Whether you plan to visit for a full vacation or as part of a cruise, there are so many fun things to do in Cozumel. The warm weather and proximity to the ocean mean that so many of them are outside and active, but there is definitely something for everyone.
Where Is Cozumel?
Cozumel is an island off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. It lies just seven miles off the mainland, across from Playa del Carmen and a little over two hours from its cousin Cancun.
That makes it easy to access via a quick 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, close enough for a day trip if you’re short on time.
That ferry ride can be a little rocky sometimes, so if you get seasick, make sure you prepare for it by following some of these tips to avoid seasickness.
15 of the Most Fun Things To Do in Cozumel
Cozumel itself is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, as well as water activities and the archaeological sites nearby.
While Cozumel has gorgeous beaches, there is so much more to enjoy.
Visit an Ecological Park
Punta Sur Eco Beach is a perennial favorite. It includes an incredible ecological park in addition to the beach itself.
The park has more than 2,500 acres where you can explore pristine white beaches and coral reefs teeming with vibrant fish and lagoons with crocodiles and more. You can even join an educational tour led by park rangers.
They also offer snorkeling and scuba diving in the waters as well as sea kayaking, biking, and camping overnight near the lagoons. This nature preserve is a great way to see much of how the Yucatan Peninsula was prior to being developed into a tourist destination.
Visit the Underground Secret River
A favorite ecological exploration is the Rio Secreto. You can choose excursions from four hours to all day to explore this underground series of caverns and caves.
If you have enough time, book an entire day experience where you can continue to explore the caves and even have a picnic lunch underground.
You cannot wear bug spray or sunscreen when you go into the caves to protect this source of drinking water for much of the Yucatan Peninsula. Bugs are not an issue there generally, so don’t stress.
The caves themselves are gorgeous, and the guides lead you safely through them and point out all sorts of interesting facts and visuals throughout your tour. The water is generally not very deep, but you do need to swim a little bit even with the life jacket you must wear.
This is such a cool and unique experience that is absolutely worth repeating because it’s so good. There are multiple cavern paths your guides may take you to explore, so it remains new to you.
Explore the Ocean While Scuba Diving
If you’re into scuba diving, Cozumel offers great places to dive, as well. Cozumel dive shops provide a great half day experience for certified divers.
The Caribbean Sea is warm, but many of the dive sites do have a current. This means many of them are drift dives.
In a drift dive, you start at one point then drift with the current, and the boat picks you up at the end. This way, you don’t have to swim back to the boat against the current.
You can see gorgeous coral, and many of the dives are along coral walls. The sea life is plentiful, and you’ll usually see everything from your typical parrot fish and lobsters and trumpet fish to possibly more unusual creatures like a seahorse or a frogfish.
The dive shops will have all the gear you need, so if you are a certified diver, you just need your C card. If you’re new to diving, this is a great place to get certified.
Trek To an Adventure Park
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park is another favorite adventure park. They include more than 20 activities in their price of admission. You can enjoy an underwater Mayan city while snorkeling (free with your own gear), water slides, pools, massaging hot tubs, kayaks, a floating water park, volleyball courts, and more.
You can also add on fun activities like fish therapy where the little fishies do the pedicure on your feet while you sit and watch. They also have a snorkel tour on a boat, sailboat rentals, snorkel rentals, a private lounge bed, and jet ski rentals.
With such a variety of fun things to do, everyone in your family will enjoy the day.
Take a Trip on an Underwater Submarine
If you want to head underwater but aren’t up for scuba diving, make sure you check out the Atlantis Submarines. You can visit the Felipe Xicotemcatl wreck that sank over 20 years ago.
On your underwater visit, you see not only the shipwreck but also fish, along with possibly turtles, sharks, and stingrays along the way. As with anything that involves animals, there’s no guarantee what you’ll see on a given day, but those are frequent visitors to the area.
This 2-hour trip takes you to The Wall with a drop off more than 1,800 feet below you. It’s an impressive view of a coral wall reef, and you get to see it from the safety of an air conditioned and pressurized submarine.
The Atlantis submarine adventure also includes a complimentary beverage and guides who narrate the trip so you know what you’re looking at and the history of it, as well.
Be aware that there is a marine park fee that is not included in the price when you book. Carry cash to cover this $6 fee.
Head To the Deep Sea for Fishing
If you prefer to stay above the surface of the ocean, book a deep sea fishing charter. The Caribbean Sea is known for tuna, snapper, mahi mahi, blue marlin, and more.
While you aren’t guaranteed to catch anything, the trip out on the ocean is fascinating.
Many deep sea fishing charters also offer the option to snorkel at some point during your day. That’s another great way to spend time while you wait for the fish to bite.
The tours provide all the equipment, and most will also provide you with snacks and drinks. All you need to do is show up and bring your patience hat.
You do need a fishing license, and most charter operators will provide this for you for a fee. You can also arrange it on your own ahead of time.
You can catch a limit of 10 fish per day per person. If you catch a billfish, it counts as five fish, so generally you will want to catch and release these.
In addition to this limit, some charters have their own limits.
Best of all? The charters will clean and filet your fish so you can enjoy it for dinner that night.
Explore Mayan Ruins
No visit to the Yucatan Peninsula would be complete without exploring some Mayan ruins. While Cozumel does not have as many famous ruins, you can easily get to the San Gervasio archaeological site.
This site is smaller than some of the more well-known sites like Tulum or Chichen Itza. You can tour this site on your own or hire a guide if you would like to have a more detailed and personalized visit.
They provide great signage, which makes it easy to get around. The site includes many different buildings and temples, including residences.
The distance between them does mean that you need to do some hiking to get there, but it is definitely doable and worth the visit when you’re looking for things to do in Cozumel.
The site also includes public restrooms as well as souvenir stands. You can hire a guide onsite if you decide you want one after you’ve arrived.
Enjoy a Chocolate Factory Tour
Speaking of the Mayans, one of the things they are known for is chocolate. You can find all sorts of cacao factories and tours, and this is not something to miss in Cozumel.
Try the Mayan Cacao Company. They offer tours where you can try ancient Mayan recipes in addition to purchasing the chocolate.
Your experience includes a Mayan purification ritual, a visit to a Mayan Hut, homemade corn tortilla tasting, learning about the production process, and then of course the chocolate tasting.
They have a bar where you can purchase beverages, too. If you book the chocolate and margarita workshop, you’ll get a chocolate margarita as part of the package.
The Mayan Chocolate Company offers three different tours, including the chocolate workshop and the general admission tour, so you can choose the activities that work best for you.
Unlike many chocolate factory tours, the Mayan Cacao Company is a multi-building site where you go from place to place rather than being jammed into a single small area.
Visit a Family-Owned Pearl Farm
The Cozumel Pearl Farm is another unique attraction in Cozumel. This is family owned and operated, and the family is your guide during your visit.
The Mexican government declared this a natural protected area in 2012, which ensures that you see a thriving natural area. To get there, you start with a 45-minute boat ride to an area only local fishermen – and pearl farm explorers – visit.
On the tour, you see the facilities and learn how they cultivate pearls. You gain a true appreciation for the patience needed in this process.
You then snorkel the oyster hatchery where you see a life-size Virgin of Guadalupe statue under the water. The Cozumel Pearl Farm created this artificial reef and also have beautiful natural reefs.
After this, enjoy a pineapple cheeseburger and cold beer back at the pearl farm’s palapa. The remaining time lets you relax on the beach or in a hammock. You can walk the beach or swim in the ocean.
The tour is much less crowded and more secluded than many in Cozumel. This six-hour tour runs six days a week and has a maximum of eight visitors per tour.
Splurge on Shopping
You can’t visit Cozumel without going shopping. One of the most popular shopping areas is the Cozumel downtown.
The main street, Melgar Avenue, bursts with souvenir shops and boutiques. Many of them offer traditional Mexican clothing, pottery, jewelry, leather goods, and other easy-to-pack souvenirs.
The prices are generally reasonable, and many stores offer discounts if you purchase multiple items.
For more high-end items, visit La Plaza Shopping Center that includes designer shops and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
If you’re looking for something on the other end of the spectrum, visit the San Miguel market. There you can find local handcrafted items like handmade jewelry and wood carvings.
This is also a great place to grab local snacks from the food stalls that sell everything from empanadas and tamales to tacos and more.
“I love Cozumel — to shop. I have purchased beautiful Mexican silver figurines, world class Mezcal, clothing, kitchen decor, and even a Persian rug (that is incredibly gorgeous) at inexpensive prices. There is so much to choose from, and some of the best prices in the Caribbean for all sorts of durable goods.”— Ann, Ann’s Entitled Life
Enjoy a Local Food Tour
If you have a foodie traveling with you, make sure that you do a food tour. So many cities have great food tours, and Cozumel doesn’t disappoint.
The Cozumel Chef Food Tour visits several restaurants in Cozumel where you enjoy a different dish and local drink at each one.
Best of all, these are not the typical tourist restaurants, so you eat like a local with more unique and often tastier dishes.
If you are vegetarian, they can accommodate you. Just make sure you let them know in advance.
This three-hour tour has plenty of food and drink. Make sure you come hungry because you will leave stuffed.
Sip on a Free Tequila Tasting Tour
If you’re more interested in the beverage side of tours, do not miss the Mi Mexico Lindo Tequila Tour. This free tour walks you through the entire tequila process and is demonstrated by a five generation distiller.
You learn about all the stages of making tequila from the harvest of the agave until they bottle. Of course, yes, they offer tastings at the end of the tour.
They have several unique tequila flavors including several infused varieties. While you have the opportunity to purchase, it is not required.
Learn About the History of Cozumel
To learn more about the history of Cozumel and the Mayans, do not miss Pueblo del Maiz. This is the recreation of an ancient Mayan village.
Once you enter, a Mayan priest blesses you as part of the welcome ceremony. You make an offering to the Mayan god of corn, and you can have your face painted with natural pigments.
Inside the Pueblo, you learn about all aspects of Mayan life via the seven different palapas. Start with the chicle tree chewing gum production that you can observe and then taste.
The activities are all interactive and hands-on, so you get to learn and enjoy.
For example, in the tortilla palapa, you learn how to make homemade corn tortillas that you then enjoy with fresh salsa. Taste hibiscus and honey at another palapa.
Of course there is a cocoa palapa where you try cocoa beans as well as the traditional hot chocolate they make. Inside the sisal palapa, see how the Mayans used sisal fibers to make sandals, baskets, and more.
This is one of those activities that so many people simply don’t know exist in Cozumel, but it is absolutely worth your time and money to visit.
Don’t Skip Mr. Sancho’s
If you want a more traditional Cozumel activity, visit Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club. You’ll find this excursion on any cruise itinerary.
Not surprisingly, this is not going to be off the beaten path and can often be crowded. However, it is a ton of fun.
Mr. Sancho’s offers all you can eat and drink from both their buffet and food you can order off the menu. While it isn’t gourmet food, it’s tasty and plentiful.
Take time to use the kayaks, and remember to use a locker to store your valuables. Bring your own towels, as Mr. Sancho’s rents their towels.
They do have an aquatic park on site as well as additional activities like a jet ski, ATV, horseback riding, and parasailing. Those all come at an additional cost, but it’s handy to have them all in one place.
This is a great way to enjoy the beach and relax with everything on site. Definitely plan to enjoy the whole day here, as there is so much to see, do, and explore at the beach club.
Explore the Jungle on an ATV
If you want more of an adrenaline rush, check out the ATV tours. Who doesn’t want to drive their own quad bike as they explore the jungle?
Many take you through caves, as well as stopping at the Jade Cavern cenote where you can dive in to enjoy the crystal clear fresh water.
You will get dirty on this excursion, but it’s a ton of fun and lets you see so much of the area up close and personal in a short amount of time.
Cozumel is a popular cruise stop and vacation destination. No matter what you enjoy, you can find plenty of things to do in Cozumel.
In fact, this list may take you several vacations to visit everything. Share what you love to do in the comments.
Michelle Price is a food and travel writer at Honest and Truly who almost has an empty nest. She loves to provide both the inspiration and the confidence you need to help you get into the kitchen and on the road to enjoy new flavors and experiences.