Tips For Travelers
Planning and booking. If you are coming on a cruise ship and you want to take advantage of the few hours you have on the island, you should reserve your excursion in advance. Most of them need a 24-hour pre-reservation, to ensure availability and coordination.
For those willing to come to Cozumel from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, WOW Excursions also offers tours for you, a great choice for a day trip. You may include at-your-hotel pick up service.
If you are staying in Cozumel at a local hotel and want to enjoy the mellow nightlife, ask the taxi driver to leave you close to the Fiscal Pier, from there you’ll be within walking distance to most of the best restaurants, bars, shopping, and entertainment venues. The main plaza is the core of the city; a lot of locals and tourists love the place because it is a free-car zone and you can find street shows, live music, and officially organized events during most of the week. The “dancing” fountain and the colored lights will get you in the mood for a peaceful walk around by the sea-front street and feel the breeze.
Whether you are a fashion fan or you care nothing about it, follow these useful tips.
Nothing to worry about energy supply, plugs, and outlets. Vacation means RELAX. Keep reading to find out.
Cozumel is fairly safe, it is actually one of the safest islands of the Caribbean, however, a prudent foresight is not a waste.
The monetary unit is the Peso Mexicano, but due to tourism, people do also accept the American dollar. Most banks are located in El Centro (downtown) and they likely have the best exchange rate. There are a few ATM machines scattered around the city and the piers, however, the rate is not so good due to transaction fees. If you use your credit card, you don’t have to worry about the exchange rate as it is already set by the bank. If you pay cash at a store, you may not get the best exchange rate always, but if it is not a large amount of money you would like to skip the bank line and pay in dollars. It may be useful to exchange some money, however, take into account that you may not have time to exchange back your pesos to dollars when you leave. Awareness and common sense on this issue will help you avoid mishaps.
Visa, Master Card, and American Express are generally accepted.
Cozumel may be a paradise but people need to be aware of sunburns as they are serious (and painful) injuries. Take good care of your skin with some biodegradable sunscreen. Apply it several times according to the directions. Wear a hat and sunglasses with a good UV protection.
Keep yourself well hydrated, by the way, the public water is pure enough to take a shower and brush your teeth but it’s preferable to drink bottled water to prevent any medical problem. The chemical stability of the stomach is so sensitive that is preferable not to take any chances.
Bring some repellent for the mosquito time, at dusk.
Some sea accesses have sharp stones, in some places, so we recommend to wear water shoes.
There are a few ways to visit the island. You can, of course, rent a car/jeep for a reasonable price, but if you are a motorbiker and a Harley-Davidson’s fan, we offer you a guided tour around the island visiting some highlights.
The taxi is also a good way to move around, although it may be a little expansive depending on distance.
It may look weird, but speed limit in the local streets is 30 km/h (18 miles per hour) with many speed bumps all around to prevent accidents. There is something else that may be not common at first. At an intersection, when there is an octagonal ALTO red sign (STOP in English) you have to stop, just like anywhere else. However, if no ALTO sign is there, don’t stop, if you do so, you may cause an accident as the ones behind you are not expecting you to stop, and the ones waiting for you to pass across may get the wrong message that you are reducing your speed to stop right when you speed up again.
Try to carefully keep your distance, during most of the day people behind the steering wheel are tourists and they don’t really know where they are going and some of them can be distracted. There is also a lot of motorcycles, so please be aware and wise! Enjoy your trip!
Spanish is the official and only language of Mexico but most of the people in the tourism industry speak English, however, some Spanish words are always appreciated by the local people, for example; hola, gracias, por favor, etc.
As a curious note, almost 12% of the Cozumel population are not from Mexico, some of them are working in the diving and hospitality industry and others are retired people, mostly from The United States.
Weather and clothing
The good thing about taking a vacation in Cozumel is that the temperature stays around 80°F (27°C) even in winter. Summertime is the hottest period with more rain and humidity, but being on an island means that we have a nice fresh breeze all year long. We suggest you bring your summer apparel like shorts, swimsuit, sandals, sunglasses, sunblock, hat, light shirts and a big smile! During the winter season, the temperatures are just a little bit cooler. At night it can be a little chilly, so think about bringing a light sweater and pants.
Don’t leave without your bathing suit because Cozumel Island is perfect for any kind of water sport all year long! Even if you are scared about water, WOW EXCURSIONS have several activities to offer everyone.
Power supply, electronic gadgets, and cellular phone services.
In Mexico, the standard voltage is 127 V and the frequency is 60 Hz. This means you can safely plug your electric appliances in Mexico if the standard voltage in your country is in between 110 - 127 V, just as it is in the USA, Canada, and most South American countries.
If you want to use your phone you can buy a simple SIM card for few pesos with a local phone company and you would be able to call anywhere in Mexico, the United States and Canada for free as long as you want.
* Note: Some of the archeological parks may charge fees for a GoPro or alike, drone or any other kind of professional device. Regular cameras are more than welcome!
Safety tips for travelers
Cozumel is among the best wedding and diving destinations, and as a matter of fact, it is the number one port of call for cruise ships in the world. This wouldn’t be possible to achieve in an unsafe environment. Safety is a strategic goal for the island, and locals are aware of it as most jobs are related to the tourism industry. This said, Cozumel is reputed to be one of the safest cruise destinations in the Caribbean, however, as in any other city abroad, take reasonable precautions of yours and your belongings.
Further on you will find a list of safety travel tips to assure you to have a blast in Cozumel.
With more than 3 million visitors a year, Cozumel proved and still proving that it’s a safe destination. So don’t worry, have fun and enjoy!
Respect the ocean
Avoid swimming on the east side when you see a red and/or a black flag on the beach, they mean dangerous rip currents in the surf zone that move quickly away from shore, even if you are a good swimmer you may not be able to make it back! So be careful.
Littering is an important issue, leave no trash behind you if not in a proper container.
Collect no sea souvenirs as seashells, coral nor any other objects from the sea, even trash as old bottles may have some life already, so if they are already there leave it there.
Do never brake a piece of coral, they are living entities and will die out of its environment. A vivid purple colored fan coral turns brown and black into few hours.
Flavors of Mexico
Some Mexican goods are famously known worldwide and you can easily find them on the island, however, they are not super expensive, if you think it is too expensive for what it is, you are probably right, leave it and check somewhere else. Most registered products have official seals. If you have time enough, you can find a liquor store or a supermarket, they have fair prices.
Tequilas and Mezcal
Tequila is a national icon, and you can enjoy it drinking a straight shot, or in a refreshing margarita. Tequila earned an official protected designation of origin involving vast regions of central Mexico, and of course, the city of Tequila which gives its name to this famous spirit. To better know your tequila, learn about the growing and the traditional process to obtain it, take a tequila tasting and try some great artisan productions in our SEGWAY tour.
Mezcal is a distilled spirit originated in the southern state of Oaxaca. Tequila is, in essence, a Mezcal, the difference lies in the kind of “agave”, the plant from where Tequilas and Mezcals are produced from. The difference is in the taste, which in Mezcal is a little bit smoky. An agave worm always “decorates” the bottom of any bottle of Mezcal, if this prevents you from tasting a Mezcal, think that those worms make excellent tacos when fried!
Vanilla is the dried fruit of an orchid; it is very appreciated for flavoring and enhancing different foods and beverages. A vanilla cutting takes about a year and a half to harvest, then, the extracting process takes another year. Real vanilla is expensive. If you want to buy some fine vanilla check the label, you may find the following words written in original products: ”Extracto Natural de vainilla”, “Esencia natural de vainilla” or “saborizante natural de vainilla”. Instead, for artificial products you may read any of the following on the label: "Saborizante Artificial”, “Sabor Artificial”, “saborizante tipo vainilla”, “esencia sabor vainilla” or “esencia con sabor a vainilla”. Read the label carefully as you may be buying an imitation.
If you think chocolate is almost divine, you are no so far from the Maya people who considered this fruit as a gift from the gods. Mayas used its beans as currency, rituals and as a base ingredient to some foods and beverages, including some delicious combinations of honey, chile (hot pepper) and fruits. You may find several products made with chocolate, some of them deserve a try, just check the expiration dates on the label.