What to See & Do in Cozumel on A Day Trip [2023]

Cozumel Day Trip from Cancun & Playa del Carmen

Planning a day trip to Cozumel?

If you find yourself in Cozumel on a cruise ship or simply want to spend a day exploring this beautiful island off the coast from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, rest assured there are plenty of things to do.

🤿 Don’t have time to read the whole article? The most cost-effective way to spend a day in Cozumel is to get Mr. Sanchos Beach Club All-Inclusive Day Pass. For a hassle-free experience from Playa del Carmen, considering booking the all-inclusive Cozumel Island Tour with Ferry, Snorkel, Virgin Beach, Buggy and Lunch!

In this post, I’ll give you some tips on how to spend a perfect day in Cozumel. Whether you want to soak up the sun on a pristine beach, explore the unspoiled coral reef, or view a shipwreck, I will help you make the most of your time on this incredible island.

Ready for an adventure? Let’s go!

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Is Cozumel worth a day trip from Riviera Maya?

The answer is a resounding yes! Cozumel is a beautiful island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It is a paradise for those who love nature and adventure, as the island is less developed and commercialized than Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other big resort towns in Riviera Maya.

There’s plenty to do on the island, and you’ll find that a day trip is a perfect way to get a taste of Cozumel. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the pool or an adventure-filled day of snorkeling and exploring, Cozumel has something for everyone.

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What to do in Cozumel for one day?

Cozumel offers visitors plenty of things to do, including a chance to relax on the beach and enjoy the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, explore ancient ruins, or marvel at wildlife in the underwater world with snorkeling and scuba diving.

For beach lovers who want to spend the day relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of options. You can opt for the all-inclusive day pass at Mr. Sanchos Beach Club or Paradise Beach for private beach access, food, and beverages.

Playa Mia Beach Break is another popular choice, with its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters. There are also several smaller, more intimate beaches dotted around Cozumel, but you may want to stay on the west side of the island (facing Playa del Carmen) as it has calmer beaches and better reefs for snorkeling.

The main square, San Miguel de Cozumel, offers many restaurants, snack bars, and souvenir shops along the waterfront. You can also explore the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio, take a glass-bottom boat tour to see the coral reefs, or view a shipwreck with Atlantis Submarine Expedition.

Best resorts in Cozumel

Day Trip from Cancun to Cozumel

There is no direct ferry from Cancun to Cozumel, but you can take a flight from Cancun to Cozumel or get a ride to Playa del Carmen and take a ferry. ➡More details on How to Get to Cozumel from Cancun.

Can you take a day trip to Cozumel from Cancun?

Other than cruise ship passengers, most visitors to Cozumel would travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and stay one or a few days to rest or visit the popular Xcaret adventure parks, before taking a day trip from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. That allows visitors more time to relax and not feel cramped on a day trip. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for you to do a day trip from Cancun to Cozumel.

The easiest way to get to Cozumel on a day trip from Cancun without worrying about logistics is to join a group tour from Cancun and let your guides take care of the door-to-door transfer.

🤿Check Prices for Cozumel & Snorkel Day Trip from Cancun

The tour will take you from your hotel in Cancun to Playa del Carmen and have your ferry roundtrip tickets ready for you to board the boat to Cozumel. All you have to worry about is showing up on time for the pick-up from your hotel.

After a 45-minute boat ride crossing the water from Playa del Carmen, you will have approximately 9 hours to explore the island of Cozumel, including ample time for snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, relaxing on the white-sand beaches, and checking out the Museum of the Island of Cozumel or the Mayan Cacao Company in San Miguel.

If you want to get to Cozumel from Cancun on your own, you can take a private transfer to the pier and follow the instructions below to get from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Even though it is possible to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen with cheaper transportation options like shared shuttle and bus, it is not recommended for a day trip because it will lengthen your transportation time and give you much less time to actually enjoy Cozumel.

Day Trip from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Cozumel is a perfect day trip from Riviera Maya, especially from Playa del Carmen thanks to its easy transportation. The ferry terminal at Playa del Carmen is located right in downtown near the main square on Quinta Avenida/Fifth Avenue and Parque Los Fundadores. On a clear day, you can see the island of Cozumel while standing from the pier.

How to Get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen

To get from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, there are two ferry companies that offer service. The Ultramar and Winjet both have big stable boats with comfortable seats; they also provide toilets on board as well as a cafeteria where you can buy soft drinks or snacks while crossing the ocean.

For both companies, there are kiosks at the pier, so you don’t need to make a reservation in advance. Just show up and buy a ticket for the next boat leaving. If you are set on when you want to return to Playa del Carmen, you can buy a ticket for your return trip then to avoid waiting in line again on the other side.

The Winjet ferry has very limited outdoor seating. In addition, the outdoor seating on Winjet is near the engines, so depending on where you sit and the direction of the wind, there can be an uncomfortable smell from engines which makes the ride less enjoyable!

Ultramar has more outdoor seats so you will have better luck finding a seat in the open air. The rooftop deck on Ultramar ferry does have better views as well!

How much does it cost to take the ferry to Cozumel?

A one-way ferry ticket from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel costs about 250 pesos for one adult and 200 pesos for a child over one year old. Depending on the exchange rates, it converts to roughly $12 USD/adult and $10 USD/child. There is no discount for buying a round-trip ticket so it is the same price as booking two one-way tickets.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, consider joining a day trip tour and let the professional guide worry about all the logistics.

⛴️ Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Island Tour with Ferry, Snorkel, Virgin Beach, Buggy and Lunch

The tour includes the ferry tickets between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. After crossing the water, you’ll be transferred from the ferry to Chankanaab Park, located inside National Marine Park. You will have plenty of things to do there, including exploring the botanical gardens, watching the sea lion show, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying snorkeling in crystal clear waters.

After that, you can grab an all-terrain buggy to go to Punta Sur Ecological Park and climb the emblematic Celarain Lighthouse. Take panoramic photos of the stunning scenery and visit the El Caracol sanctuary with archaeological remains and Laguna Colombia, which houses a variety of birds and crocodiles. The last stop will be tequila tasting before heading back to Playa del Carmen.

Cozumel Day Trip Itineraries

If you have arrived in Cozumel on a cruise ship, a plane, or a ferry without booking an all-inclusive tour, it’s time to start planning your activities on the island. Below, you will find a few of my suggested itineraries depending on the type of travelers you are and your budget!

One thing you absolutely do not want to miss is the crystal clear water of Cozumel! The reefs at Cozumel are teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral formations. It’s really is a heaven for those who want to explore the underwater world by snorkeling and scuba diving.

#1. Best Cozumel Day Trip Itinerary for Beach Lovers

If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up some rays, a Cozumel beach club would be the perfect spot. There are many beach clubs to choose from on the island, such as Paradise Beach and Playa Mia Beach Break.

However, I would recommend Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club for the best deal on private beach access, facilities, food, and beverages. Plus, it is only a 10-minute drive from the Cruise Ship Terminal.

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At Mr. Sancho’s, you can enjoy a relaxing day by the ocean or have a day filled with fun activities! Located on 1,500 feet of pristine sandy beach, Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club provides plenty of opportunities for water sports such as snorkeling, diving, wave runners, parasailing, and more. You can also explore both the jungle and the beach on horseback or by ATV.

The all-inclusive pass offers great value as it includes not just the private beach access, lockers, restrooms, but also unlimited food and drinks that will enable you to get a stress-free and relaxing day!

There are 13 Cabanas available on a first-come first-serve basis, so you may be able to grab one if you arrive early. For a guarantee of a private cabana, you can reserve with the “Mr Sancho’s Romantic Day Beach Pass for Two“. The romantic pass includes access to an all-you-can-eat food and drinks menu, a private cabana overlooking the Caribbean Sea, and a couples massage.

💘Check Prices for Mr. Sancho’s Romantic Day Beach Pass for Two

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Activities at Mr. Sancho’s Cozumel Beach Club


There are lots of colorful fish in the crystal clear waters, so make sure you bring your snorkel gear! There are sports stores and OXO near the cruise ship terminal where you can pick up a mask for as low as $15-$20. If you haven’t had the chance to grab them, you can always rent the snorkel gear at Mr. Sanchos.

Mr. Sancho’s Aquatic Park

The aquatic park add-on at Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club is the perfect way to enjoy your day with friends and family. With water slides, icebergs, trampolines, floating toys, and more, there’s something for everyone! The activities are not just for children and teenagers, they are also fun for adults. It’s like taking a trip back in time and remembering some awesome childhood memories.

Cozumel Beach Horseback Riding Tour

Looking for a unique way to explore Cozumel? Saddle up for a horseback riding adventure through the jungle and down to the beach. This family-friendly tour is perfect for riders of all levels, and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the stunning scenery and sparkling waters.

#2. Cozumel Island Tours & Excursions for Adventurers

For those looking for an action-packed day, I would recommend an ATV tour through the island’s jungle and beach.

🚵Check Prices for ATV Mud Kicking and Snorkeling Experience in Cozumel

If you haven’t done any ATV excursions because of the price tag, this is your chance! I find ATV tours in Cozumel much cheaper than other Mexican beach towns. With all the offerings in this private tour, I think the price is very reasonable!

ATV Mud Kicking and Snorkeling Tour will take you through the jungle to the Jade cenote, where you can take a dip and cool off in the emerald water. Afterward, you will head to the Tortugas Beach Club and enjoy snorkeling or relaxing at the beach.

This tour includes lunch, an open bar, as well as snorkeling gear. Transportation from the hotel, cruise ship, and ferry terminal is included, so you won’t have to worry about any logistics.

If you are like me (an overachiever when it comes to travel itineraries), you can book the ATV tour at 11:00 PM or 1:00 PM, and enjoy some free time in the morning.

You can use that free time to hang out in San Miguel de Cozumel, go shopping by the ferry terminal, or check out the Atlantis Submarine – my favorite activity!

🚢Atlantis Submarine Expedition in Cozumel

This is one of the most popular things to do in Cozumel, and for good reason. The Atlantis Submarine takes you 100 feet below the surface to explore the amazing coral reef and marine life in Chankanaab, an environmentally protected marine park. You will see a wide variety of fish, stingrays, turtles, and a shipwreck!

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#3. Things to do in Cozumel for Budget Travelers

If you are looking to save some money, you could plan a DIY day trip in Cozumel. Start your day with a stroll down the malecon – Cozumel’s waterfront promenade or the downtown bustling shopping area.

Grab a coffee or freshly squeezed juice from one of the many cafes lining the street and enjoy the views of the turquoise waters. If you’re feeling active, rent a bike or scooter and explore the island. The rental company will provide you with a map of Cozumel’s attractions so you can follow the route.

Alternatively, grab your own snorkel gear and hit the public beaches in Cozumel, such as Sunset Beach, Playa Palancar, Paradise Beach.

If you don’t have your snorkel gear, you can sign up for the Snorkeling Tour by Glass Bottom Boat for only $30 and enjoy a couple of hours on a stress-free excursion off the coast of Cozumel.

🚣Cozumel Snorkeling by Glass Bottom Boat with Guide

Board a glass-bottom boat and enjoy views of the coastline as you’re transported to shallow underwater reefs where you can snorkel and see tropical fish, sea turtles, and stingrays. Snorkeling equipment is included, as well as beer, soft drinks, and water.

Getting Around Cozumel

There are a few different ways to get around the island, and the best way to get around depends on your budget and your desired level of activity.

1. Walking & Taxis

I find the combo of walking and taking taxis when necessary to be the best way to get around the island. From the ferry pier, you can easily walk to the main square of San Miguel de Cozumel. If you get off from the cruise ship terminal, it is only a 10-minute walk to the Atlantis Submarine Expedition.

Taxis are widely available and the prices are much more reasonable than in Cancun or Riviera Maya. If you get a taxi from the taxi stands outside of the ferry terminal pier, the price is fixed based on your destination and you can find the price chart on the board. From the ferry pier to the cruise ship terminal, it costs around $15. If you book a taxi from other places in Cozumel, you can negotiate the prices with the taxi driver.

Taxis in Cozumel do not accept credit cards for payment, so make sure you have cash with you.

2. Renting a Car

If you don’t have any planned activities at a beach club or an eco-park, you can rent a car to explore the area at your own pace and stop whenever you want to take photos or swim. The roads that wrap around the island are very well-maintained and offer great views of the sea.

Renting a car in Cozumel tends to be more expensive than renting a car in Cancun and Riviera Maya because of the lower supply, but if you get lucky, you may be able to rent a car for only $30-$40 USD per day. During high season, prices can jump up to $80-$100 USD per day.

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3. Jeep or Dune Buggy

You can easily get around the island with a jeep or dune buggy tour. These tours take you off the beaten path and allow you to see parts of the island that you would not be able to reach on your own. In addition, the tour guides are knowledgeable about the history and culture of Cozumel, and they will be able to answer any questions you have about the island.

🛺Check Prices for Jeep & Dune Buggy in Cozumel

Isla Mujeres vs Cozumel: Which is better for Vacation?

The Wrap Up: Cozumel Day Trip

Cozumel is a beautiful place in the Caribbean that has something for everyone, whether you are looking for an action-packed day or a relaxing beach day. No matter what your ideal day in Cozumel looks like, you will find the perfect spot to relax and have some fun.

With so many exciting excursions and great tour options, it can be hard to decide what to do, but I have listed my favorites and I hope you find them helpful to narrow down your choices.

✔️Mr. Sanchos Beach Club All-Inclusive Day Pass

✔️Cozumel Beach Horseback Riding Tour

✔️ATV Mud Kicking and Snorkeling Experience in Cozumel

✔️Atlantis Submarine Expedition in Cozumel

✔️Cozumel Snorkeling by Glass Bottom Boat with Guide

Remember that sunscreen is a must, no matter what time of year you visit. Have an amazing trip to Cozumel!

🛎️Thinking of staying in Cozumel longer than one day? Check out these best hotels & resorts in Cozumel!

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