Important COVID-19 update: Because of the COVID pandemic, ferries may run less regularly. Ferry companies (Ultramar and Winjet) usually alternate their services. One day Ultramar runs the ferry and the next day Winjet. Always check the latest schedules on the booking platforms or check at the ferry terminal.
Cozumel is a paradise destination for scuba divers and sea lovers in the Mexican Caribbean. A part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef is within the limits of Cozumel, with over 30 diving spots for both beginners as well as experienced divers.
If diving isn’t your thing, you don’t have to miss out. You can still explore the underwater wonders with a submarine expedition, a very popular and unique experience offered in Cozumel.
Cozumel has enough activities to keep you busy for a week. In addition to scuba diving, you can chill at one of the many crystal water beaches, take a snorkelling trip, sample the island’s delicious food and enjoy its gorgeous sunrise views. Situated on the island, you’ll also be able to find Mayan ruins that are considered one of the most significant in the Mayan religion.
If you are short on time, you also visit Cozumel for the day, but we recommend spending at least a couple of nights to be able to explore the island in-depth.
3 ways to get from Cancun to Cozumel
Bus + Ferry
330 MXN ($16)
Read article for more info
Colectivo + Ferry
1 hour 10 minutes
310 MXN ($15)
Read article for more info
To get from Cancun to Cozumel you must combine a 1 hour and 15 minutes bus ride or a 1.5-hour ‘colectivo’ to Playa del Carmen with a 40-minute passenger ferry to Cozumel. Bus tickets cost around 65 MXN ($3) and a colectivo ticket costs 45 MXN ($2). Ferry rates start at 265 MXN ($13) for a one-way ticket.
The first portion of the journey is done by land. You can use a bus or a microbus, also known as Colectivo to get to Playa del Carmen.
Buses have more space between the seats and also storage room if you travel with big luggage. Colectivo’s are cheaper than buses, but the vehicles are smaller and less comfortable. They come in handy if you are going only for the day or if you are travelling on a budget.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi to get to Playa del Carmen. However, taxi rates are very high in this area as it is extremely touristic. You must negotiate with the driver before boarding but expect to pay around 1,000 MXN ($50) for a ride to Playa del Carmen.
After you arrive in Playa del Carmen you must board a ferry to get to Cozumel. Ferries depart several times a day from the port located in Playa del Carmen’s city centre. The boats offer both indoor and outside seating. You can choose to enjoy the ocean views or the refreshing air conditioning indoors.
There are two main steps in the journey from Cancun to Cozumel. First, you must travel by land to Playa del Carmen for a little over 1 hour. You can use a Bus or a local Microbus, also known as Colectivo.
Once you are in Playa del Carmen you just need to find the ferry port and get into a boat that will take you to Cozumel. The ferry journey takes around 40 minutes.
Step 1: City centre to Cancun Bus Terminal
Duration: 40 minutes Cost: Free or 15 MXN ($0.70)
Buses and Colectivo’s depart from the same area within Cancun city centre. Buses depart from the Central Bus Terminal and Colectivos depart from the parking lot right across the street. Therefore, the same indications apply whether if you are using the bus or the Colectivo.
If you are staying in the city centre area you may be able to walk to the central bus station. In case you’re staying in the resort/beach area, you can either take a taxi for around 200 MXN ($10) or save some money by using the local public transport.
Bus lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 go all over Boulevard Kukulkan and will drop you on Avenida Tulum, right in front of the bus terminal. The rate for the buses is 15 MXN ($0.70) to be paid directly to the bus driver.
Step 2: Cancun to Playa del Carmen
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes Cost: From 45 MXN ($2)
The 2 most popular options to get from Cancun to Playa del carmen are a 1 hour and 10-minute bus and a 1.5 hour Colectivo.
We recommend taking the bus as it will drop you just one block away from the ferry port and the buses are more comfortable than Colectivos.
Cancun to Playa del Carmen by bus
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes Cost: 65 MXN ($3)
The bus company running between Cancun and Playa del Carmen is ADO, which offers a great quality service with first-class buses that include AC and reclining seats.
Departures to Playa del Carmen are frequent and the ride takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes.
When booking, make sure to select ‘Playa del Carmen Turistica’ as the arrival point. This bus terminal is just one block from the main port where you will board the ferry to Cozumel.
The‘colectivos’, are the cheapest option to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. However, since they are mostly used by local workers and not by tourists, they don’t have a lot of space for luggage. Therefore, they are a good option for day trips to Cozumel or if you are travelling light.
The average rate to Playa del Carmen is 45 MXN ($2) but it can increase depending on if it’s tourist peak season. The company ‘Colectivos Foraneos Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas offer the option to book online via BookAway for some of its departures. You can also go directly to the station and pay for your ticket to the driver.
Which Colectivo company to choose?
There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos and each one has its own stop but they are located right across the street from each other. Both run every 15 minutes or when the vehicle reaches its capacity.
Playa Express operates from 04:00 to 23:00 while Colectivos Foraneos work 24 hours. It’s good to know that Playa Express’ vehicles are more comfortable with more space between seats and working AC, so keep that as your first choice.
Colectivos will drop you a little further away from the ferry port than the buses. Their final stop is in Benito Juarez Street, about 500 meters from the port.
The ferry service is provided by two companies: Ultramar and Winjet. Both are very similar in terms of service and have big and stable boats that shouldn’t make you feel seasick.
Difference between the two ferry companies
They are both equipped with comfortable seats, toilets and a cafeteria on board where you can buy soft drinks and snacks. You can choose to sit inside if you prefer to chill with the AC or outside and enjoy the wind and sea views.
Ultramar is a bigger company that serves other routes within the Mayan Riviera, but it’s also more expensive. If you are looking for the cheapest way to get to Cozumel, we recommend you using the Winjet ferries which provide a great service at a lower price.
Ferries depart from Playa del Carmen’s port roughly every hour from 07:30 to 22:00. You’ll need to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. You can check the availability and book both the Ultramar and Winjet ferries through BookAway, or directly on their websites.
If you wish, you can buy your tickets directly at the port but be aware that there are many travel agencies around that will overcharge you. Therefore, avoid third parties and buy your tickets directly at the companies’ ticket shops.
The boats will drop you at Cozumel’s Ferry Port located in the town’s centre. Lots of accommodations are located within walking distance. To move around the island the best option is to rent a bike, golf cart or car.
Taxis are also available, and their rates will depend on the distance and your ability to negotiate with the driver. Usually, the taxi rates start around 50 MXN ($2.30)