So you’ve explored all that Cozumel has to offer — all the major tourist stuff anyway — or perhaps you prefer to experience this popular port like a local from the start. If you want to take the road less traveled on your trip to Cozumel, this is your guide map.
Here are the best ways to see and experience Cozumel like a local.
Learn the Language
This will help you experience any port like a local. You don’t have to master the language, but learn key words and try it. Yes, most locals speak English, but they appreciate it so much when tourists try the language. Locals speak the language, and if you’re looking for that authentic experience, speak up in their native tongue.
Rent a Bike
This isn’t limited to just the locals; even the President of Mexico likes to escape to Cozumel and bike around the island. Since the island is mostly flat, renting a bicycle and exploring is a great way to get off the tourist path and see more of the island than a tour could offer. If you’re not up for riding a bike, consider taking an open-air bus tour of Cozumel instead.
Slow Down and Smell the Margaritas
In the United States, we tend to rush through our lives, including our meals. This is most definitely not the case in most other countries. To experience your dining experience like a local, slow down. Take your time. Enjoy a meal that lasts hours, not minutes. Try new foods and enjoy the company of your traveling companions. Cozumel has fantastic local restaurants that will truly let you dine like a local.
Cheer on the Locals
Cozumel is home to semi-professional basketball and several baseball teams. The basketball team is Marineros De Cozumel and the season usually runs from April through summer. One of the baseball teams, Piñeros de Cozumel, plays games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (except when traveling). Cozumel also hosts games for the Mexican League from time to time at the Estadio de Beisbol (called Froylan López Carillo).
Shopping finds its way onto most lists for what to do in port, but this is more about shopping like a local. Take a stroll away from the main streets and the main shops. Side streets, back streets — these are the best places to find a good deal and interact with local residents. You can find good deals on silver jewelry, lace and table linens, hammocks, ceramics and more local goods. By moving away from the main stores, you’ll find more uniform and unique stores. Another plus: local shops tend to be willing to barter with you.
Cozumel Like a Local Tips
- While it’s fun to adventure off the beaten path, never go into unknown territory alone. Tour guides are available to take you to some local areas.
- The U.S. dollar is widely accepted in Cozumel and you’ll find it easier to barter with dollars than paying with a credit card.
- Don’t drink the water. This one sounds cliché, but even the locals in Cozumel will tell you this. Bring bottled water from the ship or buy bottled water while in town.