Basic Information for Cozumel Cruisers
If your cruise ship is stopping in Cozumel, the times you see listed for arrival and departure will be in local time which is CST -- same as, say, Texas and one hour earlier than, say, Florida.
There are 3 cruiseship piers on Cozumel all of which are on the populated, west side of the island.
This pier is located right downtown so you can walk off the ship and into downtown San Miguel. To avoid hawkers, stay on the ocean-side of the avenida or explore some of the streets that are a block back from the waterfront.
If you are coming into this pier, you have a perfect opportunity to take a San Miguel Walking Tour. But if you want to fit in and make island friends fast, be sure to check out our article How to Be More than 'Just Another Tourist' .
There's also great shopping downtown -- especially if you get off the main drag and ignore the advice you'll almost surely be fed by your cruise director that you won't be safe and you'll get ripped off if you venture off the waterfront. There is more than a little self-interest in these warnings. The cruise companies want you to shop from their "recommended list" because each and every one of these rec.s kicks back a sizeable commission on their sale to you.
Punta Langosta is also a relatively inexpensive, 10 minute taxi ride away from Chankannab National Park and several good snorkeling beaches. And an even less expensive 5 minute ride from Playa Azul, a nice, northern beach club. (See Beaches for more info on this.)
If you wish to Rent a Car and Explore on Your Own there are a number of reputable car rental agencies with offices within 5 blocks for the Punta Langosta pier. We recommend Smart Car or Alamo.
The International Pier
This is the island's oldest cruiseship pier and is used largely by Norwegian Cruise Lines. You are about 1.5 miles from downtown San Miguel and if you're up for the walk, it's a pretty one along a nice sidewalk with long sections of waterfront promenade. Consider walking into town to explore and shop then flagging a taxi for your return to your ship.
TIP: If you flag a passing cab instead of picking one up from a taxi stand, your fare will be less. But it is extremely important to ask what the fare will be BEFORE you get in the cab. All drivers are required to carry a rates card and all speak enough English to understand when you ask to see the rates card to know the registered rate from, say, downtown San Miguel to the International Pier. Don't get in the cab if the driver want show you the rate.
From the International pier you can also catch an inexpensive taxi to the close to town beaches and parks discussed in the Beaches section.
This pier and the Disneyesque artifical "Little Cozumel" Carnival Cruise lines has created is only about 1/2 mile south of the International Pier mentioned above.
To their credit, Carnival has created an attractive atmosphere. And we can see perhaps having a drink or grabbing a bite at one of the places down by the water.
But it should be mentioned that this is a very artificial environment and bears only the most superficial resemblence to the real Cozumel. Kind of like visiting New Orleans and instead of walking the streets of the French Quarter, you settle for a sterile little mini-replica of the real thing. Prices at the stores here are inflated to reflect the commissions the businesses must pay the cruise ships and the fact that, unless you venture out of this compound, you're basically a captive audience.
Follow the advice given above for the International Pier and you can easily pop off to catch a tour or activity you've booked in advance for yourself over the internet. (See Tours We Trust).Or you can rent a car or take taxis to Explore on Your Own.
If you see this on your cruise arrival info it means that you won't be docking at a pier at all on your Cozumel stop. Instead, smaller crafts will tender you to and from shore. All the advice given re the three piers above applies here just as well, however.
So let's get going planning a special and very personalized One Day on Cozumel Island!
A good place to start is our Things to Do Section. Have fun!