5 Reasons to Get Off the Cruise and Explore Cozumel

caribbean destinations
cozumel beach club de Uvas


We recently visited Cozumel for the first time on our Holland America Cruise of the Western Caribbean.  Short stops in Jamaica and Grand Caymen left us wanting more local experiences and Cozumel did not disappoint. 

When we disembarked the ship, we quickly passed all the opportunities for shopping and were planning to hire a taxi and head straight to one of the beach clubs south of the port for some snorkeling. 

However, as we were leaving the port area there were several vendors renting vehicles and we decided that would be a fun way to see the island. Want to plan ahead instead of wing it like we did? Book a Cozumel rental car here.

We are so glad we did and here are 5 reasons why:

1. You can see all of the island in half a day

Cozumel is small enough that in a couple of hours you can drive the whole loop from town, to the south end of the island, up the east side, and back across the island to town.  You'll want to make some stops though. Keep reading for where. 

2. You can experience local cuisine

We stopped at Coconuts coming back up the road on the east side (Cash Only but they accept pesos or US dollars).  Lots of fresh authentic mexican cuisine.  I can never resist fish tacos and these were grilled and the fish was like what you find in ceviche.  Coconuts also had a view that you don't want to miss. 

When we rented the car he also recommended Welcome to Miami Mojito Factory for the "Best Mojitos on the Island" but I did have to drive. 

If you don't want to rent a car and drive, a fellow cruise passenger we met at Coconuts had hired a taxi for half a day (for around $120US - the rental car cost us $160US for 7 hours) to take you over here. 

3. There's a hidden side to Cozumel you don't want to miss

The East side of Cozumel was completely opposite of the port side.  There were plenty of less crowded beaches (Luis at Solymar said this is where the locals go) but the water was definitely rougher but the blowholes and vistas were amazing. 

Here we are in front of the blowhole near Playa Chen Rio.  If the tide is right you'll see them from the road and there is a place to pull over and stop (as seen in the picture - the purple jeep was ours).

4. You won't believe the snorkeling here

At the end of the day we finally made it to the beach club and had about 45 minutes to snorkel.  We could see people in the water so we pulled over and stopped at Bahia de Uvas Beach Club (the sign reads Beach Club de Uvas).  There isn't a cover charge (they just want you to buy food and drinks and leave a tip) and there are showers, lockers, chairs, and umbrellas.  We ordered a couple of margaritas (he ended up giving them to us 2/1) and he left them on the table by our chair because we put on our mask and headed straight into the water, right from the beach.  As soon as my mask hit the water there was a small Eagle Ray. Boy, was i surprised.  Our total was $13 for the two margaritas so we left him $20.  A great deal for a convenient place for such great snorkeling. 

I only captured a video of the eagle ray but here's a conch that was right here in the water too!

5. There's so much to do right on the Island

  • Stop at the Tequila Museum for free drinks, a free tour, and free tastings of small batch Tequila
  • See the San Gervasio Mayan Ruins
  • Drive through the Hotel Zone north of San Miguel de Cozumel to Punta Norte if you are brave enough
  • Wander the streets and shops for San Miguel de Cozumel

Here's the cheezy picture our guide took at the Tequila Museum (there are 7 locations on the island) 

I'm so glad that we decided to rent the Jeep and explore Cozumel more especially after our other port stops left us wanting more. 

Don't want to rent a jeep and do it on your own? That's ok too but I do highly recommend staying on the island (instead of booking an excursion on the mainland unless you've already seen Cozumel) and finding something fun and adventurous to do! Here are some excursions you can book! 


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About Us...


Hi! We're Scott and Melissa

The Sunshine Travelers


We are a couple of travel obsessed explorers sharing our travel experiences and stories to inspire you to travel more and better. We are so happy to have you here.

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