Cozumel is the largest island in the Yucatan peninsula, it receives over 3 million cruisers annually and at least 8 cruise ships dock at the island daily. As such the island has three dedicated cruise ports. Punta Langosta, International pier, and Puerto Maya are the three main ports in the island.
When cruising to Cozumel, depending on the cruise line you are on chances are you will dock at one of these ports on the island:
These piers are found on the western side of Cozumel. Punta Langosta is a public port found in the town of San Miguel, the largest city in Cozumel. The International Pier follows closely 3 miles south of the town. Puerto Maya pier is the furthest from the town found at the southwestern edges and nearly 5 miles away from the port.
Because Cozumel has evolved to become a major tourist hub with almost all cruise lines featuring this once sleepy island in their western Caribbean itineraries. Some of the cruise companies have partnered with the island’s government and developed the piers into stunning areas that feature all the tourist attractions that cruisers love. Such as shops that sell plenty of Mexican/Mayan crafts that make for perfect souvenirs and gifts. Restaurants and bars that serve the best of the Yucatan cuisine and signature drinks. And lastly natural ecosystems such as beaches, forests, rivers, caves, and mangroves. That provides for the perfect vacation mix.
You are therefore guaranteed to have a great time in Cozumel. With all these features which present the perfect activity for every kind of adventurer.
The first place you will visit on the island is one of these ports, as such you need to know what they offer, so, that you can plan the best day on port possible. That’s why we have written this guide on everything you need to know about Cozumel Ports. Check it out:
Punta Langosta Port
Punta Langosta is Cozumel’s local pier. It is used by ships, ferries and some of the smaller cruise lines. This is the best port to dock at if you want to have an authentic Cozumel exploration since it’s right in the heart of San Miguel town. Cruise lines such as Norwegian, MSC, and Disney dock at this port.
After debarking from the ship walk down the pier and through the overpass to get to the entrance of Punta Langosta Mall. At the end of the pier is a mandatory security checkup area that ensures you don’t bring in prohibited items into the island including food.
Punta Langosta Mall
Right after the security check-up, you are ushered into the Punta Langosta Mall. A two-story mall that features plenty of shops to shop at. The mall hosts Big names such as Diamond International, Del Sol, Cariloha, and others. Local stores are also available, so, If you seek more authentic finds, you can try the local shops in the place. They sell local flairs like beads, woven items, sculptures and ornamental pieces. Get your jewelry, paintings, hammocks, colorful t-shirts and cover-ups at these shops.
Currency in use
Most of the shops in the mall take the US dollar or the Mexican pesos. You might find a few that accept credit cards, but you are better off carrying cash in small denominations of $1, $5 and $10. Be ready to haggle the prices and expect a lot of sellers to come at you with cunning tricks trying to get you to visit their shops. If you aren’t interested a firm “no thank you” will work fine. There are retail stores and pharmacies at the market as well.
San Miguel Town
Punta Langosta is not short of activities. Its proximity to the town of San Miguel makes it a very interesting port to explore. Enjoy walking down the streets of San Miguel embracing the Cozumelian culture and it’s friendly, hospitable people. The are many things you can do at the town, including shopping, sightseeing, and going on a culinary tour.
Your tour of the town will most likely start at the waterfront Malecon, which was built with tourists in mind. It’s a beautiful area surrounded by more shops and eating areas. With its only fault being that it tends to get crowded especially when many cruise ships are docked at the island.
However, the oceanfront boardwalk offers a quick escape from the masses. The oceanfront also offers great views of the ocean and a nice cool breeze. The waterfront shops and restaurants offer more explorations.
A brief 5-minute walk will get you from the port’s mall to the downtown square. Once at the downtown square or El Zocalo/town plaza you will find a raised area with a gazebo on it. The gazebo is surrounded by a gorgeous flower garden. Go up the gazebo area, take some photos and enjoy calm peaceful moments there.
If you happen to be in Cozumel on a Sunday, then you should definitely visit the town square. There is always an activity taking place on that day. From beauty pageants, musical performances to entertaining dance festivals.
For a closer sneak peek into the common day of a Cozumelian, you can try some of the off the beaten paths adjoining the streets and enjoy an authentic Cozumel experience. While on that adventure, don’t forget to check out stores in this part of the town for those rare finds, they will be more affordable as well.
If you get thirsty head over to Avenida 25 you will come across el Mercado, the largest fruit and groceries market in the port. Enjoy some of their freshly squeezed orange juice and other fruit juices.
Another place that you should visit is the El Museo or museum. It’s located on the oceanfront broad walk a few blocks away from Punta Langosta pier. The museum exhibits the history of Cozumel’s first inhabitants, the Mayan, important artifacts discovered at the archeological sites and some famous paintings done by the locals, both in modern and historical displays.
The museum also features a restaurant, so if you get hungry, you can grab a quick lunch at the cafeteria and resume exploring. The entrance charge for the museum is roughly $8 and you can opt to get a tour of the area or not.
Also Read: Costa Maya Mexico, Here’s What You Can Do
The government of Cozumel made it easy for tourists when they came up with standard taxi rates from ports to popular destinations on the island. Check out the taxi rates board found a few meters away from the dock, near the taxi area. The rates are fixed and charged according to the number of people taking a cab. However, skip the queues and catch a taxi by walking out of the port in the southern direction. Hail any taxi returning from the other ports and destinations. It will also be a bit cheaper this way but ensure you confirm the price before getting in.
Important Tip: Always ask the taxi driver to show you the taxi card which specifies the rates. They are legally obligated to do so.
Other things to do at Punta Langosta
Once you get a taxi, you can visit any destination of your choice including some of the popular beach and beach clubs in the island. Apart from the beaches, you can take an inexpensive 10-minute taxi ride to Chankanaab park. It’s a beautiful place that everyone in your group would love.
International TMM Pier
This is the oldest pier in Cozumel and is found 3 miles south of San Miguel town. For those of you, who prefer cruising with the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, or some Norwegian Cruise Line ships this is the port you will dock at. It is strictly a cruise port and not a public port, so enjoy your day at the port without feeling hassled.
You can visit this port from the nearby Punta Langosta port via walking, with a scooter or any other vehicular means available. If you want to walk from Punta Langosta or the ferry pier to this place, do so early in the morning when the weather is cool.
There is a broad sidewalk along the oceanfront that you can use to get to the International Pier. If you don’t make it to the port in the early hours of the day, or just don’t feel like walking, then take a taxi to this place. It will only take 10 minutes and the price is about $8 or $10 each way for 4pax.
The walk to this port is not a lonely one, there are plenty of bars, and waterfront restaurants where you can grab a drink and catch your breath for a minute, before resuming your walk to the pier.
Get your Cozumel Magnets from Amazon, people do forget to buy on the island.
However, if you are coming in via ship, after docking you will find a long-paved pier that takes you into the port area. The first sights that you will see on the short walk to the pier are displays of beautiful architectural works in shades of bright pinks, yellows and off whites. That is the shopping area at the port.
It features plenty of shops and restaurants including internationally recognized shopping brands. The best place to shop at in this pier is at Los Cincos Soles. A unique shop, that sells authentic wares sourced from all over Mexico. The shop is air conditioned, making shopping there a delight. It also offers a much-needed escape from the intense heat in Cozumel. The prices albeit a bit higher than at San Miguel are completely worth it for authentic Mayan craft.
Some of the restaurants you will find at the port will become a hive of activity as cruise ship passengers come and go while the ships are docked in Cozumel, Mexico. You can grab a meal at either one of these places or take a cab to San Miguel town for a more local cuisine. Another venue to try out for lunch is upstairs at the museum. It offers beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding areas and a good atmosphere to enjoy your meal in.
Besides shopping and eating the next best thing to do at this pier is to visit one of the beaches and beach clubs close by. Such as paradise beach, Mr. Sanchos or Nachi Cocom which offer a variety of water activities.
Taxis are available on this port, for $10 each way to San Miguel. Try sharing the ride with 3 other people so that you can split the cost.
Puerta Maya is the furthest port in Cozumel found on the southwestern side of the island nearly 5 miles away from San Miguel town. This port is reserved for Carnival cruise guests and other Carnival Corp affiliated cruise lines.
The expansive port is beautifully designed and features plenty of shops. Puerta Maya boasts of at least 50 shopping outlets and additional 15 stands that sell authentic Mayan souvenirs. The shopping at this port is better than at the international port. Among the shops in the port are some recognizable names such as Del Sol, Dufry, Diamond International, Milano and Piranha Joes. Be on the lookout for the promotional offers that are offered on the gangway as you disembark. And grab beautiful diamond jewelry at Diamonds International or airtightly sealed rum cake, that can last up to 6 months. The port also has a retail, convenience store and a pharmacy. Making it easier to grab some personal effects while at the place.
You can actually purchase Tortuga Rum Cake right here.
The lunch venues on this port are not to be missed. With new entrants in the restaurant scene such as the new oceanfront eatery that serves authentic Mexican dishes and popular Caribbean dishes. The popular Three Amigos bar where amigos can catch up and hang out on their port day. And more places like the popular Fat Tuesdays and a new addition, Pancho’s Backyard which offers great views of the ocean.
One thing you shouldn’t miss out on in this port is the numerous photo op. Get Instagram worthy shots, on the high chair at the Three Amigos bar. Or wearing the giant shoes. Or pause with a real-life statue. For nature lovers, you will love the garden at the port. It’s a lush garden that features colorful flowers and plants. Enjoy your day surrounded by all this beauty. And if you haven’t been to a Mayan ruin yet, don’t fret the pyramid fountain at the center of the port, is created in exquisite detail to resemble the Chichen Itza ruins. Carnival has even added an additional pier separate to the ship pier, where boat excursions start from, and all other water transport vehicles.
Without a doubt, Puerta Maya is the most beautiful port in Cozumel, so if you don’t want to wander far, you can enjoy yourself at this port without any additions.
Over to You
Now that you know everything you need to know about your port. You can go ahead and plan accordingly. Just remember to wear a lot of sunscreen if you plan on walking from pier to pier. Wear environment-friendly sunscreen as well, as some chemicals found in sunscreens are harmful to the marine life.
Other than the three piers mentioned in this article, there is also the Ferry Pier. If you want to take a trip to Playa Del Carmen, at the ferry pier is where your trip will start at.
There you have it, all you need to know about Cozumel ports. Enjoy yourself on the next cruise there and don’t forget to have fun.