Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- During high season, several more international commercial flights fly in and out of Cozumel's airport (CZM) than in low season, including a few flights from northern U.S. cities. Airlines include American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, United, and US Airways. You might also inquire about buying a ticket on one of the charter flights in high season. There are few international flights in low season, but Maya Air (http://www.mayair.com.mx/; [tel] 987/872-3609 or 314/669-6879 in the U.S.) runs several daily flights between Cozumel and Cancún, and connections are painless. Beware of weight limits, though, especially if you’re carrying a lot of scuba gear. To save money, booking an air/hotel package can be a good idea. Try Expedia.com, CheapCaribbean.com, Vacmart.com, or Priceline.com.
By Ferry -- Passenger ferries run to and from Playa del Carmen. México Waterjets (tel. 987/872-1508; www.mexicowaterjets.com) and Ultramar (tel. 998/881-5890; www.granpuerto.com.mx) offer departures almost every hour in the morning and about every 2 hours in the afternoon. The schedules change according to seasons but generally start at 7am and continue until 9 or 10pm. The trip takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on conditions, and costs about 160 pesos one-way. The boats are air-conditioned. In Playa del Carmen, the ferry dock is 1 1/2 blocks from the main square. In Cozumel, the ferries use Muelle Fiscal, the town pier, a block from the main square. Luggage storage at the Cozumel dock costs 20 pesos per day.
The car ferry that used to operate from Puerto Morelos now uses the Calica pier just south of Playa del Carmen. The fare for a standard car is 683 pesos. TransCaribe (tel. 987/872-7688; www.transcaribe.com.mx) has six departures daily; check the website for exact scheduling. The ferry docks in Cozumel at the Muelle Internacional (the International Pier, which is south of town near La Ceiba Hotel).
By Bus -- If you plan to travel on the mainland by bus, purchase tickets in advance from the ticket office for ADO buses called Ticket Bus on the municipal pier (open while the ferries are running). Another is on Calle 2 Norte and Avenida 10 (tel. 987/872-1706). Hours are from 8:30am to 9:30pm daily. ADO buses make the 1-hour trip from Cancún airport to Playa del Carmen (and back) throughout the day for 146 pesos; you can easily catch the ferry to Cozumel from Playa.
Arriving -- Cozumel's airport is just a 5-minute drive from downtown. Transportes Terrestre provides hotel transportation in multi-passenger vans. Buy your ticket as you exit the terminal. To hotels downtown, the fare is 57 pesos per person; to hotels along the north and south shore, 96 pesos. A private taxi to downtown costs 134 pesos. Passenger ferries arrive at the Muelle Fiscal, the municipal pier, by the town's main square. Cruise ships dock at the Punta Langosta pier, several blocks south of the Muelle Fiscal, and at the International Pier, which is at Km 4 of the southern coastal road. A third cruise-ship pier, the Puerta Maya near the International Pier, is also operational.
City Layout -- San Miguel's main waterfront street is Avenida Rafael Melgar. Running parallel to Rafael Melgar are avenidas numbered in multiples of five -- 5, 10, 15. Avenida Juárez runs perpendicular to these, heading inland from the ferry dock. Avenida Juárez divides the town into northern and southern halves. The calles (streets) that parallel Juárez to the north have even numbers. The ones to the south have odd numbers, except for Calle Rosado Salas, which runs between calles 1 and 3. Vehicles on the avenidas have the right of way.
Island Layout -- One road runs along the western coast of the island, which faces the Yucatán mainland. It has different names. North of town, it's Santa Pilar or San Juan; in the city, it is Avenida Rafael Melgar; south of town, it's Costera Sur. Hotels stretch along this road north and south of town. The road runs to the southern tip of the island (Punta Sur), passing Chankanaab National Park. Avenida Juárez (and its extension, the Carretera Transversal) runs east from the town across the island. It passes the airport and the turnoff to the ruins of San Gervasio before reaching the undeveloped ocean side of the island. It then turns south and follows the coast to the southern tip, where it meets the Costera Sur.
The Municipal Tourism Office (tel. 987/869-0212; www.cozumel.gob.mx), located at Plaza del Sol, also has information booths at the International Pier and Punta Langosta Pier. It's open 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
Be Streetwise -- North-south streets -- the avenidas -- have the right of way, and traffic doesn't slow down or stop.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.