Find out how to get to Cozumel, Mexico, including some helpful travel tips if you’re visiting from Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen.
If you’re planning a sunshine-filled break in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen or Tulum, you should definitely consider hopping over to the picturesque island of Cozumel. This beautiful island is just a 45-minute ferry ride away from the mainland, and offers a lovely contrast to the all-inclusive resorts.
It’s a place renowned for scuba diving, with crystal clear waters filled with exotic fish and sea creatures. Once you’ve explored the Riviera Maya’s cenotes, beaches, Mayan ruins and adventure parks, Cozumel is a lovely place to visit.
Whether you want to book a guided tour to the island, go on a day trip, spend a few days really getting to know Cozumel or are catching a cruise ship from the island, this handy guide will help you plan your route.
How to get to Cozumel
Catching the ferry to Cozumel
The simplest way to reach Cozumel is by catching the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Sadly, there are no ferries from Cancun to Cozumel, so you’ll have to get yourself to Playa del Carmen if you’re not already staying in the town. I’ll give you a little more info on that shortly.
There are two ferry companies operating this route: Ultramar and Winjet.
If you want the cheapest option, travel with Winjet. Both experiences are pretty similar but Ultramar markets to tourists a little more.
How much is the Cozumel ferry?
With Ultramar, it’s nice and easy to work out the prices, as it’s $12.50 USD one way ($10 USD one way for children), or $25 USD return for adults.
With Winjet, it’s $455 MXN for adults for a round trip or $295 MXN for children, which works out at around $22 USD for adults and $14 USD for children. You can see that travelling with Winjet would offer a considerable saving if you’re travelling as a large group!
You can pay using cash or credit card and you can either book tickets via the websites in advance or pay on the day. There are lots of places that sell ferry tickets as you get close to the ferry terminal, as well as the official vendors.
Services run pretty much every hour on both ferry lines, with the first ferries usually leaving Cozumel at 7am and the final ferry of the day leaving Playa Del Carmen at 10pm. Ferries run 365 days a year, although this may change in periods of bad weather.
The ferries have air conditioning, toilets and a small bar where you can purchase drinks or snacks.
Where does the Cozumel ferry depart from in Playa del Carmen?
If you’re wondering how to get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen, you’ll need to make your way to the southern end of the main beach. If you want an easy reference point, Google the location of Senor Frogs as it’s right next door. Or you can follow this Google maps link.
Where does the Cozumel ferry arrive?
You’ll disembark the Cozumel ferry in the centre of San Miguel, where there are lots of bars, shops and restaurants. The Google maps location is here.
How long does the Cozumel ferry take?
The journey time from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel is just 45 minutes by ferry.
Can I take my car on the Cozumel ferry?
If you’ve picked up a rental car in Cancun International Airport and want to visit Cozumel, you’re in luck! There are a few car ferry services from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel each day. The companies that run these are Ultramar (yep, them again!) and another called Trans Caribe.
Rather than leaving from the Playa del Carmen ferry dock, you’ll need to go to another part of the town known as the Port of Calica (right by Xcaret). This Google maps reference shows where you need to go. Prices for the car ferry to Cozumel start at 700 MXN (approximately $33 USD).
I’d recommend looking at the ferry times to plan your trip.
Flying from Cancun to Cozumel
Did you know you can fly directly from Cancun Airport to Cozumel? It’s pricey though! If you search through a flight booking site, you’ll soon realise it’s suggesting the journey time would take over 24 hours and involve flying to Orlando and back! That’s because you can’t fly by commercial plane from Cancun to Cozumel.
The only way to fly from Cancun to Cozumel is to charter your own plane. I wrote a little about this in my post about how to get to Isla Holbox, one of my favourite Mexican islands. If there’s a big enough group of you travelling it could be cost effective, and obviously it’s a much more glamorous way to travel! As a guide, companies such as Fly Cozumel quote prices starting from $595 USD for 5 passengers for the 20-minute flight.
How to get to the Playa del Carmen ferry dock
Depending on where you’re staying, you might need to travel a little bit to reach the ferry to Cozumel.
If you want to organise a private transfer or taxi, you just need to ask to be dropped at the Playa del Carmen ferry terminal for the Cozumel ferry. All local drivers will know where this is. This is the best value way if you’re travelling in a small group.
From the Cancun Hotel Zone, the journey will take around just over one hour. From Tulum this journey will take around one hour.
If you’re travelling solo, as a couple or would like to save some money, I’ve had good experiences using Mexico’s ADO bus service. These aren’t small local buses, they’re smart coaches that link lots of parts of Mexico.
A one-way bus ticket from Cancun to Playa del Carmen bus station starts from 65 MXN ($3 USD) and goes up to 216 MXN ($10 USD) depending on the time you’re travelling. You can book tickets via the website too, to make your journey nice and simple.
There’s also an ADO route from Tulum to Playa del Carmen, with ticket prices even cheaper (from $52 MXN – $114 MXN)
Another option is to head to the main road and flag down a ‘collectivo’, one of the Yucatan’s white minibus shuttles that provide transportation for people between Cancun and Tulum. These are really cheap, and give you more of a local experience, packed in with workers and Mexicans going about their day to day lives!
I hope you’ve found my post on how to get to Cozumel helpful. If you’re looking for fun things to do in this part of Mexico, be sure to check out my guides to visiting Cancun, Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Tulum and the Riviera Maya as a whole.