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Cozumel vs. Cancun: 8 Pros & Cons You Must Know

So, you’ve narrowed down your next getaway to Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Congratulations! That’s an exciting step in and of itself, but now you’re facing your next hurdle—is it better to visit Cozumel or Cancun?

I’ve spent time in both destinations and will break down the pros and cons of Cozumel vs. Cancun to help you decide which is the right fit for you.

Accessibility Note: Cozumel and Cancun both have wheelchair accessibility features. Read our accessible articles on Cancun and Cozumel for more details.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

An Overview of Cozumel vs. Cancun

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details of visiting Cancun and Cozumel, below is a chart to help you grasp some primary similarities and differences between these two destinations.

International airportYesYes
Lots of restaurant and shopping optionsNoYes
Many day trip optionsNoNo
Quiet atmosphereYesNo
Rental cars availableYesYes
Many sandy beachesNoYes

8 Pros and Cons of Cancun vs. Cozumel

As you can probably imagine, many points on the table above require a deeper answer than a mere “yes” or “no,” and there’s overlap in some cases. Furthermore, what’s a pro to one person may be another person’s con.

So without further ado, below are eight pros and cons of Cozumel vs. Cancun that’ll help you determine which you should visit. But instead of me labeling them as a pro or con, I’ll let you be the judge.

#1: Cozumel is Easy to Explore

A scooter parked in front of Cozumel

If you’re the type of person who wants to explore every square inch of a destination, Cancun will likely feel overwhelming to you.

In contrast, although Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, it’s still small enough where you can rent a scooter and circle around the island a time or three in a day. Heck, you can even bike around the island, if you’ve got the stamina for it.

Unlike Cancun’s seemingly endless array of restaurants, shops, and activities, if you’re short on time, spending your vacation in Cozumel will give you a better sense of really seeing the area.

Some of Cozumel’s most popular attractions include:

  • Punta Sur Ecological Park
  • Scuba diving
  • San Miguel town
  • Laguna Chankanaab
  • San Gervasio & Castillo Real ruins

If the thought of riding around Cozumel without air conditioning already has you sweating, don’t worry—there are plenty of taxis on the island that can get you where you want to go.

#2: Cancun Offers More Day Trips

A view of the blue water and rocky shore at Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres, which is a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun.

If you love to be on the go, Cozumel will likely feel too constricting for you since you’ll need to take a ferry or plane to get off the island.

On the other hand, Cancun is one of the best destinations to base yourself from for taking day trips around the Yucatan Peninsula.

You have three options for taking day trips in Cancun: Book a tour through a tour company, hop on a ferry, or take an ADO bus. The ADO bus station is located in downtown Cancun, a 10 – 20 minute drive from the Hotel Zone, depending on your location and traffic.

Day trips you can take from Cancun include:

  • Chichen Itza
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Tulum
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Valladolid
  • Coba
  • Akumal

Chichen Itza (about 2.5 hours from Cancun) and Isla Mujeres (about a 20-minute ferry ride) are among the most popular Cancun day trips. You can check out my article on Isla Mujeres vs Cozumel for details on a trip to Isla Mujeres.

And, well, the list continues depending on just how off-the-beaten-path you want your travels to be.

You can even visit Cozumel as a day trip from Cancun. I’ll explain more about traveling between these two destinations at the end of this post.

Before you write off Cozumel as an island that’s impossible to take a day trip from, consider this—there are frequent 30-minute ferry departures to Playa del Carmen, which is an excellent place to spend a day.

Furthermore, you could even visit Xcaret Park or Tulum as a day trip from Cozumel, although you’ll need to be mindful of ferry times and prepared to stay on the mainland longer than expected if a storm pops up, delaying the ferry back to Cozumel.

#3: Cozumel is a Quieter Getaway

The clear waters of Cozumel, which are quieter than Cancun.

I dare you to find someone who says that Cancun is quieter than Cozumel; Cozumel and relaxation go hand-in-hand just like Cancun and partying do.

That’s not to say that Cozumel is a dead zone, but the statistics don’t lie: In 2019, Cancun had 6.15 million visitors while Cozumel had far fewer, with many visitors arriving on a cruise ship instead of staying on the island.

Part of the reason Cozumel is quieter than Cancun is because of its more remote location. It’s also more expensive than Cancun, making it difficult for budget travelers to settle in. So, it doesn’t attract loads of college spring break students like Cancun does.

Furthermore, Cozumel is primarily a resort island, with all-inclusive hotels taking up (or adapting) many of the nicest beaches for private use.

All of that tallies up to a quieter beach experience for people who want to get in touch with nature and read a good book (may I suggest the Messages series? As a disclaimer, I’m the author of this tropical Panamanian romance series ).

#4: Cancun is Better for Nightlife

When comparing Cozumel vs. Cancun, Cancun has more nightlife, such as at this Coco Bongo club.

Cancun is the hub of all hubs for nightlife. It contains world-class clubs such as:

  • Coco Bongo
  • Mandala
  • The City
  • Coyote Loco

And these are just the big ones. However, if you’re not into rubbing shoulders with the wealthy, and tourists pretending to be rich, there are countless bars you can visit for a local nightlife vibe.

That said, if you visit Cozumel and want to spend a night on the town, all hope isn’t lost—downtown San Miguel offers many bars and a few clubs.

Just don’t expect the party vibe to be as crazy as it is in Cancun, which for some, might be the perfect nightlife balance.

#5: Cozumel is Ideal for Divers

A statue of two divers in Cozumel.

If you’re a scuba diver, make a beeline to Cozumel; it’s home to the Mesoamerican Reef, which at 700 miles long, is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Between the reef and being away from large crowds, divers and snorkelers can enjoy observing countless tropical fish, rays, turtles, and sharks, among other marine life.

There’s no shortage of tours that’ll take you out diving or snorkeling. Alternatively, you can rent gear and dive or snorkel on your own near the shore.

If you love the thought of diving but don’t have the time to get PADI certified, you can take an underwater walking tour instead. With this tour, you’ll put on outer space-looking headgear and literally walk on the bottom of the ocean. You can even leave your prescription glasses on since the helmet offers ample space.

That said, if you end up staying in Cancun and would like to dive, I highly recommend doing so at MUSA, which is an underwater art museum with over 500 sculptures.

#6: Cancun is Sandier Than Cozumel

Cancun has sandier beaches like this compared to Cozumel.

Let’s face it—most people visiting Cancun or Cozumel plan on spending time on the beach. And so, when comparing Cozumel vs. Cancun, it’s crucial to note that Cancun offers larger, sandier beaches than Cozumel.

Of course, Cancun’s beaches often get way more crowded than Cozumel. But few people will argue that Cancun’s beaches encompass every adjective ever written for a postcard-perfect Caribbean getaway.

On the other hand, Cozumel has a lot of undeveloped beach areas loaded with rocks, thorns, and other natural debris that make it less than comfortable for lounging there. I’ve also been cautioned against hanging out at these untouched beaches since, while Cozumel is overall safe, malientes may take advantage if you put yourself in a remote area where it’s easy for them to rob you without being seen.

The bottom line here is that you’re more limited on where you can go to enjoy sandy beaches in Cozumel, and they’re almost all either on hotel properties or at beach clubs where you pay an entrance fee to get in. Once you’re there, though, you’ll get to enjoy beautiful sandy beaches that are less crowded than in Cancun.

#7: Cozumel Has One Center

The downtown San Miguel district of Cozumel.

If you like the feeling of a single gathering place within a town, you’ll appreciate Cozumel’s downtown San Miguel district.

San Miguel is the core of where everything happens in Cozumel, and it’s where you’ll find a plethora of restaurants, shops, and people selling you tours. Cozumel’s center is walkable with a large plaza where locals sometimes perform, and an oceanfront boardwalk is nearby.

In contrast, Cancun has two centers—the tourist center and the “real” downtown center.

The tourist center runs along the Hotel Zone, which is a narrow strip of land with the Caribbean Sea on one side and a lagoon on the other.

It can be hard to distinguish an actual “center” within the Hotel Zone since the whole place can feel like a multi-mile center. However, the northernmost part of the Hotel Zone where the lighthouse is located is generally considered the center of the Hotel Zone center.

Meanwhile, Cancun’s real center is located inland, about a 10 – 15 minute drive from the Hotel Zone. It’s a stark contrast from the Hotel Zone, as it has a relatively run-down appearance. However, it’s an area with rich local culture, markets, and free performances at Parque de las Palapas.

#8: Cancun Has More Flight Options

A gate at the Cancun airport.

Sometimes a trip comes down to economics and convenience. So, when looking at Cozumel vs. Cancun in regards to international flights, Cancun will often win this competition.

Cozumel and Cancun both have international airports, including multiple flights per day from the U.S. However, Cancun’s airport is far larger with many more options. And it’s no wonder, given that Cancun has the fourth largest airport in Latin America (the largest airport, by the way, is in Mexico City).

That said, you can find budget airlines like Southwest that fly to both Cancun and Cozumel.

Visiting Cancun and Cozumel on the Same Trip

A ferry in Cozumel, unlike Cancun which you can

The Cozumel ferry.

Here’s some good news: You don’t have to choose between Cozumel or Cancun.

If you’re short on time, you can hop on a small plane. The ride will take about 20 minutes.

Alternatively, if puddle jumpers aren’t your thing and/or you don’t want to pour money into what can sometimes be an expensive flight, you have the option to travel by land and ferry.

When traveling from Cancun, you’ll need to drive south to Playa del Carmen. The drive is supposed to take an hour, but from the more than 20 times I’ve traveled that route, it can take 1.5 hours or more between traffic and construction.

Once you’re in Playa, enjoy a walk down the pedestrian 5th Avenue until you come to the Cozumel ferry port. Playa del Carmen is a nice place to grab a bite to eat and meander around, so I recommend allowing for a bit of time there.

Once you’re ready, hop on a 30-minute ferry to Cozumel and let your vacation continue!

Psst! Don’t miss my guide on Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun if you’re considering a stay in Playa, too.

To avoid backtracking, you could even fly into Cancun or Cozumel and then fly out of the other city.

And before you harp on me about how much that’ll cost you in two one-way international flights, consider this—a study by the Airlines Reporting Corp. shows that many one-way airline tickets are now on par with the cost of round trip tickets.

What’ll It Be?

A quiet beach with palm trees in Cozumel.

A beach in Cozumel.

Hopefully, by now you have a better idea of what to expect from a trip to Cozumel and Cancun.

Both destinations are beautiful. While I personally prefer Cozumel over Cancun, I’ve met plenty of people who feel the opposite and even some people who equally liked the unique features of both destinations.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on which destination you’re leaning toward and help you with any questions you may have. Leave a comment below, and let’s get chatting!

P.S.—If you’re considering other destinations in the Yucatan, check out my guide on Cozumel vs Playa del Carmen.

Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.

Cancun vs Cozumel: Which One Is Better for a Great Vacation?

Cancun vs Cozumel: where to go on a vacation? if you are wondering that and you don’t know which one to pick you have landed in the right place. In this post I will help you figure it out by comparing all the pros and cos of both destinations, both amazing, by the way.

So the good part is that you can never get wrong.

Cancun and Cozumel are both located in Quintana Roo Mexico state on the Caribbean Side!

So both are some of the top Mexican destinations when it comes to experiencing the Caribbean at its best.

But the experiences its cities and islands offer are quite different. Tulum offers seaside Mayan ruins, underwater caverns, and sandy beaches.

Playa del Carmen is known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs and so forth. Each destination with its own unique feel and special gift.

Cancun is the best for nightlife and top all inclusive resorts while Cozumel has the best snorkeling and diving spots.

This article is about two uniquely different locations in the state: Cancun vs Cozumel.

Cancun vs Cozumel

Cancun vs Cozumel Quintana Roo Mexico at a glance

We’ll show you the main differences and similarities so you can decide which one to choose for your perfect vacation in the Mexican Caribbean.

If you’re trying to decide whether to vacation in the resort city of Cancun—which is famous for its long beaches, nightlife, all-inclusive resorts, and Nichupte Lagoon nature reserve—or to try out the ultimate Caribbean island retreat offered by Cozumel, this post is for you.

I’ll give you a detailed outlook on the experiences offered by both places, the advantages (and of course disadvantages) of choosing one over the other, and everything else you need to know about Cancun vs Cozumel.

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Cancun vs Cozumel – Cancun features and highlights

Because of its world-class beaches and luxurious all-inclusive resorts, Cancun attracts millions of visitors every year.

In fact, it’s one of the most popular resort towns in not only Quintana Roo, but the entire country of Mexico.

With such overwhelming popularity, it’s obvious that Cancun makes for one of the best holidays in Mexico.

But if you don’t know what makes it so appealing to millions of people from around the world, the following highlights will give you a good idea.

But there are also some downsides of Cancun when compared with other places in Mexico, including Cozumel, I’ll highlight those below as well.

Cancun beach

Highlights of Cancun

✔ Cancun is the ultimate resort city, with lots of luxury hotels, all-inclusive resorts, nightlife, and 5-star restaurants.

✔ Cancun is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico. They’re also relatively larger and sandier compared to the ones found in Cozumel.

However, you should note that Cancun receives a lot more tourists than Cozumel, and most of them are looking for a grand beach vacation, so the beaches here are more crowded.

✔ Cancun offers one of the best nightlife experiences. There are plenty of outstanding clubs and bars that you can check out during your stay.

biking in cozumel

✔ Cancun has the advantage of being on the Yucatan Peninsula, which means far better roads and easy access to many other regions of Mexico. The airport is also usually just 20 minutes of drive away (may vary depending on the location of your lodgings, but still close enough).

✔ As compared to Cozumel, Cancun definitely offers way more day-trips. There are so many places that you can visit while staying in Cancun, including the splendid Isla Mujeres, which I definitely recommend if you want to be dazed with beauty and charm.

The archaeological site of Chichen Itza is also less than three hours’ drive from Cancun and all the amazing cenotes near Cancun.

✔ There are so many lodging options in Cancun that it’s overwhelming. With more than 300 hotels in the Zona Hotelera, you’re sure to find the most high-end luxury stays here.

There are also more economical stays in its downtown area, which is about a quarter-hour drive inland.

Cancun distances

The downsides of Cancun vs Cozumel

Despite all its glamour and fame, Cancun is after all just a long strip of sky-high hotels and all-inclusive resorts. There’s not much on going when it comes to experiencing Mexico’s culture.

Not a very quiet and relaxing atmosphere. If you’re planning to visit Cancun during the Spring Break period (usually mid-March through April), you will find lots of young people partying and being loud almost everywhere you go.

Not easy to explore. The hotel zone and downtown are two separate places in Cancun, and you have to drive 10 to 15 minutes inland in order to get to downtown if you’re staying in the hotel zone.

The traffic in Cancun, especially the hotel zone area, can be quite jammed most of the time, which makes things even more complicated.

Slightly more expensive compared to Cozumel’s prices. Even though the lodging options in Cozumel aren’t as many as Cancun’s, they sure are more affordable.

However, Cancun’s hotels are one of the best luxury stays in the country, so the prices make sense.

And because of the ever-increasing appeal in Cancun’s tourism scene, all the other expenses in Cancun are also quite higher compared to Cozumel. But rest assured, your money will be well-spent.

cozumel pictures composition

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Cancun vs Cozumel – Cozumel features and highlights

Cozumel, a mostly underdeveloped island in the Caribbean, is one of the most popular cruise ship ports in Mexico.

It’s the go-to spot for many scuba divers from around the world as well. The island also offers some remnants of the Mayan civilization. It’s also filled with natural wonders, and amazing snorkeling and diving sites.

In fact, the diving and snorkeling scene on Cozumel’s gorgeous turquoise-water beaches is just as amazing. There is an abundance of marine life in the sea, and the reef barrier section is also quite renowned, being the second largest barrier reef in the world.

But despite all these, Cozumel is not as popular as Cancun unless you are a diver or a cruiser. It’s a remote location that sees a significantly lower number of tourists compared to Cancun, making it perfect for a quiet Mexican-style Caribbean retreat spot.

beach with umbrellas and bushes

Packing list for Mexico

The Ultimate Packing List for Mexico

Wondering what to pack for your trip to Mexico? In this article, I am sharing the essential travel packing list for Mexico for every climate and season.

Highlights of Cozumel

✔ Cozumel is amazing when it comes to finding the best getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s a mostly-underdeveloped island in a remote location.

That’s why the atmosphere here is quiet and relaxing, except for the main road by the pier where you find loud nightlife.

Everything else is a peaceful beach experience and no overcrowdedness.

Cozumel is very easy to explore. It’s an island which you can see on your own simply by renting a bike or scooter.

The town center, which is Cozumel’s downtown, has all the restaurants and shops that you can explore simply by walking around.

Some would argue that driving around on scooters is dangerous but I disagree. It is true that I noticed that on the island there are quite a bit of reckless drivers, especially in the busy town, but if you are careful you can be

Ideal for divers. Cozumel offers some of the clearest and warmest waters on the planet. This is why it is such a popular diving destination, attracting global visitors all year round.

It also has the Mesoamerican reef system, the second-largest in the world, so your scuba diving will be nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you’re into snorkeling, there are plenty of fish, rays, turtles, sharks, and other aquatic creatures to see.

Check out the top dive shops recommended by a local diver.

✔ Snorkeling is also a good reason to visit Cozumel. In fact, if you are not a diver there are amazing snorkeling spots in Cozumel that you can reach either by tour or from the shore. Click on the link above to check them out ( written by an islander)

Much less commercial and offers an authentic Mexican experience. Cancun was made for tourists and offers a wide range of the most luxurious stays.

But in the end, it’s a very urban city with almost no Mexican charm to offer.

So, if you’re looking to experience Mexico in all its glamor, then Cozumel is a far better option compared to Cancun.

But it still offers a small version of the Cancun nightlife if you look around the harbor.

✔ There are many beach clubs where you can have free access to all the facilities if you just get something to drink or eat at their restaurant. (I will give you more information on the best beach clubs soon)

How to get to Cozumel - cozumel beach and see

✔ Since the majority of Cozumel is still untouched by development, you can take jeep tours to explore the island’s natural wonders.

I already mentioned Chankanaab, but Punta Sur is another ecological park that you should see (make sure to visit the famous lighthouse there).

The rock formations at El Mirador are another natural wonder that you can check out during your stay here.

✔ Even though sites like Chichen Itza can’t be found in Cozumel, there are still plenty of ruins here. The most notable among them is the San Gervasio archaeological site, Cozumel’s largest and best-preserved Mayan ruins.

Cozumel distances

  • 1 hr 29 min (33.1 km) from Playa del Carmen.
  • 1 hr 40 min (53.8 km) from Akumal.
  • 2 hr 1 min (79.9 km) from Tulum.
  • 2 hr 35 min (123.9 km) from Coba.
  • 3 hr 9 min (172.3 km) from Valladolid.
  • 3 hr 10 min (116.7 km) from Isla Mujeres.
  • 3 hr 39 min (212.6 km) from Chichen Itza.

The cons of Cozumel in comparison with Cancun

Not as many hotels, resorts, shopping options, and restaurants as Cancun.

The number of sandy beaches in Cozumel is smaller compared to Cancun. But don’t worry, you can still have a variety of fun beach vacations here.

The nightlife here isn’t as vivid as the one found in Cancun. There are some bars and clubs in the downtown area of San Miguel, which makes for a modest nightlife experience, but nothing as vibrant as Cancun. (If you’re someone like me, this is actually a pro of Cozumel. )

Despite being the largest Caribbean island in Mexico, Cozumel is relatively small. It’s perfect for a short visit and you can see it all during your stay. But if you stay long enough, you will run out of landmarks and places to visit.

Cancun lagoon and Beach

Cancun vs Cozumel – Which one is safer?

Cancun receives millions of tourists every year, so it goes without saying that it’s a relatively safe destination in the Quintana Roo state.

The US State Department issued a level-2 travel advisory for the state, which includes Cancun as well. This means it ranks the same as France, Spain, and the Bahamas when it comes to safety.

Almost all the hotels in the hotel zone have strict security measures in place. You won’t have to worry about drug-related crimes and cartels as long as you steer clear of getting involved in drugs.

All you need to look out for is theft crimes which some tourists are targets of. Keep an eye on your belongings when on the beaches, and keep a close watch on your food and drinks when visiting the restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Also, read my guide to Safety in Cancun

Cozumel isn’t behind in terms of safety either. It’s in the same state as Cancun, so the safety advisory level for it is also the same.

The island is relatively safe for tourists as long as the above-mentioned precautions are taken.

I have just returned to Cozumel this year ( October 2021 and then again in June 2022) and I felt very safe walking around the streets even at night and going to the beach. Just watch out for sandflies

sunrise, sun rays, cozumel

For example, if you’re going for a night out, leave your belongings safely locked in your room and only bring enough money to cover the expenses for it.

Scooter and bike rentals are a great option in Cozumel, but if you’re taking a taxi, make sure to negotiate a fare with the driver before you get into it to avoid getting overcharged.

The shoreline in Cozumel, however, is a bit rockier and the waters have slightly stronger undertows as compared to Cancun.

You can only swim in the designated areas of its beaches. Apart from that, it’s quite safe and in fact, the majority of international cruise ships dock at the port here.

Cancun sees a lot more tourists as compared to Cozumel and has larger crowds almost everywhere you go. So, Cozumel, with fewer crowds on beaches, hotels, and clubs, has an overall edge in terms of Covid safety.

Cancun vs Cozumel – Weather

Cancun and Cozumel are just a hundred kilometers apart, which means the weather is practically the same in both places.

Since they’re tropical destinations, the majority of tourists arrive here to soak in the sun during winters. This means that December through April is the busiest month for Cancun. Cozumel, on the other hand, is always less crowded (even during Peak Season).

The hurricane season starts in June in the entire region—which includes both our locations—and lasts until the first half of November.

The tropical climate means summers in Cancun and Cozumel are usually hot and humid, with a higher frequency of rainfalls throughout the season.

Cancun vs Cozumel – what they have in common

As you have noticed there are a lot of differences between Cancun and Cozumel, but in some ways, they are also similar. Here below you can find the similarities that you may appreciate.

  • An international airport at 20 minutes from the main touristy area
  • Amazing crystal clear water where to swim and snorkel
  • Great surfing spots for pro surfers
  • Diving options, although in Cozumel they are much better
  • Mexican and international cuisine
  • Vegan and vegetarian options
  • Same seasonality and weather
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Cancun beach

Cancun aerial view

Cancun vs Cozumel Quintana Roo Mexico – TOP TOURS

Both destinations offer amazing tours but while Cozumel is more focused on water activities than Cancun you will find much easier access also to more cultural attractions. In this section I am going to share the top tours for each destination.

Cancun top tours

✅ Take a trip to Isla Mujeres

Going to Isla Mujeres is definitely one of the things you should do if you love to swim in crystal clear turquoise water and walk on a white sand beach, enjoy the local town vibe and get to Punta Sur by golf cart.

There re different ways to get to Isla Mujeres and here I am going to share them all with you.

BOOK your catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres on Viator

Catamaran tour

Keep in mind that the majority of the catamaran tour is packed with many people, and they cater party lovers whose priority is dancing and drinking on the boat and are less focused on exploring. Just so you know.

✅ Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven world’s wonders Chichen-itza

If you have never been to Chichen Itza you must at least once in your lifetime.

One of the world’s seven wonders and a UNESCO world heritage site it deserves a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide to show you around while sharing some interesting facts about this majestic Mayan city.

In one of my articles, I wrote about other ways to get from Cancun to Chichen Iza, if you want to check it out.

If you don’t have much time you should join one of the full day tours form Cancun where you will not only visit Chichenitza but also a nearby cenote and the pretty colonial town of Valladolid. Here are a few options

✅ Visit Isla Contoy

MAnta Ray in Contoy Island

Manta Ray in Contoy Island – photo from Canva

Isla Contoy is one of the unique things to do in Cancun. Boat Tours live from one of the Cancun marinas and will take you to this spectacular uninhabited island to learn about the local fauna, and enjoy the immaculate white sand beaches and pristine water.

BOOK your catamaran tour to Isla Contoy on VIATOR

Top tours from Cozumel

✅ Join one of the unmissable snorkeling tours off of the Cozumel coast

There are some amazing snorkeling spots that you can’t reach without a boat. And that’s where I become fun of organized tours because there is no other way to get there unless you hire a private boat.

You will check out some of the snorkeling spots in Cozumel, Palancar reef, Columbia reef, and the magical El Cielo Beach surrounded by beautiful starfish and sandy white bottom. (Not to be touched)

You will be in awe at the crystal clear turquoise water and the wealth of underwater life.

BOOK your snorkeling tour in Cozumel on VIATOR

✅ Go diving

If you are a diver you are probably going to Cozumel on a diving trip or you may want to just have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can book your diving with one of the many dive shops in Cozumel or you can pre-book your diving trip online, which is the best choice if you have limited time and you need some solid planning.

Palancar Reef Cozumel

BOOK YOUR DIVE IN COZUMEL – photo from Canva

Final thoughts on Cancun vs Cozumel – Which one to choose?

Cozumel is smaller, with fewer crowds and a quieter atmosphere. The beaches are also smaller and rockier compared to Cancun’s picturesque white-sand ones, but their coral barrier access makes them ideal when it comes to snorkeling and scuba diving.

Cancun has a thriving nightlife, luxurious hotels, and an overwhelming number of restaurants and bars, along with its picture-perfect beaches. It has plenty of excursions on the menu as well, which makes a holiday in Cancun a world-class one.

By now, you (hopefully) know enough about both Cancun and Cozumel to guess what a trip to either of the destinations will be like.

Both of them have their own unique features, it’s really up to you to pick the one that resonates more with your type of vacation.

Whichever you decide, have fun.

my picture with cat

Isabella, author, editor, and founder

A passionate traveler and photographer, in love with life and adventures, Isabella is the founder and editor of Letstraveltomexico where she shares her love for Mexico, a fascinating country that she’s proud to call home. When she’s not exploring a new place you will find Isabella in a cafe, writing on this blog, or on her other sites Boundless Roads, Mexico Cenotes and Ruins and where she loves to share her travels on and off the beaten path in Mexico and around the world.

my picture with cat

Isabella, author, editor, and founder

A passionate traveler and photographer, in love with life and adventures, Isabella is the founder and editor of Letstraveltomexico where she shares her love for Mexico, a fascinating country that she’s proud to call home. When she’s not exploring a new place you will find Isabella in a cafe, writing on this blog, or on her other sites Boundless Roads, Mexico Cenotes and Ruins and where she loves to share her travels on and off the beaten path in Mexico and around the world.

Saturday 9th of October 2021

A very incomplete and often misleading comparison of Cancun versus Cozumel. And very bad to recommend a scooter rental on the island of Cozumel, since it is a very dangerous way to travel and people are often injured or worse. And there’s a plus for Cozumel that you don’t mention and that is that it has an intentional airport, which has been an operation far longer than Cancun and allows you to avoid the hassle of the Cancun airport.

Sunday 24th of October 2021

Hello Robert, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. However, I need to disagree. I have been to Cozumel quite a few times and I have biked and motorbiked around the island and I never felt in danger, not once. Cozumel is a very tranquil island and although some people may drive a little recklessly I couldn’t call it DANGEROUS to rent a scooter unless you don’t know how to drive a scooter, in which case it wouldn’t be safe anywhere in the world, regardless. About the airport, you have probably missed the information because I mentioned it in the section Cancun vs Cozumel – what they have in common. I hope it clarifies. Safe travels! 🙂


my picture with cat

Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate and a nomad adopted by Mexico. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling to Mexico on and off the beaten path. Read more about me

You can also find me on my digital nomad blog Boundless Road where I strive to empower women of all ages to live their best travel adventure move abroad and never look back

Also check out my new sites Let’s travel to Cancun and Mexico Cenotes and Ruins !

Cancun vs Cozumel: Which is better for a great vacation?

Cancun and Cozumel are two of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. But which one is better for a great vacation? Cancun is known for its luxury resorts, while Cozumel is known for its dive sites and snorkeling. So, which one is right for you?

One of the best ways to find out is to compare them side-by-side and see what is better. So, let’s get started!

Cancun vs Cozumel: Which Is Better To Visit?

Cancun or Cozumel, which one should you visit? If you’re looking for a relaxed island vibe with plenty of opportunity to explore, Cancun is the place for you. The small island (just 4.5 miles long!) is perfect for scootering or golf carting around, and there are plenty of private beach to relax on.

Cancun Aerial View

If you’re looking for more of a party atmosphere, Cozumel is the spot for you. The island has world-class diving and snorkeling, as well as nightlife that goes until the early hours of the morning. So, whether you’re looking to relax or party, there’s an island for you to spend your vacation!

Cancun Versus Cozumel – Which Is Safer?

Cancun and Cozumel are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. But which is safer?

Cancun is located on the mainland, while Cozumel is an island. Cancun has a population of over 1 million people, while Cozumel is smaller and its population is only about 100,000.

Cozumel Mexico

Cancun is a busy city with a lot of tourists. There are plenty of things to do in Cancun. But Cancun also be crowded and chaotic. Cozumel is more relaxed and laid-back, but it’s also smaller and less developed.

So, which is safer? It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a busy city with lots to do, then Cancun is probably your best bet. But some people think that Cozumel might be safer than Cancun.

Cancun and Cozumel: Which Is Better For Food And Drinks?

Cancun and Cozumel are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. But which is better for food and drinks?

Cancun is known for its party atmosphere, but there are also plenty of great restaurants to check out. Cozumel, on the other hand, is known for its incredible seafood. So if you’re looking for a good meal, Cozumel is the place to be.


When it comes to drinks, both Cancun and Cozumel have their fair share of bars and clubs. But if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, Cozumel might be the better choice. There are plenty of beach bars where you can enjoy a cold beer or margarita while watching the sun set.

Which Is Easier To Get To Cancun Or Cozumel?

Cancun and Cozumel are two very popular destinations in Mexico. Both offer beautiful beaches, great food, and a variety of things to do. But which destination is easier to get to?

Cozumel is actually the easier destination to reach. It’s just a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, which is about an hour’s drive from Cancun. Once you’re on the island, there are plenty of taxis and buses that can take you anywhere you need to go.

Chac Mool Beach

Cancun, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated to get to. There are no direct flights from the US, so you have to fly into Cancun or Mexico City first. From there, you’ll need to take a bus or taxi to your final destination.

Cozumel Features And Highlights

Cozumel is a beautiful island off the coast of Mexico. It’s known for its clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and Cozumel Reefs National Park. There are many activities to enjoy on the island, including snorkeling, diving, fishing, and exploring the Mayan ruins.

Cozumel features include:

-The clear turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

-The white sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing or enjoying water sports.

-The coral reefs are home to a variety of fish and other marine life.

-There are many Mayan ruins to explore on the island.

Cozumel Or Cancun: Which One Should I Choose?

If you’re trying to decide between Cancun and Cozumel, there are a few things you should consider. Both destinations offer best beaches and plenty of activities, but they have different feels.

Cancun is more touristy and developed, while Cozumel is more laid-back. It really depends on what kind of vacation you’re looking for.

Cancun vs Cozumel

If you want to party and be in the midst of the action, Cancun is probably the better choice. There’s no shortage of bars and beach clubs, and resort areas.

The hotel zone is packed with resorts. You can also find plenty of excursions if you want to explore beyond the beach.

But if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, Cozumel might be a better fit.

Weather Of Cozumel Vs Cancun

When it comes to weather, both Cancun and Cozumel enjoy sunny skies and warm temperatures year-round. However, Cancun is a bit hotter than Cozumel, with average highs in the low 90s Fahrenheit. Cozumel averages in the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

cancun beach

Cozumel Weather

Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico, is a popular destination for travelers. The weather in Cozumel is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

The island experiences two seasons: a dry season from November to May, and a wet season from June to October. During the wet season, Cozumel receives an average of 12 inches of rain.

The best time to visit Cozumel is during the dry season, when there is less rainfall and the temperatures are more mild. However, travelers should be aware that even during the dry season, there can be hurricanes and tropical storms.

Before traveling to Cozumel, check the forecast and be prepared for any potential weather conditions.

Cancun Weather

Cancun weather is ideal for vacationers looking to escape the cold winters of the north. The average temperature in Cancun is a warm 82 degrees Fahrenheit. December through February are the coolest months, with temperatures ranging from 77-80 degrees.

March through May are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching up to 86 degrees. June through November is the rainy season in Cancun, so pack your raincoat if you’re visit Cancun during this time!

Isla Mujeres Vs Cozumel

It is a small island off the coast of Cancun. It is known for its beaches, snorkeling, and fishing. Cozumel is a larger island and is also known for its beaches and snorkeling.

Both islands are popular tourist destinations, but there are some key differences between them. Here’s a look at Isla Mujeres vs Cozumel:

Zama Cancun Beach Club, Isla Mujeres

Size: It is only about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide. Cozumel is much larger, at about 27 miles long and 10 miles wide.

Beaches: Both islands have beaches with white sand and clear blue water. However, Isla Mujeres has more beaches to choose from.

Cancun, A Charming Place

Cancun is a small island located off the coast of Mexico. The island is known for its clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and relaxed atmosphere. Cancun is a popular spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

Coco Bongo Cancun Beach Club

The island was once home to the Maya people, who believed that Cancun was the gateway to the underworld. Today, visitors can see Maya ruins on the island, including a temple dedicated to the goddess Ixchel.

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It is also home to a lively downtown Cancun area with shops, restaurants, and bars.

Cozumel: A Paradise In The Caribbean

Cozumel has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The island was once home to the Maya people, who built many temples and pyramids here. Today, Cozumel is a popular tourist destination, known for its beaches, clear turquoise waters, and friendly locals.

Whether you are looking to relax on the beach or explore ancient ruins, Cozumel has something for everyone. Here are just a few of the highlights of this paradise in the Caribbean:


The Beaches: With over 50 beaches to choose from, you will never be bored in Cozumel. Many of the beaches offer stunning views of the turquoise waters and coral reefs.

What They Have In Common?

Cancun and Cozumel are two of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. They are both located on the Caribbean Sea and offer beautiful beaches, clear waters and plenty of sun. But what else do these two destinations have in common?

For starters, both Cancun and Cozumel are well-known for their scuba diving and snorkelling. The reefs around both islands offer some of the best underwater visibility in the world, making them ideal spots for exploring the colourful marine life.

Things To Do In Cancun

Both Cancun and Cozumel also boast a variety of land-based activities for tourists to enjoy. From ancient ruins to eco-parks, there is something for everyone to see and do on these Mexican islands.

Highlights Of Cozumel

Cozumel is a paradise off the coast of Mexico city. The San Gervasio is a popular vacation destination for travelers from all over the world.

There are many sandy beaches in Cozumel. They features with turquoise waters, and a laid-back atmosphere. Here are some of the highlights of this beautiful island.

Things To Do In Downtown Cancun

The first thing that visitors usually notice about Cozumel is the incredible turquoise water. The clear water and soft sand make for perfect beach days. Travelers can also enjoy plenty of activities in the water, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming with dolphins.

In addition to its gorgeous beaches, Cozumel is also home to a number of fascinating Mayan ruins. These ancient sites offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the island.

Highlights Of Cancun

Cancun is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. Here are some of the highlights that Cancun offers to the visitors:

The white sand beaches and turquoise waters are a big draw for visitors. Another big attraction is the Mayan ruins, which are some of the best-preserved in the world.

Things To Do In Cancun

Cancun also offers great nightlife to the visitors. There are many bars and nightclubs in Cancun to choose from, as well as live music and shows.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or party the night away, Cancun is your best bet for great Mexican beach vacation.

Nightlife In Cancun

Cancun is world-renowned for its nightlife, and for good reason. The party never stops in this Mexican city, and there are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.

If you’re looking for a truly legendary night out, head to La Vaquita. This bar is famous for its buckets of beer, and it’s always packed with locals and tourists alike. Dance the night away at La Vaquita – you won’t regret it!

Nightlife in Cancun

Nightlife In Cozumel

What many people don’t know is that Cozumel also has a lively nightlife scene! Senor Frog’s is a popular bar among tourists and locals alike. The bar has a fun and festive atmosphere, complete with live music and dancing.

Woody’s Bar is another great option for those looking to enjoy a few drinks and some good company. The bar has pool tables, dart boards, and TVs playing sports games, making it the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring all that Cozumel has to offer.

The Downsides Of Cozumel and Cancun

Here we compare the downsides of each destination to help you make a decision.

Cancun is a large, busy city with all the conveniences and amenities that come with that. However, it also comes with traffic, noise and pollution. The beaches in Cancun can be crowded and the water is not as clear as in other parts of Mexico.


Cozumel, on the other hand, is a small island off the coast of mainland Mexico. It’s known for its beaches and clear turquoise waters. However, there are fewer restaurants and shops on the island, and it can be difficult to get around if you don’t have a car.

Cancun Tourist Attractions

As one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, Cancun boasts a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife to its numerous Mayan ruins and natural parks, there is something for everyone in Cancun.

Whether you are looking to relax on the beach or explore the jungle, Cancun has plenty to offer. The city’s main tourist district, Hotel Zone, is home to many of the best hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Snorkel In Musa Nizuc

The hotels in Cancun is less expensive compared to Cozumel. This is also where you will find some of Cancun’s most popular beaches, such as Playa Delfines and Playa Tortugas.

For those interested in history and culture, there are a number of Mayan ruins located nearby, including the world-famous Chichen Itza.

The Cons Of Cozumel In Comparison With Cancun

If you’re looking for vacation in Mexico, you might be wondering whether to choose Cozumel or Cancun. Both destinations have their pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before deciding where to go.

Are you go to Cozumel or spend your time in Cancun? Here are some of the key differences between Cozumel and Cancun to help you make your decision:

Underwater Museum (MUSA)

Cozumel is still more expensive than Cancun. While there are plenty of affordable hotels and resorts on the island, overall it tends to be pricier than Cancun. If you’re on a budget, getting to Cancun may be the better option.

Cancun is livelier than Cozumel. If you’re looking for a party atmosphere with plenty of bars and clubs, Cancun is the place to be.

Tell Me The Best Place To Stay In Cozumel?

There are many all-inclusive resorts in Cozumel, so it can be tough to decide between Cozumel resorts to stay at. However, there are a few things to consider that can help you make the best decision. First, think about what kind of vacation you want.

Are you looking for a relaxing beach vacation or do you want to be able to explore the island and participate in activities?

Best Cancun resorts for couples

Second, consider your budget. All-inclusive resorts can range from very affordable to quite expensive. Third, read reviews of different resorts to get a better idea of what others thought of their stay.

Once you’ve considered these factors, it should be easier to narrow down your choices and pick the best place for your needs.

Tell Me The Best Place To Staying in Cancun?

Cancun is actually a beach lover’s paradise. With its beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise waters and plethora of activities. It’s no wonder that Cancun is one of the most popular destination in the world.

But with so many hotels and resorts to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to stay. Here are three great options for places to stay in Cancun, each with its own unique benefits.

The first option is the all-inclusive resort. All-inclusive resorts offer everything you need for a worry-free vacation, including food, drinks, activities and entertainment.

Best Cancun resorts for couples

These resorts are perfect for couples or families who want to relax and enjoy all that Cancun has to offer without having to worry about budgeting for extras.

The second option is a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels offer a more intimate and secluded experience than the all-inclusive resorts. These hotels often feature only a handful of rooms and suites, so guests can expect to truly enjoy their vacation without feeling crowded.

The third option is a luxury hotel. Luxury hotels offer top notch service and amenities. These hotels are ideal for guests who want to be pampered with the finest luxuries, such as gourmet meals, spa treatments and luxury suites.

Cozumel Geography & history

Cozumel island located in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the island of Isla Mujeres. The island is about 48 km (30 mi) long and 16 km (9.9 mi) wide. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo Mexico - 04-12-2021: Voladores performing the dance of the flyers ritual. A traditional ceremony in Mexico

The island’s main town is San Miguel de Cozumel. The islands belongs to the municipality of Cozumel, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel. It has a population of about 130,000 people.

The economy of Cozumel is based mainly on tourism and fishing.

Cozumel Tourist Attractions

Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the site of the ancient Mayan city of Tulúm.

Cozumel is a popular tourist destination known for its scuba diving and snorkeling sites. The island also features several beach resorts, as well as a number of Mayan archaeological sites.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tourism is the mainstay of Cozumel’s economy, accounting for more than eighty percent of its annual revenue. More than two million tourists visit the island each year, with more than half coming from the United States. Most visitors to Cozumel stay in one of the island’s many all-inclusive resorts.

Cancun Geography & History

Cancun is a city located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a popular tourist destination known for its white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and Mayan ruins. The area was originally inhabited by the Maya people, who named it “Kankun,” meaning “nest of snakes.”

In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors arrived and began colonizing the area. The city was officially founded in 1970 as a resort town. Today, Cancun is home to over 700,000 people and continues to be a popular vacation spot for tourists from all over the world.

Is COZUMEL Expensive?

Yes, Cozumel is expensive.

Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Mexico. It’s a popular tourist destination for its beautiful beaches and clear waters. Unfortunately, this popularity comes at a price. Cozumel is one of the most expensive places to visit in Mexico.

There are a few reasons for this. First, Cozumel is only accessible by ferry or plane, which means that transportation costs are high. You can take flights to Cozumel from Cancun that is located to the south of Cancun’s city center and close to the northern tip of the Hotel Zone.

Cozumel Beach

Second, there are very few budget-friendly accommodation options on the island. Third, many of the activities and attractions on Cozumel come with a hefty price tag.

And Finally, Flights to Cozumel are more expensive on average than flights to Cancun Airport, which is larger and has more direct routes.

So if you’re planning a trip to Cozumel, be prepared to open your wallet wide. That’s why Cozumel is not as popular destination in travelers.

What Makes Cancun Unique?

Cancun is a unique destination for many reasons.

First, it is one of the only places in Mexico that is home to ancient ruins.

Second, the city has a rich history dating back to the Mayan civilization.

Third, Cancun is known for its beautiful beaches and turquoise waters.

Fourth, the nightlife in Cancun is world-famous and fifth, there are a variety of activities to keep tourists entertained.

Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA)

Cancun is truly a one-of-a-kind destination that has something for everyone. Whether you want to explore ancient ruins, lounge on the beach, or party the night away, Cancun has it all!

What Makes Cozumel Unique?

It’s location make the Cozumel unique. Cozumel situated in the south of Cancun and across from Playa del Carmen. That is situated on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world. This makes Cozumel is the perfect destination for those who love to spend time in the water.

The reefs around Cozumel are home to a wide variety of fish, turtles and other marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.

In addition to its natural beauty, Cozumel is also home to some fascinating history. The island was once home to the Maya civilization and there are still many ruins to be explored.

Scuba Diving In Cancun vs Cozumel?

It’s a question that many divers ask when planning a trip to the Mexican Riviera. Both destinations offer world-class diving on the Mesoamerican Reef, but there are some key differences to consider before choosing one over the other.

Water temperatures in Cancun and Cozumel are similar, with both averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).

Xel-Ha Scuba Diving In Cancun

However, Cancun is subject to occasional cold fronts that can drop water temperatures into the low 70s, which can make for some chilly dives. Cozumel, on the other hand, is protected from cold fronts by its location further offshore.

Another key difference between these two dive destinations is the visibility. In Cozumel, the visibility can exceed 200 feet (60 meters), whereas in Cancun it is more likely to be around 100 feet (30 meters).

How to Get from Cancun to Cozumel?

There are a few ways to get from Cancun to Cozumel. The most popular way is to take a ferry from Playa del Carmen. The ferry ride takes about 45 minutes and there are several companies that run the route multiple times per day.

Another option is to take a flight from Cancun International Airport to Cozumel International Airport. There are a handful of flights per day and the flight time is around 30 minutes.

Cancun View from Plane

The third option is to take a bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and then take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. This option takes a bit longer, but can be cheaper than the other two options.

Final Thoughts on Cancun vs Cozumel

Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Compared to Cozumel, it has more attractions. Castro, coral reefs, shopping, and Mayan ruins are just some of the reasons why nighttime tourists flock to Cancun.

College students from all around the country often make Cancun their vacation destination for spring break due to its high activity levels.




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