Cozumel Lodging

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Cozumel Lodging Overview

Cozumel has accommodations to fit just about anyone’s pocketbook–from $35 rooms with a fan on the back streets of town to $800 per night oceanfront villa rentals. Where you stay will depend on a number of factors, of course: budget, vacation style, number of people in your party. Here’s a basic breakdown of the choices you have.

Naming all the accommodations is beyond the scope of this article. If you have a specific question or would like help choosing an accommodation that’s right for your needs, please feel free to post your questions on the Lodgings Forum and we’ll try to help you out.

Downtown San Miguel — El Centro District

Description of the Area:

Quiet and very safe, beaches are mostly rocky “iron shore” interspersed with small pockets of natural or man-made sand beach. (For more info check Cozumel Beaches.) Snorkeling from the rocks is decent here but the currents can be very strong. Fins are a must.

Type of Accommodations Available:

All-Inclusive resorts, (El Cozumeleño, Melia), Private beachfront villa rentals all old but generally well-maintained, several high-rise condos and a couple of hotels (Playa Azul, Coral Princess).

Advantages:

close taxi ride to downtown, very quiet, close to a lovely, new golf course. There is very little traffic so drives into town are quick and easy.

Disadvantages:

Strong currents close to shore, most dive ops won’t pick you up on the north end of the island. Can’t walk to town or a grocery. We’d definitely rent a car if we were staying north of town.

Downtown San Miguel — El Centro District

Description of the Area:

The oldest section of San Miguel. Bordered by a one mile stretch of waterfront stroll way on the west and bustling, Avenida 30 on the east. The most convenient location for vacationers who enjoy the convenience of being able to get around without a car or consider shopping, restaurant-hopping or people-watching to be majorly fun vacation activities.

Type of Accommodations Available:

Wide range of accommodations — everything from $25 rooms with fans in a posada at the low end to $120/night hotels with a view at the high. In the middle are a few really comfortable In-Town Vacation Rentals which provide excellent economy and convenience for groups of 4-10 people. This is our favorite location. To read why, check out our article entitled Sunset on the Malecon: Staying in Cozumel’s El Centro District.

Advantages:

No car necessary, walking distance to restaurants, nightlife, grocery stores, shopping. You can stroll the waterfront at sunset and take in the sea breezes. If you like a lot of variety on your vacations or are traveling with a group who has mixed interests, this may be your ticket. Convenient downtown pickup with several good dive ops.

Disadvantages:

Although you are walking distance to the waterfront, there aren’t any great beaches right downtown. For that, plan on using taxis or a rental car to take in the many free snorkeling and sunbathing beaches outside town on either side of downtown. See Beaches and Beach Clubs for more info on this.

Downtown San Miguel — Mid Town

Description of the Area:

Safe, residential area of one and two-story mostly residential structures interspersed with little corner groceries that sell all the basics and the occasional fish market and produce stall. This neighborhood begins 8 blocks from the waterfront and extends back into town for 20 blocks.

Type of Accommodations Available:

Smaller vacation villa rentals, usually ones that are renovations of older Mexican homes. Also some monthly and weekly rental apartment complexes and several B & B’s.

Advantages:

Bargain prices on vacation villa rentals and efficiency apartments. Near small neighborhood stores to pick up drinks and snacks without the need of a car.

Disadvantages:

Bargain prices on vacation villa rentals and efficiency apartments. Near small neighborhood stores to pick up drinks and snacks without the need of a car.

Downtown San Miguel — Corpus Christi

Type of accommodations Available:

Most of the towns vacation rental villas are in this neighbor. There is also a large condo called El Cantil on the waterfront, the Hotel Cozumel boasting the city’s largest pool and the all-inclusive Cozumel Palace.

Description of the Area:

safe, residential area of small lots and many large homes most of which were built within the last 10 years. Area begins at Calle 11 and extends back about 6 blocks from the waterfront at the south edge of downtown.

Advantages:

Easy walking distance to the Wal-Mart-like Chedraui and Mega grocery stores. Good exercise walk to the center of downtown (10-14 blocks). Large, pretty park with a gazebo across from the big Corpus Christi church for which this neighborhood was named. A quiet, peaceful neighborhood. A small beach club with decent snorkeling called Girasoles is close enough by to walk to easily from most parts of this neighborhood.

Disadvantages:

Although most rental villas in this area advertise that they are “3 blocks from the ocean”, the ocean is not visible from this part of town due to high rise construction and existing hotels that now completely block views of the water in this section of town. As with elsewhere in downtown, taxis or a rental car are necessary to enjoy the many free snorkeling and sunbathing beaches outside town. The Hotel Cozumel is directly across the road from the beach. El Cantil condo rentals and the Cozumel Palace are on the waterfront with their own iron-shore beachfront areas.

Southern Hotel Zone Cruise Ship Pier Area

Description of the Area:

This is a high-traffic area thanks to the proximity of two cruise ship piers. Approximately 1.5 miles south of downtown. The drive from town is easy and in the cooler months of the year the wide, waterfront sidewalk makes for a pleasant stroll. It is a high traffic area, however and views of the water will almost always include a looming cruise ship or several.

Type of Accommodations Available:

Several funky, moderately-priced little hotels with few frills but a lot of character and catering mostly to divers and also the Time Share/All-Inclusive high-rises Park Royale and La Ceiba/El Cid).

Advantages:

Decent place to stay if you’re doing your dive certification as many instructors work out of the Snorkel Center which is right in this area and there are several ops. with locations here as well. Inexpensive taxis to town and 3 or 4 restaurants to choose from. Despite the name “Snorkel Center” we don’t think this is a particularly good place for this activity due to the boat traffic.

Disadvantages:

Very busy, often congested road runs right through the middle of this narrow corridor of hotels, shops and restaurants so it can get noisy especially when the cruise ships are in port which is almost all the time from Dec 15 to April 30. You’ll need a taxi to get to the grocery, most restaurants, shopping and other in-town activities.

The Mid-South Hotel Zone (4-6 miles from downtown)

Description of the Area:

Quiet area now that they’ve built a bypass. The old road cuts very close to the ocean here. No sand beaches to speak of except man-made ones at the hotels. But this is the best easily-accessed shore snorkeling area on the island.

Type of Accommodations Available:

The venerable El Presidente is the closest hotel to downtown, a mile or so south on the old road you’ll find newly renovated Fiesta Americana and a number of oceanfront vacation rental homes. The brand new Landmark Resorts condo rentals are also located in this area. Several miles further south are the Residencia Reef Condos and what used to be called the Reef Club and is currently known as Sunscape Sabor and the Allegro. A few rental villas are beginning to crop up in this area also.

Advantages:

Good snorkeling in this area and currents tend to be much milder than on the north end of the island. Short drive to several famous Beach Clubs (the Money Bar and Playa Corona) and lovely Chankannab National Park.

Disadvantages:

Restaurant options are very limited. You will most definitely want a rental car and expect a 20 minute drive into town and one you might not enjoy on the dark, no street-lights ride home after a few drinks. Taxis will run as high as $30 one way for up to 3 people.

Far South Accommodations

Description of the Area:

Out in the boonies. Nothing here but all-inclusive resorts. You’ll barely know you’re in Mexico. No restaurants remotely nearby.

Type of Accommodations Available:

There are three all-inclusive hotels in this area. Allegro, Iberostar and Occidental Grande.

Advantages:

Quiet, lots of beach toys, near some of the best reefs. If you’re a diver this means you could be talking about a 5 minute boat ride instead of a 30 minute one.

Disadvantages:

You are a long way from downtown and very isolated from the rest of the island. If you’re exhausted, just want to spend a week lying on a deckchair and have pretty deep pockets, one of these locations may suit you. But you will scarcely know you are in Mexico.

East Side Accommodations

Description of the Area:

The east side of Cozumel faces the open Atlantic and is wild and beautiful. High winds most of the time and no electricity. Many ramshackle beach clubs serving drinks and food during the day but you’ll need a car to get between them. There are several stretches of white sand beach but the rest of the shoreline is very rocky.

Type of Accommodations Available:

This is an easy choice. There’s only one, Ventanas al Mar, a small, wind-powered ocean front hotel with spectacular views and a sandy beach section right beside it.

Advantages:

Total serenity. Just you and the sound of the wind and the waves. Star gazing is fabulous. Plenty of beach dives are a short drive away.

Disadvantages:

You’re a long way from town where you’ll find all the grocery stores and most of the restaurants. Because there is no electricity, only the hotel is open at night and they don’t serve dinner. So plan on stocking up on groceries before you make the 25 minute cross island drive and eating in. Or count on an hour RT into town for dinner along a well paved but pitch black cross island road.

Cozumel Things to do with a Car