If you are planning to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, I’m here to tell you everything you need to know before you go! The ferry ride is quick, cheap, and easy, and if you have enough time, Cozumel is absolutely worth visiting while in Quintana Roo.

Known for fantastic weather year-round, Playa del Carmen brings in thousands of visitors annually. But to get a bit more of a taste of the Mexican Caribbean, visiting Cozumel is a fantastic choice. Cozumel has great beaches, scuba diving, beach clubs, hotels, and more, and is possible even as a short day trip from Playa on the ferry.

Getting from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel

Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel winjet
Two ferries waiting to take passengers to Cozumel. Look at that blue sea! (Images in this post from Depositphotos)

As Cozumel is an island, the only way to get there from Playa is by boat, of course! Surely some people may take a small or private boat from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel, but the vast majority of visitors must take the public Cozumel to Playa del Carmen ferry.

Cozumel does have an international airport, but there are no flights between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen as that flight would probably take about 5 minutes! You can fly direct into Cozumel only from Mexico City, Merida, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Toronto, and occasionally other destinations.

Most people who want to visit Cozumel from Cancun or Tulum take a taxi or bus to Playa del Carmen to get on the ferry.

Why Cozumel is Worth Visiting from Playa del Carmen, Cancun or Tulum

Is Cozumel worth visitin from Playa del CArmen? Cozumel has better beaches
Cozumel Beaches are straight out of a dream!

The main cities of Quintana Roo are great, but to get a more well-rounded vibe of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, you must check out one of the stunning coastal islands like Cozumel.

Cozumel is a larger island off the coast of Playa del Carmen that is just under 30 miles long and around 9 miles wide. It is bordered by dozens of amazing beaches and resorts, and in the middle of the island is mostly a thick jungle.

Many cruise ships stop here, so you will find duty free shops and many party bars serving up tequila and margaritas. There are dozens of beache clubs and huge resorts, but there are also some smaller and more boutique unique places to stay in Cozumel also.

Cozumel is also a popular destination for scuba diving (it has some of the best in the world – check out ScubaTony if you dive there) and snorkeling. Cozumel has the second-largest barrier reef in the world and is well known for incredible diving.

Check out some epic things to do in downtown Cancun before you visit. If you are visiting Tulum, I lived there for a while and have tons of content on it:

What to Know Before Taking the Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Ultramar ferry from Playa del carmen to Cozumel
Ultramar Ferry

Here are some quick FAQ’s about the Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel:

What is the distance from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen?

This distance between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel is about 17 miles or 27 kilometers.

How long is the ferry ride from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel?

The ferry ride between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen is about 45 Minutes.

What Companies run the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Ferry?

You can book a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel with Winjet or UltraMar. Both have similar prices and schedules.

How Much Does the Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel cost?

As of now, one-way journeys are about $12-$13 (200-250MXN or 100-150MXN for QR Residents), and return journeys are twice that.

Is Cozumel Worth Visiting?

YES! Cozumel has some of the best beaches in all of the Riviera Maya, and the best scuba diving as well. Cozumel is a great place to hit the beach or a beach club, go snorkeling, or exploring on a day trip or longer.

Is One Day Enough in Cozumel?

Yes, it is enough if you move fast! You can do a LOT of Cozumel in one day if you rent a car or scooter, check out some beaches and beach clubs, and explore the town. But to properly experience Cozumel and explore the underwater world by diving or sailing, stay for a few days.

Do I need to book Cozumel ferry tickets in advance?

You do not need to book ferry tickets in advance, but I recommend arriving to the ferry as early as possible as not to wait in too long of a line. In high season (December-January) lines can get long and ferries do fill up, so you may want to purchase Cozumel ferry tickets a few hours or days in advance for peace of mind.

Is there a Car Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel?

Yes, there is a car ferry, but it leaves from a smaller town outside of Playa del Carmen called Calica. Ultramar and Transcaribe operate car ferries to Cozumel from Playa. The regular passenger ferry leaves from the city center.

Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Ferry Schedule

Scuba diving in Cozumel with turtles
Cozumel’s incredible scuba diving

Both the Ultramar and Winjet ferry companies depart both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen every two hours. But since the p*ndemic, both ferry companies now alternate departure hours so there is a ferry boat leaving each destination every hour, on the hour.

So in short, you can catch a ferry to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen every hour. Which company you use will depend on which hour you want to leave. But the boats are all quite similar with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Again, arrive early to have the best choice of seat – the rooftop deck can get HOT in summer (bring a hat).

To plan your trip, check out the Ultramar Ferry schedule here and compare it to the Winjet ferry schedule here.

Booking the Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Playa del Carmen ferry terminal place to buy tickets to the cozumel ferry
Playa del Carmen ferry terminal – upstairs is the waiting area

To book the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Ferry, you can either book it online in advance, or you can purchase tickets in person at the Playa del Carmen Ferry Terminal at the pier.

Pre-booking tickets online: to avoid confusion with the two ferry companies, use a platform like 12go to book your ticket in advance at the time you prefer.

Buying Ferry Tickets in Person: It is also quite easy to show up and buy tickets to whatever boat is leaving next at the Playa del Carmen Ferry Terminal (right next to the famous Parque de Fundadores and the Playa del Carmen Shopping Mall). In front of the Senor Frog’s there are ferry ticket booths open all day every day to sell tickets and give information.

Simply show up here to purchase your ticket. You don’t need to purchase the ticket in advance, although it does help if you buy it a few hours in advance and/or show up very early (about 30 minutes) to your ferry time so you can get in line and be first on the boat with your choice of seating.

Taking the Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

When you show up at the dock, you must first wait in line to have your documents checked and your belongings scanned before you get on the ferry. This is a general TSA-like scan where you put your bags through an X-Ray scanner. You do not need to remove anything, and they don’t usually search bags.

Once you have waited in line and been checked, you will be free to walk down the pier to the ferry.

Seating Options on the Playa Del Carmen – Cozumel Ferry

Ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen rooftop deck seating
Rooftop ferry deck of one of the ferries. The roof has these seats while most seats are plush inside.

The ferries have three decks – one indoor deck, one half-indoor and half-outdoor deck, and a rooftop. Arrive early if you want to stay in the shade or maybe even score a seat with a table.

If you sit in an outdoor portion, remember that you will be in direct sunlight for 40 minutes. Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The indoor decks have air conditioning if you prefer to stay cool.

Final Tips for the Ferry Playa to Cozumel

Onboard you will have the option to purchase basic snacks and refreshments if you need them for the short journey, but I recommend you bring your own. The middle decks often have a mariachi band playing for guest entertainment!

The seas are occasionally rough on this ferry also, but the ferries can handle it very well. If you get seasick, remember to sit on the bottom deck to minimize rocking. There are also bathrooms onboard.

Arriving in Cozumel

arriving into cozumel after talking the ferry - cozumel sunset view
Cozumel has some of the BEST sunsets in the whole Riveria Maya from the western facing pier + town.

The Cozumel passenger ferry port is also located right in the center of town. When you arrive, there will surely be plenty of people trying to sell you things and taxi drivers fighting over their next fare.

You can easily walk anywhere in the main town, San Miguel de Cozumel, from the ferry port. However as Cozumel island is MUCH bigger than Playa del Carmen, you will need to take a taxi or rent a car or scooter to get anywhere else on the massive island. This is the most popular way to see the island on a day trip.

Make sure to visit the south part of the island, which is where the massive barrier reef, best beaches, and best diving is located as well as Punta Sur Protected Ecological park. There are beach clubs along the entire coastline, and resorts too.

If you prefer a more unique or boutique hotel, don’t forget to read my roundup of boutique hotels in Cozumel.

That’s all for tips for taking the ferry to Cozumel! Let me know in the comments if there’s anything I have not answered!