be fried a bright shade of red. The surf on the eastern side of the island tends to be much rougher.

Best for Water Sports: Chankanaab Park and Reef is terrific for snorkeling, scuba diving, beach bumming and eating. Paradise Beach offers an excellent and wide variety of water sports rentals, along with a restaurant and two bars. Playa San Francisco is another good choice.

Best for Privacy: Playa Escondida on the western shore offers few amenities, but that keeps the crowds away from this sanctuary. Another peaceful option is Playa Chen Rio, on the eastern side of the island.

Best for a Beach Break: Nachi-Cocom Beach Club, about 10 minutes south of the San Miguel area, offers waters sports, a swimming pool, hot tubs, a bar and a restaurant. You can even get a massage. Visitors can buy all-inclusive passes for $55 each.

Don't Miss in Cozumel

San Miguel: Cozumel's one and only "big" city (some refer to it as a large town), San Miguel owes its economic well-being to the growth of the cruise industry, which has transformed this once-sleepy fishing village into a tourist outpost, crammed with stores selling every imaginable souvenir. While many restaurants offer Mexican fare, others favor American tastes, with several U.S. fast-food chains represented, along with such notable names as the Hard Rock Cafe. Most shops stay open until 5:30 or 6 p.m. -- or whenever the last cruise ship departs.

San Miguel revolves around its two landmarks: the "zocalo" (town square), known as Plaza del Sol, and the downtown pier. Easily the most distinctive and fabulous store on Cozumel, near the Costa Maya terminal, is Los Cinco Soles (we've easily lost a whole day there). This shop sells gorgeous Mexican crafts (plenty of the unusual along with more common items), silver jewelry and clothes. There's a tequila bar, and the shop wraps around the wonderful Pancho's Backyard restaurant.

Also of interest to shoppers: Adjacent to the Plaza del Sol is the modern Villa Mar Complex, an air-conditioned mall with several notable silver shops. (Be sure to look for the 925 stamp, indicating quality silver.) Among the best buys in the mall are hand-woven hammocks, shell jewelry, and local handicrafts. You'll also find many duty-free items, such as perfumes and watches.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: Along with Grand Cayman, Roatan and Belize, Cozumel offers the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean. In some areas, visibility reaches 250 feet, and prime sites for "divehards" include Palancar Reef (part of the nearly 700-mile-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-longest reef system in the world, behind Australia's Great Barrier Reef), Chankanaab Caves and La Ceiba Reef.

At La Ceiba, the underwater universe contains a sunken airplane that came to rest after being blown up for a Mexican disaster movie. Pro tip: Keep an eye out for dive operators who post C.A.D.O. stickers in their windows; these are considered the island's most reputable dive establishments. Operators are located up and down the main road along the waterfront, between the International Pier and San Miguel.

Snorkelers can find outfitters in this area, too, or simply drop into any of the multiple beachside bars and restaurants for a beer, tortilla chips and a day of exploring the reef right off shore. We enjoyed refreshing stops for a snorkel (and beers) at Tikila during our walk back and forth between the International Pier and San Miguel. Both are located on the coastal road, and the beach is the "ironshore" kind, typically best for snorkeling, but water shoes are recommended for tender feet.

Glass-bottom Boat Tours: Providing a glimpse of the reefs for those who might prefer to stay dry in the comfort of a boat, glass-bottom boat tours also occasionally stop for snorkeling breaks.

The Museum of the Island of Cozumel: (Editor's note: Closed for renovations at press time) Located three blocks from the San Miguel ferry dock, The Museum of the Island of Cozumel is one of few options for culture vultures. It features interesting exhibits on underwater life and the reef ecosystem, as well as displays on Mayan, colonial and modern life. (Avenue Rafael E. Melgar; +52-987-872-0833; open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

San Gervasio: The best of several small Mayan ruins sites on Cozumel, San Gervasio is located approximately 7 miles from San Miguel. During its heyday, San Gervasio served as a ceremonial center dedicated to the fertility goddess Ixchel. The oldest site is El Cedral, about 3 miles from San Miguel, though little remains there except a Mayan arch and a few small ruins. A note that the "tour guides" onsite are not official employees. (Open daily, 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.)

Playa del Carmen: Accessible via fast ferry, this mainland resort town is a fantastically bustling place that's chock full of shops (some of the tacky touristy variety, others, particularly in a conclave just off the ferry dock, much more upscale) and cafes. Better known to Europeans, the town owns an indefinably foreign air, so you'll feel a million miles away from Cozumel.

The "Mexico Water Jet" ferries passengers back and forth between Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula and Cozumel. The ferry operates continuously, and the crossing takes approximately 45 minutes; depending on sea conditions, the ride can range from super-smooth to extremely bumpy. You can save money by purchasing your tickets online beforehand. If you're buying on the spot, be prepared with cash for the each-way fare. (The first ferry of the day leaves Cozumel at 7 a.m.; the last ferry departs Playa del Carmen at 7 p.m. but visitors should check the schedule as it can vary seasonally.)

Chichen Itza: Playa del Carmen is also the jumping-off point for the region's best-known Mayan sites. Try a day trip to the ruins of Chichen Itza, the Yucatan's most renowned, which contains a mix of temples, pyramids and carvings dating to the 7th and 8th centuries. Other Mayan ruins are located at Tulum, situated on the coast 35 miles south of Playa del Carmen. The site features several Mayan temples -- including a stunning temple right on the coastline -- government buildings and a beach below the ruins. Day trips to both Mayan sites can be booked through local tour operators.

Note: Independent travelers should know that an excursion to Chichen Itza spells a long day -- about a three-hour bus ride in each direction; don't forget to factor in the ferry ride from Cozumel. This is one of the times we actually recommend taking this trip as part of your ship's shore excursion program because the logistics are so complicated.

Xel-Ha: A lagoon that was considered sacred by the Mayans, Xel-Ha is just a short ride from Tulum. It has been converted into an ecotourism underwater park, featuring an aquarium and areas for swimming, snorkeling, sunning and dining. (Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km 240; +52-855-326-2696; open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: Lying on a limestone flat, just south of Tulum, the 1.3-million-acre reserve is home to endangered manatees, crocodiles, jaguars and turtles and features more than 1,000 varieties of plants, 350 species of birds and 70 different mammals. More than 1,000 Mayan people live within the reserve. (Tulum, Quintana Roo; +52-1984-141-4245)

Chankanaab National Park: A visit to the Chankanaab National Park makes for a fascinating day trip. The nature preserve is home to a beachfront area with a bar and grill, botanical garden and archaeological park. (Carretera Costera Sur Km. 9; +52-987-872-0833; open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Punta Sur: Another ecotourist park for visitors interested in learning about Cozumel's native flora and fauna, Punta Sur encompasses mangrove jungles, white-sand beaches and reef formations. Visitors can watch a 20-minute video at the information center to learn about the different ecosystems, reefs and native birds, along with other wildlife inhabiting the area, such as turtles and alligators. (Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

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