Cozumel, Playa del Carmen
Me and my wife took the ferry from playa over to cozumel (18 $ )us ,a couple of times ,once just to walk around and people watch in 2009 and again in 2013 to rent a scooter and ride around the island , we used HTL rentals they had people on the ferry that did the paper work for you while you enjoyed the ferry ride just a small deposit and they held a new scooter for you when you got to htl office just a block from the ferry pier , no problems there quick in and out 27$ for the day , just bring it back with full tank of gas , we had a new honda 2 seat scooter for the whole day and it was 10 am , we headed south toward the cruise pier were the traffic was busy but as you get further south there is much less traffic and it seems like you have the island to yourself when you get down by were the roads divide you can follow the new rode made for scooters and tourists it is much safer as you can go slower with out worries of trucks or faster cars ..or first stop was a couple miles south to put on sun block as it was 97 degres and hot sun ,next was chankanoob parc we stopped there but were not ready to hit the water so we continued south just a ways further there is the town of el cedral we stopped there for 1/2 an hour and looked around real old mexico , nice people and much cheaper then san miguel . Back south our next stop was el caracol and celarrain lighthouse go up the lighthouse see the beautiful hues of blue out on the water . Next stop was lunch at rastas place , then across the bottom of the island were there are several places to stop for lunch or drinks and restrooms the south part of the island is like your in a different world very rocky and dense scrub brush but beautiful. Then headed north up the island long stretches of flat land seems like the road goes on forever just a few small homes along this road , it seems like it took forever along this road but it was nice quiet ride , then you come back into the east side of san miguel .we filled up the bike and returned it to htl no problem there we then walked around for a while did some shopping then jumped the ferry back to playa all in all it was a great day ,next time which is going to be October, were are renting a harley and going in style .. back in playa it was 5:30 pm , and we were headed back to our resort ( iberostar maya ) ,and I was suprised I spent less than 100 dollar's for the day 5$ for the ride from our resort ,18 $ ferry, 27$ scooter, 30 $ lunch , good day
You can visit Cozumel either by signing up for a guided visit from Playa del Carmen or by taking the ferry and touring by yourself. The ferry takes about 30-35 minutes and cost 280 pesos round trip ($22 US) when we did it in December 2009. The cruise ships stop there a lot, there were at least two in town on our last visit. That tends to drive prices up a bit but the day they said there were none, Sunday, is usually a dead day in Cozumel with a lot of businesses closed.
We took the ferry from Playa del Carmen on two of our trips in December 2003 and December 2004 and found a snorkeling trip for $20 per person at the docks, the third trip in December 2009 we decided to rent a scooter which was $25 for the whole day. The prices for snorkeling trips and scooters are negotiable and tend to go down if you start to walk away, even further if they just need a couple more people to fill their boat. You can also catch a taxi or rent a jeep or dune buggy to get around.
Please see my Cozumel pages for more information.
There is plenty to do in Playa and the Mayan Coast, but if you have time, a day trip to Cozumel may be worth it. The ferry boats leave frequently. We went out of curiosity as much as anything else.
There are a lot of people that will take you snorkeling, which we did do, but we preferred our snorkeling adventures in mainland areas (described in my other tip). More fun was renting moped scooters and going around the island. You can't really get lost - it is just a circle route, and the traffic isn't so bad as to seem very dangerous as long as you take normal precautions. By renting mopeds we got to visit several beaches at our own pace. The eastern shore is really beautiful, with expansive beaches and really warm water. Although we explored many beaches around Playa, it was still fun to check these out.
The sunset from the island is pretty nice. If you time it right, take a ferry at sunset to enjoy the view on the way back to Playa
Cozumel is an island close to Playa del Carmen. Tours are organized to the island. The one I bought combined snorkeling and a jeep tour round the island.
I was quite disappointed with snorkeling, as there was practically nothing to see underwater. Whatever corals there had been were destroyed by the strong hurricane in 2005. The jungle of Cozumel was wiped out by the same hurricane and the island is still grey instead of green.
So generally I was not happy with the trip, as there's not much to see, and the views that once had been beautiful will be restored only next year I guess, if no other hurricane comes to the island :(
Note: If you intend to drive a jeep, be sure you are comfortable with a stick shift, the jeeps don't have automatic transmission.
Its very easy to visit the island of Cozumel from Playa - just take a ferry (8$ oneway). Citycenter looked very nice too but we rented a beetle (which wasnt easy as we didnt have a passport with us) You can rent one with 30-40$. I dont recommend to rent a scooter cause the road is in such a bad shape with huge holes here and there. Plus we drove over a snake.
We visited one mayan site as the others were closed allredy. We drove around the island and there was some nice views on the way. We stopped once to swim and some local guy told us that there is no more corals by the beach because of the hurricane.
The car started to f#ck with us in the end of the day so I was very glad to get back to the citycenter.
The 2nd time around I was able to take more time to shop around for the best prices.
The best place I could find was Scuba Playa, located just below 5th avenue on the right on Calle 10.
They offer a package for $199 USD ($189 USD for those with their own equipment) that includes:
2 dives in Playa (including Los Tortugas which garanties tons of turtles)
2 dives in Cozumel (including one dive in Palancar Reef)
2 dives in the Cenotes
The staff is friendly and is well organised.
If you are to book your dives seperately, the prices are as follows:
$55 for 2 tank dive in Playa
$95 for 2 tank dive in the Cenotes
$75 for 2 tank dive in Cozumel
** For the Cozumel diving, Scuba Playa organises themselves with a subcontractor in Cozumel, therefor you will have to take the ferry on your own to meet the group at the dock in Cozumel.
Mind you, its not so bad, it gives you the time to wake up, the transfer of your dive gear is safe and the people are waiting for you with an excellent boat as soon as you are off the ferry, its not worth paying the extra $100 to Tank Ha which justifies their price b/s they have their own boat; the ferry transfer is only $9 USD one way.
If you are only interested in Cenotes diving: contact these people:
They have a great team that is properly trained in teaching you anything you may want to know about cavern diving. (Remember a cenote is not a cave, but simply a hole, yet the safety issues are very similar).
This island is just half an hour with ferry from the city, and it costs about 10-15 USD roundtrip. You should hop on and spend a day on the island that is worldfamous for it's snorkelling! Many of the tour organizers have trips here, and there are at least as many on Cozumel that are organizing trips.
But you could just as well rent a scooter and make your own trip. There are many places where you can just snorkel straight from the beach, and with a scooter you can go where you want to and stay as long as you like. Or you can just go walking around in the town if you prefer that. There are also some beaches on the east side of the island that are perfect for surfing.
The ferry dock is located south on 5ta Avenida, and ferries run almost every hour.
Took the ferry to Cozumel for the day. It was a nice short ride. The town itself I was not too impressed with. But we rented a car, checked out the ruins and drove around the island. Two beaches worth checking out are Chen Rio on the far side of the island and Mr. Sancho's Fun Beach (goofy name, but nice place to stop).
Ferry's leave from Playa del Carmen every hour until 8 pm to Cozumel, a small island which can be easily seen from the shores. Trip takes 45 minutes.
Take your time, eat, shop, relax or people watch in the downtown area. If you want, you can rent a jeep or a moped and drive all around the island.
This is a photo of a stop-off we made while walking around the island. Snorkeling is a "must" activity in Cozumel. You can rent equiptment from dive shops and normally the water is very clear.
After facing the wind (and the traffic)from the back of a Vespa in Cozumel you've earned the right to stand in front of a sunset like this!