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The Top 10 Things To Do on Cozumel Mexico

The Top 10 Things To Do on Cozumel Mexico

Here are The Top Ten things to do on Cozumel Mexico.

Cozumel, once a quiet off-the-grid beach town, is now an attractive Mexican Caribbean vacation destination that offers countless activities and experiences for guests. Its acceptance means there are more things to accomplish and see, from free or inexpensive activities to pricey excursions. Here’s our pick of the finest activities around.

Rent bikes for simple transportation

Because of Cozumel’s unique design – the shoreline is the primary attraction and is in the downtown’s scenery. It’s advisable to rent bikes for at least two days while you visit. This will allow you far more flexibility to explore the area without relying on taxis. Plus, with the air swirling through your hair as you cycle around, you’ll forget about the humidity.

Bar hop in downtown Cozumel or on the Eastern “Wild-side”

For night owls and party animals, Cozumel has plenty of options, whether you’re a fan of live music, DJ sets, or Caribbean salsa rhythms. If you head downtown, you’ll have plenty of choices between the clubs that fill up on the weekends and the smaller, more intimate venues that require more exploration. We recommend Woody’s for quirky live music. Head to the Money Bar if partying on the waterfront is more your style. Our favorite tour to the “wild side” of Cozumel is the Cozumel Bar Hop. They dedicate to showing their guests the secluded, breath-taking beaches of the “other side” away from the masses. This tour allows you to experience the unique beauty of the east side of the island where you won’t find resorts, houses, crowds, or even electricity!

Go swimming in the Caribbean

Yes, it sounds straightforward, but it’s one of the very best things to do in Cozumel. When the ocean is calm, it’s crystal clear and you can see right down to the bottom. When the sea is wavy and more active, it’s fun to jump and ride the waves. However, pay attention to the beach flags, which signal water conditions: a black flag means do not swim; a red flag shows dangerous conditions; a yellow flag means use caution while swimming; and a green flag means it is safe to swim. Be aware that most remote beaches do not have flags.

Cool off with a savory treat

There’s nothing like ice cream on a scorching tropical day. La Flor de Michoacán is another one of Cozumel’s top-quality ice-cream spots. And good news for people of all tastes. While its ice-creams are the best, it also serves some delicious frozen yogurt, shakes, and juices. So, if one of your family members is not in for ice creams, you still can visit this place and make the best out of your time in Cozumel. La Flor de Michoacán’s best-selling flavored ice-cream is the coconut one. Feel the tinge of coconut and cream on your tongue and tantalize your taste buds. With almost thirty distinct flavors of ice-creams and popsicles available, we are sure you won’t have any trouble finding the one for yourself. From dragon fruit to cookie flavored ice-cream, to a spicy Mexican flavored Popsicle, you have got it all!

Check out turtles in their natural habitat

If you’re into nature, then this is one of the must-do things to do when visiting Cozumel. Each year from May to October, most of the coastline experiences sea turtle nesting season. After the sun sets each evening, mother turtles make their way onto the beach to lay their eggs before journeying back to the surf.

Shop till you drop

Cozumel is overflowing with shops and boutiques that sell everything from luxury home goods and apparel to Mexican handcrafts and fair-trade items. Many shop owners are people who visited Cozumel, fell in love, stayed, opened a store, and sell unique merchandise that is inspired by the area.

Try Mexican craft beer

Everyone knows that Mexican beer is superb (from well-known Corona to hipster-loved Tecate or higher-end Modelo), but Mexican craft beer, or cerveza artisanal, has become very popular. There are breweries popping up and many restaurants and bars now sell craft beer. The best place in Cozumel to get craft beer is La Internacional Cerveceria. A super cozy and interesting bar for you to enjoy with your significant other. We are sure you will not regret being there even for a minute. With a wide variety of beers from all over Mexico and so many flavors to choose from, trust us, you will even find it difficult to choose your favorite beer.

Take a holiday photo at the Cozumel sign

It seems like every Mexican town that tourists visit has colorful signs for guests to be photographed alongside, and Cozumel is no different. Get creative and lie down in front of the letters, look through them, or sit on top of them. The picture you take here will make the perfect Instagram post or Facebook cover photo. One Cozumel sign is located downtown in the main square. Bring along your patience and some water because there is almost always a line.

Try out the ceviche at La Conchita del Caribe

This has long been one of Cozumel’s favorite food spots because of the ridiculously fresh and flavorsome ceviche and seafood served on the daily. While locals still stop by, this has also become somewhat of a traveler joint, but it’s still worth a visit. If that doesn’t tickle your taste buds, there is a swathe of other top-notch food vendors and restaurants that you can try out in Cozumel in both downtown and on the Eastern “wild-side”.

Go Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding is an exhilarating extreme sport. Whether you’re an expert or it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, Cozumel is a great place to kiteboard. If you don’t have your own gear, there are kiteboarding schools that offer rentals and lessons. De Lille Sports in Cozumel is a good option. Kiteboarding all depends on the wind; and remember that though the windiest months are November to May, during this time there may be days with no wind, while there may be very windy days during the non-windy months.

Written by Stingray Villa

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8 Things You Should Never Do on Cozumel

8 Things You Should Never Do in Cozumel

What Not to Do in Cozumel: Navigating Common Tourist Mistakes

Welcome to Cozumel, an island oasis renowned for its crystalline turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, earning its well-deserved spot as the #3 Best Place to Visit in Mexico for 2023. Stretching across 29 miles of pristine coastline, adorned with powdery sands, this paradise beckons travelers with a plethora of experiences. From exhilarating scuba diving adventures along the world’s second-largest reef to moments of sun-drenched serenity on its secluded beaches.

Yet, amidst the allure of this tropical haven, understanding what not to do in Cozumel is paramount to crafting an unforgettable and secure journey. This guide is your compass, steering you away from tourist traps and illuminating advisories on activities and practices to sidestep. From resisting the temptation to rent a scooter to being careful about drinking local water, we’re here to help you savor every moment of the island’s beauty while keeping yourself safe. So, let’s embark on a voyage filled with wonder and wisdom as we navigate the treasures of Cozumel together.

#1 Do Not Drink Tap Water

Embracing the vibrant allure of Cozumel extends beyond its sun-kissed beaches and into the very essence of daily practices, in ensuring your health and safety. A crucial tip that stands as a testament to safeguarding your well-being is the approach towards hydration consuming water. Here’s a distilled guide to navigate through this necessity:

  1. Bottled or Purified Water Only: The tap water in Cozumel, despite the island’s charm, is not your friend. It may harbor bacteria, parasites, and other unwelcome guests that can lead to illnesses such as traveler’s diarrhea. Always opt for bottled or purified water.
  2. Ice and Dining: Esteemed restaurants recommended here adhere to using bottled water for all culinary preparations, including ice, ensuring your dining experience remains untainted.
  3. Personal Use: For activities as mundane yet essential as brushing your teeth or washing fruits and vegetables, let bottled water be your go-to. Resorts like Fiesta Americana have taken commendable steps by installing in-house purification systems.

#2 Do Not Be Careless With Belongings

As you immerse yourself in the vibrant hues and bustling markets of Cozumel, keeping your belongings secure becomes paramount. Here’s how you can ensure your treasures remain yours:

Smart Money Management

  1. Exchange and Withdrawal: For the best rates, exchange your money at cambios near the plaza, not at airports or hotels. Use bank ATMs for withdrawals but remember, there will be a fee for credit card transactions.
  2. Discreet Carriage: A money belt is a discreet and secure way to carry cash and important documents. Consider using a Kyss Bag or a Loctote bag for their lockable features, providing peace of mind as you explore.

Tech and Valuables

  1. Phone Safety: Believe it or not, your cell phone is valuable. Keep it in your pocket and always have a close eye on it, especially in crowded places.
  2. Secure Storage: Use hotel safes for items like passports and extra cash. For beach days, use a waterproof phone bag or a dry bag while you swim. These allow you to keep your valuables with you.

Vigilance and Insurance

  1. Awareness: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Use theft-proof bags with features like slash-proof material and locking zippers for an added layer of security.
  2. Precautionary Measures: Keep copies of important documents in a safe place and consider travel insurance for coverage against lost or stolen items. 

With these practices in place, you can explore Cozumel, knowing your belongings are secure.

Top Places To Watch Football In Cozumel Mexico

#3 Do Not Look Cheap: Understanding Local Etiquette and Tipping 

Navigating the nuances of tipping and local etiquette in Cozumel ensures a respectful and enjoyable experience for visitors and locals. Here’s a concise guide:

Tipping Customs:

  1. Sit-down restaurants: 15-20%
  2. Local eateries: 10%
  3. Street food vendors: Not expected
  4. Tour guides: 15-20% of the tour cost
  5. Gas station attendants: 10-20 pesos
  6. Grocery store baggers: 10-20 pesos (Note: They work solely for tips)
  7. Dive Masters: $12-$15 USD per tank ($400 – 500 pesos for a 2-tank dive trip)

Local Etiquette:

  1. Greet with “Buenos días/tardes/noches” upon entering establishments
  2. Dress modestly at religious sites
  3. When invited home, bring a small gift (flowers, chocolates, wine)
  4. Bargain respectfully in markets

Understanding these practices enriches your Cozumel visit, fostering positive interactions and supporting local customs.

cozumel reef safe sunscreens

#4 Do Not Forget Your Sunscreen

The intense sun in Cozumel demands not just any sunscreen, but one that safeguards your skin and the marine ecosystem. Here’s how to choose and use sunscreen responsibly:

Ingredients to Avoid:

Steer clear of sunscreens containing harmful ingredients such as PABA, octinoxate, oxybenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, and butylparaben. Studies have shown that these chemicals can have detrimental effects on marine ecosystems, including coral bleaching and the feminization of fish.

Recommended Products:

Opt for biodegradable sunscreens from brands committed to marine safety, such as Stream 2 Sea, Beauty by Earth, Coral Safe, Mexitan, Headhunter Surf, and Laguna Herbals. We recommend these sunscreens because they contain no harmful ingredients, naturally decompose, and minimize environmental impact.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen:

  1. Biodegradable: Ensure that the sunscreen is labeled as biodegradable to prevent harm to marine life when it breaks down.
  2. Active Ingredients: Seek zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the main active ingredients known for their reef-friendly properties.
  3. Non-nano: Select products marked as ‘Non-nano’, ensuring the particles are larger than 100 nanometers and less likely to be ingested by marine organisms.

By choosing reef-safe sunscreen, you’re not only protecting your skin but also contributing to preserving Cozumel’s stunning coral reefs and the diverse marine life that calls them home.

Scooter Accident

#5 Do Not Rent Scooters

Navigating Cozumel’s streets on a scooter might seem like an exhilarating way to explore the island’s stunning vistas, but it’s fraught with challenges and risks that could dampen your vacation spirit. Consider these reasons you about using this mode of transportation.

Complex Street Layout:

The labyrinth of one-way streets, with the north-south ones having the right of way, can confuse even the most experienced riders. Exceptions to these rules are plentiful, adding to the navigational nightmare.

Road Conditions and Traffic Hazards:

  1. Unexpected gravel patches can lead to dangerous skids.
  2. Scooters often come with subpar brakes, reducing your ability to respond in emergencies.

Safety Concerns:

  1. The allure of seaside views can distract riders, leading to accidents.
  2. Mopeds’ short wheelbases compromise maneuverability, crucial for avoiding sudden dangers.
  3. Accidents can cause serious injuries or hefty fees for minor damages.

Given these considerations, opting for taxis or renting a car presents a safer, more reliable way to enjoy Cozumel’s beauty. Always prioritize safety to ensure your adventure on this enchanting island remains a joyous memory.

Raccoons on Cozumel Mexico - Stingray Villa

#6 Never Touch the Wildlife

In the lush, aquatic tapestry of Cozumel, where the vibrant hues of marine life beckon, it’s paramount to remember that our interactions have lasting effects. Here’s a concise guide on why we should refrain from touching the wildlife:

The Delicate Balance:

  1. Human skin carries oils and bacteria detrimental to marine species.
  2. Touching marine creatures, including fish and coral, can remove their protective mucous layer, leaving them vulnerable to infections.
  3. Coral, the architect of the underwater world, can break with the slightest touch. Given their slow growth rate, damage can take years to heal, if at all.

Risks and Regulations:

  1. Contact with certain corals may lead to chemical burns because of toxic substances on their surface.
  2. Many marine animals, disguised in their natural beauty, possess venoms and toxins for defense. Unwitting contact can be dangerous.
  3. It’s illegal in Mexico to harass wildlife, with potential fines and imprisonment for violators. Local laws in Cozumel prohibit disturbing marine life.

Observation Not Interaction:

  1. Viewing wildlife from a respectful distance ensures their natural behavior remains undisturbed.
  2. Refrain from feeding wildlife, as it alters their natural behaviors and dietary needs.
  3. Always respect local regulations, understanding that these measures protect both the ecosystem and your safety.

This approach ensures that Cozumel’s marine life continues to thrive, offering awe-inspiring experiences for generations to come, without the detriment of our curiosity.

#7 Refrain From Searching or Buying Drugs in Cozumel.

Cozumel, a well-known vacation spot in Mexico, is not exempt from the drug scene that exists in numerous major cities worldwide. Despite the efforts of law enforcement, drug-related offenses continue to be a persistent problem in the region, with organized crime groups operating within its borders.

  1. Law enforcement efforts: Organized crime groups operate within the region, contributing to drug-related offenses.
  2. Visitors: Tourists should exercise caution and refrain from engaging with individuals involved in the drug trade to avoid legal consequences and personal safety risks.
  3. Just Say No: Saying no to drugs and avoiding interactions with shady individuals is paramount, just as in one’s home country.
  4. Know your Areas: It’s wise to stay informed about your surroundings and steer clear of areas known for drug activity.
  5. Crimes: Drug-related crimes can have ripple effects on the local community, leading to increased violence and property damage.

In conclusion, while drug culture may be prevalent in various locations, it is crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being by avoiding interactions with shady individuals, being cautious, and remaining aware of your surroundings. By doing so, you can fully enjoy all that Cozumel offers while keeping yourself secure.

#8 Don’t Forget to Ask for the Bill

Navigating the nuances of dining etiquette in Cozumel can enhance your gastronomic journey. Here’s a distilled guide to ensuring a seamless experience:

Requesting the Bill:

  1. In Cozumel, servers await you to signal when you’re ready for the bill. A simple, polite gesture or eye contact followed by “la cuenta, por favor” will suffice.
  2. If you’re pressed for time, request the bill as your meals are served. Remember, there’s no need for grand gestures like snapping fingers; a courteous request will do.

Payment Practices:

  1. Always review your bill upon arrival for any discrepancies and address them with the server.
  2. Ensure a secure transaction by requesting that the card reader be brought to your table when using a credit card. Carrying local currency is also advisable for smaller establishments or tips.
  3. Remember, to thank your waitstaff as they bring the bill.

#9 Do Not Disregard Your Environmental Responsibility

Practicing environmental responsibility in Cozumel enriches your travel experience and contributes to maintaining its unique ecosystems and vibrant local communities. Here are actionable tips to ensure your visit is as eco-friendly as possible:

Eco-Friendly Activities:

  1. Wear water shoes on Cozumel’s rocky beaches to protect both your feet and the natural shoreline.
  2. Opt for mangrove kayaking to observe wildlife and choose eco-tours that visit protected areas and cultural sites.
  3. Support the Cozumel Pearl Farm’s environmental initiatives, such as their innovative anchoring systems and artificial reefs with BioRock technology.

Sustainable Practices:

  1. Let’s use refillable water bottles, minimize plastic waste, and dispose of trash properly.
  2. Volunteer for coral planting or take part in beach cleanups.
  3. Stay at Airbnbs like Stingray Villa which recycles. 

Supporting Local Culture and Economy:

  1. Engage with the local culture by trying traditional foods, purchasing crafts, and attending cultural events.
  2. Dine at healthy restaurants like Amparo’s Breakfast Bistro and Paradise Vegan, which focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
  3. Review and choose dive shops committed to sustainability, such as Blue Project Cozumel and Eco Divers Cozumel.

By adopting these practices, you’ll enjoy a memorable visit to Cozumel and contribute to its long-term conservation and community well-being.

Conclusion

As we conclude our journey through the vibrant streets and crystal-clear waters of Cozumel, it’s clear that mindful exploration can transform potential pitfalls into pathways of enrichment. By navigating with awareness and making thoughtful choices, this guide has illuminated the routes to avoid, ensuring a fulfilling experience in this Caribbean gem.

Prizing selecting reef-safe sunscreens to safeguard personal belongings and steering clear of activities that may endanger both ourselves and the environment, we’ve equipped travelers with the tools to embrace Cozumel’s beauty. Understanding and respecting local customs, traditions, and laws enriches our experiences and contributes to preserving this cherished destination.

But the impact of our journey extends far beyond Cozumel’s shores. It serves as a testament to the value of conscious travel wherever our adventures may take us. By prioritizing choices that prioritize both personal well-being and protecting the ecosystems and communities we encounter, we become stewards of a more sustainable and respectful approach to exploration.

Let us carry these lessons with us as we journey onward, leaving behind not just footprints, but a legacy of conservation and appreciation for the diverse wonders our planet offers. Together, let’s ensure we enrich and preserve every destination we touch for generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visitors to Cozumel should take standard safety measures to prevent petty crimes. This includes safeguarding your belongings, not renting scooters, and remaining in areas that are well lit at night.

For drinks in Cozumel, it’s wise to drink bottled water.

All of Mexico must deal with the cartels and drug sales. Please be smart and do not engage with these people.

Cozumel is very safe for walking during the day, with a safety level of 88%. The safety level for walking at night is slightly lower at 65.43%, but it is still regarded as safe.

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