Preparing for a trip is always part of the fun. Plus, knowing the little things makes everything run that much smoother. Eduardo Betancourt, eConcierge at the gorgeous Secrets Aura Resort & Spa on Cozumel Island, is here with a list of great tips to help you plan that dream vacation to paradise.
Cozumel is a beautiful island located just a half-hour off the shore of the Riviera Maya. Our island boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the entire Caribbean, and there are also many things to see and do on land as well. Here are some tips to better help you get ready for your upcoming trip to our wonderful island. So here goes…
14 Cozumel Island Travel Tips
Cozumel is an island, which means that other than flying in or out by plane and getting an airport shuttle with Amstar, the only access to the island is by ferry. Whether you are coming or going, always make sure you are aware of when the last ferry sets sail so that you don’t miss the boat. Literally. The last ferry to Cozumel leaves from Playa del Carmen at 11:00 p.m. and at 10:00 p.m. from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen.
Should I rent a car?
Cozumel is a relatively small island, but still large enough that it’s too big for many people to visit by bike. Taking a taxi can be an option, but only if you are interested in visiting one or two places. Your best bet is to choose a day of your vacation for exploring the island. Speak with your concierge to get the best local tips and ideas of places to go and plan a day of island adventure. Rent the car early in the morning and explore the beauty of this Caribbean jewel at your own pace.
But make sure to learn about the traffic signs
Traffic signs in Cozumel are not 100% tourist friendly. They are all in Spanish and may be different than what you are used to seeing. But no panic, use common sense and ask for information and advice at the car rental shop. Just take it easy, go slow and enjoy… Cozumel style!
Money, money, money
No, $150 pesos is not the equivalent of $15 USD. It may make it easier to calculate, but with the dollar hovering around 15 pesos right now, it’s definitely not a favorable exchange rate. In other words, pay in pesos, especially when making larger purchases.
Change your dollars into pesos
You have several options for changing dollars into pesos. The most simple and economical option, however, is withdrawing money from an ATM machine at any bank, which is much more preferable to the ATM machines you may find on the street. That’s how you’ll get the best exchange rate, even after paying the additional bank fee for an international transaction. Otherwise, there are many money exchange stores on the island to choose from, just make sure that you look out for the best rate.
Paying with credit cards
In all major hotels and most larger stores, you can make your payment by credit card. Just remember that the charge will be made in pesos and your bank will charge you in dollars. It’s also important to know how much you are being charged before paying.
The Best Places to Swim
With so many great options for going snorkeling or simply taking a swim, there is not just one great option. There are many. That said, however, it is definitely recommended that you go swimming on the south side of the island, where the wild sea currents are tamed by the coral reef. The currents on the northern side of the island are much stronger and it’s thus more dangerous for swimming.
Because the best areas to go swimming are located close to the coral reef formations, the beaches are often filled with tiny pieces of broken coral washed ashore by the waves. As such, you’ll be happy if you take our advice and bring a pair of water shoes along to enjoy a pain-free stroll along the beach.
While shopping on vacation is always a good thing, remember that you chose Cozumel because of its incredible land and seascapes. Nevertheless, some great shopping can still be done on the island; it’s just not such a time-consuming and nerve-wracking experiences like at a major shopping center or busy boulevard. In fact, it’s such a pleasant experience because on Cozumel you will find top quality products from the best national and international brands all on one street: Rafael Melgar Avenue. Don’t forget the souvenirs!
Winding down on Sunday
With so many things to see and do, a week of shopping, events, and activities on Cozumel can be tiring. And while you will find most places and activities closed on Sundays, other than some nice beach time-me time, you might want to consider a visit to the centrally located Andres Quintana Roo Park. There you’ll find a nice mix of locals and tourists enjoying a nice, relaxing day at the main square. Great for people watching!
Electricity – No adapters required
If you’re visiting us from the States, here you won’t need to worry about an adapter for that cell phone or computer: Cozumel operates on a 110 V currency.
Insect repellent is dandy
Being a blood donor is an honorable thing, but not when it’s charity for the mosquito foundation. Always wear repellent, especially during early morning hours and at dusk. Image via cafepress.com/chopsticks/[/caption]
Cozumel is known and loved for its awe-inspiring natural beauty. Said beauty, however, doesn’t come without a price. And that price is mostly paid in the blood you donate to the island’s resident mosquito population. Ever thirsty and always reproducing, mosquitos are most active in the early morning hours and around sundown. During that time, unless you are a generous blood donor, you might just consider using some insect repellent.
Don’t drink tap water
It’s fine for some things, but not for all. Just don’t drink tap water and you’ll be fine. Although the water that comes out of the faucet on Cozumel is, in fact, portable, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should drink it. While it’s okay to bath in or brush your teeth with, use bottled water for absolutely anything else.
Have fun and enjoy the Caribbean
Whenever you come and visit us here on Cozumel, always remember that you are on vacation. In other words, relax. Far from the stress of the big cities, from the everyday concerns of traffic and smog and crowded buses, Cozumel is an oasis where everything runs on island time. Cozumel time. Enjoy the change of pace, experience the moment of the Caribbean lifestyle without worrying about days gone by or those to come. Simply let loose, be yourself and, above all, have fun! And feel free to visit us at Secrets Aura Resort & Spa or Sunscape Sabor, two wonderful options for enjoying this paradise!
Do you have other tips or questions about Cozumel Island? Let us know in the comment section! Coming soon: Top 5 Cozumel Tours!