Sitting just off the gorgeous Yucatan coast, Cozumel revels in its mythic white-sand beaches and world-class coral reefs. Yet Cozumel is also the last stronghold of the Mayas, who settled the island in 300 A.D. Residents still speak Maya, and sometimes wear traditional Mayan clothing. Nearby stand the great pyramids and temples of their ancestors.
What to do in Cozumel, MexicoThe most popular things to do in Cozumel Cruise Port include beaches, water sports, exploring cultural artifacts and learning about the surrounding ecosystem. You’ll need many trips to Cozumel (yes please) to take in all that the island has to offer. Though here are the highlights to consider while your’e in port.
Downtown Cozumel (San Miguel)Downtown Cozumel is a great option if interested in shopping, eating, or partying (not necessarily in that order). One of the most notable attractions in the down town area is Plaza del Sol. This is Cozumel’s major town square and known by locals as “zocalo.” The other significant landmark is the International Pier (SSA Mexico Dock). Both areas offer hours of entertainment and the coldest beers we’ve found on the island.
Ecosystem ToursFor the nature-lovers out there, Cozumel offers a variety of opportunities to explore the diverse environment. Interact with dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, manatees or sharks offshore. Or, play with monkeys in the jungle if you’d prefer to stay on land.
Cultural ActivitiesThe Mayans rich cultural history is fascinating. For instance, did you know that they’d built their own saunas and ball courts? These can still be seen in the ruins today. You’ll find a number of excursions focused on exploring the rich history of the Mayans.
Beaches & Water ActivitiesThere are multiple smaller beaches near Cozumel Cruise Port, including Park Royal Cozumel and Playa Azul Beach Club. Or, you can get a ride to a larger more popular beach, like Playa Palancar or Paradise Beach. Check out our “Beaches near Cozumel Cruise Port” section below for specifics.
Cozumel offers some amazing snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities with visibility in the hundreds of feet. You’ll find natural reefs, caves, and even a sunken airplane. Other water options include horseback riding, submarine tours, jet boats and more.
Shopping in Cozumel, MexicoIf you’re looking for a shopping experience in Cozumel, you’ll find plenty of options. If you’re looking for a couple quick items, your cruise terminal will be most convenient. If you’re looking for a more robust shopping experience, you’ll want to head downtown to San Miguel (Plaza Del Sol in the town square).
Some popular shopping items purchased in Cozumel include chocolate and vanilla. Both make for great gifts to bring home. For those looking to buy gifts for themselves, jewelry and silver are an option. Then there are the more common items for port-cities, like hammocks, clothes, and other hand-woven goods. It’s a good idea to bring cash to avoid any issues with credit cards.
Here are your main shopping options in Cozumel.
San Miguel (Plaza del Sol in town square)This will provide the most options for shopping while in Cozumel Cruise Port. You’ll also experience a much more authentic experience than when shopping directly in the cruise terminal areas. You’ll find traditional items like clothing, hammocks, blankets, and more. You can also expect an abundance of higher-end jewelry stores and retailers looking for your consumer dollars.
Punta Langosta PierIf you’re coming into Punta Langosta terminal, and looking to shop, then you’re in luck. Of the three Cozumel cruise docks, you’re the closest to the downtown area and its many retail options. See above for “San Miguel” info.
International Pier ShoppingOnce you leave the immediate cruise pier, you’ll see the Royal Village Cozumel Shopping Center. This upscale retail plaza features jewelry stores (Diamonds International), high-end clothing (Lacoste, Nike, Marti, etc), and premium dining (Hard Rock Cafe). The Royal Village also hosts shows and events, so check the local calendar to see if there’s anything unique going on.
Puerta Maya PortThis terminal and retail plaza is the newest to the area. Built by Carnival, it boasts more than 50 retail shops. From high-end jewelry to smaller sundry stores, you’ll find what you need. But, you’ll likely pay more than you would if shopping downtown. If you’re hungry or looking to throw back some tequila, you’re in luck here. Pancho’s Backyard and Fat Tuesday will be happy to wet your whistle.
Directly across the street from Punta Langosta Port is the accompanying mall. Here you’ll find Starbucks (yay internet), Diamonds International, and other more prominent retailers. There’s also a Hooters, Hard Rock, Carlos n’ Charlies, and Senior Frogs if you’re interested in a bar tour. Just don’t miss the ship.
Beaches in Cozumel, MexicoWhen you think of Cozumel, you picture beautiful beaches and white sand as far as the eyes can see. While Cozumel does offer amazing beach options, you’ll need to leave the immediate cruise port area.
For those determined to stay within swimming distance of the cruise ship, you still have a couple options.
Grand Park RoyalThe nearest beach option to Puerta Maya Dock and International Pier is the resort at Grand Park Royal. You can walk there in less than 20 minutes from either access point. You’ll be required to purchase a resort pass, which is $40 per person. But, it’ll get you more than beach access! That includes other amenities like pools, chairs, etc.
Playa Azul Beach ClubThis is the closest beach option to Punta Langosta Terminal. It's also the nearest free beach. Although, it's not entirely free. there’s a restaurant and bar on the beach which you’ll be expected to patron if using their facilities.
Best cruise excursions in Cozumel, MexicoWe've analyzed tens of thousands of cruise tours to find your ideal attraction while in port. Based on these reviews, here are the Best Cruise Excursions in Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico cruise port map
Cozumel, Mexico Cruise Port TerminalsThere are three major cruise terminals in the port of Cozumel: Punta Langosta Pier, International Pier (SSA Mexico Dock) and Puerta Maya Pier. Typically, ships dock in the same “slip” every time they get to port. This could always change based on weather and other factors, but generally it’s consistent. You’ll want to know which Cozumel terminal you’ll be docked, so you don’t end up at the wrong pier. When in doubt, just look for your ship. They’re quite big and easy to point to from most parts of the island.
Punta Langosta PierThis terminal is closest to Downtown Cozumel (San Miguel). It’ll take roughly five minutes (depending on how hard you hit the buffet) to reach the town center area from Punta Langosta.
Puerta Maya PierSlightly further south from San Miguel is Puerta Maya Pier. It’s about 3 miles from the downtown area.
Puerta Maya hosts Carnival branded ships brands owned by Carnival (Princess, Holland America, etc). It’s the newest development of the three Cozumel cruise ports. You’ll find shops, restaurants (like Fat Tuesday), and sundry stores here. Prices will trend higher than found outside the terminal area.
International Pier (SSA Mexico Dock)International Pier (a.k.a SSA Mexico Dock) is roughly 2.5 miles south of San Miguel. In a taxi, it’s a 5-10 minute drive along the coast. Or you can take a leisurely 45-minute walk along the promenade.
The largest cruise ships require this dock so you’ll typically see Royal Caribbean and Norwegian ships parked here.
The immediate surrounding areas include smaller shops and restaurants. Prices will be higher here than downtown.