Choosing a cruise excursion can be a tough thing to do. Many cruise passengers are watching their budgets and wanting to avoid the crowds. I’m not big on being herded around in large groups, following the leader who is carrying a sign. Cruises have been getting bad reps, when it comes to the crowd aspect of destinations, however, as noted in our Cozumel Cruise video, you can avoid the crush. Here are some of our tips on how to watch your wallet and enjoy yourself while taking a cruise stop in Cozumel.
I’ve stopped in Cozumel on two of my last cruises and found that there are a variety of affordable options when stopping at this port. First, if you are taking your first cruise, then you may want to take advantage of the cruise excursions offered by your cruise ship. Once you’ve been to the same destination a few times, you may feel more comfortable venturing out on your own.
The language in Cozumel is Spanish, but English is widely spoken. Also, because this is a cruise port, the American dollar is accepted at most places, so there’s no need to do a currency exchange for Pesos. There are three pier locations in Cozumel. Both times we’ve docked at Punta Langosta, which has a long pier and all ship passengers depart the dock through a shopping mall. There will be an area for tour groups to meet. Tip: The drugstore at the end of the pier sells icy cold glass bottle Coca-Cola for $.50US.
Getting Around: Taxis are easily available near the port area, but if you walk past the taxi stand and down the street a block or so, you can hail a taxi without standing in the long taxi line. Make sure to get a set price before getting into the taxi. You can also walk around the downtown area if you’d rather travel by foot. Be aware that every store owner will call your attention and try and get you into their store. Tip: Walk on the seawall area across the street from the shops. The view is better.
Local Cuisine: There are many restaurants and cantinas around the downtown area, with many well-known places such as Hard Rock Cafe or Carlos n Charlies. My husband and I found a rooftop cantina called Toro’s Place that offered $1 cervesas (beer). We opted for 2 Dos Equis and fresh guacamole and salsa for around $7. There was even a clown! Tip: The view from Toro’s is better than the other restaurants and is more affordable than the more popular places.
Beach Break: Many cruise passengers are looking for some beach time and a popular excursion is the $49 full access beach break at local resorts. Both times I’ve visited Cozumel, we opted for no planned excursions and ended each visit at Paradise Beach (taxi from port $15-$20), which offers a free beach chair with a $10 purchase of food and drink. Each visit was completely different. During our November cruise, the beach was virtually deserted. In January, the beach had an entirely different vibe, with every beach chair full, but still so much fun. Tip: Bring a backpack of school supplies and leave it with Paradise Tom at Paradise Beach and he’ll waive the minimum purchase. Check out TogetherforGood.org for more voluntourism opportunities in Cozumel.
No matter what excursion you choose to take, or even if you just hop off the ship for some shopping, be sure to have a happy attitude and enjoy yourself. Remember, cruise vacations help you live longer!
Previously published on Traveling Mamas.