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Cozumel Basics


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Cozumel Horizon

Cozumel is the most popular cruise destination in the Western Caribbean area, noted for its tropical weather, fishing, abundant diving and snorkeling opportunities and Mayan ruins. The island sports a population of around 75,000 people, with most of the residents living in the main town of San Miguel. Cozumel is located in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, which also encompasses much of the Yucatan peninsula.

Cozumel's economy is completely dependent on tourism. It was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma in November 2005, completely knocking out the three cruise terminals and other infrastructure. But the island has come back stronger than ever, with the port authority taking the opportunity to double the cruise ship berthing capacity.

The weather in Cozumel is tropical, with warm days and high humidities the norm. The rainy season lasts from June through November; expect a brief afternoon shower every day, and the occasional torrential downpour. The dry season lasts from December through May. June through November is hurricane season.

Cozumel map


First Impressions


Cozumel is a large flat coastal island 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Most of the island is uninhabited, covered with dense vegetation. The island is comprised primarily of limestone. Your ship will dock in the city of San Miguel, which is by far the largest settlement on the island.

There are three cruise ship piers and one passenger ferry pier on Cozumel Island. The Punta Langosta Pier is located in the center of San Miguel's downtown area, and is a short walk to the town's restaurants, bars and shops. The TMM International Pier is about 5 miles south of San Miguel's downtown area. The Puerta Maya Pier is just south of the International Pier.

The San Miguel Passenger Ferry Pier is adjacent to the Punta Langosta Pier in downtown San Miguel; this is where you will board the ferry to Playa del Carmen.

There are basically three things to do on your visit to Cozumel. Scuba diving and snorkeling are what brings most folks to the island, owing to the large number of excellent reef sites that are situated on the western shore of the island. You can also check out the Mayan ruins that exist on the island and on the mainland, at Tulum, Coba and other locations; Tulum is particularly well preserved and worth a visit. And lastly, you can dine, drink and/or shop in San Miguel's bars, restaurants, stores and shopping centers.

San Miguel is a fairly compact city that is easy to get around. The central square is known as Plaza del Sol, and on the west side of the plaza you'll find the ferry docks that take you to Playa del Carmen, a 45-minute boat ride away. Ave. Rafael Melgar is the main beachside road, or Malecon, that runs the length of the city from the airport in the north to the southern reaches of the city. If your ship docks at the International Pier or the Puerta Maya Pier, you'll need to take a taxi to get to the downtown area.

Mayan Road

Ancient Mayan Road


Time Zone


Cozumel is on Central Time, six hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during Standard Time, and seven hours later than GMT during Daylight Savings Time. Daylight savings time begins on the first Sunday of April, and ends on the last Sunday of October.

 

Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen; all of the restaurant and shop personnel catering to tourists also speak English.


Travel Advisory


The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas..."


Dealing with Money in Cozumel


Currency

Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:

Banks and ATMs

You will find an ATM machine in most all of the hotels on Cozumel. Banks with ATM machines can be found in the downtown area of San Miguel; many are located around Plaza del Sol, which is just behind the dock of the passenger ferry to Playa del Carmen. Some ATMs dispense US dollars along with Pesos. ATM machines in the downtown area can be found at the following locations:

  • Santander Serfin: has a branch located at 10th Av. #198, at the corner of Calle 3 sur.

  • Bancomer: has two branches near the Plaza del Sol, at 5th Av. at Plaza del Sol, and at Ave. Rafael Melgar, #1001.

  • HSBC: has a branch located at 5th Av. on the corner of Calle 1 sur.

  • Citibank: has a branch located at 5th Av. South #8, in downtown San Miguel.

  • Banorte: has a branch located at 5th Av. at the Plaza del Sol.

  • Banamex: has a branch located at Calle 1 South and A R Salas.

To see the locations of Cozumel's ATMs, see our Cozumel ATM map.

Using US Dollars in Cozumel

You don't have to change your dollars into pesos, as US dollars are widely accepted in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Weather


Cozumel enjoys a tropical climate, with warm year-round temperatures and daytime highs averaging around 85° F (30°C). There are two seasons in Cozumel: summer (or Rainy Season) lasts from June through October, and winter (or Dry Season) lasts from November through May.

During the summer months, rain falls almost daily, with brief showers typically falling in the afternoon. During this period, you can also expect occasional torrential rain and thunder showers, and the humidity is in the high 80% range. During the winter months, rainfall is rare, and the humidity drops to the low 80% range.

Water temperatures average around 80°F (27°C) year round.

Fall brings the hurricane season, typically lasting from mid-June through mid-November.

Cozumel Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 82 84 84 87 86 87 87 89 87 86 82 82
Avg High - C 28 29 29 31 30 31 31 32 31 30 28 28
Avg Low - F 68 68 68 71 73 73 73 73 73 73 71 68
Avg Low - C 20 20 20 22 23 23 23 23 23 23 22 20

Cozumel Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 3.2 2.4 1.3 1.8 4.4 7.6 4.6 5.6 9.5 9.6 4.8 4.2
Avg, mm 81 60 32 45 111 192 116 142 240 243 123 107

Sunset in Cozumel

Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Cozumel

It used to be that cybercafes were all the rage in Cozumel, with Wi-Fi being a poor second cousin. Today, free Wi-Fi is becoming very commonplace, with dozens of hotspots in bars, restaurants and other locales having been opened in the past year.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

You can find Wi-Fi hotspots throughout San Miguel; many of them are free. Here are a few suggestions for free Wi-Fi:

  • Starbucks offers free Wi-Fi (for the first 15 minutes) in their store at the Punta Langosta Mall, across from the Punta Langosta pier.
    Phone: (987) 26394.

  • Carlos & Charlies offers free Wi-Fi in their restaurant/bar at the Punta Langosta Mall, across from the Punta Langosta pier.

  • El Coffee offers free Wi-Fi in their restaurant/coffee house on Calle 3 Sur, between Avenida Rafael Melgar (the Malecon) and Avenida 5.

  • Tony Rome's offers free Wi-Fi in their restaurant on Avenida 5, between Calle 3 Sur and A. R. Salas.

  • Piratas offers free Wi-Fi in their bar/restaurant on Avenida 5 between A. R. Salas and Calle 1a Sur, on the main Plaza across from the Punta Langosta pier.

  • Hard Rock Cafe offers free Wi-Fi in their restaurant/bar on Avenida Rafael Melgar (the Malecon), between Juarez and Calle 2 Norte.

  • Corona Sports Bar offers free Wi-Fi in their cantina on Calle 1a Sur, between Ave. 5 and Ave. 10.

  • Wet Wendy's Margarita House and Restaurant offers free Wi-Fi in their cantina on Ave. 5a, between Juarez and Calle 2 Norte.

  • The Italian Coffee Company offers free Wi-Fi with purchase in their store on Avenida 30 and A. R. Salas, in the plaza near Burger King.

  • Aqua Bar at the Hotel Flamingo offers free Wi-Fi in their bar, located on Calle 6 Norte between Avenida Rafael Melgar (the Malecon) and Ave. 5.

  • Toro's Place Bar & Grill offers free Wi-Fi in their cantina on Avenida Rafael Melgar (the Malecon) and Calle 5 Sur.

  • Rock 'N Java offers free Wi-Fi in their seaside cantina located at 602 Avenida Rafael Melgar.

Internet Cafes

You can find Internet Cafes throughout San Miguel; as a rule, their charges are fair. Here are a few suggestions:

  • CoffeeNet has several locations in San Miguel, including Av. Rafael E. Melgar #798 (located on the corner of the Malecon and Avenida 11 Sur). Internet rates are $9 per hour. Open daily, 8:00 am to 11:00 pm., year round. Phone: (987) 26394.

  • Palma Dorada located at A. R. Salas #44, between the Malecon and 5th Av. Internet rates are US$1 per hour. Open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Phone (987) 872-0330.

  • RX Internet Cafe, Calle 7 sur No. 14 between the Malecon (R.E. Melgar) and 5th Av. Internet rates are 10 cents per minute, with no minimum. Open daily from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Phone (987) 23179

To see the locations of Cozumel's Internet Cafe and Wi-Fi locations, see our Map of Cozumel Internet Cafes & Wi-Fi Hotspots.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Travelers with American cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Cozumel area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Cozumel area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Cozumel area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Cozumel area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Cozumel area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Cozumel area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Cozumel when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Cozumel area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Cozumel area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.

Kindle Connectivity

In Cozumel, you can download your Kindle 3G data through Telcel's EDGE/GPRS coverage in the city. Telcel's coverage in Playa del Carmen is 3G.

Internet Cafe































































Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Holidays, Events & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Cozumel in 2014:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), February 3. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations in and around San Miguel. Most of the businesses in and around Cozumel close for the day to join in the fun.

  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), February 26 to March 5. Throughout the city of San Miguel, you'll find venues featuring music, food, costume parades and art exhibits, plus fireworks at night. The big party is the night of March 4.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century. In San Miguel, you'll see processions and other public events centered around the Parque de Benito Juarez, with nighttime fireworks displays and partying.

  • Semana Santa (Easter Week), April 14 to 20. You can witness re-enactments of the Bible story, the burning of Judases and a fiesta atmosphere. Easter takes place on April 20.

  • Fiesta de la Santa Cruz/Feria del Cedral, April 29 to May 5. This festival celebrates the first mass at the village of El Cedral, which was the first settlement on Cozumel. The celebrations include bullfights, folk music and dancing.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, May 5. A Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. In Cozumel look for street parties and a nighttime fireworks display.

  • Dia del San Pedro y San Pablo (Saint Peter and Saint Paul Day), June 29. In addition to the religious ceremonies honoring these two saints, you'll find an evening carnival and nighttime fireworks.

  • Independence Day, September 16. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day. The activities in Cozumel take place beginning on the evening of the 15th, and at one minute past midnight the celebrations begin, accompanied by a fireworks display.

  • Fiesta de San Miguel Arcangel, September 21 to 29. This week-long festival celebrates Cozumel's patron saint, St. Michael (San Miguel) with processions through the streets. On the 29th, fishermen load an image of San Miguel on a boat, taking it out onto the water. The boat is followed by city residents, who board a ferry and throw flowers upon the sea. Later, look for a nighttime fireworks display.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day. In downtown San Miguel, they've got a carnival with lively music and entertainment for the city dwellers.

  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1 and 2. Comprising both All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, Dia de Los Muertos is a day when celebrants honor the deceased. Locals celebrate with music and decorate shrines with flowers and photos.

  • Revolution Day, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Throughout the island they've got carnival parades, lively festivities and a nighttime fireworks display. The most lavish activities take place in San Miguel.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint. In Cozumel, expect to see parades, festive partying and a nighttime fireworks display.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.
Mexican Dancer

Cozumel Cruise Port Schedules


Cozumel is the most popular port in the Western Caribbean.

On average, cruise passengers will enjoy between 8 and 9 hours on shore in Cozumel.

In 2014, Cozumel is slated to host 3,134,000 passengers sailing on 1,067 ships, up 26% and 23%, respectively, from 2013. For further information, see our Cozumel Cruise Ship Schedule - 2014.

Cozumel lighthouse

Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise lines will make port in Cozumel in 2014:

Carnival icon Carnival Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean
Celebrity icon
Celebrity Cruises
princess icon
Princess Cruises
Holland America icon
Holland America
NCL icon
NCL
Disney icon
Disney Cruises
Costa icon
Costa Cruises
Regent icon
Regent Cruises
MSC icon
MSC Cruises
Oceania icon
Oceania Cruises
Crystal icon
Crystal Cruises
Silversea icon
Silversea Cruises
Cruise Ship


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