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San Muguel Cozumel Cruise Port Tips

Highlights Include Snorkeling, Mayan Ruins and Playa del Carmen
Cozumel cruise ship
The Cozumel cruise port is a standard stop for any western Caribbean cruise and a chance to see one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.

When we got there, it was blistering hot. But that didn’t stop of from enjoying the visit.

Part of what makes Cozumel so popular is the wide variety of quality experiences. Those experience start with the ability of a cruise visitor to see either Cozumel island or take a ferry across the water to the larger city of Playa del Carmen.

Although we visited Playa del Carmen on another trip, I recommend it for anyone going to Cozumel for the great shopping district on Fifth Avenue.

For those people who choose to spend the day on Cozumel, shoppers and anyone with a taste for real Mexican food can find plenty of options in San Miguel, the largest town on the island.

Restaurants have a heavy emphasis on local establishments with a handful of major chains such as Hard Rock Cafe. Likewise, the shopping has a strong local flavor with original arts and crafts.

Fast Facts

  1. San Miguel has the shopping and dining and is a long walk from the cruise terminal. Plan on taking a taxi.
  2. Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean.
  3. The island has several major Mayan ruins.

Cozumel Attractions

San Gervasio
San Gervasio. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Cozumel is famous for its scuba diving and also offers decent snorkeling. Although coral reefs are found all around the waters surrounding the island, the reefs are best on the west side.

Cruise visitors should know that scuba diving has the best coral views because of the depth of some of the reefs.

One benefit for divers and snorkelers alike is the quality of Cozumel beaches compared to Cancun. For that matter, any visitor to Cozumel who likes beaches should take advantage of the opportunity.


The largest beach near the cruise port is Chankanaab National Park Beach. It’s just under four miles from the cruise terminal and requires a taxi or rental car to reach it. The park includes a lagoon, Mayan village and botanical garden.

All of the most popular beaches line the west coast with easy access for cruise visitors. A second cluster lies along the east side of the island only about five miles from the cruise dock.

If transportation isn't available from the cruise ship via a planned excursion, try taking a taxi to get to the beach. Taxi fares are standardized, but make sure to ask the driver about rates before getting into the vehicle.

Mayan Ruins

Anyone with an education interest can see the largest Mayan archaeological site on the island at San Gervasio. It was both a sacred and commercial center from 200 A.D. until the Spanish conquest.

Other Mayan sites include El Cedral, formerly the largest Mayan site on Cozumel, or Castillo Real, near the northern tip of the island.

Playa del Carmen

If Cozumel isn't enough, great shopping and dining can be found over at Playa del Carmen. The best is located on 5th Avenue, an experience that ranks high among all Caribbean destinations for the number and quality of shops and restaurants.

Visitors freely walk along a lengthy street that is mostly closed to traffic. Two ferry services provide shuttles between San Miguel and Playa del Carmen. Plan on using most of the day for a visit.

Other Tips

  • U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but coins are not. Expect to be paid back in pesos. Know the exchange rate before leaving the ship.
  • English is widely spoken in the more populated and tourist-oriented areas.
  • If you rent a car, note that Mexican insurance is required.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

June 11, 2018

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