Cozumel is one of the most popular destinations in the Western Caribbean, and for good reason. This beautiful island has plenty to offer people looking for a fun day out on their cruise ship stop. Whether you’re visiting as part of a cruise or staying at a hotel on the island, there are plenty of exciting excursions and activities to choose from.

Keep in mind is that it’s often better to book your excursions independently, rather than through the cruise line. While the cruise lines do offer excursions, they often charge a premium for these services. By doing a little research and booking on your own, you can often save money and have a more personalized experience. Cozumel has been a popular destination for many years. I have been to Cozumel as a child in the 80s and 90s with my parents, and more recently as an adult with my own family. The island has changed over time, with the rise of all-inclusive resorts and the increasing popularity of cruises.

Disclaimer About Vendors

As always, the Alex & Erika YouTube channel or blog do not accept sponsorships or freebies from vendors in these cruise stops to highlight them on the channel. Each beach resort, tour company or vendor featured in this blog or in the videos is something we have paid for and experienced ourselves.

Cozumel Terminal Amenities & Shopping Opportunities

Cozumel is a popular port for cruise ships, with several piers to accommodate the ships. The two terminal areas are the older, northern terminal and the newer, southern terminal with two long piers that branch off into two more piers, allowing for up to six cruise ships to dock daily. If you don’t have Wi-Fi on the ship, there are many stores and restaurants at the terminals where you can take advantage of the Wi-Fi by purchasing something.

There’s even a chain convenience store, sort of like a Mexican 7-Eleven, called Oxxo right outside the terminal, where you can buy basic items or liquor at a slightly better price than inside the terminal. However, if you’re looking for a specific bottle of fancy tequila, it may be better to head to a store in downtown Cozumel for a bigger selection. Pharmacies are also plentiful in Cozumel, both inside the terminals and outside on the street. Keep in mind that what you can buy over the counter in Mexico may not be allowed back in the United States, so be sure to make informed decisions.

Mexican Pesos and Using ATMs

When traveling to Mexico, it’s important to consider the currency exchange. Currently, the exchange rate is around 17 Mexican pesos to 1 US Dollar, but most places will give you a rate of 20 to 1 if you’re paying with Dollars, meaning you may lose some money in the exchange. I personally recommend using a credit card while traveling to get the most accurate exchange rate. If you prefer to use cash, I recommend use a legitimate ATM connected to a brick-and-mortar bank if you need to withdraw pesos while in Mexico. Avoid using freestanding ATMs found in the open, as they may not be secure and can steal your credit card information. Alternatively, you can exchange your dollars for pesos at a bank or currency exchange.

Cozumel on a Budget

A Western Caribbean cruise that includes a stop in Cozumel has many options for activities, regardless of your budget. For those on a budget in Cozumel, Sunset Beach is a great option that’s easily accessible from the cruise terminal. While it may not be the best beach, it’s a nice spot to relax, have a beer, and do some shopping. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, taking a taxi to one of the better beaches on the island is highly recommended. These beaches are less crowded and offer clearer water, making for a more enjoyable afternoon. So don’t stress about spending too much money when in Cozumel – there’s always a way to have a great time without breaking the bank.

Here are some of our favorite things to do when in Cozumel:

Dune Buggy Tour – During my honeymoon with Erika some years ago, we had a great experience with a dune buggy ATV tour. Although it may not be the same as going off-roading in the desert, it’s a fun and mellow option for exploring the island. The tour company we used has since upgraded their equipment and offers a variety of tours, which I’ll link down below. Keep in mind that these tours are not offered through the cruise line, so be sure to book in advance. This company has a solid reputation, and I believe you’ll have a great time exploring Cozumel with them.

Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club – In our recent trips to Cozumel, we’ve found ourselves going to Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club multiple times because of the many benefits it offers. The food served at this beach club is surprisingly good, which is essential to us as we always want to try the local cuisine wherever we go. Unlike other all-inclusive resorts that serves mostly fried foods and burgers, Mr. Sancho’s offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes or mariscos, which is a popular Mexican seafood cuisine.

While Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club is a popular choice in Cozumel, there are some reasons why you might consider doing something else. For one, the place can get crowded, and sometimes it’s challenging to find a spot to relax. Additionally, they charge a cover fee per person, and prices can add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a group. There are several other beach clubs and restaurants in Cozumel that offer excellent local cuisine and activities. If you’re looking for something different, we suggest exploring other options to see what suits your preferences best. Remember, it’s always good to research your options before deciding to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Other Cozumel Beach Clubs

If you’re looking for a quieter experience with fewer crowds, there are three other beach club options I’d recommend. While all three offer a fantastic experience, they are much more serene and peaceful. One option is Buccano’s Beach Club, which has a private beach area and pool, and is reasonably priced. Another option is Paradise Beach in Cozumel, which has great reviews for its service, food, and drink, as well as water activities. The third option is Cabana Beach Club, which has a very tranquil atmosphere and private cabanas for up to six people.

Please note that I don’t want to give the impression that Mr. Sancho’s is a wild party beach club; it’s actually quite enjoyable and we’ve had a fantastic time there. But if you’re looking for something different or quieter, these other options may be worth considering. See the links below more information on each of these beach clubs. Ultimately, the reason we keep going back to Mr. Sancho’s is because we get a lot for our money and they provide a good product at a fair price.

Don’t Get Scammed at the Taxi Stand!

Lastly, I want to share a funny little story that happened a couple of years ago during our visit to Mr. Sancho’s. This wasn’t Mr. Sancho’s fault, but it’s a lesson that applies no matter where you travel in the world. When taking a taxi, always negotiate the price upfront and don’t pay until you reach your destination. We were leaving Mr. Sancho’s, and it was busy with many other cruise ship passengers rushing to get back to their ships. They had vans that charged around five dollars per person, and there were four adults and four kids in our group, so the lady at the taxi stand charged us 20 dollars for a cab ride back to the cruise terminal. We agreed and hopped in the van. When we reached the pier and I pulled out the money to pay, my friend Narciso, who’s from Mexico, said he already paid the lady on the street before we got in the cab. We were confused and asked why he paid her in advance, and the cab driver confirmed that the lady wasn’t affiliated with them and we would have to pay him at the end of the ride. We ended up paying 45 dollars for that cab ride back, and it was a learning experience for us. It was funny because someone from Mexico shouldn’t have been taken advantage of by another person from Mexico, but it taught us to always negotiate and confirm the total price upfront with the driver, regardless of where we are in the world.

I hope that you found this blog post and the YouTube video informative. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you found any of this helpful, please share it with others. I will include a link below with all the details and options that I discussed. Additionally, if there are any updates, I will include them in this post. Lastly, have a wonderful cruise! If you are taking a Western Caribbean cruise, please check out our some of my other post about the destinations in the region.

Cozumel Dune Buggy Tours – (site link)
Cozumel Beach Clubs – (site link)

Check out my other Caribbean Cruise blog posts: