A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Cozumel vs. Cabo San Lucas for Nightlife, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, and Couples

Should you visit Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cozumel

Cozumel is a colorful, scenic, and lively island. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a idyllic, wild, and adventurous city. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cabo San Lucas. Although Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas are both popular with visitors, Cabo San Lucas has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Cabo San Lucas is more popular for its food, nightlife, historical sights, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Cozumel is known for its scuba diving & snorkeling and beaches. Cozumel is popular for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. Cabo San Lucas is popular for its beautiful coastline, all-inclusive resorts, and vibrant nightlife scene. It is also home to Land's End.

How is Cozumel different from Cabo San Lucas?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Cabo San Lucas and Cozumel. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Spend time exploring the good sights and museums in either Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas.

Cozumel is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Check out the Island Museum, the Coral Reefs Monument, and some of the local Mayan ruins. Also worth a visit is Cozumel's Lighthouse.

Cabo San Lucas offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are several historical sights in the area such as the Church of Saint Luke and San Jose del Cabo.


Is the Food Better in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a great city for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its local cuisine and restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Cabo San Lucas. If you step away from the all-you-can-eat buffets in the resorts, and the tourist hot spots, you'll find some excellent local Mexican cuisine and nice fine dining restaurants. Fresh seafood and local produce make the dishes unique.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Cozumel. You'll find a mix of tourist restaurants and hidden gems that serve up authentic Mexican dishes. Wander off the main streets to find the restaurants that are tucked away from the cruise ship crowds.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a must-visit destination for nightlife. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for nightlife and partying.

Cabo San Lucas is a world class party destination. It has a long reputation of being one of Mexico's best party destinations. There are wild, all-night dance parties, crazy and crowded clubs, and music that lasts well into the morning. The best nightlife can be found in the blocks around Plaza Bonita, near the marina boardwalk.

Cozumel offers plenty to do in the evening. The nightlife scene is filled with cocktail lounges, beachfront bars, and wild weekend parties. There is something for everyone, whether you'll looking to sip wine by the ocean or party into the early morning.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Cozumel. There are hotels in the city center, and resorts by the beaches. For diving and snorkeling, stay in Southern Cozumel. Golfing and waterfront properties are popular in Northern Cozumel.

Cabo San Lucas is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Many of the resorts are along parts of the coastline where it's not safe to swim. If you really want to enjoy swimming at a beachfront property, make sure you do some research in advance. Medano Beach is a nice area to consider.


Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cozumel is a world-class destination for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for its diving and snorkeling.

Cozumel is a world class destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. Many people visit Cozumel specifically for the world class diving. Palancar Reef is one of the best dive spots in the area, and thanks to conservation efforts it is rebounding and offers a diverse environment.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Cabo San Lucas. There are many snorkeling and scuba diving excursions that go out on half day and full day trips. Some of the best snorkeling is found at Cabo Pulmo, which has the only living coral reef in the Sea of Cortez.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cozumel is a world-class destination for its beaches. Also, Cabo San Lucas is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beache.

Cozumel is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The island is lined with beautiful beaches and you'll find great snorkeling and tourist-friendly amenities. Some of the best beaches are Playa Punta Morena, Playa El Cielo, and Playa Chen Rio.

Many people visit Cabo San Lucas for it's beautiful beaches. Because of the water conditions, it's not safe to swim at many of the beaches in the area. This is particularly true on the Pacific side of the city. Many people consider Medano Beach to be one of the best in the area, but also nice are Lover's Beach, the ironically named Divorce Beach, and Chileno Beach.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for its Old Town?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a great city for its historic old town. However, Cozumel does not have a historic old town.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Cabo San Lucas. San Jose del Cabo is an "old town" that's a bit outside of town. It's particularly nice to visit on Thursdays when there's a nice market.

Cozumel does not have a historic old town.


Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Hiking?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a great city for hiking. However, Cozumel is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Cabo San Lucas for the hiking trails. It's not hard to get out into nature and you'll find many great hiking trails that go through varied and beautiful landscapes.

Cozumel is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

If you're looking to go shopping, Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas both offer plenty of superb spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Cozumel. For the best shopping head to Plaza del Sol, the Royal Village Shopping Center, or Los Cincos Soles. Expect cruise ship crowds and no shortage of tourists.

Cabo San Lucas is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There are many great shopping areas where you can pick up souvenirs or other interesting items to remember your trip. There are mall, markets, and boutique vendors that sell a variety of products.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Families?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

You'll find superb kid-friendly activities in either Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas.

Cozumel is a very family-friendly destination. The area is filled with water parks, snorkeling opportunities and, of course, fun-filled beaches. There are also wildlife reserves and Mayan ruins that aren't too far away.

Cabo San Lucas is a very kid-friendly island. Kids will love the snorkeling, boat rides, and kid-friendly cuisine. There are many places where kids can get up close and personal with animals, such as Wild Canyon’s Kingdom or camel riding. You might even be able to see migrating whales during your visit. Surfing, fishing, and hiking are also popular in the area.


Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Couples?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a must-visit destination for romance. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its romantic activities.

For those traveling as a couple, Cabo San Lucas has plenty to offer. It has long been a favorite honeymoon destination and couples who enjoy a beach paradise with wildlife, diving, and outdoor adventures will appreciate Cabo San Lucas. There's also amazing Mexican food and world class resorts.

Cozumel is a very popular place to visit for couples. Beaches, resorts, and adventure sports make this the perfect couples destination. There are also great restaurants and plenty of interesting places to explore.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

For backpackers, both Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas are superb places to visit.

Cozumel is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a few hostels in town and it's a safe and easy place to explore independently.

Cabo San Lucas is a great island to visit for backpackers. It's a popular tourist destination, and there are a number of hostels and activities that backpackers will enjoy.

Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Cozumel is not known for its public transit.

While Cabo San Lucas offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. Buses make up the main form of public transit. They are called Subercabos and run between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Public transit is generally limited in Cozumel. Local buses don't efficiently travel to the beaches or the hotel areas, so most tourists don't use them.


Is Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas a more walkable city?

Cozumel
Cabo San Lucas

Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas are superb when it comes to walkability.

Cozumel is very walkable. It's easy to walk around the downtown as it's compact and fun to explore on foot.

Cabo San Lucas is a very walkable island. The town is relatively easy to walk around with many things close together.

For even more information, also check out Is Cozumel Worth Visiting? and Is Cabo San Lucas Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cabo San Lucas or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Both Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Cabo San Lucas has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cabo San Lucas than Cozumel. However, 3-7 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Couples should spend more time in Cabo San Lucas than Cozumel. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cabo San Lucas that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cabo San Lucas than Cozumel if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cabo San Lucas.


  • How many days in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cozumel 3-7 
    Cabo San Lucas 3-7

One day in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

In Cozumel, you'll find nightlife and food. Most people come for the beaches. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Cabo San Lucas, you'll find shopping and museums. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Cozumel is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Cabo San Lucas, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.


Five days in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cozumel. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

Cabo San Lucas is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Cabo San Lucas has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

In Cozumel, you'll find shopping and museums. It's also a great beach destination, too. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cabo San Lucas. In Cabo San Lucas, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. One reason most visitors come is for the nightlife. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Mexico, The Best Adventure Tours to Mexico, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Mexico, and The Best Cultural Tours in Mexico.


Which place is cheaper, Cabo San Lucas or Cozumel?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cozumel is $118, while the average daily cost in Cabo San Lucas is $139. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cozumel $70
    Cabo San Lucas $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cozumel $140
    Cabo San Lucas $126
Compare Hotels in Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cozumel


Hotels in Cabo San Lucas


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Cozumel Hotel Prices and Cabo San Lucas Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    Cabo San Lucas $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cozumel

Also for Cozumel, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • ATV Adventure to Jade Cavern with transfer: $93
  • Cozumel Airport or Ferry/Cruise Port Transfer to/from Cozumel: $80
  • Cozumel Airport to Cozumel Port Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel hotels Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel island hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM)Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Shared Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Cuban Cigar Master Class & Beach Break® with transfer: $153
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) Cozumel - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $87
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel -Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $44

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cabo San Lucas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cabo San Lucas:

  • Los Cabos Airport (SJD): Transfer to Cabo San Lucas Port: $435
  • Roundtrip Private Transfer from Airport to Pacific Side: $300
  • Transfer from Airport to Cabo San Lucas: $300
  • Los Cabos Luxury Private Tesla Transfer from Airport to the Pacifica Area: $293
  • Los Cabos Luxury Private Tesla Transfer from Airport to Cabo San Lucas Area: $261
  • Private All Inclusive Cabo San Lucas Roundtrip Airport Transfer: $250
  • Private Transfer from Accommodation to Restaurant in Los Cabos: $250
  • Private Transfer from Los Cabos Airport to Cabo San Lucas: $250
  • Roundtrip Private Transfer from Airport to Cabo San Lucas: $240
  • Private Transfer from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz: $239
  • Private Escalade Airport Transfer in Los Cabos: $220
  • Los Cabos Private Mini-van Round-Trip Transfer: $218

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Prices for flights to both Cabo San Lucas and Cozumel change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cozumel $24
    Cabo San Lucas $51

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cozumel

For Cozumel, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Authentic Mayan Cooking Class in Cozumel: $61
  • Cozumel Food Tour: $90
  • Cozumel Cooking Class: $115

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cabo San Lucas

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cabo San Lucas.

  • Sunset Dinner Cruise with Domestic Open Bar: $64
  • Tasting Cabo San Lucas Like a Local Food Tour: $70
  • Cabo San Lucas Sunset Cruise with Dinner and Open Bar: $75
  • Authentic Mexican Legacy Cooking Class in Cabo San Lucas: $75
  • Sea to Table Fisherman's Seafood Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $80
  • Seafood Galore, Los Cabos Food Tour: $80
  • Parrillada dinner with a Private Chef in your villa/condo in Cabo or San Jose: $86
  • San Jose del Cabo Morning Food Tour: $86
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise at Cabo San Lucas Bay: $89
  • Private Mexican Cooking Class in Your Cabo San Lucas Villa or Condo: $90
  • Catch of the day dinner in your private villa/condo in Cabo or San Jose del Cabo: $90
  • San José del Cabo for Meat Lovers Food Tour: $90

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $44
    Cabo San Lucas $43

Tours and Activities in Cozumel

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Cozumel.

  • 1 Hour and Half Private Tropical Fitness Experience in Cozumel: $6.04
  • Cozumel!! Guacamole And Margarita Fiesta!!! ( Virtual Experience): $12
  • Skip the Line: Admission Ticket to El Cedral Town and Mayan Temple: $16
  • 2 Hour Discover Mermaid Experience : $20
  • Cozumel El Cielo 3x1 Reefs Tour: $29
  • Clear Boat and Snorkel Tour in Cozumel All Inclusive: $35
  • Clear Boat & Snorkel Cozumel Tour with Drinks: $37
  • Amazing Cozumel Buggy Adventure with Snorkeling Tequila and More: $39
  • Cozumel Beach Horseback Riding Tour: $40
  • VIP Glass Bottom Boat & Snorkeling 3 Reefs Tour: $40
  • Guided Day Tour in Cozumel on a Clear Boat and Electric Scooter: $41
  • Crystal Boat Tour to San Miguel de Cozumel with Snorkeling: $43

Tours and Activities in Cabo San Lucas

Here are a few actual costs in Cabo San Lucas for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Glass Bottom Boat Sightseeing Tour in Cabo San Lucas: $23
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $25
  • Platinum Whale Watching and Snorkel Tour (Dec 15-Apr 15): $239
  • Romantic tour in Cabo San Lucas: $186
  • Round Trip to Touristic Corridor : $180
  • Traditional Tequila Tasting Experience with Jorge Cuervo: $57
  • Your Own Private Luxury Yacht Experience in Cabo, Lunch included: $1.21
  • #1 Snorkeling Tour in Catamaran. Open bar & Snacks included: $80
  • 1 Hour Jet Ski Adventure in Billygan's Beach Club: $180
  • 2 Hour Whale Watching Tour in Cabo San Lucas Arch: $116
  • 2 Hours Horseback Riding Adventure in Cabo: $130
  • 2 Tank Tour in Cabo San Lucas Reserve, Certified Divers with MANTA: $135

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    Cabo San Lucas $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Cozumel

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Cozumel:

  • Cozumel 5-Hour Private Bar Crawl Tour: $110

Sample the Local Flavors in Cabo San Lucas

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Cabo San Lucas:

  • Cabo Bar Crawl - The BEST Bar and Clubs in Cabo : $55


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas, we can see that Cabo San Lucas is more expensive. And not only is Cozumel much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cozumel would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cozumel and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Cabo San Lucas would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cabo San Lucas than you might in Cozumel.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cozumel Expensive? and Is Cabo San Lucas Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cozumel or Cabo San Lucas?

Cozumel has a larger population, and is about 74% larger than the population of Cabo San Lucas. When comparing the sizes of Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.