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What Not to Do on Your Next Cozumel Vacation

What Not to Do on Your Next Cozumel Vacation

The Comprehensive Guide to Cozumel: What You Should Avoid and Do

When planning your trip to Cozumel, it’s just as crucial to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. This tropical paradise has its unique customs, environmental considerations, and safety precautions. To make the most of your vacation, avoiding potential pitfalls is key. Let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of Cozumel.

1. Consuming Tap Water: A No-No

Typically, people think about the things they should do when visiting a new place. But it’s equally important to keep in mind what you shouldn’t do. In Cozumel, the first rule to remember is: don’t drink the tap water.

While the water in Cozumel is generally purified, it may still contain bacteria that your body isn’t accustomed to, which can lead to unpleasant digestive issues. Always opt for bottled water, even for brushing your teeth. Most restaurants and bars use purified water and ice, so you can safely enjoy your margaritas or other beverages.

Low season is the perfect time to enjoy Cozumel.

2. Scooter Rental: Think Twice

Renting a scooter might seem like a fun way to explore the island, but it can be quite risky. The local traffic rules, unfamiliar roads, and occasional loose gravel can create hazardous conditions, especially for inexperienced scooter drivers.

Renting a vehicle from a reputable company or using taxis are safer alternatives. Always negotiate the fare before entering a taxi to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Being Unprepared for the ‘Gas Scam’

When refueling your rented vehicle at a local gas station, always ensure that the attendant resets the pump to zero before filling up. This common scam can leave you paying more than you should.

4. Overlooking Local Customs and Etiquette

Remember, you are visiting a place with its own unique culture and traditions. Be respectful and patient, even if things don’t always run on your schedule. Treating locals, vendors, and staff with kindness enhances your experience and makes your vacation more enjoyable.

5. Neglecting Safety Precautions

Cozumel is generally safer than many places, but it’s still a good idea to exercise common sense. Don’t leave valuables unattended, avoid displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry, and never drink and drive.

6. Failing to Negotiate Prices

Always negotiate the price when shopping for souvenirs at local markets. It’s a common practice, and vendors usually start with inflated prices. Don’t hesitate to haggle and get a fair deal.

7. Disrespecting the Local Environment

Cozumel is home to beautiful marine life and coral reefs. It’s crucial to respect the environment by not touching marine life while snorkeling or diving and by disposing of your trash responsibly. Also, choose reef-friendly sunscreen to protect the fragile marine ecosystem.

How to stay "sun safe" on Cozumel

8. Forgetting to Protect Yourself from the Sun

Cozumel’s tropical sun can be intense. Always wear sun protection, such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Remember, the sun’s rays can be deceptive, especially when cooled by the ocean breeze.

9. Ignoring Language Barriers

While many locals speak English, you’re in a Spanish-speaking country. Trying to use a few Spanish phrases can enhance your interactions with locals. They’ll appreciate your efforts, even if your Spanish isn’t perfect.

10. Overindulging in Alcohol

While you may be tempted to let loose on your vacation, remember to drink responsibly. Overconsumption can lead to unwanted situations, health risks, and even legal troubles. Always know your limits and ensure you’re in control.

11. Neglecting to Tip

Tipping is customary in Cozumel. Service staff, tour guides, and hotel staff rely on tips as an essential part of their income. A tip is a way to show your appreciation for the service provided.

12. Not Venturing Beyond Your Resort

While resorts offer plenty of amenities, don’t miss out on exploring the local culture and cuisine. Stepping outside your resort can lead to unexpected adventures and authentic experiences.

An Afternoon Out on Cozumel

13. Overlooking the East Side

Don’t miss Cozumel’s “Wild Side”—the east side of the island. It’s less developed, offering stunning natural beauty and tranquility. However, be aware that the waters can be rough, and swimming isn’t always safe.

14. Not Purchasing Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a crucial part of vacation planning that can save you from unexpected costs due to medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost belongings. Make sure to invest in a comprehensive travel insurance policy before your trip.

15. Being Unaware of Local Scams

As in any tourist destination, scams can occur. Being informed and vigilant can protect you from falling victim to such scams. Always verify the credentials of tour guides, be cautious when attending timeshare presentations, and negotiate prices before purchasing souvenirs or taking taxis.

parking on Cozumel

16. Do Not Yell Alto

Do not squeal “Alto!” at the taxi driver when you require him to stop just because that’s what it states on the stop signs. That isn’t how you state “Stop!” in Spanish. Mention to the taxi driver what your destination is when you get in. It’s more civilized and this way the residents won’t snicker at you.

17. Do Not Buy Drugs

Do not purchase drugs. Can’t you wait until you arrive home? Perhaps you shouldn’t be doing them. Stay away from all criminal endeavors. They base the juridical system here on the Napoleonic Code, which is guilty until proven innocent. Need we go any further?

18. No Drunk Swimming

Do not go swimming in the ocean when you are intoxicated. One comment: Deadly. Go swimming in the ocean only when you are sober. One word: Fantastic.

Final Thoughts:

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, knowing what to avoid in Cozumel can make your vacation smoother and more enjoyable. From respecting local customs and the environment to taking safety precautions and negotiating prices, each tip contributes to a better travel experience. After all, the goal is to create beautiful memories, not regrets.

Cozumel is a beautiful island paradise with a vibrant culture and a welcoming community. By respecting local customs, protecting the environment, and practicing safety measures, you can contribute positively to the local community and enjoy the best that Cozumel has to offer.

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