Airlines and Airports
If you're flying, you can get to Cozumel one of two ways:
Fly into Cozumel
The airport in Cozumel is small, but well run and efficient. Going through customs is quick and getting to and from the airport is simple via taxi, private car, and/or a shuttle.
There are a few airlines that have direct flights to Cozumel from the United States and Canada, and many more that offer connections through various cities in both the US, Mexico, and Europe. Simply visit one of the big travel sites (www.expedia.com or www.orbitz.com) to book your tickets. During most times of the year, even direct flights are relatively inexpensive and can sometimes be found for as little as $300 USD.
Fly into Cancun
During the busy winter tourist season (November - March) and especially during holidays (American Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's), flights to Cozumel can approach and sometimes exceed $700 USD (especially if you're buying tickets at the last minute!), so flying into Cancun (and taking the ferry to Cozumel) is sometimes the more economical option.
Below we describe how to make that trip, which will take about 2 hours, and cost $20-$65 depending on your mode of transportation.
If you decide to fly into Cancun, book a return flight in the early afternoon. The airport in Cancun can sometimes get busy, you will need to arrive at least 2 hours early, and you will need to allow more time for your trip back from Cozumel.
Bus/Taxi from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
If you fly into Cancun, you will need to take a bus or taxi to Playa del Carmen (45 min), then the ferry to Cozumel (45 min). Getting to Playa del Carmen is easy and, if you take the bus, inexpensive. The buses are new, touring-type buses with a bathroom and in-route movie entertainment (in Spanish of course!). We highly recommend this mode of transportation.
After you collect your baggage, ask any airport employee where the buses to Playa del Carmen are located. You will have either arrived at the International Terminal, in which case walk out of the terminal, turn right and walk to the end where you will see many parked buses, or you will have arrived at the Charter Terminal (less likely), in which case you will need to take an airport shuttle to the International Terminal.
You can buy tickets for the bus from the porter that has a little podium/stand next to where the buses are parked. Tickets will cost you about $10 USD one way.
This guy has a great post (with pictures!) on how to make the entire trip by bus.
If you have an aversion towards buses, you can always take a taxi/shuttle and/or share the trip with a fellow traveler(s). Taxis are easy to find, as you will be accosted by taxi drivers and/or their representatives as soon as you exit the airport. The trip will cost around $45 USD one way.
A slightly more expensive option is to book a taxi before you arrive. If you choose this option, expect to spend around $65 USD one way.
Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel
When you arrive in Playa del Carmen (both the bus and taxi will drop you off near the bus terminal), head towards the beach. Walk along the beach past a small plaza to find the ferry terminal, about a 10 min walk. If you have heavy bags, hire a tricycle porter for about $2 USD to help you.
Ferries to Cozumel run from 6am-11pm, every hour expect later at night. Buy a ticket at one of the kiosks as you walk towards the terminal. The trip is about $8 each way.
In Cozumel, the ferry will drop you off smack dab in the middle of downtown. You will be able to grab a taxi there to anywhere on the island and/or walk if your destination is close enough.
As always, write to us if you have any questions.