Eco-friendly travel guide to Cozumel advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Cozumel, Mexico.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 3 / 5
- Parks: 2 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $30
- Budget per day: US$40 - $80
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
It is an island present in Mexico and lies on the Caribean sea. This island's total area is 647.33 km2 with a total population of 100,0000 which was calculated in 2011. The highest point of this island is 14 meters. The major town of this island is San Miguel, and also the majority of the population resides on this island. Its geographical features involve limestone, and many of the parts are covered with Mangrove trees with a lot of endemic fauna species.
Air Quality and Pollution
The city Cozumel has a good air quality index, which remains around 21 US AQI. This data shows that Cozumel's air quality index is shallow than the recommended harmful air pollution levels that are 100AQI. According to Cozumel's air quality management system, the mean concentration of 2.5pm is 5.1 micrograms per cubic meter, which is 'good' in terms of air pollution level. The city has a rich number of tourist destinations and this is the main reason for wanderers and explorers who like to visit this country quite often. As a responsible tourist, you must adopt every means necessary to ensure the safety of the environment. With the rising fluctuation of Cozumel's pollution level, you can always contribute to a better environment by supporting eco-friendly travel.
Respect the Culture
Cozumel has a unique culture of its own that has evolved over the period of time. It is now a blend of Mexican, Mayan, Caribbean, and other places worldwide. Mayan art reflects their culture, customs, and lifestyles. While exploring Cozumel, you will come around several antique shops and stores located in downtown San Miguel comprising stone carvings, paintings, artworks, wooden masks. Tourism is quite high in Cozumel as people worldwide visit this city for its tremendous diversities. Cozumel's people are kind and religious, and when it comes to festivals and celebrations, they celebrate with complete dedication and enthusiasm. Some festivals highly celebrated in Cozumel are Carnival, Dia de los Santos Reyes, El Grito, Dia de la Candelaria, Dia de la constitucion, and many others. Apart from these, if one genuinely wants to know about the city's culture and lifestyles, they must explore the culinary heritage, art, and music of this place.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Celaren: Cozumel Lighthouse: The most famous of Cozumel's lighthouses is Celarain, 30 km south of San Miguel's capital. The lighthouse is located at the southernmost tip of the island. It is a nature reserve known as Parque Punta Sur and is worth a visit. There are 34 steps that need to be climbed for viewing beautiful scenery of the Caribbean Sea.
- San Miguel de Cozumel: San Miguel de Cozumel is the island's capital. Apart from the tourist center, it is also a busy port. Many ferries regularly sail to the mainland - especially to Cancun and Playa del Carmen - and the port also hosts cruise ships as they sail through the sparkling waters of the Caribbean.
- Chankanab Lagoon and Cozumel National Marine Park: One of Cozumel's most fascinating natural attractions is the Chancanab Lagoon, a small freshwater lake just seven kilometers south of San Miguel de Cozumel in the Marine National Park. Renovated from the sea, it is a famous promenade due to its crystal clear waters and many colorful tropical fishes. It is a a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. It is part of an adventure park surrounding the lagoon where guests can also enjoy activities, including a sea lion show and crocodile exhibit, zip-up lining, and horseback riding.
- Maya Manuel's legacy: San Gervasio: More than 30 Mayan sites have been discovered in Cozumel, some of them in beautiful locations such as dense jungle or perched over pristine beaches. Highlights include the Temple of X-cel, which for centuries has been the center of the island's religious life and a place of pilgrimage from across the Mayan empire.
- Island Museum (Museo de la Isla): In the heart of San Miguel de Cozumel, this great Museum of the Island offers a pleasant getaway from the beach. The museum provides a lot of information related to its history and its people, from its formation to its current status as the most visited tourist destination in the Caribbean. In addition to its multimedia displays and permanent collections of ancient artifacts, the museum hosts numerous temporary exhibitions, including artwork from international and local artists.
- Diver's Delight: Palancar Reef: The island is extremely popular as a destination for snorkelers, and scuba divers when it comes to beautiful reefs to dive and explore. One of the best dive sites is the Palancar Reef, which rises from depths of up to 80 meters in shallow waters below the sea surface at the island's southwestern tip. A famous dive includes a prominent bronze figure of Christ placed 17 meters underwater. Other good diving spots are San Francisco, Parasí, Colombia, Maracaibo, and the Santa Rosa Wall.
- Mr. Sancho's: There are several beach clubs on the island of Cozumel. These are such artificial beaches with sun canopies. The largest beach club is called Mr. Sancho's.
- Discover Mexico Park Cozumel: In addition to an exciting overview of Mexico's diverse cultures, highlights include miniature reconstructions of many of the country's most important archaeological sites and historical sites. A captivating spectacle here is the daring Danza de Los Voladores, in which participants throw themselves from a 30-meter high pole as they spin and twist on the ground with ropes attached to their feet.
- Stingray Beach : Highlights include swimming with stingrays in the bay where travelers will learn many fascinating facts about these passive beasts, including the ability to feed and touch them and subsequently swim with them. Another exciting excursion is the Cozumel Dolphinarium with its exciting dolphin swim program. Like many of Cozumel's top tourist attractions, this place get extremely busy when cruise ships are in port.
- San Gervasio : San Gervasio is the largest ruins on the island. They are located in the center of Cozumel, surrounded by the jungle. There is an assumption that these ruins served as a sanctuary. The Mayans erected them for a goddess called Ish-Chel. According to the mythology of the ancient tribe, she served as the goddess of fertility, medicine, love, and abundance. Scientists have found several statues of the goddess made of stone at the site of the ruins. The Spaniards destroyed the sanctuary, and now it has become a historical monument.
Cozumel has a lot of interesting place to enjoy while you visit here on your holidays. This city is a popular cruise ship port which is famous for scuba diving and many other water sports. It is the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean with a rich history, Mayan relics, and a destination of adventure and relaxation where you can take part in other activities also. Cozumel is a paradise in the middle of the sea with white sandy beaches and a great destination for beautiful sunsets, coral reefs, exceptional accommodations, and a lot more other outdoor activities to take part in. From Passion Island to adventure parks and the city's nightlife, there are plenty of things you can do while traveling to Cozumel. Here are some places you might not want to miss.
Cozumel is a great place to walk around in city parks and learn about the diversity of life along the coastlines while enjoying other outdoor activities. Not many, but there are few places for you to enjoy a good walk, relax, and is easily accessible.
- Benito Juarez Park
- Eco-Park Cuzam
National Parks are quite the reason for most tourists to visit famous cities all over the globe. There are few national parks and such conservatories in Cozumel that conserve several flora and fauna species. Marine species are a topmost priority as it is an island in the Mexican Caribbean.
- Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park
- Chankanaab National Park
- Patas Y Alas Butterfly Sanctuary
In Cozumel, you can find beaches for all kinds of tastes and water sport adventures. From intense waves to marine flora and flora, tourists are thrilled with such beaches' natural beauty. Here, you can partake in scuba diving activities, parasailing, swimming, cruising, and many others. Some of the best beaches in Cozumel are:
- El Mirador
- Chen Rio
- Punta Morena
- San Francisco
- San Juan
Landmarks in Cozumel include beach hotels, historical monuments, natural settings; some date from Mayan times, contemporary City Hall, and other wonders that lure millions of visitors and tourists towards this part of the country. Being a famous region for tourism, Cozumel houses several historical belongings in and around the city; some of them are:
- El Caracol
- Dolphin Discovery Cozumel
- Pueblo Del Maiz
- Castillo Real
- Iglesia de San Miguel (Church of San Miguel)
- Palacio Municipal (City Hall)
- Plaza Central
Some museums in Cozumel dates back to the 30s; given below is a list of museums that offer several exhibits and displays that provide you with insight into the city's local geography, history, ecosystems, and culture. These museums allow us to learn about Cozumel's origins, customs, and development of the island's population; also, it serves the primary purpose of protecting and preserving Cozumel's cultural heritage.
- 3D Museum of Wonders
- Museo Frida Kahlo
- Museum of Cozumel
- Galo Art Studio Art Cozumel
- Navigation Museum
Cozumel has a wide variety of explosive flavors that will keep you hungry for more; the city itself allows you to experience the culinary heritage by providing various local and international cuisines. Travelers' main concern should regard food to learn about the city's cultural and culinary history. You can find fantastic food in the town to satisfy your taste buds; some of the famous places you must visit are:
Traditional Local Restaurants
To indulge in Cozumel's varied cuisines, below are some famous restaurants you would not want to miss. This Mexican island provides you with traditional foods and allows you to experience various international cuisines. The restaurants in Cozumel are eco-friendly and takes cleanliness and hygiene as a top priority. There is a wide variety of explosive flavors in Cozumel's famous places, from seafood burritos to European chocolates.
- El Sazon Del Camaron
- Restaurante La Perlita
- La Tienda Guido
- The Lobster House
- La Cocay
Vegetarian and Vegan
Many Cozumel tourists and residents alike prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet. To find fine dining in vegetarian food is not hard to find in Cozumel. Below is a list of some popular Cozumel vegan-friendly places for both lunch and dinner. These restaurants provide 100% healthy and nutritious food made with fresh vegetables and healthy ingredients. Apart from delicious vegetarian food, most restaurants adopt eco-friendly means in their décor and cooking, luring people from all over the globe, whether vegetarian or not.
- La Cuisine
- Colores Y Sabores
- Arabian Tacos
- Cocinando Experiencias
Cozumel has got fantastic street food options for food-lovers like you. Must-try the following street foods that you can find in almost every corner in the city.
- Cochinita Pibil
- Pescado Frito
- Salbutes & Panuchos
When it comes to the variety of drinks that Cozumel can provide you, you will have as many options as you can count; starting from bar clubs to local restaurants and outdoor parties, booze-lovers are highly welcome to join the party. Apart from Mexican cocktails and Mexican beers, there are many other varieties that you must try while exploring Cozumel; they are:
- Grapefruit juice
- Pina Coladas
The tap water of this island is not good therefore you should not drink it. Some experts also advise that you should not use that water even for brushing your teeth. There is a problem with the purification plants, and the problem is that the technology is not updated enough to clean the water thoroughly. However, even if it cleans the water, the water supplying pipes are not maintained properly. As the water supply pipes are not maintained properly, there are many harmful chemicals and other microorganisms that degrade tap water quality and make it unfit for drinking. Other than this, there is bottled water which is widely available and is available at affordable rates. If you live in an apartment or some independent type of accommodation you can contact the local dealer of drinking water and it will be supplied to you place where you are living.
Those cafes which serve organic food and dishes are known as organic food. These dishes are better than everyday dishes prepared from simple products because organic dishes reduce your diet consumption. These products are natural, and there is no artificial color or preservatives that damage any plant's growth cycle. Therefore these fruits and vegetables are freshly prepared. Organic fruits and vegetables help in maintaining a -d immunity system. These organic cafes offer different cuisines such as Mexican, Chinese, and other cuisines to enjoy various dishes while supporting your health.
It is an island; therefore, there are many beaches on this island; you can enjoy the beaches' night view while having different beer types. There are different types of beers which are present in this city and can be enjoyed. The legal age of drinking beer on this island is 18 years; therefore, you must be 18 or above to enjoy various flavors and categories of beer. There are breweries present on this island that produce beer of different types and reach within the island. There are also beer bars linked with this brewery where you can get the beer at fewer prices. Also, there are beer bars present near the beaches.
As this is an island, therefore there are a lot of beaches present in this city. These beaches offer various activities such as water sports or roaming on the beaches. Beaches tend to provide enough relaxation to the body along with freshness. You can sunbathe on the beach as it is beneficial for the body, but too much sunbathing can cause sunburn, which can be painful. One of the water sports that are highly popular in this city is water surfing. Due to the growth of popularity in the water surfing, some locals have established stalls that have surfing equipment and provide it for rent. So if you find water surfing equipment to be costly, then you can take it on rent.
Yoga and Retreats
There are yoga and retreat studios present in this city to work on your body and fitness level. Even some of the hotels have aerobics, Zumba, or yoga classes within the hotel. You can enquire at the hotel whether they have such facilities or not. More this, yoga not only works on your body but also helps in achieving mental peace. Therefore yoga helps in reducing stress and anxiety, which lowers the rate of depression. Yoga can also be performed in any city park if you do not need an expert who can teach you. You can even take online classes on yoga, and few institutions can help you get online yoga courses, and you can practice.
This island's total area is very much; therefore, there are many accommodations for tourists and the locals to stay when they visit other cities. There are different types of hotels present in this city with additional facilities. Some offer a swimming pool. Some offer spas or sauna and various other features. There are beach resorts present on this island, which offers luxurious staying and a private swimming pool, a large hall to have a party, a chef, cleaning staff, and various other features. There are hostels which are best for those who want to stay in this city for the short term. For the ones who want to live here for longer, some apartments can help you.
Green hotels adopt eco-friendly methods as their features towards the customers and provide natural comfort to the customers who accommodate in these hotels to stay. Some of the hotels are near the sea, which gives a sea-facing view from the rooms. It would be best to get those rooms with a balcony because there are few rooms with balconies in hotels. Some features standard in some hotels includes single room for two people, flat television in many of the hotels' rooms. Many of the hotels provide complimentary breakfast. These hotels offer organic dishes which are freshly prepared from organic fruits and vegetables. Many of the green hotels are covered with trees and gardens decorated with trees where you can visit for a morning or evening walk, and you can also meditate there or perform yoga.
Hostels and Guest Houses
There are hostels present in this city which offers different facilities and are available at different prices. If you are traveling alone, then hostels are a good option because they provide shared rooms. You will have to share your space with another person, so you can make friends while accommodating in a hostel. Hostels are the best place to enjoy with strangers, and there are some hostels which offer some premium facilities, including a swimming pool, large rooms, fitness center. You will not get privacy in this type of accommodation option. Some guesthouses are also present in this city, which can help you accommodate if you are missing your home because it will give a homely feeling. If you are traveling with a large group, you can accommodate in a guesthouse.
Apartments are better for the ones who want to stay in this city for a longer time. These apartments can help you get a flat with complete privacy, and there will be no one to disturb you. These apartments provide flats that have either two or three rooms, one hall, or one kitchen. The two rooms have balconies where you can enjoy the view of the city with your partner, family or friends. You can use the kitchen for cooking your food and for saving money. You can cook your favorite dishes if it is not available here and you are missing them. Many people stay in the apartment which can be made friends. Other than this, there are apartments near the beaches that can give you a magnificent view of the beach and enjoy the fresh sea breeze coming to your flat.
Couchsurfing is a free type of accommodation through which you can save a lot of money. Through Couchsurfing, you can stay with the locals and can experience the culture of that place. If the local agrees to your request, you can even get a guide for free, and he can help you explore the city in detail. You can even inquire about many things from the locals, including the city's crime rate, various scams that happen with the tourists who visit this city, and the best cafes to enjoy that city's food. More to this, this city's crime rate is low; therefore, you can couch surf, and the tourist who has earlier couch-surfed here states that the locals of this city are helpful and humble towards the tourists. Few hosts have registered online, but you can request locals to stay at their residence.
Camping is a free type of accommodation which means that you do not have to pay anything. However, you might have to purchase the essential items, which can be expensive. There are beaches present in this city where you can camp. Beaches can provide you a good experience at night because the wind has freshness in it and the sea breeze are excellent, these features of beaches can give you better sleep. Also, you do not have to work hard to arrange a tent because of the sand. There are campgrounds present in this city surrounded by trees to sleep between the tents easily. Camping cannot be used as a permanent mode of accommodation, and it can be practiced to gain experience, knowledge, and fun. You will start getting bore after a specific time.
How to Get There
There are two direct ways to reach this city which involve airways and waterways. There is an airport which is present on this island which can help you to reach here directly. Other includes ferry services which run from Mexico. However, this transportation method can take a longer time. There are no ways of traveling from different Mexico cities to this city because it is an island.
There is an airport on this island that can help you reach this city from the nearby countries. The reach of this airport is not good enough however you can fly to this city from Mexico. If you are present in Mexico, then there is not much trouble you have to face. Other than this, there are domestic flights which are also present in this city. Flights are one of the most convenient ways of traveling overseas.
You can meet a lot of people while traveling by bus. Buses are one of the best and popular means of transport. There is no intercity bus present in this city, which means that you cannot reach here with the rest of Mexico's cities. Buses are a standard mode of transport, but this is an island. Therefore, there are no ways connected with the rest of the town.
There is no international train facility available in this city. There are also no intercity trains present in this city, helping you reach out from other Mexico cities. Trains can provide you an incredible journey, especially when you want to travel vast land distance. Trains also offer an affordable trip which means that the ticket prices are low. While traveling by trains, you can meet many people, which means that you can make friends through this type of transport.
Hitchhiking is a travel option mode with the help of which you can save a lot of money that you would have to spend on other travel options. You can make new friends with the help of this type of travel option. You can hitchhike if you want to move around the city. The crime rate of this city is also meager, which means you will be safe while hitchhiking.
There is only one other way to reach here, which includes ferry services. These services run from Mexico and get this city. Waterways can take a lot of time to get here. Therefore, please only use this type of travel option when you have a lot of time with you. Ferry services can cost you lesser than other options. You cannot travel through waterways from other neighboring countries.
Moving around in this city is safe because the crime rate of this city is low. Other than this, there are few options for moving around in the city. You can use cycling to move around the city. You can even walk and move around the city. Other possibilities of moving around include pubic buses through which you can cover a long distance.
Walking in this city and moving around will not be difficult even at night because the crime rates are low. More to this, walking to move around and cover the whole city is not possible. However, you can walk to the local market or walk to explore different things: cafes, restaurants, parks, and various other things. Walking can help you to maintain your health. It can also help you to save a lot of money.
There are bicycle rental shops which offer cycles on rent. You can hire a cycle on rent if you are present here for a short term. If you are here for a long time, you can purchase a secondary cycle at lesser prices. You can use this cycle to move around the city. It can help you to maintain your health.
Electric vehicles help in controlling pollution. These vehicles do not consume non-renewable natural resources. There are other benefits to electric cars, such as these are low maintenance vehicles. There are no electric vehicles present in this city. It is because there are a lot of trees in this city. Therefore, there is no use for electric cars.
Public buses are those buses which can help you to move around the city. These buses do not charge much and are affordable. Public buses are common among the locals. Therefore, you can make many friends while traveling by bus. There are minibusses present in this city. These buses can be used to move around the city.
Tram, Train and Subway
There are no trains on this island. There are no trams on this island. There are no metros on this island. It is because the development of this island is not enough. Also, the local buses have taken so much popularity that introducing trains will be difficult.
There are sustainable food markets present in this city where you can shop organic fruits and vegetable apartments, a hostel, or any other accommodation option to cook your food. Organic fruits and vegetables are better than ordinary fruits and vegetables because it helps in promoting healthy life. There is a flea market where you can purchase fruits and vegetables brought directly from the farm by the farmers and are sold in the market in bulk. Therefore this flea market can help you save a lot of money as you can purchase in a bulk quantity and store. As farmers organize flea markets, the fruits and vegetables in this market directly come from farms. There are sustainable clothing stores present in this city that can help you shop for sustainable clothes. They will stop sustainable clothes from regular clothes as they are mostly made up of natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, and other search fabric and are dyed in natural dyes. Organic fruits and vegetables might cost higher than regular fruits and vegetables, but they are better than standard fruits and vegetables.
- Mercado Municipal
- Churls Cozumel
- Sedena Store
- Plaza Mexico Flea Market
- Mayan Flea Market
- Flea Market
Second Hand Stores
- Casa De Empeno
- Cash America
- Eco Boutique Cozumel
- Cariloha and Del Sol
- Cariloha And Del Sol
- Carilloha and Del Sol
Recycling is a process in which some part of the waste gets recycled, and it can be reused in another way. There is a recycling agency on this island, and the name of this agency is CAMAR. This agency opens from 7:00 in the morning and closes at 3:00 in the afternoon. This agency has many things except tires, mattresses, vegetable oil, plastic bottles, colour plastic, hard plastic, magazines, newspapers, other paper, electronics, and household appliances that are not dismantled and carton. This agency is responsible for all the recycling of waste that happens on this island. Recycling can help in eliminating a loss of waste.
The waste management of this island is not good enough to keep this island clean. Therefore, according to statistics, around 58 to 60% of the total island is dirty, and people have problems with this waste disposal. However, there are garbage cleaning vehicles present in this place, and these vehicles are responsible for collecting waste from every house, apartment, and various other residential. According to some statistics, this island transfers around 80% of plastic bottles to Mexico, where it is recycled, and 20% is recycled in this island itself.
Work and Study Abroad
This place's education system is divided into three parts, including primary, junior high schools, and high schools. Primary schools in this place consist of grade 1 till grade 6, and later to this, the student moves towards junior high school, which includes grades seven till grade 9, and at last, he attends the high school education which provides for grade 10 till grade 12. The primary school consists of a student of the age group 6 to 12 years of age, next is junior high school, which includes students' age group of 12 to 15 years of age and the last in high school, which includes students of the age group of 15 years to 18 years of age. According to statistics, the literacy rate of this island is 95.1%. There are three universities in this city.
The exchange student program is a program in which a student is sent to a foreign country to complete his degree. Only one university out of three has access to this program that too in limited topics. This program can help you to become more adaptable towards a new place. You can even learn a new language and culture while living on this island. There are many benefits of the exchange student program in which it can help boost a person's social skills.
An Au pair is a person who stays with the local family and takes care of the child. In exchange, the family shelters him and offers him meals. With this type of work, a person can stay in any city without paying anything for the accommodation, and it can be a help for working parents also. You can experience the culture and learn the language of the place you're visiting while living with the family. You cannot expect anything in terms of money, and it will be the choice of the host family whether they want to pay you or not. This type of work is not very popular because there is not much availability of those families who can hire people as an au pair.
Few organizations in this city are ready to accept you as a volunteer to expand their team. Some organization help the government to spread awareness for less consumption of plastic and also make them aware about there harmful effects on nature. You can join any of the organizations where you want to work as a volunteer.