Cozumel is Mexico’s shiniest Caribbean gem. Located just off the coast of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Cozumel is lined with gorgeous beaches, packed with incredible restaurants, and ready to host you on the perfect Caribbean getaway. We spend a lot of time in Mexico, and there are few places we have found that are as relaxing and beautiful as Cozumel.
While the island is definitely touristy, it is popular for good reasons. From fantastic beach clubs, to Mayan ruins, to tequila tastings, and beyond, Cozumel has something for everyone.
While it is an extremely popular tourist destination, its own airport isn’t all that big. This is because many people choose to couple a visit to Cozumel with a visit to another Mexican destination, like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum. If you’re heading to Cozumel, the odds are you will need to pass through Cancun first.
Getting from Cancun to Cozumel takes a bit of coordination and time, but all in all, it is very easy to do. While Cozumel does have its own airport (CZM), it is small and is not connected by very many flight routes. Landing right in Cozumel is very convenient, but it often comes at the expense of much higher airfare and added layovers. In most cases, the best flight options – in terms of price and duration – will be to Cancun International Airport (CUN).
Cancun is located on Mexico’s mainland, and you will need to secure a blend of transportation methods to get from Cancun to Cozumel. While this can be tricky to do on your own, our friends at Bookaway can make the process much simpler for you.
As Cancun International Airport is one of the busiest and best-connected airports in Mexico, opting for a flight into Cancun instead of Cozumel can save you hundreds of dollars, when it’s all said and done.
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Step 1: Get from the airport to Playa del Carmen.
Getting from Cancun International Airport to Cozumel requires a few steps. Firstly, you need to get from the airport to Playa del Carmen. This is a touristy port city about an hour south of Cancun, and it is going to be your launching point for the second leg of your journey. To get from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen, you will need to take either a bus, a taxi, or a private transfer.
Uber does not service the Cancun airport, or anywhere else in the state of Quintana Roo where Cozumel and Cancun are located. While taxis are an option, the taxi drivers will almost certainly rip you off. Even as someone who speaks fluent Spanish and is familiar with the Mexican way, it takes me hours of haggling to reach a fair price with these guys.
You are so much better off opting for the bus. Once, after two hours of negotiation (no exaggeration), we got them to lower the price from 1800 pesos (90 American dollars) to 1100 pesos (55 American dollars). In Mexico, 55 dollars for any taxi ride is a ripoff.
To avoid this hassle, we recommend you hop on the ADO bus. The ticket counters are located outside of terminal 3 and inside terminal 2, but availability is limited and bus schedules are spotty. If you can book this ahead of time, do it.
If you’re flying from the United States you will probably land in terminal 3. The bus takes about an hour and drops you off right downtown in Playa del Carmen.
Step 2: The second leg of your journey is on a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel.
From the station in Playa del Carmen, you’ll want to walk a few blocks to the ferry terminal, which will be to the right when you exit the bus station.
There are two ferry companies – Ultramar and Winjet – and they alternate departures to the island. When you get to the terminal, it’ll be easy to figure out which one is heading out next. Buy your ferry tickets at the respective company’s counter and you’re all set!
Depending on the time and day, the lines to buy ferry tickets can be extremely long. If you’re going in the summer, get ready for a hot afternoon! If you’re sure of your timing, booking your ticket ahead of time is always a good idea. The ferry takes about 45 minutes and will drop you off right at the main port in Cozumel.
Step 3: Take a taxi to your accomodation
From there all you need to do is take a taxi to your accommodation, and you’re all set! The return trip to the Cancun airport works the exact same way. The ferry is very nice and offers drink and food service on board for additional costs.
While you can book these buses and ferries on your own, using a reliable source like our partners at Bookaway takes a lot of hassle out of your trip. Bookaway is dedicated to providing live support during your trip, and they do a great job of making sure that your travels happen without a hitch. If you want to try out Bookaway, follow this link to book your next travel!
While getting to Cozumel can be a bit of a hassle, it is so worth it. We wrote an entire travel guide about Cozumel, including the best things to do in Cozumel, how to get around, and more. Basically, our Cozumel travel guide has everything you need to know about visiting the island.
Between that post and this post on getting from Cancun to Cozumel, we’ve got you covered! Be sure to reach out before your trip, as we would love to chat about one of our favorite places before you go!
Hopefully, this post answered any questions you have about how to get from Cancun to Cozumel. While it can be a bit out of the way, visiting Cozumel is very worth it and has the potential to be one of the highlights of your trip. If you have any questions about Cozumel or getting to Cozumel from Cancun, let us know by dropping a comment below! Otherwise, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day.
Please comment any further questions you may have about traveling to Cozumel!