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Cozumel Cruise Port
Welcome to our Cozumel Cruise Port Guide to this very popular cruise port of call that lies just off the coast of Mexico
Cozumel at a Glance
The island of Cozumel is located about 12 miles off the Mexican mainland. It is an incredibly popular stop for cruise ships and for good reason. Cozumel is a fascinating mix of old authentic Mexico alongside brash touristy developments. It has a spirited Caribbean energy along with friendly locals. There are amazing adventures to be had such as diving or snorkelling at some of the best reefs in the world. However, if you plan to simply stretch out on a beach or lie near the cooling waters of a pool you will be spoilt for choice in Cozumel. And of course, being Mexico it some of the best food choices in the Caribbean
Where do the cruise ships dock?
Cozumel Cruise Port has three docking locations for cruise ships in Cozumel.
- Punta Langosta. This pier is the closest to the downtown area of San Miguel which is the largest city in Cozumel. It’s only about a 5-minute walk. You can join a walking tour of San Miguel or just explore on your own without having to walk very far at all. There are plenty of shops and restaurants within strolling distance.
- International Pier. This is where some of the larger cruise ships will dock: ships like Royal Caribbean Oasis-class ships and larger Norwegian Cruise Line ships. This is the oldest cruise pier in Cozumel and is about 3 miles from downtown.
- Puerta Maya. This pier was built by Carnival Cruise Line and is only used for Carnival owned ships. It’s right next to the International Pier. It’s been nicknamed “Little Cozumel” as many shops, restaurants, and modern amenities are offered right within the terminal area.
What to do with a day in Port
For the cruise day-tripper, there is plenty to keep you busy whether this is your first or a return visit.
Mayan Ruins of Tulum
This Cozumel Cruise Port guide wouldnt be complete without a mention of this fascintating place. Although there are Mayan Ruins on Cozumel itself (San Gervasio) none are as impressive or extensive as those located at Tulum. Located on the Mexican Mainland you need to allow yourself enough time to travel there and back. 6 or 7 hours is ideal as it involves a 45min ferry ride and then another 45min drive to the ruins. Be sure to check how long your ship is docked and leave yourself plenty of time.
If you would prefer to stay on the island and get your Mayan Temple fix then then San Gervasio is the place to go. These are the largest and most significant ruins in Cozumel. Other smaller Mayan ruins dot the island and are well worth a visit but do bear in mind that there is often little shade at these places and the dazzling Mexican sunshine warrants a wide brim, plenty of water and some bug spray.
Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park
A natural state reserve with over 1,000 hectares filled with a wide variety of flora, fauna and lagoon systems. Its the ideal place for nature lovers. With its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and numerous sea fan gardens that extend through out the reef.
The Celarain lighthouse (Faro de Celarain) sits on the Punta Sur promontory (Punta Celarain) and is part of a nautical museum.
Dive or Snorkel
Cozumel has an impressive number of coral reefs and wrecks to dive and snorkel. The best sites are found in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. The reefs have very good year-round visibility and there is a myriad of sea life to be found here including; Eagle Rays, Turtles, Barracuda, Sharks and Moray Eels, not to mention the abundance of tropical fish.
Hire a driver
If you really want to explore the island one of the best ways to do this is to hire your own driver to show you around. Yes, it will be more expensive but there are several advantages than sharing a coach with lots of other guests.
You can set up a personalised itinerary.
See the sights at your own speed.
It’s just you. So there is no hanging around waiting for other people to return (who never seem to understand the concept of time-keeping).
Shopping in Downtown
Cozumel’s capital is a laid-back, charming town called San Miguel. A walk or bicycle tour of the town will take you to charming, unpretentious, authentic Mexican shops and eateries. Relax at El Zocalo or The Plaza as you admire and take in the beauty of the town. Or go Shopping, one of the town’s major
Cozumel Cruise Guide - Local Flavours
A Yucatan favorite. Slow roasted pork, hence the name of Cochinita. You’ll find it in tacos or tortas on the island. We recommend trying either a Torta de Cochinita Pibil or Taco de Cochinita Pibil.
Fried fish is a classic dish in Mexico. It’s a quick and easy way to make a yummy meal. You can’t go wrong with fried fish! Here in Cozumel, most people go for a grouper or red snapper, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea which are great for frying. It all depends on what you like.
Salbutes & Panuchos
Salbutes & Panuchos are a very common snack or small meal food found around the Yucatán area, rivalling even the ever-popular tacos.
Shaped like a tortilla, but puffier and thicker, the fried masa forms a base for shredded or diced cabbage, pulled chicken or turkey, diced onion or pickled red onion, sliced avocado, sliced or diced tomato, with lime to flavour.
Very similar to Salbutes, except that they have refried black beans inside or on the masa, which salbutes do not. Vendors make both fresh to order, often with some toppings like onion, salsa, and lime juice on the side for the consumer to adorn at will.
A popular Mexican dish consisting of masa dough and smashed pinto beans placed in the center before it’s given the oblong shape. Filled with a variety of toppings including salsa, onions, potato, cilantro and other protein such as pastor or chorizo, and then finished with queso fresco. We recommend a huarache con papas y pastor!
A very popular dish in tropical areas. It looks like a fish salad cooked in lime juice, but it can be prepared with many different ingredients.
Lean shredded beef, beans and a mild chilli sauce rolled in a fresh Tortilla topped with mild cheese. We had these at one of our favourite eating spots in Cozumel. Pancho's Backyard. Not only is the food good. The Margaritas are awesome too.
Crisp and golden on the outside, soft and almost moist in the center, and covered in a gritty mix of sugar and cinnamon, churros are one of the Mexicans’ favorite desserts. You can find churros being sold by street vendors in little paper bags in stands that have a heating light to keep them warm.
Good to know
You can't drink the tap water. Also avoid those street sellers of bottled water. They are often refilled with tap water. If you do need, just check that the cap has an unbroken seal.
Unfortunately, public transportation is generally not considered a viable option for travelers visiting Cozumel. There is a public bus system in Cozumel, but it does not go to main areas which visitors are likely to travel.
There are a lot of taxis in Cozumel and there is a strong drivers union so prices are pretty fixed and there is no bargaining.
Currency: Mexican Peso, US Dollars at some businesses but mostly all tourist attractions, restaurants, bars and shops will take dollars.
Language: Spanish, English
Money: ATMs are common and passengers can exchange US dollars for local currency at the exchange counters near the cruise ports.
Visas: Not required for citizens of the US, EU or Australia