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How to Get Around Cozumel

Updated: April 19, 2023

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

Getting Around Cozumel on Foot

It’s fairly easy to get around historic downtown San Miguel de Cozumel on foot, as most of the hotels, businesses, shops and restaurants are on Avenida Rafael Melgar, the main street that runs north and south along the waterfront. The streets in downtown San Miguel de Cozumel form an easy-to-negotiate grid pattern, with avenidas running north and south and calles running east and west.
A pedestrian-friendly, bench-lined waterfront promenade called the malecón runs north and south between the water and Avenida Rafael Melgar.
If you’re arriving in Cozumel by passenger ferry or by cruise ship at the Punta Langosta pier, you’ll disembark near Benito Juarez Park, the town’s main plaza and a popular gathering place. If you’re at the International Pier (where Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships dock) or at the Puerta Maya pier (where Carnival and Princess ships dock), you’ll have a longer walk to downtown San Miguel (about 3 miles).
Beyond the city of San Miguel, you’ll need an alternative form of transportation to get around, as the island itself is about 29 miles long and 9 miles wide.

Renting a Jeep, Moped or Scooter in Cozumel

Jeep rentals are a great way to explore off-the-beaten path areas along Cozumel’s rugged eastern coastline. Rates are around $75 per day, and insurance is often not included. You’ll likely also need to pay for your own gas when you rent one.
Moped and scooter rentals are another popular way to get around the island, but streets in downtown San Miguel can be hard to navigate and are often crowded with tourists and residents. If you do choose to get around by moped or scooter, there are several places to rent them in San Miguel de Cozumel. Rates average $20 to $50 (U.S.) per day, and helmets are required. For safety reasons, mopeds should only be rented by drivers with prior experience.

What to Know About Taxis in Cozumel

You can hail a taxi on the street in San Miguel de Cozumel or find taxis waiting outside major hotels, at the passenger ferry pier or at the cruise ship piers. Most local hotels will happily call a taxi for their guests. Taxi drivers are generally friendly and courteous, and fares are reasonable. You’ll pay a set fare per taxi, and taxis are not metered. Drivers do not carry a lot of change, so be sure to have smaller bills and coins with you. Taxis accept U.S. dollars, and tips are expected and appreciated.Within town, the average Cozumel taxi fares average about $8. Fares increase, depending on distance, from downtown San Miguel de Cozumel to places like the airport, the San Gervasio ruins, the northern and southern hotel zones and Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park. If you’re taking a taxi to Playa Palancar, Playa San Francisco or other attractions at the southern end of the island, expect to pay fares of about $16 and up.
Cozumel taxi rates depend on the number of passengers, so you’ll pay a few extra dollars if you have a group of 5 passengers or more.

Renting a Car in Cozumel

If you're staying in Cozumel for more than a day, it might be worth it to rent a car, since the beaches and other attractions in Cozumel are spread out. Hertz has a rental car counter inside Cozumel International Airport and offers discounts for AAA and CAA members.
It’s recommended to book your rental car in advance, as supplies can be limited on the island during the busy season. Your local AAA travel agent can help with finding you the best deals and making your rental car reservation well in advance of your trip so you can have peace of mind.

Tips for Driving in Cozumel

One paved road, the Carretera Transversal, crosses the island from west to east. At the eastern shore of the island, the road heads south, rounds the island’s southern tip and becomes the Carretera Costera Sur. Continuing north, the road offers access to Cozumel's best beaches before returning to San Miguel de Cozumel.
Many streets in San Miguel de Cozumel are one-way; pay attention to arrows on the street signs and verify which direction the cars are parked.
If you choose to drive around Cozumel by car, you can make the whole 40-mile loop around the island in about an hour and a half, not taking into account any time for stops. Much of the northeastern portion of the island is unreachable by rental car, as the roads are unpaved and very rough.
Your U.S. driver’s license is valid in Cozumel, Mexico, but your U.S. auto insurance most likely is not. Be sure to get the collision and liability coverage offered through the rental car company.
If you’re stopped by the police for a serious moving violation, your vehicle may be impounded and you'll be asked to accompany the police officer to the station to pay the fine. For minor infractions, the fines can often be paid on the spot, in cash. (In Mexico, a bribe is a common way of taking care of such situations.)
Below are a few additional tips for driving in Cozumel:
Curbs painted yellow are designated for bicycle, motorcycle and moped parking only.
• Curbs painted red are no parking zones.
• Signs for no parking zones are indicated by a black capital “E” with a red line through it.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Use caution around potholes and speed bumps (called “topes”), which may not always be easily seen.
Written by

AAA Travel Editors

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