Things to Do in Cozumel During Your Cruise Stop

Looking for fun things to do in Cozumel? Check out these recommendations.

Cozumel’s Best Family Resort | Best Beachfront Hotels for $200 or Less

Local produce market in Cozumel

4 Hours

Cook with Josefina: Josefina Gonzalez Luigi is the Mexican aunt I never knew I had. Only she’s everyone’s aunt. Her cooking classes in El Centro welcome all visitors into her San Miguel home, right in the heart of Cozumel’s largest town. Go Shopping: First stop was the market: Those in my group haggled over prickly pear (aka nopal cacti), banana leaves and poblano chiles depending on what they were learning from Josefina. For Maya flavor, make something that relies on the annatto seed. Enviable Souvenir: Bring cash for the tiendas, where Mexican chocolate, beer and tortillas are sold. The warm tortillas won’t make it over the border, but trust me, they won’t last that long. Get There: Classes typically run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ships dock in one of four locations. From Punta Langosta Pier, it’s a 10-minute walk to Josefina’s home on Third Street. From the other docks, take a taxi. Emily Egge
Shopping in Playa del Carmen

8 Hours

Ferry to Playa Del Carmen: Playa is more than a beach town. Fifth Avenue is the main thoroughfare, with high-end shops and dance clubs. It’s also a warren of alleys shaded by tamarind trees where there are deals on tacos, silver jewelry and massages. The vibe is European — locals dine late and dance till sunup. Edible Educations: I decided to look past the neon lights and try Yaxche Maya Cuisine on Fifth, which offers a seven-page menu of dishes like duck enchiladas with mole sauce and Cotija cream, and papadzul, “a tortilla stuffed with boiled eggs covered in a pumpkinseed sauce and infusion of epazote (a local herb).” Get There: Two ferry operators, Mexico Waterjets and UltraMar, run almost hourly trips daily. The last $11 ride leaves the dock at 10 p.m. Photo By Zach Stovall
Beautiful Cozumel sunset
Bus to Tulum: A Tulum trip starts in Playa del Carmen (see left). From there, it’s a 45-minute bus ride. Sounds daunting, but the Maya ruins of Tulum are what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris: touristy, yes, but a must-see. Other life here is about warm breezes, white beaches and fresh ceviche. Go Paddle: In either a cenote or a mangrove, paddle boarding with the folks at Extreme Control is my top Tulum to-do. Tours leave twice daily from Playa Esperanza. Stay the Night: Enjoy high-rises elsewhere: In Tulum, stay yards from the sea. Azulik Resort’s 15 thatch-roof villas are perched on stilts over sand and atop rock outcroppings. I didn’t have electricity to recharge my phone, so I recharged myself: falling asleep to the waves, and waking with the sun and earlybirds. Get There: For about $5, board one of the buses departing Playa del Carmen almost hourly for Tulum. Find the depot at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Benito Juarez. Did You Know? Cozumel receives more than 2 million cruise passengers per year. Fried grasshoppers are a favorite Mexican snack. The world’s smallest volcano is in Mexico; it’s 43 feet tall. Tulum is the only Maya city built overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Photo By Zach Stovall

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