Cozumel Cruisers:A Walking Tour of Downtown Cozumel

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One Day on the Island -- A Walking Tour of Downtown San Miguel
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The Waterfront Malecon (Promenade)

One of the things the founding families of Cozumel really did right was to construct t a broad sidewalk along the waterfront next to the sea wall. The seawall which is frequently white washed and trimmed in aqua has cement benches built into it.

Rambling, pretty Cinco Soles on the waterfront at the north end of downtown may not have the cheapest prices in town but their selection is outstanding and their jewelry high quality.

 

These make comfortable places to sit in the evenings to watch the sunset and passersby. We would suggest you start your walking tour here.

The best time for a tour is in the early evening, cool, sunset, all the shops will be open until 9ish. San Miguel is very safe even late in the evening (and despite what many cruise reps would have you believe so you'll funnel right into stores where they get fat commissions.)

. If your schedule doesn't allow for an evening stroll, however, just be sure to take a good hat. The tropical sun is nothing to mess around with and there is no shade on this section of your tour.

If you want to avoid the Sidewalk Shuffle on San Miguel's waterfront when the cruiseships are docked downtown walk on the ocean side of the street . The view's lovely, the sea breeze smells wonderful and you'll get completely out of the rat-race. Cross the street only to cut back to the stores you'll see listed on our Shopping Page.

 

El Museo (the Musuem)

You may want to wander in to the island's pretty Museo (museum) on the waterfront 4 blocks north of the ferry pier.

 

There's a charming, open-air restaurant on the second story overlooking the water, displays of art by local artists and a small but very tasteful exhibit on Cozumel's history and heritage. Nice gift shop, too.

 

El Mercado (the market)

Want to see a slice of authentic Cozumeleno life? Then, if you're in town between 6 AM and around 1 PM, you'll want to check out El Mercado, the island's traditional market. The main building is on the corner of Avenida (Avenue) 25 and Rosada Salas.

 

To get there from the waterfront, turn back into town on Salas -- which is the first cross street south of the downtown ferry pier. Walk 5 blocks into town and there you'll be. The main building is full of shops selling food. (Try the fresh squeezed bottles of OJ, grapefruit or carrot juice!). But also check the little shops in the rabbit warren back behind the big white building.

Again, we just can't stress enough how safe and friendly the downtown area is. Do not be afraid to explore back in the town.

If you're a shopper, check out our Shopping Page which even has a map of out of the way places to which you can walk. And where, usually, they'll bargain. (Don't expect any store on the waterfront to do this, however! The clerks aren't authorized to give discounts.)

 

The Zólaco (town square)

Every Mexican town has a square and San MIguel is no exception.

An oasis of shaded serenity in the very heart of the bustling downtown waterfront district, no vendors or advertising is allowed here. Find a perch on a low stone wall under the shade of a Flamaboyan tree like the one pictured at right and people-watch to your heart's content.

 

Young Cozumelño couple visit and laugh. The low stone walls that ring this elevated square in the heart of downtown across from the ferry pier make cool, comfortable perches for some super people watching.

If you're intown on a Sunday night, you may be in for a treat. Many Sundays beginning around 8 there are free special events on the zolaco. Large, merry crowds turn out to listen to traditional music or watch a dance contest or beauty pageant. You'll see plenty of adorable, dressed-to-the nines ninos (children). And, again, you will be very safe. So relax and enjoy yourself!

 

Loncherias (Authentic, Family-Style Restaurants)

If you're out and about town between noon and about 4 PM, you may want to stop and enjoy an authentic "comida corrida" at one of several clean and inexpensive local "loncherias" that feature Yucatecan Cuisine.

Garden seating in back of Loncheria Sabores in the middle of the block on Ave 5 between Calle 3 and Calle 5.

 

The places we recommend here are all close to the center of downtown and to paraphrase an old Arlo Guthrie song they've been "inspected, dissected and injected" by us personally -- and often. Carey is our litmus test as her stomach acts up easily. So if Carey rec.'s these places, you should be good to go. Just remember to wash your hands. Click Here for More Health & Safety Tips.

The Downtown Loncheria List

 

North Side of Downtown
Camillos
Across from The Sports Bar on Avenida 5 just north of the pedestrian-only plaza.
Great fresh seafood at fair prices. Best deal is the fried shrimp tacos for only $1/each. No English spoken. No credit cards. Better to pay in pesos.
Coffee Press
Corner of Calle 6 and Avenida 10 one block back behind El Museo
Good prices, clean bathroom, pretty old Cozumeleno tiling and painted borders. Food is good, too.
San Miguel Cafe
3 blocks back from the waterfront on Avenida 15 between Calle 2 and Calle 4, mid block, east side of the avenue. Painted bright orange.
Very pretty restaurant newly opened in the fall of 2004. Air conditioned with a great comida corrida menu for which you'll see on the white board outside the cafe. Some English spoken here.
La Candela
Corner of Avenida 10 and Calle 6 half a block south of San Miguel Cafe listed above.
Very popular with the locals, very clean. You pick our what you want from the pans that are behind a glass casing. Usually 3-4 main dishes and comes with a drink -- usually jimaica which is delicious and a choice of two soups that are always good. The chef here used to work at the well-known La Choza restaurant and brings his special chip dipping sauce with him to his own place. Try this cheese and chilpolte sauce with the home-made chips. You'll like it! No English spoken
Restaurants in El Mercado
Rosada Salas between Calle 20 and Calle 25
These clean, unpretentious little open-air places that run along the outside of the traditional market are great for a lunch or pick me up. No English spoken but the prices are great and the food authentic, delicious and very reasonably priced. Good place to stop if you're touring El Mercado on your walking tour
Tonitas
3 blocks back from the waterfront on Rosada Salas between Avenida 10 and Avenida 15
Home cooked Yucatecan cuisine at good prices, attractive place.
SOUTH of Central Downtown
Sabores
Avenida 5 2 blocks from the southern edge of the pedestrian-only plaza. West side of the avenue in the middle of the block that's bordered by Calle 3 and Calle 5. Look for the small hanging sign and the bright yellow house.
Eat inside or in back garden. Excellent comida corrida with all the trimmings. No English spoken You'll pass the kitchen on your way out to the back yard. Feel free to peek at what's in the pots and ask what they are before ordering.
Las Flamitas
This ones a little more of a walk -- about 7 blocks from the ferry pier. But if you're already up that way shopping, give this place a try. Some of the best Yucatecan comida corrida on the island. Avenida 25 between 1/2 block south of Calle 3. You'll pass another open air restaurant just before you come to this smaller one. We like Flamitas the best!
Miss Dollars
Avenida 20, half a block south of the intersection with Rosada Salas
This popular local eatery has moved to spacious, more airy headquarters. Clean, good comida corrida. Some English Spoken.
Casa Denis
On the pedestrian-only plaza, half way up the second block straight back from the ocean on the south side. Look for an HSBC bank on the corner and keep walking with your back to the ocean for another 1/2 block and you'll see Casa Denis's outside table area which is great for people-watching.
Cozumel's oldest restaurant serves excellent Yucatecan cuisine. This is not a local loncheria but we mention it because, although the prices are higher than the other places listed here, the food is good AND they are used to tourist and speak excellent English.
 

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