How to get to Cozumel from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum

If you are planning a visit, this complete guide on how to get to Cozumel from Cancun or anywhere else is where you have to start from.

One of the reasons why I love Cozumel is the fact that you find history, culture, beach, nature, and fun on one tiny island and it’s within easy reach from Playa del Carmen.

There are many reasons why you would want to visit Cozumel, although scuba divers mainly know it for its wealthy marine life around the second biggest coral reef in the world.

But this is for another article. In this post, I am going to tell you all about how to get to Cozumel.

Cancun to Cozumel an overview

There are many different ways to get from Cancun to Cozumel. The easiest and most comfortable one is to get a private transfer from Cancun Airport (or your hotel) to Playa del Carmen Cozumel Ferry. A cheaper way would be catching the ADO bus or Colectivo, or you can even fly into Cozumel International Airport directly from Cancun or many US airports, or rent a car, if you want to explore other areas. I will tell you about all those ways to get to Cozumel from Cancun in detail in the next section of this post. So, read on to learn more.

Where Is Cozumel?

Cozumel is a Mexican Island located in the Quintana Roo State, Yucatan Peninsula, right in front of Playa del Carmen at only 30 minutes ferry ride.

How far is Cancun from Cozumel?

The distance from Cancun to Cozumel can be considered around 86 km (53 mi) but it depends on whether you calculate it by plane or by land.

Can I Catch a Ferry or Boat Directly to Cozumel from Cancun?

No there are no Ferries that take you directly from Cancun to Cozumel. You will need to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun or Tulum to catch the ferry to Cozumel

The best 5 ways to get from Cancun to  Cozumel

1. Cancun to Cozumel by private transportation (best way) + ferry

The most comfortable way to get from Cancun to Cozumel is by booking a private transfer. It may be more pricey than the bus but it will give you all the comfort you need for a hassle-free journey.

Here are my favorite reasons why I would choose a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation Service:

  • door-to-door service ( either from the airport or from your hotel )
  • sparkling clean vehicle all for yourself
  • a choice between a minivan, SUV, limo
  • bilingual driver
  • insurance included
  • even if you miss your flight or it´s delayed they will be waiting for you with your name on a sign

Your private driver will pick you up either from Cancun airport or your hotel and take you to the Cozumel Ferry Terminal in Playa del Carmen where you will catch your ferry.

👉 Book your private transfer from Cancun to Cozumel

2. Cancun to Cozumel by Car Rental + ferry

Another of my favorite ways to move around in the area is by car because it gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace. If you are concerned about driving in Mexico, worry not. I will give you a synopsis of my full article that you may want to read if you decide to rent a car.

First of all, the best way to find the best deals for car rentals is by comparing prices and you can do that on Discover Cars platform.

Picking up the car from the Cancun airport may be slightly more expensive because of airport taxes but it will make you save money from the transportation, which can make up for it.

No matter which car rental you choose, a representative will come and pick you up at the airport and take you to their nearby offices.

Important tips for driving in Mexico

✔️ For renting a car in Mexico you will need to be 25 ys old of age and have a driving license that is at least 6 months old. Some car rentals accept 19 years old drivers but they may ask you to pay an extra tax.

✔️ Credit card and passport are also required to rent a car in Mexico

✔️ Toll roads only accept Mexican Pesos

✔️ Sometimes gas stations don´t accept credit cards, so make sure you have always some cash with you.

✔️Respect the speed limit and the most basic road laws so that the police won´t have a reason to stop you.

✔️ Asking for a bribe is a thing among Mexican police. Make sure you don´t do that so that you don´t become part of the problem

✔️ Tip the gas station staff

✔️ Watch out for topes (speed bumps)

✔️ Get a local sim card and download google Maps so that you won´t get lost or you can call your car rental in case of any mishappenings.

Can I take my car rental to Cozumel?

Yes, you definitely can, although it´s kind of a hassle, and the ferry schedule is not very convenient. I am going to share the two sites where you can check schedules and prices and read the guidelines. Keep in mind that you will need to show up at the ferry 2 hours in advance for the paperwork.

If you want to take the car to Cozumel with you you will need to leave from another ferry terminal, which is in Colica, in Punta Venado.

✔️ Ultramar Cargo

✔️ Transcaribe

Where can I park the car in Playa del Carmen?

In case you decide to leave the car in Playa del Carmen while you are in Cozumel, you don´t have to worry as there are many safe car parks near the ferry.

The cost is around 180 MXN (10 USD) per day and you pay once you pick up the car. Some of them will ask you to leave the key in case they have to move the car. However, I would rather not do that, just in case.

3. Cancun to Cozumel by ADO bus + Ferry

Getting from Cancun to Cozumel by ADO bus is the second cheapest way. Several buses leave either from Cancun Airport or Cancun downtown to Playa del Carmen and the cost varies depending on the time of the day from 110 MXN to 230 MXN.

ADO bust terminal in Playa del Carmen is right in front of the ferry to Cozumel so you don´t have to walk more than 300 mt. No taxi is needed.

4. Cancun to Cozumel by Colectivo + Ferry

Another option, even cheaper, if you leave from Downtown Cancun is to take the colectivo minivan to Playa del Carmen. They leave from Avenida Tulum, across the road from the ADO bus terminal but they will drop you off 2 blocks from the Ferry terminal, on Calle 2 with Av 10 in Playa del Carmen.

From there you will have to walk about 700 mt to get to the Ferry Terminal to Cozumel.

The cost of a colectivo from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is about 60 MXN (3 USD)

5. Fly from Cancun to Cozumel

There are local airlines that will take you from Cancun to Cozumel. However, Cozumel international airport also receives some major airlines from the USA and Canada flying directly. You can check Expedia site for any flight deals

Day trip to Cozumel by guided tour

👉 Full Day Cozumel Island Tour with Ferry, Snorkel, Virgin Beach, Buggy and Lunch

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 7 Reviews

Although it’s very easy to take the ferry to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen you may want to check out this tour where everything is organized for a fun day in Cozumel.

Here is what’s included in the program:

  • Ferry to and from Cozumel
  • Chankanaab Park, located inside the National Marine Park
  • all terrain buggy rental to get to the Punta Sur Ecological Park to visit and climb the emblematic Celarain Lighthouse.
  • visit the El Caracol sanctuary, with archaeological remains, as well as the Laguna Colombia, which houses a variety of birds and crocodiles, you will visit a beautiful virgin beach to swim
  • Tequila tasting

👉 Book your day trip to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen on VIATOR

👉 Cozumel & Snorkel Day Trip from Cancun

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 55 Reviews

Although it’s easy to go on your own to Cozumel either from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you can join an organized tour with a guide.

It will save you money and stress, besides the fact that everything will be already organized to take you to the top spots in Cozumel.

An organized day trip to Cozumel from Cancun is especially advisable if you have limited time and you are a solo traveler who doesn’t feel comfortable traveling alone.

👉 Book your day trip to Cozumel from Cancun on VIATOR

Catching the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel: prices and info

Now that you know how to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, let´s check out the ferry schedule and prices.

Ferries to Cozumel depart only from Playa del Carmen. So you will need to reach Playa del Carmen first, from wherever you are.

Scroll down to read more. 3 ferry companies run back and forth to the island, all of them mostly every hour from 6 am to 9 pm.  

The ferry terminal is located right in downtown Playa del Carmen, about a block and a half from the main square and Plaza Playacar.

For the ferry schedule and reservation, you can check on Ultramar Site.

Playa del Carmen – Cozumel Ferry Schedule

It is just a beautiful 30-minute ride in comfortable seats, where you can choose between staying indoors or enjoying the amazing view from the top deck.

If you take the ferry towards Cozumel in the evening, you will be able to see an amazing sunset (see header picture); while riding towards Playa del Carmen in the morning, the sun rising beyond the island on the Atlantic side casts a spectacular light upon the entire coast. A real show…

You don’t need to book your ride in advance, you can just show up, and for sure, you might find space with one of the companies.

How to get from Tulum to Cozumel

Also, to get from Tulum to Cozumel, you will need to get to Playa del Carmen first. Some colectivos busses leave from Tulum to Playa del Carmen every minute 24/7.

Or you can take the ADO big bus. Check this post for more details on how to get from Tulum to Playa del Carmen and back.

How to move around Cozumel

Although the island of Cozumel is not that big, you still need a means of transportation to move around.

The historical center, near the ferry, is pretty and walkable, but to reach the best beaches and the archeological sites you will need a car or a scooter.

You can also rent a bike if you are feeling sporty. Although the best way to move around in Cozumel is by renting a car.

It also depends on what are your plans while you are in Cozumel. If you are going to join the many amazing tours available or spend a lot of time in a beach club, you won´t need a car and you can use the taxis available on the island. (There is no Uber in Cozumel, just so you know!)

Things to do in Cozumel

Although Cozumel is mainly known as one of the best diving destinations in Mexico, there are also many other amazing activities you can do and sites to explore, as I mention in my detailed Cozumel Travel Guide.

I will share here below the most exciting one.

Go snorkeling – there are many amazing snorkeling tours in Cozumel but there are many beaches where you can snorkel on your own from the shore.

Spend a day in one of the beach clubs in Cozumel – Mr. Sancho is the most popular one you can pre-book your entrance on VIATOR.

Try the local food – there are many delicious restaurants in Cozumel for every budget and taste. You can also take a food tour with a local guide to learn about the top eateries in Cozumel.

Watch the sunset from one of the Cozumel Rooftop bars.

Go Surfing on the east coast – The east coast is the most interesting area, with spectacular waves for surfers but also great landscapes for photographers and nature lovers. It´s not always swimmable but worth the trip just to watch it.

Hire a private driver and explore Cozumel – if you don´t feel like driving this is the perfect way to enjoy the island with a local expert who drives you and your party around. BOOK IT ON VIATOR

Where to stay in Cozumel

If you decide to stay in Cozumel for a few days versus a day trip, there are plenty of hotel options that you can choose from.

From luxury all-inclusive properties along the coast to cute boutique hotels or apartments in the main town.

You can choose your preferred place to stay in Cozumel for your budget and style.

Here below I am including my top places but you can read more in our article on the top All inclusive hotels in Cozumel and the top vacation rentals.

Top All inclusive hotel in Cozumel

All-inclusive hotel with a private beach – Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort
Luxury All-inclusive hotel for Adults Only in Cozumel –
Secrets Aura Cozumel
Luxury All inclusive hotel in Cozumel for Families – Sunscape Sabor Cozumel

Top Boutique Hotels in Cozumel

Luxury boutique hotel for Adults only – Ventanas al Mar
Mid-range boutique hotel –
Casita de Maya Boutique Hotel
Budget hotel –
Kinta Kan Boutique Hotel

Best Vacation Rentals in Cozumel

For a big family or friends retreatBeachfront Las Brisas
For a couple or solo getaway isolated from everything: Stingray villa Cozumel
Luxury family vacation: Oceanfront Cozumel Home with Private Pier + Pool!
Solo vacation or workation: Oceanfront Condo

Also, you can check out this useful interactive map to find the best accommodation for you:

Cancun to Cozumel FAQ

Where do you fly into to go to Cozumel?

You can fly directly to Cozumel as the island has an international airport which will spare you the hassle of landing in Cancun and then having to transfer to Cozumel by land and ferry.

Is it hard to get from Cancun to Cozumel?

It’s not hard to get from Cancun to Cozumel, but it’s much easier if you fly directly into Cozumel International Airport since it’s pretty well connected.

How long is the ferry ride from Cancun to Cozumel?

There is no ferry ride from Cancun to Cozumel. You will need to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun and get the ferry from there. The ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel is just 20 minute’s ride.

How much does the ferry cost from Cozumel to Cancun?

From Cozumel to Playa del Carmen is 250 MXN per adult and 200 MXN for kids.

Should I buy Cozumel ferry tickets in advance?

It’s not necessary to buy the Cozumel ferry tickets in Advance. You can buy it at the pier before boarding. There are two companies that travel to Cozumel so you can get the first one that is leaving when you get there.

How much is a taxi from Cancun to Cozumel?

A taxi from Cancun to Playa del Carmen should be around 700 MXN, then you must take the ferry which is 250 MXN.

How many days do you need in Cozumel? Itinerary!

It really depends on what are your plans in Cozumel. There is so much to do that you can stay a month. However, I would say 3 days is enough to see the essentials, here below is an example of the Cozumel itinerary:

Day 1 – Rent a car and explore the island, stop by Punta Sur, visit the archeological site of San Gervasio stop by the beautiful beaches in Cozumel.

Day 2 – Join the best Cozumel boat trip to snorkel in the top snorkeling spots in Cozumel or if you are a diver book a diving trip in one of the best diving spots in the world.

Day 3 – Relax in one of the Cozumel Beach Clubs

Day 4 – (departure day) Take a stroll in town and have a delicious breakfast in one of the best restaurants in Cozumel.

Is Cozumel safer than Cancun?

Both Cozumel and Cancun are equally safe and at the same time require some awareness and common sense.

Unpleasant situations can happen anywhere but if you are careful and avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations, you will be just fine. You can read my post on safety in Mexico to learn more.

Also, you can read my post “Cancun vs Cozumel” to learn about the main differences and similarities between the two destinations.