Cozumel Cruise:Exploring with a Car

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One Day on the Island -- Exploring Cozumel by Rental Car

Rental Car Tips: wear your seatbelts and helmets. Be especially careful of bicycles and also of mopeds which sometimes come up on the wrong side. Driving in town is a little trickier until you get the hang of the alternating one way streets. But if you stick to the roads and routes we'll recommend in this guide,

Insurance Tips

Most Coz car rental companies don't include insurance or taxes in their price advertising. Tax will be 10%. There is a surcharge for renting at the airport.

Look for a company that covers you for personal liability in the basic cost. Collision is your choice.


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Touring Cozumel by car is a very doable option. The island is as flat as a plate and roads in general are quite well maintained.

It's also a very safe vacation destination. A car jacking, for example, would be completely unheard of on this friendly, sunny little place.

Have something a little more sedate in mind? Then you may want to take a look at signing up for your very own customized, private tour with bilingual driver.

But if you're the type that just likes to get out and explore on your own, you can do that easily here-- rent a car and be off on your merry way. There are several companies that have offices right at the cruiseship pier and many others a short taxi ride away in town.

Usually you will pay at least twice as much for the convenience of renting right at the pier rather than taking a quick taxi ride for the short trip to an off-site rental agency.

Whichever option you decide to take, you can book for yourself in advance and you'll be shooting away from the cruiseship pier while your less adventurous fellow passengers are still waiting in line.

The nice thing about having a car is you can go to the far-flung parts of the island that will cost a lot to reach by taxi. You also have the flexibility to check out several places until you find the ones that best suit your mood and inclinations. .

If you're a snorkeler for instance, you might want to cruise several shore snorkeling areas you can read about in our Snorkeling Article. If you feel like being a "beach potato", bypass the generally more crowded facilities that cater to large groups and settle in at laid-back little Palancar Beach or Mister Sanchos Beach Club. You might want to take a tour of Punta Sur National Park, climb the lighthouse and tour Columbia Lagoon. (See our article on Cozumel Beaches)

Do the fun in the sun activities in the morning hours if you can. (The tropical sun will burn you faster than you are probably used to if you live in a more northerly clime.) So come noon or 1-ish, hop back in your car and continue on around for a tour of the far side of the island.

Since Hurricane Gilbert wiped out the electricity on this side of the island back in 198?, they've never rebuilt. As a result this side of the island is wild and beautiful. the only habitation you'll find is a few little ramshackle beach bars. Everyone has their favorites but our are Chen Rio for a fabulous fried fish platter, lovely protected cove for dipping and small rock caves to explore and Coconuts, a beach bar/restaurant set up on a magnificent cliff with a view of the caribbean that simply cannot be beat.

WARNING: We do not advise swimming on the island's east side. There are rip tides and undertows and a number of people have drown here -- all strong, experienced swimmers.

If you still have plenty of time after lunch, continue along the east coast road until you can't go any further. Turn left away from the ocean and head inland on the cross island road for the 10 mile trip back to San Miguel.

Interested in seeing some small but quite pretty Mayan ruins? Then watch for the sign to San Gervasio along this stretch. If that's not your thing, what about spending a little time downtown? Check out A Walking Tour of San Miguel for tips on what to see, where to eat and where to shop.


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