You Are Here: Cozumel My Cozumel Home > Basic Info About Cozumel > FAQ's
Cozumel My Cozumel Top Navigation Cozumel My Cozumel Home Page Basic Travel Info for Cozumel Link Cozumel Accomodations Link Cozumel Restaurant and Food Index Link Things to Do on Cozumel Index Cozumel Discussion Forum Link Info for Cozumel Cruisers Link Living on Cozumel Main Page Link Cozumel My Cozumel Home Page Link Basic Traveler's Info for Cozumel Cozumel Lodging Info Link Things to Do on Cozumel island Cozumel Discussion Forums Cozumel for Cruisers Information about Living on Cozumel Island

Cozumel Basic Info Side Navigation

FAQ's About Visiting Cozumel

The following is a list of questions that are frequently asked on our Discussion Forums. If you don't see the answer you're looking for on this page, post your question on the appropriate Discussion Forum and we'll all try to help you out over that-a-way. Money and Health and Safety Questions have their own articles which can be accessed from the side nav bar.

Cozumel crowd

A typical spring break throng you might encounter in March and April in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The 'breakers' never seem to make it to sleepier little Cozumel. And if you don't like crowds of drunken college kids, that's a good thing, right?

What's the Best Time of Year to Visit? And is it going to be mobbed like Cancun during Spring Break?

 

When to visit depends on what you like to do as well as the kind of weather you desire. The winter which runs from early December through March is many people's favorite time to visit hence the higher prices and busier conditions at this time of the year The temperatures in high season are moderate (70 degrees at night to around 85 during the day).

As little as 10 years ago, winters here tended to be very dry. But the weather is changing world-wide and the strong winter storms in Canada and the NE US states impact Cozumel as well. It seldom if ever goes below 70 during a 'norte' as they call them here. However, there can be several days of windy, rainy weather every time there is a storm to the north. So plan accordingly.

Cozumel Weather Average Temperature Map

This temperature graph reflects our personal experience over 12 years of living full-time on Cozumel island. It doesn't take into account relative humidity which is can stay as low as 60% from November through March and soar to 75-90% in mid summer and the fall.

By April things are warming up smartly and with less rain. May through August is summer here with temps ranging from lows of 80 at night to highs of 90ish during the day and with typically high humidity. But there is almost always a stiff breeze and, of course, the ocean, to cool you off.

Advantages of this time of the year? Cheaper rates on everything from vacation rentals to airfares. Less people. And divers say that the visiblity in the summer is the best it is all year.

September-November is the rainy season. Expect high humidity and the chance of rain any day -- although weeks at a time will go by without a drop of rain so you really can't predict this. Fall is also the prime hurricane season for this part of the caribbean so travel insurance is suggested unless you can afford to take the chance on getting stormed out of your vacation. On the plus side, this is the cheapest time of year to visit the island and conditions will be so uncrowded that you can wait until the last minute to book car rentals, dive ops, etc.

Spring Break isn't an issue on Cozumel. The college crowds seem to prefer easier-to-reach, wilder Cancun and, to a lesser extent, Playa del Carmen.

Is Cozumel good for a person who needs Handicap access?

Wheel chair access can be a problem downtown. Although because of the number of locals who ride bicycles, there are many curb ramps that go from the sidewalk into the street, the sidewalks tend to be very uneven with many breaks and obstructions of one sort or the other. We have seen several folks in wheelchairs wheeling happily down the edge of the street itself instead of on the sidewalk.

As far as getting in and out of taxis, diving and snorkeling, labor is very cheap here and the people are extremely sweet and accommodating. Wheelchair rentals are also available at several of the island's pharmacies including the Dori Farmacia on Rosada Salas between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20 South. (All the taxi drivers know where it is.) If you or a friend speaks decent Spanish, you can call directly to make a reservation: 52 987 872 0559.Here is an excellent and up to date article written by a wheel-chair user visiting Cozumel.

Cozumel taxi van with wheelchair lift

One of the 5 or so taxi vans on the island equipped with a wheelchair lift. If your chair folds there are a large number of taxi vans that can accommodate your needs and drivers will be very helpful getting you in and out of your seat. If you need the lift, you can have the taxi dispatcher or any driver call one for you. But in high season, it's better to try and book this ahead of time.

What is Cozumel's Time Zone?

Cozumel has been on CST for many many years. On Feb 1, 2015, however, the time will switch to EST. DST will NOT be observed for the foreseeable future. Which does tend to make things a mite confusing but there you have it.

What can you do at Night on Cozumel? Like all of Latin-America, Cozumel is a town that lights up late at night when locals, who take siestas during the heat of the day if their schedule allows, come out in the cool of the evening to shop, eat and socialize.

La Rhumba Cozumel

Cozumel's newest music venue, La Rhumba, features Cuban jazz and is very popular with locals and visitors.

Shops typically stay open and busy until around 9 PM. Retaurants often don't even get really rolling until at least that time. And its not at all unusual to see large groups eating a big restaurant meal at 1 AM in the morning. Or later. There are several live music venues including Tiki Tok, Wet Wendys, La Rhumba and La Palapita den Medio. If you are interested in salsa dancing or lessons and mor info on live salsa music, check out Laura's Salsa Page.

I'm bringing my kids along. What kind of entertainment can I expect to find for them?

Cozumel Channkanab Park Playground

A section of the lovely playground at Cozumel's Chankannab National Park. A portion is built over a shallow, protected lagoon. Very charming and safe place to take the little ones.

Cozumel is a wonderfully family friendly vacation destination. We've put together an in-depth essay on Kids and Cozumel which addresses the interests of different age groups and types of activities. And there's even a business now called Baby in Paradise that rents out equipment at quite reasonable prices so you don't have to drag it all with you!

How do I deal with the money situation? What should I bring? How should I pay for things?

Currency is pesos, of course. Check the conversion rate before you leave so you'll have a general idea of what things cost. For a long time the rule of thumb was that one US dollar equaled approximately 10 pesos. As of this writing in February 2015, a dollar is worth nearly 15 pesos! Real good time to be visiting Mexico. Read our Money Essay for lots of advice on what to bring and how to manage your funds while you're on the island.

What Should I Pack?

We believe in traveling light. Cozumel is a tropical environment and informality is the rule. So you don't need much in the way of clothes. Most items you need -- like sun screens, coolers, disposable diapers, etc -- can now be bought locally. Usually the price will be higher than you'll pay in the states. But particularly for heavy or bulky items, you might be better off purchasing them locally. Here's Our Packing List.

Cozumel Suitcase

Cozumel cribs for rent

Pack 'n Plays ($60 US/week rental) and lots of other equipment are now available for parents who hope to travel light. Good idea!

Do I Need to Bring Baby Gear

There are LOTS of babies and young children here. You can purchase anything you need. Formula could be a problem as they only carry a few brands. But there are plenty of toys, strollers, clothing, hats and disposable diapers available at the big grocery stores here. Bring your own carseats if you plan to rent a car, however. And there is a new service run by American ex-pat, Kandy Stahl, that rents out baby and child-related stuff.

Who Should I Tip and How Much?

If you are staying in a hotel, leaving $2/day per person on the bed for the maid is a nice tip. Leave this daily instead of waiting until the end of your visit and you'll get a lot of extra service along the way -- such as more bottled water. The better rental villas recommend a tip at the end of the week of around $15 US/person.

If you dive or take other types of tours a tip is always much appreciated.And it's expected if you liked the service. Ask your dive op in advance what is a reasonable amount. Tips are usually given to the captain or the divemaster and split up among all the crew.

Taxi drivers don't need to be tipped unless they give you excellent and special service. Good waiters should be tipped what you would in your home country. We tip 15-20% depending on the level of service we receive. (And nothing if we get lousy service. But that very seldom happens here.)

People ask about bringing something special for the maids instead of money. Money is most appreciated in a country where cash is king and there's not a lot extra. If you want to give something to the children on the plaza on Sunday night, please don't make it candy (!) Go for little plastic toys instead -- like those bags of plastic figurines you can pick up at Wal Mart, balloons, those party favor things you can blow and they unroll, neon twisters. Those kinds of things are hard to come by here and the kids love them. Plus it won't rot their teeth.

Internet access

Cozumel has come a long way in the last 10 years and there is fairly high speed internet available everywhere in town and at some but not all of the most far flung all-inclusive resorts. In this case, however, it's best to check if this is important to you on your vacation. Some still don't have it. Villa rentals will almost always have wifi and there are also numerous internet cafes around town.

Cozumel internet cafe

There are now many little hole-in-the wall internet places back as little as a block from the waterfront and all around San Miguel. Rates are as low as $10 MXN/hour which comes out to about 50 cents US at the current 2015 rate of exchange.

We note that crew members from the cruiseships like to hang out at the little deli restaurant at the front of the Mega grocery store on the waterfront. They all have laptops so that would be one place for free wifi.

Electricity

Same as in the US--plugs and everything. So if you've got to lug down that hairdryer you may never use, you can crank it right up wherever you are on the island.

How safe is it to drive here?

First of all, it's impossible to get lost. There is only one road that goes to the south end of the island, curves around the end, meanders along the east coast and then cuts back across the center of the island to downtown. So if you are heading to the beaches or the wild side from either town or one of the cruiseship piers, you can breeze right through on roads that are in quite good shape.

Cozumel Map for Sale

Here's a great little, frequently up-dated map of Cozumel. Inexpensive and great for exploring the island by car and San Miguel by foot.

Be prepared for some congestion right in the heart of the downtown shopping district/waterfront area with bicycles and mopeds sharing the street with you and lots of taxis.. Just go slowly, use common sense and you'll be fine. No one is driving fast in town. Be aware of mopeds which will often try to come up on the "wrong side". Just keep your eyes open and drive and don't take the car above second gear in town and you'll be fine.

We suggest avoiding the waterfront drag in town and using one of the parallel streets. Not much traffic just a few blocks back from the water and it makes things a little easier for new drivers here until you get your bearings.

Alto means stop. And if you are going cross island in town, be prepared to stop at virtually every intersection. If you are going north to south (parallel to the ocean) you will generally have the right of way unless you see a stop sign or stop light. Cozumel traffic sign

Rule of thumb in town is to take your half out of the middle so that taxis can't pass you. Parking downtown is a problem. If you're staying in town, this is not a worry. However, if you're coming in from the beaches, be prepared to park 3 blocks or more back from the ocean and walk from there.

You may turn right on red lights after a stop as long as you see a sign with a little arrow pointing to the right on the right side of the road at the intersection in question.

Resist the temptation to rent a moped despite how cheap they are. We see accidents all the time and many involve tourists who don't know where the potholes are etc.. It's also worth mentioning that mopeds have a different wheelbase than you motorcycle or US scooter riders are used to. There's a learning curve and we wouldn't advise undertaking this in a strange location.

Cozumel moped

If you rent a car, be sure to take a look at what you're getting before you sign up. Your credit card company back home may cover you for collision insurance. But be sure you take the personal liability insurance that is sometimes extra, sometimes included in the rate. If you happen to injure a third party, US insurance and credit cards won't cut it and you will find yourself in the police station trying to figure out how to pay cash for the other person's hospital bills (!)

And, a final tip, during high season there are sometimes traffic checks as you leave San Miguel to go to northern, southern or eastern beach areas. So wear you helmets if you were fool enough to rent a moped and be sure to put on those seatbelts -- back and front seats!

 

Laundry

There are several good laundromats in town. At Margaritas on Calle 11 two blocks in from the waterfront you can drop off a load of clothes in the AM and it will be washed, dried, folded, bagged and ready for you around 2 and at a cost of $7-9 US. Or you can do it yourself. There's another Margaritas on Avenida 20 South (Sur) between Rosada Salas and Morelos.

Calling Home

Internet Cafes are going to be your cheapest option with rates starting at around . 49/minute to sit in a private booth. Foreign-registered Cellphones sometimes work down here and sometimes they don't. Check with you cellular company before traveling to see if there is any reciprocal agreement with Telmex, Telcel or MoviStar. Your best bet for talking to folks back home is a google plus or skype app on you laptop or tablet.

Where to Stay

Check out our Accommodations Guide for an overview. Personally we think you'll have the most fun and get the most bounce for your vacation dollar staying downtown and using the extra money on a rental car. But read this article to get a better idea of what's right for YOU.

 

 

About San Miguel, Cozumel Getting to Cozumel Cozumel Money Matters Cozumel Health and Safety Issues FAQ for Travel to Cozumel Cozumel Travel Forums FAQ's for Cozumel Travel