Where is Cozumel?
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel.
How do I get there?
Cozumel has an international airport with many direct scheduled flights from cities in the USA, Mexico City, Cancun. Many charter airlines also fly to Cozumel. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Cancun airport and make the connection to Cozumel by bus and ferry. The journey takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on waiting times (45 min by bus to Playa del Carmen and another 45 min by ferry to Cozumel). The cheapest bus operator from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen is Riviera, tickets can be purchased in the main airport terminal and the buses are clean and efficient. There are two ferry operators but there is little difference in service or prices between the two, it's best to simply take whichever one is leaving next.
Do I need a visa?
Not usually. Most North Americans and Europeans can enter Mexico with a tourist card – valid for up to 6 months - which you get by simply filling out a form on the airplane or at the arrival airport. However, rules can change, so check with your local Mexican embassy or consulate if you are not sure or if you are visiting for more than six months or for a purpose other than vacation.
What currency is used?
Mexican pesos and US dollars (bills, not usually coins) are accepted in Cozumel. You may get a better deal paying in pesos since you won't lose on the exchange rate. Major credit cards and travelers' checks are also widely accepted and most cards will also work in Mexican ATMs.
How is the climate?
With a subtropical climate the average temperature is about 27°C - 80°F, and because Cozumel is surrounded by water the climate is always humid often around 90%, but often breezy too. All year round you will be able to find sunny days with the usually warm waters. Rainfall is rare apart from during the rainy season (September- November) when showers can be frequent but not disruptive.
What language is spoken?
Spanish is the official language of Mexico and is spoken everywhere in Cozumel. However, due to tourism English is also very widely spoken in Cozumel and non-Spanish speakers should have no problem getting by. You may also here some locals speaking Mayan, the ancient native language of the region.
What time zone is Cozumel in?
Standard time in Cozumel is the same as Cancun: GMT minus 6 hours or minus 5 with daylight saving. This means it usually has the same time as Chicago, Dallas and Winnipeg.
What about the water and ice?
Everyone living and visiting Cozumel drinks bottled water. Restaurants have been serving tourists for 30+ years are a very conscientious about providing ONLY purified water and ice. You will never have a problem. It is advised if you are staying at a resort or private house that does not have a purified water system that you not only do NOT drink water from the tap, but many choose not to brush their teeth in the city water, and keep bottled water next to the sink.
Is it safe for me and my family to walk around Cozumel?
Cozumel has been safe for tourism for its entire history. As the economy changes around the world and economic challenges are more visible, we now recommend you use the same kind of cautions you would use in any city. Be aware of who is around you and if carrying purses, cameras, etc. keep them close and, obviously, don't leave them lying unattended!
What about bargaining, I hear it is the normal way to shop in Mexico?
See our smile. ☺ That has certainly been true in the past and can still be a very fun way to interact with merchants. Please remember that this is how these people support themselves and their families, so when you do bargain, do so with respect and consider what you are offering. If an item is $30.00 US dollars, for example, to offer $5.00 could be insulting. Enjoy the process, the people here love to get to know you and practice their English or help you practice your Spanish and in the process you can get some good deals on arts and crafts from the street vendors!
I hear you can get Cuban cigars on Cozumel?
A word to the wise is all we can say. We cannot say with 100% confidence that the cigars you buy will be Cuban. They could very well be a delicious Mexican cigar, if you are knowledgeable in this area, you will know better than us if it is Cuban, you cannot tell by the packaging!!! And remember, you cannot enter the U.S. legally with cigars from Cuba.
What can I bring back to my home country?
Each plane, ship and each country will have different rules. You would be wise to check in advance what the limits are and buy accordingly. Shipping is very expensive from Cozumel to other countries, so buy what you want while you are here!!!!! Just be sure to check what your cruise ship, or airline or custom officials have advised in terms of the legal quantities to transport and what items are also legal.