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How to Take the 3 Ferries to Cozumel: A Complete Guide

Ferry Xcaret Xailing

How to Take One of the Three Ferries from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking to Cozumel means diving into an escapade that combines stunning beaches, including hidden beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, and some of the world’s most breathtaking underwater experiences. The major town of San Miguel hosts an array of resorts, beach clubs, and restaurants. Exploring the north and south of this large island near Cancún, your stay promises a more relaxed vacation experience. You will experience serene beaches that are Cozumel’s best-kept secrets. Taking the Cozumel ferry to Playa del Carmen becomes a key part of your adventure, presenting a convenient and popular mode of transportation for tourists eager to explore the island’s unique and peaceful shores.

Navigating the waters to Cozumel offers choices between three major ferry companies (Ultramar, Xcaret Xailing, and Winjet), which operate on a half-hour timetable from 8 AM to 10 PM. This guide aims to equip you with all the information, including the Cozumel ferry cost, paving the way for a seamless ferry experience in this tranquil paradise.

Key Takeaways

  • Select a ferry service that aligns with your schedule and comfort preferences.

  • Understand the boarding process to facilitate a smoother transit experience.

  • Enjoy the amenities and views during your ferry ride to Cozumel.

Understanding the Three Ferry Services

For your ferry journey to the captivating island of Cozumel, you’ll choose between three prominent ferry companies. The choices include Ultramar (yellow), Winjet (orange), and Xcaret Ferry (blue and white). All three services offer a gateway to Cozumel’s pristine beaches and vibrant marine life, yet they differ in pricing, comfort, and additional amenities. If you’re transporting a vehicle, Transcaribe and Ultramar operate car ferries for that purpose. Here’s a concise comparison to help you choose the ferry that best suits your needs.

Pricing and Tickets:

  • Winjet: offers a uniform fare system with adult tickets at $14 and children’s tickets at $9, making it a cost-effective option for families and solo travelers.

  • Ultramar: features two pricing tiers: a standard ticket at $17 and a First-Class ticket at $20. The pricing for children’s standard tickets is $13. First-Class offers a premium experience for those seeking more comfort during their journey.

  • Xcaret Xailing: Fares are adult tickets at $14 and children’s tickets at $12.50

Comfort and Amenities:

  • Winjet: Provides a climate-controlled room with comfortable, padded chairs for all ticket holders.
  • Ultramar: The standard ticket includes outdoor seating with minimal shade and no air conditioning, using metal chairs, which might not be the most comfortable option for every passenger.
  • Xcaret Xailing: Provides a climate-controlled room with comfortable, padded chairs for all ticket holders. There is an outdoor area to sit in too.

Entertainment and Refreshments

While the ferry ride is a short crossing, taking 40 minutes, onboard entertainment, such as televisions showing local programs or music can make the time pass more enjoyable. Refreshments are part of the onboard experience, where you can purchase snacks and drinks to satisfy you during the journey.

  • Snacks: Chips, cookies, light bites
  • Beverages: Soft drinks, water, coffee, and alcoholic options for those looking to start the vacation early
  • Xcaret Xailing: Provides FREE filtered water for you, but they do not provide anything else.

Some ferries may also provide insights into water sports once you arrive in Cozumel, making the ride not just a transfer but part of your adventure.

Schedule and Frequency:

Ultramar and Winjet ferries rotate hours, with one leaving on odd hours and the other on even hours. Xcaret Xailing departs at the 30-minute mark (half past each hour). The first ferry departs Playa del Carmen at 8 AM, and the last ferry returns from Cozumel at 9 PM. For the most accurate schedule, checking the specific date of your intended journey is advisable, especially if you’re planning your visit around the Playa del Carmen area.

Xcaret Ferry

Choosing the Right Ferry for You

Choosing the right ferry for your journey to Cozumel is akin to selecting the perfect start to your island adventure. With options like Ultramar, Xcaret Xailing, and Winjet, each offering distinct experiences, here’s a concise breakdown to guide your decision, including the popular Ultramar ferry Cozumel.

Ultramar vs. Winjet vs Xcaret Xailing:

  • Ultramar Ferry is renowned for its newer boats, superior design, and more professional service, ensuring a smoother and more pleasant ride.

  • Winjet, while a viable option, may not match Ultramar in terms of overall experience.

  • Xcaret Xailing runs more often and provides FREE filtered water to all.

Contact Information:

Purchasing Tickets:

  • Online Purchase: Visit the ferry service’s website to buy tickets. All tickets are valid for six months from the purchase date, offering flexibility in your travel planning and booking. It’s wise to book in advance to ensure you get the desired schedule, especially during the busy peak season.

  • At the Terminal: You can secure your ferry booking at the dock in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel. For convenience and to avoid overpaying, buy tickets at the official kiosks of Winjet, Xcaret Xailing, or Ultramar.

Preparation in Playa del Carmen for the Ferry Ride

When organizing your Playa del Carmen to Cozumel ferry trip, remember to think about transportation to the pier, necessary items to pack, and amenities. Ensuring a smooth boarding process begins with timely arrival and having the necessary items for a comfortable journey.

Getting to the Pier in Playa del Carmen

The pier for the Cozumel ferry in Playa del Carmen is centrally located and accessible. If your accommodation is close to the coast, you may find it within walking distance. Taxis can get you there from anywhere in the city. If you’re coming from farther away, the ADO Bus Station in Playa del Carmen is a hub where you can arrive by bus and then take a short walk or taxi to the pier. If you plan on driving the pier might have limited parking, so it’s advisable to arrive early.

What to Bring?

Pack luggage that is easy to maneuver as you may have to carry it on board. Essentials include:

  • Snacks: Although some choices are available, bringing your own could be more economical and cater to personal preferences.

  • Sun Protection: The Caribbean sun can be strong; include sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen.

  • Air Conditioning: A light jacket or shawl is advisable as air conditioning on the ferry can make the interior cold.

Facilities and Amenities

The ferry ride to Cozumel will be approximately 40 minutes, during which you can take advantage of various facilities and amenities. There are clean bathrooms onboard for comfort. Seating options include indoor areas with air conditioning and outdoor decks; both ensure a pleasant trip while offering sea views.

  • Arrival Time: Aim to arrive at the ferry terminal 15-30 minutes before your departure. This window allows ample time for check-in and security procedures, ensuring you don’t miss the boat amidst the bustling activity of tourists and locals alike.
  • Luggage and Pets: The allowance permits each traveler to bring one piece of luggage (up to 25 kg) and a carry-on bag. Remember, additional fees may apply for excess baggage. Small pets are welcome aboard, provided they are in a secure carrier and don’t disturb fellow passengers. Some operators may require a small fee for pet transportation and make you sit outside with your pet.

Health and Comfort:

  • Seasickness: If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider bringing medication, especially on windy days. The crossing can be rough, but it can also be a part of the adventure.

  • Accessibility: Ferry operators offer accommodations for passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms. Contacting the operator in advance to confirm these accommodations is advisable.

By keeping these key points in mind, you’re on your way to a hassle-free start to your Cozumel adventure. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but also enjoying the journey there.

Ultramar Ferry

Navigating the Ferry Terminals

Upon setting foot in Playa del Carmen or Cozumel, the vibrant energy of the ferry terminals acts as your gateway to adventure. Here’s what you need to navigate these bustling hubs with ease:

Terminal Locations and Features:

The ferry terminal graces Playa del Carmen’s downtown area, a stone’s throw from local delights and accommodations. This is where all 3 ferries, including the Playa del Carmen ferry terminal, are located.

In Cozumel, all 3 ferry services dock at the central ferry pier, across from the heart of San Miguel de Cozumel’s main plaza. This prime location places you near the island’s vibrant life, with the ferry terminal itself boasting amenities such as bathrooms, snacks, tour operators, and available taxis.

Exploring Cozumel

When you arrive in Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen, you’ll encounter a world of vibrant marine life, rich history, and relaxation. Cozumel has something for everyone, from scuba diving in coral reefs to land-based explorations in San Miguel.

Activities and Attractions

Cozumel boasts some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the Mexican Caribbean. Don’t miss the opportunity to dive into the clear, azure waters to explore the famed Palancar and Columbia reefs. For history enthusiasts, the San Gervasio Mayan ruins offer a glimpse into the island’s ancient heritage. If you want to unwind, Cozumel has many beach clubs and sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing and relaxation.

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Marine parks with vibrant sea life

  • Mayan Ruins: Cultural and historical tours available

  • Beaches & Beach Clubs: Sun loungers, cocktails, and water sports

Transportation on the Island

Getting around Cozumel is straightforward, with various transportation options catering to your preferences. Taxis are available and can take you from one point to another. For more independence, consider a rental car or a bike to explore the island at your leisure. It’s an excellent way to access more secluded beaches and local dining spots.

  • Taxis: Fixed rates to popular destinations

  • Rental Cars: Freedom to explore the island fully

  • Bikes: Economical and environmentally friendly choice

Accommodations and Dining

You’ll find a range of hotels on Cozumel, from all-inclusive resorts to intimate boutique options. To dine, Cozumel’s culinary scene is a flavorful mix of authentic Mexican cuisine and fresh seafood. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, “Pescado al Horno”, a seasoned baked fish dish that reflects the island’s traditional food culture.

  • Hotels: Options to suit any preference and budget

  • Food: Local restaurants offering traditional Mexican dishes and seafood

  • Beach Club Dining: Savory meals with ocean views

Practical Information

When planning your ferry trip from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel, it’s crucial to be prepared for emergencies and to know some practical travel tips to ensure a seamless journey. This includes understanding the ferry schedule and the Quintana Roo weather.

Handling Emergencies and Delays

In the event of an emergency or unexpected delay, your best course of action is to stay informed and remain calm. Contact the ferry operator if you need immediate help. Keep these key points in mind:

  • Ferry Service: Check the ferry schedule before departure; it can vary, with services between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm.

  • Weather: Always check the local weather in Quintana Roo before your trip, as it can lead to cancellations or delays.

Keep a list of local emergency contacts and tour operators with you in case you need an alternate route to or from the ferry terminals.

Travel Tips for a Seamless Trip

To maximize your travel experience, it’s essential to consider these tips:

  • Cancun & Tulum: If coming from Cancun or Tulum, allocate additional time for transportation to Playa Del Carmen. Direct options like ADO buses are available but will affect your overall schedule.

  • Activities: For those interested in fishing or visiting nearby Isla Mujeres, local tour information is accessible through various tour operators.

Ensure you have confirmed your travel arrangements before your day of departure and note the departure and arrival times to avoid any unexpected hurdles.


Embarking on an adventure to Cozumel promises an unforgettable experience, enriched by the seamless ferry services that connect this island paradise to the mainland. With a comprehensive guide, travelers can be well-prepared for a smooth journey in the Caribbean by understanding ticket purchasing and preparing for the ferry ride on Ultramar, Winjet, or Xcaret Xailing. These ferry services not only promise a convenient start to your Cozumel adventure but also a memorable one.


How Can I Travel to Cozumel by Ferry?

To reach Cozumel by ferry, embark from Playa del Carmen. This route is convenient for travelers from Cancun, Tulum, or anywhere in the Riviera Maya, with ferries departing every half hour.

Is There a Risk of the Cozumel Ferry Selling Out?

Each ferry company vies for passengers and sells tickets at various booths near the docks, but it’s rare for the ferries to Cozumel to sell out.

How long does the ferry trip take from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel?

The ferry ride takes 35 to 45 minutes depending on sea conditions and the ferry service you choose. Car ferries can take about an hour and a half to complete the crossing.

Is there a car ferry available from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel?

Yes, there is a car ferry service available for those wanting to take a vehicle to Cozumel. This service has fewer daily departures, so it’s wise to consult the specific car ferry schedule and plan if necessary.
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