I love Mexico, I can’t believe it took me 27 years to finally go. It is such a beautiful place, the people are incredibly friendly, and the food is so so delicious. Last year, I spent two months in Mexico, one in Playa Del carmen and the next in Cozumel, Mexico. While I loved both places, I wanted to share with you the biggest differences I noticed during my time there so that you will be better informed!
Getting here + Food
You will have to come to Playa Del Carmen first to access the ferry to Cozumel. The bus from Cancun is about a 40 minute journey and the ferry to Cozumel is an additional 40-60 minutes. Playa is a great town to visit, it’s got travelers from all over the world that come here, amazing restaurants, and a big party scene. The best thing about this city is they have something for everyone, the main road of Calle Quinta Avenida is a crowd of tourists, vendors, shops, bars and restaurants. There’s also many clubs you can access from this popular walking road. The food options here are plentiful but I recommend walking further inwards towards Calle 5 and 10 to find cheaper and more authentic food. There’s cool cafes, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, small taco joints, you name it. In general, there are way more options in Playa compared to Cozumel.
In my opinion, the beaches in Cozumel far trumped the ones on the mainland. My favorite beach in Cozumel is called Playa Azul, or blue beach (Pictured below). It is north of the ferry port and very easy to get to, either by bike or taxi. There’s a small stretch of beach where you can put up your towel, relax, and jump in the water. I practically had this beach to myself, with only a handful of other people nearby. If you go to the beaches in Playa Del Carmen, expect a lot more crowds and rougher water.
Cozumel also has a few beach bars where you can lounge on a chair, order some food, sip some cocktails and relax. The one I usually frequented was the Money Bar because it is close enough to bike to and still offers some good snorkeling! They also have an area next to the lounge chairs where you can go, put your towels down and you don’t need to pay anything. If you choose a beach bar further away then you’ll want to rent a taxi.
Nightlife + Things to do
I think Playa del Carmen wins this without question. Being on the mainland and a bigger town, there’s just more to do. They also have many clubs and bars available for you to choose from all in the same area and bring a very diverse mix of people in. I often frequented a salsa bar every Saturday that offered free salsa lessons. Comparatively, in Cozumel, the bars are much calmer and spread out, with mostly only tourists.
Transportation costs are much cheaper in Playa del Carmen and very accessible. The public buses and vans are easy to reach in the town and will take you to many places such as the Mayan Ruins or Tulum. However, in Cozumel, foreigners aren’t allowed to take the public vans and instead must pay the taxi fare, which can get expensive if you want to go to the other side of the island. The entire island is about an hour drive, so getting to the other side and back could easily cost $40 in total, which is actually more than the cost of renting a scooter. What I did was wait until I had a friend to visit the other side of the island with and we rented a scooter together. That way, we could stop off at beaches along the way and take our time, without waiting for a taxi. But when your in town, you’ll want to take a taxi as you don’t need to worry about parking or drinking and driving! If your spending more time in Cozumel, like a few weeks or a month, a car rental can be talked down in price.
These pictures are giving me some serious nostalgia! I hope to visit Mexico again soon!
PLAYA AZUL= BLUE BEACH
These margaritas here are dangerous!! @ Wet Wendy’s
Cozumel at night.
Expensive, but delicious cocktails @Turquoise Beach Bar
I met my boyfriend in Cozumel, so it will always be a special place for me 🙂