Port Focus: Cozumel, Mexico
You will be glad to jump ship when you arrive at Isla Cozumel, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean Sea. This popular and intriguing cruise ship port provides visitors with a wide array of exciting activities to keep you occupied until you set sail again. Whether you spend the afternoon shopping for souvenirs, ogling at Mayan ruins, or snorkelling amongst the coral reefs, you will fall in love with this authentic Mexican island.
Navigating this charming island is easy. There are well-marked taxis, shuttles and buses to help you get around, as well as several car rental agencies within walking-distance of the ship ports. Embrace your inner Indiana Jones and go off-roading in a rented Jeep so you can explore the island’s wild coast and fierce jungle in all its splendour. Or hop aboard a scooter and whizz your way around the interesting restaurants and stores. But if you’re not planning to venture too far, there are many shops, restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the piers.
Mayan and Spanish influences thrive in the empanadas, tacos, pastries and seafood you’ll find in Cozumel. There is no shortage of culinary options, so whether you prefer a casual meal, or a fine-dining experience, you’ll find something to your taste. Beach cafes, authentic Mexican restaurants, delicious seafood and chocolate shops populate this intriguing destination. Watch the sunset over the sea on the west coast while you enjoy your meal or dine with your toes in the sand at a beach club. Whether it’s day or night, there’s fun to be had.
Things to do
Arriving at Cozumel by cruise ship means that you have limited time to take advantage of everything this island has to offer. Make the most of your visit by doing your research beforehand, so you have a clear idea of what you’d like to do. If you’re interested in trying out the spectacular snorkelling and scuba diving facilities the island is famed for, you’d be wise to book in advance. The island’s undeveloped landscape lends itself to secluded beaches that are paved with limestone and coral, making it ideal for snorkelling. This eastern side of the island (or Wild Side) is where you will find hidden caves, beach bars, baby sea turtles, pink flamingos and other indigenous species.
If you prefer the idea of soft white sand and turquoise waters, make your way to Paradise Beach, but be sure to get there early as crowds are a safe bet. This popular beach on the western side of the island is perfect for families and cruise ship passengers, as you can find plenty of shopping opportunities for costumes, footwear and more. If you’re a history buff, you’ll appreciate a visit to the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio, where Mayan women paid tribute to the goddess of love and fertility. Take a taxi and wander the ruins on your own or pay extra for a guided tour.
Discover Mexico Park is the perfect place to spend your day if you’re short on time. Immerse yourself in the Mexican culture at this quirky and entertaining park, which features scale models of some of Mexico’s main attractions. Watch a tortilla-making demonstration or learn about Tequila and the correct way to drink it. If chocolate is more your poison, attend the Chocolate Workshop and discover this tasty treat’s importance to the Mayans. It would be sinful, not to.