A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Cozumel vs. Cancun for Nightlife, Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Beaches

Should you visit Cozumel or Cancun?

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 Cancun can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cozumel

Cozumel is a vibrant, active, and colorful island. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Cancun

Cancun is a tropical, active, and adventurous city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Cozumel and Cancun: 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
  • 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 Cancun?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cancun than Cozumel. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Cancun is very popular for its museums, nightlife, resorts, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Cozumel attracts visitors for its shopping. Cozumel is famous for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. Cancun is famous for its water sports, white sand beaches, popularity at spring break, and access to Mayan ruins. It is also well known for .


How is Cozumel different from Cancun?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Cancun 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 Cancun?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cancun is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its sights and museums.

Many visitors head to Cancun specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. It's possible to do a day trip to visit the impressive Chichén Itzá, but closer by you'll find El Rey Maya Ruins and El Meco Archaeological Site. You can also visit the Maya Museum in town. For something truly unique, you can take a diving or snorkeling trip to the Cancun Underwater Museum.

Cozumel offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Check out the Island Museum, the Coral Reefs Monument, and some of the local Mayan ruins. Also worth a visit is Cozumel's Lighthouse.


Is the Food Better in Cozumel or Cancun? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cozumel
Cancun

Both Cozumel and Cancun offer a number of nice restaurants to choose from.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around 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.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Cancun. If you step away from the tourist scene, you'll find some amazing local restaurants that serve authentic and fresh Mexican cuisine. Favorite dishes in the area include tamales, sopa de lima, and tacos al pastor.

Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
Cancun

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

Cancun is a world class party destination. It's long been known as a party destination and there are large world famous clubs as well as smaller bars where you can hang out. The party never stops here, so be prepared for all night dancing and drinking, and it will definitely live up to its reputation.

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 Cancun Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cancun is a must-visit destination for its luxury resorts. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its resorts.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Cancun is a perfect choice. You'll find most of the accommodation options in the Hotel Zone, which runs along Boulevard Kukulkan. The stretch can be divided into three areas, which each have a slightly different personality.

Cozumel is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. 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.


Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cozumel and Cancun both offer fantastic scuba diving or snorkeling spots.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Cozumel is not to be missed. 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.

People travel to Cancun specifically to enjoy its famous scuba diving and snorkeling areas. Beautiful reefs and world class dives make this a popular destination for those who want to explore the undersea world. You'll find plenty of snorkeling and dive excursions in the area with diverse coral and marine life.

Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cozumel and Cancun are fantastic choices for a beach vacation.

With world-famous beaches, Cozumel is a very popular vacation 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.

The beaches in Cancun are among the best in the world. There are stunning white sand beaches and turquoise blue water that make this a beautiful beach destination. There are miles of sandy coastline with many of the beaches found in the Hotel Zone.

Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Hiking?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cancun is very good for hiking. However, Cozumel is not a hiking destination.

Many people include a hike when visiting Cancun. There are some beautiful walking paths and hiking trails that are within the area.

Cozumel is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or Cancun?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cozumel is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Cancun is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Cozumel is well-known for its shopping. 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.

Many visitors go to Cancun to go shopping. While most people visit for the beaches and nightlife, there are shopping malls and markets where you can enjoy some retail therapy.

Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Families?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cancun is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its family-friendly activities.

Cancun is one of the most popular family destinations. Although this part of Mexico has long had a reputation for its party scene, the area also attracts many families, who come for the family-friendly resorts, world class snorkeling, and fascinating jungle tours. You can snorkel at the Garrafon Natural Reef Park or have fun on the water slides at Ventura Park. Xel-Ha Park is also worth a visit.

Cozumel is a very kid-friendly island. 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.

Is Cozumel or Cancun Better for Couples?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cancun 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, Cancun has plenty to offer. As a world class honeymoon destination, you'll find stunning white sand beaches, amazing snorkeling and diving, and a huge range of entertainment options. You can enjoy the nightlife scene or check out Cirque du Soleil. Sunset boat cruises and romantic horseback rides all make this an amazing honeymoon destination.

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 Cancun Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
Cancun

For backpackers, both Cozumel and Cancun are very good 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.

Cancun is a great island to visit for backpackers. Mixed in between the luxury resorts are a few hostels that cater to the backpacker crowd. There are so many activities in the area, from diving to partying, that appeal to the backpacker crowd, that it won't be long before you find your people.

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

Cozumel
Cancun

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

While Cancun offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The buses are an efficient way to get around. They stop along Boulevard Kukulcán and throughout the downtown.

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 Cancun a more walkable city?

Cozumel
Cancun

Cozumel and Cancun are very good 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.

Cancun is a very walkable island. The Hotel Zone is where most tourists spend their time, and this area is very walkable.


For even more information, also check out Is Cozumel Worth Visiting? and Is Cancun Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Cancun or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or Cancun?

Both Cozumel and Cancun have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Cancun has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Cancun than Cozumel. In general, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Cozumel, and 4-7 days is enough time in Cancun.

Families should spend more time in Cancun than Cozumel. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cancun, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cancun 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 Cancun.


  • How many days in Cozumel or Cancun? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cozumel 3-7 
    Cancun 4-7

One day in Cozumel or Cancun?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Cozumel. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Cancun, you'll find shopping and museums. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. 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 Cancun?

Cozumel is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

In Cancun, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people come for the beaches. 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 Cancun?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cozumel. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Most people come for the beaches. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Cancun 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 Cancun has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Cozumel or Cancun?

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the colorful destination of Cozumel. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cancun. In Cancun, you'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling. It's also a relaxing resort destination. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.


Which place is cheaper, Cancun or Cozumel?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cozumel is $115, while the average daily cost in Cancun is $144. 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 Cancun in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cozumel $68
    Cancun $95
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cozumel $136
    Cancun $190
Compare Hotels in Cozumel and Cancun

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or Cancun? 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 Cancun


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 Cancun Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    Cancun $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cozumel

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

  • Wild Jade Cavern Private ATV Tour With Transfer: $86
  • Private Transfer from Cozumel hotels to Cozumel Cruise Port: $44
  • Private Transfer from Cozumel Airport: $110
  • Private Transfer between Cozumel Airport or Ferry, and Hotels: $40
  • Private One Way Transfer in Cozumel Airport To/From Cozumel: $30
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel -Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) Cozumel - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $88
  • Cuban Cigar Master Class & Beach Break® with transfer: $153
  • Shared Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Cozumel to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM)Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Private Airport Transfer: $150

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cancun

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cancun:


  • Taxi Around Town
    $1.64
  • Airport Shuttle (for 2)
    $14
  • Ferry to Isla de Mujeres (for 2)
    $16
  • Local Bus (for 2)
    $1.99

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cancun

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

  • Cancun Airport to Tulum Roundtrip Private Transfer: $290
  • Limo Transfer Airport Cancun - Puerto Morelos Hotel Zone: $279
  • Transfers in Lincoln Strecth Limousine with Wi Fi on board: $261
  • Round trip private transfer VAN-Airport-Hotel-Airport-Puerto Morelos: $260
  • Round trip private transfer VAN-Airport-Hotel-Airport-Playa del Carmen: $260
  • Cancun Airport Private Transfer to Tulum (Round Trip): $250
  • Roundtrip Transfer Service to Costa Mujeres and Playa Mujeres: $248
  • Round trip Private airport transfer to Playa del Carmen Flat Rate per vehicle: $240
  • Full-Day Tour to Xcaret Plus with Transfer from Playa del Carmen and Lunch: $238
  • Airport Transfers to Costa Mujeres - Private van (ROUND TRIP) FLAT RATE: $231
  • Private Transfer from Cancún Airport (CUN) to Tulum : $225
  • Private One Way Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum: $220

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or Cancun?

Prices for flights to both Cancun 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 $23
    Cancun $28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cozumel

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

  • Mexican Cooking Class Guacamole Pico De Gallo and Margaritas Ready for Fiesta: $29
  • Authentic Mayan Cooking Class in Cozumel: $61
  • Private Mexican Trompitos Cooking Class in Cozumel: $78
  • Cozumel Food Tour: $90
  • Cozumel Food Tour: $110
  • Cozumel Cooking Class: $115

Typical Food Prices in Cancun

For Cancun, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch for Two
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cancun

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

  • Captain Hook: Pirate Show and Dinner Cruise in Cancun: $46
  • Mayan Chichen Itza And Pirate Dinner Two Day Experience: $57
  • The Ultimate Cancun Taco & Street Mexican Food Tour: $59
  • Dinner Show with Pirates! (2x1 Price): $62
  • (2x1 price)Pirate Adventure! Open Bar, Dinner and Show : $63
  • (2x1 price) Pirate Night! Dinner, Fun and Show: $63
  • (2x1 price) Dinner Show and Pirates Experience : $63
  • Pirate Show and Dinner (2x1 price)! Best Promo : $64
  • Dinner Show on a Pirate Ship from Cancun with Open Bar: $65
  • Cancun Authentic Downtown Food Tour: Tacos and Local Flavors: $65
  • Private Ultimate Cancun Taco and Street Mexican Food Tour: $69
  • Guided Cancun Local Mexican Food Tour: $69

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $43
    Cancun $34

Tours and Activities in Cozumel

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

  • Cheapest Private Shuttle Cruise Terminals 2 any point in Cozumel: $269
  • Island Tour With Private Driver : $54
  • Private Cozumel Jeep Tour & Jade Caverns Cenote: All-Inclusive: $85
  • Romantic tour in Cozumel: $114
  • 1 Hour and Half Private Tropical Fitness Experience in Cozumel: $6.00
  • 15-minute Private Parasailing Experience in Cozumel: $69
  • 2 Hour Diving Experience in San Miguel de Cozumel: $88
  • 2 Hours ATV Jungle, Caverns and Mayan Ruins Tour: $85
  • 3 Hour Mermaid Experience with Buffet Lunch and Drinks: $45
  • 4 Hours Experience in La Chula Catamarán : $62
  • 4-Hour Jeep and ATV Tour with Snorkel in Cozumel with Lunch: $99
  • 4-Hour Private Tour in Cozumel with Pickup: $70

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cancun

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cancun's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Seasick Pills
    $0.59
  • Whale Shark Tour (for 2)
    $99

Tours and Activities in Cancun

For Cancun, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 Hours Speed Boat Tour and Snorkeling in Nichupte Lagoon: $39
  • ATV Jungle Adventure with Ziplines, Cenote Transportation Included: $15
  • Bacalar tour + Lunch + Boat, from Cancun and Riviera Maya: $139
  • Cancun Private Street Art Tour: $65
  • Catamaran Cruise in Riviera Maya With Snorkeling & Beach Club: $85
  • Coco Bongo Music And Show Ticket: $105
  • Full Day All Inclusive Catamaran Tour to Isla Mujeres : $99
  • Full Day Chichen-Itza, Cenote and Valladolid Complete Tour: $44
  • Holbox Island Magic Tour from Cancun : $144
  • LDS Tour to Chichen Itza + Cenote : $165
  • Party Adventure at Isla Mujeres from Cancun & Playa del Carmen: $100
  • Private Tour to Tulum Ruins and Cenotes : $257

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    Cancun $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Cozumel

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Cozumel:

  • Chocolate Seaside Workshop & Wine Tasting: $49
  • Cozumel 5-Hour Private Bar Crawl Tour: $110

Sample the Local Flavors in Cancun

Also in Cancun, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Social Pub Crawl in Cancun: $37
  • Brewery Tour / Craft Beer Tasting Cancun Mexico: $129


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cozumel and Cancun, we can see that Cancun 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 Cancun would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cancun 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 Cancun Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cozumel or Cancun?

Cancun has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Cozumel. When comparing the sizes of Cozumel and Cancun, 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.