Mexico Family Travel

7 Unforgettable Activities in Cozumel for Kids

June 24, 2021
Astrid Vinje

You might think a trip to Cozumel, Mexico is ideal only for couples and retirees. But did you know there are plenty of amazing things to do in Cozumel for kids and families too?

The island of Cozumel is the perfect place for a family beach vacation! With temperatures ranging consistently between 70° and 90° Fahrenheit, and an average of 2,510 hours of sunshine per year, families can enjoy pleasant weather in Cozumel almost all year long. 

If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Cozumel with your little ones, take a look at these unforgettable things to do in Cozumel with kids.


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A colorful sign of Isla Cozumel for kids and families on the island of Cozumel
Isla Cozumel sign in Centro

Table of Contents

Basics of visiting Cozumel with kids

As you’re planning your activities in Cozumel for kids, take some time to understand the basics of traveling to Cozumel, and Mexico in general. Additionally, have a look at our Mexico trip planning suggestions to help with your Cozumel trip planning.

Familiarize yourself with the basic geography of Cozumel. Also, figure out the best way to get to and get around Cozumel. And once in Cozumel, research where to stay and eat, as well as how much things will cost on the island.

Signs for snorkeling

Basic Cozumel geography

Cozumel is an island located 23 kms off the eastern coast of Mexico. It’s part of the state of Quintana Roo, in the Yucatán peninsula. As of 2011, there are approximately 100,000 people living in Cozumel. 

The main city in Cozumel is San Miguel de Cozumel, which has 77,000 people. Because of the coral reefs that surround the island, tourism is a very important part of Cozumel’s economy. Read more about Cozumel's history and geography in Lonely Planet's Cancun, Cozumel, and the Yucatan guide.

Starfish at El Cielo

Getting to Cozumel for kids and families 

For families coming from the mainland of Mexico, the best way to get to Cozumel is by ferry. From Playa del Carmen, Winjet and Ultramar both offer ferry rides. 

Fares cost between 140-250 pesos, one way, depending on the company. At the time of writing, both companies alternate days of operation due to COVID restrictions. Check their websites for schedules. You can also purchase tickets online ahead of time, or at the kiosks at the ferry terminal.

If you’re coming to Cozumel by car, you can take a ferry at the Calica cruise ship port just south of Playa del Carmen. Fares are 500 pesos per family car, one way. Each passenger costs 68 pesos for a one way ride.

Going by plane is another option for getting to Cozumel for kids and families. Cozumel International Airport has limited flights from Mexico and the United States. Airlines that service the airport include United, American, Sun Country, Southwest, and Volaris.

Ferry boats in Cozumel

Options for getting around Cozumel

As previously mentioned, the main city in Cozumel is San Miguel de Cozumel. The central part of the city is called Centro. It is located right at the ferry terminal. If you’re planning on mainly staying around Centro, it’s easy to walk around.

If you’re looking for other options for getting around Cozumel for kids and families, you can also rent a car. Avis has a rental office right at the ferry terminal. Their base rates range from $41-$132 USD per day, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. 

You will be able to find less expensive rates if you rent a car through a smaller locally owned rental company. There are many locally owned car rental offices located near the ferry terminal.

Taxis are also available to help you get around Cozumel. Within the city, fares are 50 pesos. If you’re going out to the beach clubs or other parts of the island, expect to pay at least 140 pesos.

Cars in Cozumel

Where to stay and eat in Cozumel for kids and families

The official hotel zone in Cozumel is located north of the airport. However, you will be able to find hotels all through San Miguel de Cozumel’s Centro neighborhood. Additionally, there are several higher end resorts found along the western coast of the island, including all-inclusive resorts.

In terms of where to eat, Gastropark 140 is a great place in Cozumel for kids to explore different cuisines throughout Mexico. It’s located on 15A Avenida Sur, between Calle 1 Sur and Calle Dr. Adolfo Rosado Salas.

For a more seafood-focused restaurant that’s popular with locals, head to Coctelería La Estrella on 20 Avenida Sur. You’ll get local dishes like salbutes and tacos made with seafood like octopus and snails. And if you want to experience a sunset dinner, head to Sunset Restaurant and Bar on Avenida Rafael E. Melgar.

Gastropark 140 in Cozumel

Money matters and basic costs in Cozumel

Mexico uses the peso as its currency. The paper bills come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and sometimes 1,000. For coins, you’ll find 1, 2, 5, 10, and sometimes 20. At the time of this writing, the dollar-peso exchange rate is 20 pesos for $1 USD.

While Mexico is generally a cash economy, you can still use a debit or credit card (referred to as tarjeta) at some restaurants and stores. Hotels and resorts will accept cards. And some attractions in Cozumel for kids, particularly the beach clubs, will also allow you to pay with a card. 

Major banks in Cozumel are Santander and Banorte. These banks have ATMs for withdrawing cash. Expect to pay between 35-40 pesos for the ATM transaction fees. To keep your cash secure, be sure to pack along a unisex travel belt that's compact and discrete.

In terms of planning for costs in your Mexico travel budget, the costs in Cozumel are on par with costs in most parts of Mexico. Lodging can be as little as $26 USD per night for a family of four, or as high as $800 USD per night. Food can range from 30 pesos per dish to upwards of 400 pesos per dish, depending on the restaurant. 

A child snorkeling in Cozumel

Best things to do in Cozumel for kids

Cozumel is full of fun things to do for kids and families. From learning about the island’s history, to exploring the beautiful waters that surround the island, families will want to pack in as much as they can into a visit to Cozumel.

As you’re exploring the many things to do in Cozumel with kids, be sure to brush up on some basic Spanish phrases for travel as well. This will make your experience in Cozumel so much more worthwhile. 

A beach in Cozumel

Explore Centro

If you only have a few hours to visit, and are looking for something low-key to do in Cozumel for kids, take a stroll through Centro. The main city center is full of restaurants and shops where you can buy souvenirs and get a good meal.

Along the northern end of Avenida Rafael E. Melgar, you’ll find the Museo de Cozumel. This museum has exhibits showcasing Cozumel’s history. Admission to the museum is $11 USD for children over 3 years old and adults. 

The museum is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Saturdays. Hours of operation are 10 am to 2 pm, and 4-8 pm.

The main square in Centro

Spend the day at a beach park

A popular activity to do in Cozumel for kids is to spend a day at a beach park. Many of the beach parks have lounge chairs you can rent. And they offer swimming, snorkeling, diving, and massages, as well as food and drink.

Chaankanaab is a popular beach club that also has live dolphin and seal shows. Admission to Chaankanaab is $26 USD for adults, and $18 USD for children between the ages of 4 and 12. The park is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. Food, lounge chair rentals, shows, and activities cost extra.

You can also rent beach cabanas for the day at The Cabana Beach, which is adjacent to Chaankanaab. Cabana rentals cost $30 USD for up to 3 guests over the age of 5. Any additional guests cost $10 USD. Along with the cabana rental, you have access to Chaankanaab park, and free snorkel gear rental.

Other well-rated beach clubs in Cozumel for kids include Paradise Beach, Mr. Sanchos Beach Club, and Punta Sur Eco Beach Park.

Private cabanas for rent at The Cabana Beach

Snorkel experiences in Cozumel for kids

The beach parks in Cozumel all have options for snorkeling. The island is surrounded by coral, so you’ll usually be able to see fish and coral just by swimming off the shore.

However, the best snorkeling experience in Cozumel for kids and families is to visit Playa Palancar. There, you can take a 2 hour snorkel trip to the deep water reefs. 

The trip costs $35 USD per person. The snorkel trip includes a guide who will take you to the Palancar, Columbia, and el Cielo reefs. You’ll see starfish, rays, and maybe even a sea turtle!

Everyone is provided a snorkel, a mask, fins, and a life vest. If your kids aren’t strong swimmers, there are life rings they can hold on to as they observe the underwater life. Remember to use reef safe sunscreen when you're snorkeling.

Snorkeling at Playa Palancar

Learn to dive in Cozumel with kids

Due to the many coral reefs surrounding Cozumel, the island is a great place to learn how to dive. If your children are over 10 years old, they can be certified to dive through Cozumel’s many PADI dive schools.

Blue Magic is a great dive school for kids. Courses range from $145 USD for a 4-5 hour introductory scuba lesson to $450 USD for a 3-4 day open water dive certification course. More advanced courses are also available for experienced divers. 

If you’re already proficient in diving, the dive schools also offer equipment rental. The beach clubs also offer equipment rental for visitors. Take a look at this resource for scuba diving in Cozumel for more information.

Coral reef fish in Cozumel

Submarine ride in Cozumel for kids

If you’re not into snorkeling and diving, but you still want to see marine life, take the Atlantis Submarine tour. This is a 2 hour submarine tour that takes you as deep as 100 feet underwater.

Tours with Atlantis Submarine cost $105 USD for adults and $65 USD for kids. The tours are timed, so check the website to see which tours are available. You can also combine the submarine tours with other activities such as a Jeep tour, a snorkel expedition, or an afternoon at a beach club. 

Kids taking the Atlantis Submarine tour will be able to see various types of reef fish, rays, and sea turtles. The submarine also takes you to the edge of the coral reef, where the seafloor drops off to as much as 2,700 feet!

Children experiencing the Atlantis Submarine tour

Explore things to do in Cozumel with kids on the east side

Most visitors to Cozumel stay on the western side of the island. But there are also fun things to do in Cozumel for kids along the island’s east side as well.

If you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach, Playa Chen Rio has tide pools that kids can play in. It’s also a good surf spot for those who enjoy surfing. Cozumel Surfing with Nacho offers surf lessons for individuals and groups of all abilities. You can also take surfing lessons at Playa Punta Morena with Machito Surf Lessons.

The water is much more choppier on the eastern side of the island than on the western side. You’ll need a car to get there. Alternatively, you can arrange for a taxi to pick you up at a pre-arranged time. The cell phone signal is not very strong on this part of the island, so plan accordingly. 

Additionally, while there are some restaurants along the beach, you won’t find the same beach amenities as on the island’s west side. If you’re planning a visit to the beach, bring along your own snacks and drinks.

A beach on Cozumel's east coast

Other activity ideas in Cozumel for kids

If you have more time on your hands, there are plenty of other things to do in Cozumel for kids that will keep them entertained and engaged.

If you want to explore an archaeological site in Mexico, visit San Gervasio. This was a sacred site for Mayans during the pre-Hispanic era. Families can also explore the agricultural-focused activities in Cozumel for kids with a visit to the Mayan Bee Sanctuary or the Mayan Cacao Company

A road sign in Cozumel

Creating memories in Cozumel for kids 

Visiting Cozumel with kids will surely be the highlight to any Mexico itinerary. The island is steeped in natural beauty. And there is also a lot of history and culture that you can experience in Cozumel as well.

If you’re planning a visit to Cozumel, be sure to include these activities into your itinerary. These activities will surely give your family a memorable experience in Cozumel for kids and adults alike!

Have you visited Cozumel? Share our suggestions for things to do in Cozumel for kids to your friends, and leave a comment on our Facebook page about which activity you like the best.

7 Unforgettable Activities in Cozumel for Kids | Mexico Family Travel

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Enjoy this post about exploring Cozumel for kids? Take a look at our other ideas for a beach vacation in Mexico:

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