Cheap Day Trip to Cozumel

As many of you know, I have called Mexico home for a little over a year now.

I’ve spent the majority of my time in Mexico living in a beautiful seaside town called Playa del Carmen which is conveniently located just 45 minutes south of Cancun, approximately 50 minutes north of Tulum and a short 30 minute ferry ride to the island of Cozumel.

Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve visited and explored a good chunk of the Riviera Maya including Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, Akumal, Tulum along with a variety of beaches, pools and cenotes in between.

The only destination that I had been wanting to visit but hadn’t was Cozumel.

Despite being able to see the island of Cozumel from the beaches of Playa del Carmen, I always had an excuse as to why I never hopped on the ferry and made my way over there.

That was until last week when my good friend Seth from Everything Playa del Carmen extended me a last minute invitation to take a day trip to Cozumel to which I happily accepted.

Below, you’ll find a ton of really helpful information when it comes to visiting Cozumel on a day trip from Playa del Carmen.

I’ll start by highlighting my personal experience from my day trip to Cozumel as well as alternative things to do in Cozumel on a budget. Let’s get started.

Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Flying to Cozumel

First I’ll start by explaining the best ways to find cheap flights to Cozumel for those of you who are still in the planning stages of your trip.

The following two websites are the resources I use to plan all of my travels.

My best advice is to use both sites to compare prices and find the best deal.

SEARCH SKYSCANNER NOW → SEARCH GOOGLE FLIGHTS NOW →

The best way to get to Cozumel (if you’re visiting from abroad) is obviously to fly.

If you’re already in Mexico I advise you to double check Skyscanner (above) to see if there are any flights directly to the island versus having to fly to Cancun, take a bus to Playa del Carmen and then a ferry over to Cozumel.

Flights are not only much shorter travel time but also much more convenient.

Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Getting from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel by ferry really couldn’t be any easier.

Start your day early by heading down to the ferry port in Playa del Carmen, located directly next to Señor Frog’s and just a few steps from Parque Fundadores where the Portal Maya Sculpture can be found. You can’t miss it.

If you do happen to lose your bearings, just simply ask the nearest tourist police officer where the ferry port is and they’ll gladly send you in the right direction.

There are three different ferry companies [UltramarMexico Water Jets & Barcos Caribe] that service the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry route.

All three ferry companies have ticket kiosks located directly in front of the port where you can purchase your tickets.

Barcos Caribe Cozumel Ferry

We decided to purchase our tickets at the Barcos Caribe kiosk as they offered the cheapest deal to Cozumel — $135 pesos per person (one-way) or $270 pesos (round-trip).

NOTE: Notice the signs in the background of the photo above advertising that you can also pay in U.S. Dollars. Sounds convenient, right? While it might be more convenient for you to pay in dollars, it also means you’ll end up paying more than you should for you ferry ticket. As a matter of fact, it’s not just ferry tickets but using U.S. Dollars to purchase anything in Mexico will always cost you more. Do yourself a favor and come prepared to mexico with pesos in hand (aka never pay in U.S. Dollars).

All of the ferry companies pretty much take the same amount of time to reach Cozumel.

If anything it would be a matter of minutes difference on a trip that takes approximately 30-35 minutes depending on how rough the sea is the day of your trip.

Cozumel Ferry Schedules:

Barco Caribe / Ultramar / Mexico Water Jets

Cozumel Ferry Rates:

Barco Caribe / Ultramar / Mexico Water Jets

Arriving in Cozumel

Arriving in Cozumel

As soon as you arrive in Cozumel, you’ll find yourself walking through the port towards town, passing groups of attention seeking salesman trying to rent you everything from motor scooters, rental cars, jeeps, tours and more.

NOTE: Rental vehicles make exploring Cozumel a heck of a lot easier. Unfortunately, the majority of rental car companies on the island have a horrible reputation and many people have complained of either getting scammed or receiving cars that breakdown when you need them most. Renters beware!

We weren’t looking to explore the island as much this time around as we were wanting to enjoy some simple fun in the sun on a budget. 

Our plan for the day was to make our way to the Coral Princess Resort, a small hotel and dive resort located approximately 1.7 miles (2.8km) north of the ferry terminal.

We were in no rush to get there and the weather was beautiful so we decided to walk to the resort.

If you’re not up for walking, a taxi ride to/from the ferry pier and the Coral Princess Resort should cost 60 pesos (ask before getting in the taxi).

Once we arrived at the resort we approached the staff at the front desk and told them we were not staying at the resort but we were interested in spending the day eating, drinking and swimming at the property.

The staff quoted us a price of $200 pesos/per person and before we knew it we were being lead out to the pool and beach area of the resort.

Coral Princess Resort - Cozumel
As with many hotels in the Riviera Maya, a “day pass” or “minimum spend” can be had by simply asking someone at the front desk if they allow visitors to spend the day at the resort. Many day passes at some of the more major resorts in the Riviera Maya can be in the range of $50-150 USD/day depending on the quality of the resort, if it’s an all-inclusive, along with many other factors. Other smaller and more budget friendly resorts offer day passes or chair usage for a minimum spend ranging anywhere from 100-300 pesos/day. All this means is that everyone in your party needs to meet the minimum spend over the course of the day on food and beverages.
BYOM - Bring Your Own Margaritas

Snorkeling and Swimming in Cozumel

We started off our morning with a couple celebratory margaritas along with some food.

The food was your typical resort style food, nothing spectacular by any means but it did the trick.

I’m so glad I made the last minute decision to B.Y.O.M. (Bring Your Own Margaritas).

The taste of Cayman Jack – pure agave and organic limes – paired perfectly with our lunch under the sun.

IMG_2984

After lunch we spent a little time soaking up the rays and then we jumped into the sea to cool off. 

It couldn’t have felt any more refreshing. That’s the Caribbean for you.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our day of snorkeling and swimming off the coast of Cozumel.

Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cozumel
Freedive

I mean, seriously. What better way to spend a day in Cozumel than to be hanging around basking in the sun with a couple friends.

Packing for Cozumel

Packing for Cozumel

Below, you’ll find a short list of items to consider when packing for a day trip to Cozumel.

  • Money (bring your pesos — avoid spending dollars/euros)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Snorkeling Equipment (can be purchased at Walmart in Playa del Carmen)
  • Camera (I shoot with the Canon G7x & GoPro HERO4 Silver)
  • Tripod (Gorillapod — great for stabilized shots of your adventures)
Fun in the sun in Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel on a Budget — Breakdown

So, you’re probably wondering what it costs to do a day trip to Cozumel on a budget, right? Well here’s the breakdown.

  • Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Ferry tickets: $270 pesos (round-trip)
  • Day pass / Minimum Spend at Coral Princess Hotel: $200 pesos
  • Total cost: $470 pesos — or approximately $23 USD (updated: 12/20/16)

As you can see, you don’t necessarily have to put a damper on your wallet by visiting Cozumel for the day. In my case, it cost me around $30 USD.

I’d say anything under $50 could still be considered to be a budget friendly price for a fun day trip from Playa del Carmen.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel Resources

Below, you’ll find a list of the best online resources for your vistit to Cozumel.

I think you’ll find a number of them to be very useful when planning your next trip.

Have you been to Cozumel? If so, what would you recommend for things to do on a budget?