Cozumel is Mexico’s 3rd largest island and home to an amazing barrier reef. The island is gorgeous and the people are incredible making it a wonderful place for a family vacation.
It’s easy to get to Cozumel. You can catch the Winjet ferry. It runs between Playa Del Carmen every hour. Cozumel also has an airport with direct flights from many cities including Atlanta and Minneapolis. Almost every cruise company makes a stop here when sailing the Caribbean and MSC even has a cruise you can take that starts in Cozumel.
If possible, plan to stay at least five days to truly enjoy everything Cozumel has to offer. The kids and I definitely wish we had stayed longer. And don’t worry, Cozumel is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico.
8 Amazing Things to do in Cozumel
Once you get to Cozumel there is a multitude of things to do including visiting a planetarium, hands on learning about Mayans, beach day clubs, savory Mexican cuisine, and much more. All of these are things you can do in Cozumel on a cruise or if you are staying on the island.
Learn About the Mayans at Pueblo del Maiz
Pueblo del Maiz is an interactive pre-Hispanic town where you can experience the Mayans real life by taking a trip back in time. This is by far one of the most unique things to do in Cozumel. Discover the life of a Mayan through the corn planting, chocolate making, feather art and heneque in this unique place where the dance, music and incense are one together.
As you move from hut to hut you will learn how gum is made, participate in tortilla making, discover different types of honey and more.
As a mom this is my ideal activity, it’s interesting, it’s hands on, and the kids learned a ton. I loved the whole experience and my kids never once complained which I think means they loved it too.
Here is a video I put together to give you an idea of what to expect at Pueblo Del Maiz. This video is by no means the entire experience.
Cha´an Ka´an Planetarium
Cha´an Ka´an is a scientific, technological and cultural complex that provides outreach to society through science. Cha´an Ka´an has the most sophisticated planetarium dome in the country. From the name, which means “to observe” or “to enjoy the sky”. Cha´an Ka´an has the first and only planetarium in Latin America with 3D full dome. For kids there are interactive exhibits and games.
We visited at night when there was an opportunity to look at the stars. Depending on when you are in town you will be able to see the Milky Way! All around this was an incredible experience and I highly recommended it. We learned a ton about the stars and Mayan astrology. They host special events throughout the year, so be sure to check if there’s one happening during you visit.
Punta Sur Park
Punta Sur is a park in Cozumel with two lighthouses, Mayan ruins, a lagoon full of crocodiles, a beach club, and much more!
The Mayan temple “El Caracol” is absolutely fascinating. When you take your kids into the little Navigation Museum under the lighthouse make sure you ask for an exclamation on this Mayan lighthouse. It will blow your mind!
You also should go up in the lighthouse for epic views of the park!
You can take a boat tour of the Colombia lagoon and look for crocodiles! We saw 3 crocodiles while we were on the tour.
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Admission: Adult $16.00 USD, Child $10.00 USD (Aged 4-12)
What You Need to Bring: If you have your own snorkel, bring it. Otherwise, you will have to pay to rent one.
Things to Know: This can easily be a full day activity.
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park
Playa Mia is one of Cozumel’s most fun beach clubs. You can soak up the sun, surrounded by included activities and beach toys, authentic cuisine and soothing spa treatments including massages on the beach. There are some specialty shops featuring tequila, chocolate and other local flavors. Swim along Cozumel’s coral reefs on a snorkel tour. Feel your heart race as you plunge down our 200-foot long Twin Twisters water slides. Set your kids free to run around and swim at Buccaneer’s Bay while you kick back under a shady palm down at the beach. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the open air restaurant or grab a Pina Colada at the swim up bar.
I personally spent most of my time lounging in a cabana sipping on a Long Island, exerting my super power of doing nothing for hours on end!
Buy Tickets: Tickets start out at $39 for a day pass.
Things to Know: Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, otherwise you will be paying $18 a bottle in their little shop.
What to Bring: Towels, swimsuits and sunscreen.
Mr. Sanchos is another beach club in Cozumel on a gorgeous stretch of beach. (Okay, all the beaches are fantastic.) They have a little something for everyone in the family, from the youngest to the oldest. For the adventurous, there’s para-sailing, atvs, scuba diving, and jet skiing. For those that enjoy a more low key beach day they have hammocks, snorkeling, and horseback riding. I’ve heard from a friend that Mr. Sanchos has some private areas for couples that are awesome, including private rooms and hot tubs.
Buy Tickets: Day passes start out at $35.
Cozumel has a really neat colorful downtown area with lots of shopping. If you want to visit more authentic boutiques they’ve got them. If you want to go to the usual things you can find in a US mall they got those too. Don’t want to participate in the shopping? Go have a drink at one of the many bars while the others shop.
Eat Authentic Mexican Food
Having dinner at La Mission is a must. They’ve got amazing food, a killer atmosphere, and a live Mariachi. Not only was their mariachi the night we were there, a marimba player was playing too. It’s such a festive place. I recommend getting the Mexican plate to try a little bit of everything and of course a margarita.
Plant Coral Reef
Whether you are a diver or not you can help restore the coral reef around Cozumel with the Cozumel Coral Reef Restoration Program. They are actively restoring parts of it in various places around the island. The program relies on volunteers, and there are several ways you can help out.
Divers can work at the coral farm, restoring the coral by hand. To participate, you have to take their coral reef restoration course. The course includes the AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty and a diploma as a Coral Reef Restorer Volunteer Diver. It is divided into academic sessions and four open water training beach dives in the restoration areas and in the coral farm. Upon completion, you become a volunteer and can start helping with the restoration efforts taking place in the most affected areas of Cozumel. The course costs $160 USD.
If you own any diving gear you no longer need, you can donate used equipment to them. This included items like regulators, goggles, wetsuits, tanks, or any other type of diving gear is all acceptable.
Here’s a video of what you will experience when you volunteer to plant reef.
For other ways to volunteer while visiting Cozumel, check out this article, 7 Ways to volunteer in Quintana Roo.
Where to Stay in Cozumel
My top recommendation for Cozumel is Allegro Resort. It’s a bit off the beaten path ensuring a more secluded, peaceful stay
If you want to stay closer to town I recommend Explorean Cozumel.
More About the Quintana Roo Area
Helpful Guide Books and blog posts:
- Quintana Roo: The Ultimate Family Adventure
- Moon Yucatan Peninsula Travel Guide
- Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan Travel Guide
- Things to do in Cancun
Where to stay in Quintana Roo:
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya
- Live Aqua (adults only)
- El Dorado Royale (adults only)
- The Grand at Moon Palace
Should You Get Travel Insurance?
Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a fan of Travelex insurance, because of the variety of options. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. I have gotten extremely sick twice now out of the country and Noah has had seizures in other countries, so I always recommend getting some sort of coverage. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance here.
If you are looking for a car rental I recommend getting the car at the Cancun Airport. It will make things easier. This entire area is easy to drive around in. Get a Cozumel car rental for $11 a day!