Well, it had been a while, just over 10 years actually, but I finally travelled out of the United States again. This time it was to the island of Cozumel. The reason for the trip was actually for my new wife and I’s honeymoon. We had discussed a sight seeing European honeymoon, since a European vacation was at the top of both of our vacation destination wish lists (we both had travelled to Europe before we met), however, after the stress of wedding planning we decided that a lazy honeymoon on a beach would be best for us.
We flew into Cozumel International Airport (CZM) on a Monday afternoon. CZM is a pretty small airport, I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure there are less than 10 gates. Passengers board and exit airplanes outdoors via a detachable stairs.
When arriving, I estimate that going through customs took about 15-20 minutes. First, a dog sniffed all of our carry-on baggage while we were waiting in line to get our passports stamped. Then we picked up our checked baggage from a conveyor belt and proceeded to get in line for a baggage scanning machine. They x-ray your baggage and then ask you to push a button, if the light turns green, then you are free to leave the customs area, if the light runs red, you are then required to go through an additional search. I believe the light is random and I’m not sure how often it flashes red. While I was in line, I don’t think I saw it give anyone a red light even once, but maybe they change the frequency depending on the day. Immediately after leaving the customs area you will veer to your right, you will be bombarded by locals asking you questions and offering to help you, these are timeshare salesman. No matter what they say to you, just keep walking and do not reply to them (unless of course you’re interested in timeshares). You will see a transportation counter right near the exit doors. At this counter, we purchased shuttle tickets to our hotel for $9 USD a person. We then walked out the doors and hopped in the shuttle vans parked to our left.
When departing, we took a 30 minute taxi ride from our hotel back to the airport and it cost us $30 USD (for 2 people). On this side of the airport there were no timeshare salesman! We entered through the doors and were greeted by airline agents who helped us and our baggage get checked in quickly and smoothly. We then got in line for security, which was moving pretty quickly as well. They scanned our carry-on bags and had us walk through metal detectors. Once through security, you’ll walk past a few stores, as well as, a few eateries and then you’ll see the gate waiting area!
The most popular form of overnight accommodation on the island is the all-inclusive resort. There a many to choose from, they’re scattered all over the island, and many of them are kid friendly as well. In fact, I believe the only adults only all inclusive is the Secrets Aura. Which happened to be where we stayed and we had a very pleasant experience (more on this resort in a future post). If all inclusive reports aren’t your thing, there are also many traditional hotels to choose from as well. Both all inclusive and traditional hotels can be searched for using your favorite travel booking website.
Excursions and Sights
Due to the water clarity and coral reefs in the area, the most popular excursions in Cozumel are snorkeling and scuba diving. We did a snorkeling excursion while we were in Cozumel and I highly recommend it. I’ve heard that it offers the second best reefs to snorkel in the world (the best being the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia).
Another popular thing to do was to rent a Jeep. We met several people at our resort we were renting jeeps for a day and driving themselves around the island, going to different beaches, shopping, exploring Mayan ruins, etc.. We did not end up doing this but we did discuss it with the staff in the hotel lobby.
We looked into taking the ferry to the mainland and booking a bus tour to see Chichen Itza, Coba, or Tulum, but it can end up being a very long adventure, especially to Chichen Itza (most were at least a 13 hour tour when you added in the ferry times back and forth to the mainland). We ultimately decided against it since it was our honeymoon and we were more interested in relaxing, but these sights are reachable if you have the time and energy.
Cozumel has a reputation as being safe and is even thought to be safer than mainland Mexico. I would agree, it seemed to be pretty safe to us, but of course like anywhere, you’ll need to use common sense. Be aware of anyone that is being overly friendly (they might just be trying to sell you a timeshare), lock your valuables in your room safe and/or don’t leave them laying around unattended. Again, I guess I could say this is a “financial” safety tip, but be aware of the timeshare salesman in Cozumel, they are everywhere, not just at the airport, they may even pressure you while checking into your hotel/resort.
Another idea/tip, when snorkeling, instead of taking a bunch of cash, our drivers licenses, etc., we brought a little water proof phone case that we put a few dollars in (maybe $20 USD) and paper copies of our passports (no phone). I then attached this case to my swim trunks so I didn’t have to leave anything on the boat. That way we had a little bit of cash, as well as some identification if we got in a jam, but since it was only a few dollars and paper copies, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we lost the case.
Date of Travel: April 2016