A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Cozumel vs. Maui for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Cozumel or Maui?

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

Cozumel

Cozumel is a lively, vibrant, and active island. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Maui

Maui is a stunning, idyllic, and adventure-filled island. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include shopping, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Cozumel and Maui: 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
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Haleakala National Park
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Cozumel or Maui?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Maui. Although Cozumel and Maui are popular destinations, Maui has more sights and attractions for tourists. Maui is very popular for its hiking and impressive beauty, while Cozumel attracts visitors for its museums, food, nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, and shopping. Cozumel is famous for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. Maui is famous for its beach-filled coastline, world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, dramatic landscapes, and paradise environment. It is also well known for Haleakala National Park.

How is Cozumel different from Maui?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a popular place for its museums and landmarks. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its historical sights.

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.

While most people don't head to Maui specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Most people prefer not to spend their time inside or at a museum, but for a rainy day you can check out the Maui Ocean Center.


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

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a popular place for its restaurant scene. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its local flavors and cuisine.

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.

Maui may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Like the other Hawaiian islands, food is expensive and of varying quality here, but the food scene continues to grow and improve. There are eclectic food trucks where you can try local flavors. There's also plenty of fresh tropical produce like mangos, avocadoes, and coconuts. Seafood is common on many menus as well.

Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a great destination for nightlife and partying. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its evening party scene.

The people in Cozumel know how to have a good time. 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.

The nightlife scene is quiet in Maui The island is not known for its nightlife, but the limited activities that do exist you'll find in Kaanapali and Lahaina.

Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
Maui

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Cozumel and Maui.

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.

Maui is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. There are a number of nice resorts, but there are also VRBOs, condos, and local hotels where you can stay. High-end luxury resorts on the island include The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua and Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. There are also more reasonable priced resorts without all of the glitz and glam.


Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a must-visit destination for its diving and snorkeling. Also, Maui is still popular, but not quite as popular for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The clear water and abundant marine life make Cozumel a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling destination. 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 is a nice variety of marine life that makes scuba diving and snorkeling great in Maui. The island has excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. You can really find it anywhere on the island, but some places are more crowded than others. Some of the best beaches for snorkeling include Honolua Bay, Slaughterhouse (Mokuleia Bay), DT Fleming Beach, and Kapalua Bay.

Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel and Maui are world-class 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 Maui are among the best in the world. The island has stunning beaches and more miles of swimmable beach than any of the other Hawaiian islands. One of the best swimming beaches is Kapalua Beach, but other favorite beaches include Makena Beach State Park, Ka'anapali Beach, Baldwin Beach Park, and Wai'anapanapa State Park.

Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Hiking?

Cozumel
Maui

Maui is a must-visit destination for hiking. However, Cozumel is not a hiking destination.

Many people visit Maui specifically for its hiking. There are many diverse hikes on the island that pass through different landscapes and ecosystems. Hikes range from easy to challenging and are of varying length. Some of the favorites include 'Iao Valley State Park, Haleakala's Sliding Sands Trail (in Haleakala National Park), and The Pipiwai Trail.

Cozumel is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or Maui?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a great destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Maui is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Cozumel is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Maui has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are many shopping centers where you'll find souvenirs, Hawaiian clothing, and even handmade crafts. If you forgot something from home, you'll also find many of the major chains that are common on the mainland.

Is Cozumel or Maui Better for Families?

Cozumel
Maui

Maui 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.

Maui is one of the most popular family destinations. It is one of the best of the Hawaiian islands to explore with kids. There's plenty of snorkeling, outdoor adventure sports, and hiking that are great for kids of all ages. There are some kid-friendly beaches where kids can play in the water. There's also the Maui Ocean Center, Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm, and 'Iao Valley State Park.

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 Maui Better for Couples?

Cozumel
Maui

Maui 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, Maui has plenty to offer. Couples will enjoy the outdoor sports, excellent snorkeling and diving, and beautiful waterfalls that make for a romantic getaway. There are world-class resorts and breathtaking scenery that attract honeymooning couples from around the globe.

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 Maui Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a great destination for backpackers. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Cozumel is a great island to visit for backpackers. There are a few hostels in town and it's a safe and easy place to explore independently.

Maui is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Like most of the Hawaiian Islands, everything is expensive here and even though there are a couple of hostels, you can still expect to pay high prices for them. Public transportation is also limited so you'll really need to rent a car if you hope to explore the island in depth.

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

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel and Maui both offer reasonable public transit to get you around.

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

Public transit is generally limited in Maui. The island does have a bus system with 14 routes, but most visitors prefer to have their own transportation to get around.

Is Cozumel or Maui a more walkable city?

Cozumel
Maui

Cozumel is a great destination for its high level of walkability. However, Maui is a island with minimal options for its ease of walking around.

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

Maui is not a very walkable island. The island is large enough that you'll want to have access to a car if you hope to explore it in its entirety.


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

Should I spend more time in Maui or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or Maui?

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cozumel than Maui 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 Cozumel.


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

One day in Cozumel or Maui?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Cozumel. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Maui, you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This island 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 Maui?

Cozumel is a fun place to experience. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Maui, you'll find shopping and scuba diving and snorkeling. 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. 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 Maui?

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the lively destination of Cozumel. This island offers something for everyone. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

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


A week in Cozumel or Maui?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the active island of Cozumel. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Many people spend one week here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Maui. In Maui, you'll find shopping and scuba diving and snorkeling. 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 2-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Maui or Cozumel?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cozumel is $117, while the average daily cost in Maui is $275. 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 Maui in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cozumel $70
    Maui $141
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cozumel $140
    Maui $282
Compare Hotels in Cozumel and Maui

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or Maui? 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 Maui


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 Maui Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    Maui $62

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 Cruise Port to Cozumel hotels Arrival Private Transfer: $46
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel island hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Island Transfers: $70
  • Cozumel Island hotels to Cozumel Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Private Airport Transfer: $150
  • 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: $88
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel -Arrival Private Transfer: $44

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Maui

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Maui:

  • Private Customizable Road to Hana Tour with Transfer: $500
  • Private Customizable Island Tour with Transfer: $500
  • Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) to Maui - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $172
  • Private transfer: Kahului Airport (OGG) to Kahului: $100
  • Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) to Maui hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $86
  • Maui hotel or address to Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) - Departure Private Transfer: $86
  • Maui to Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) - Departure Private Transfer: $86
  • Private Transfer from Lahaina Cruise Port to Kahului Airport(OGG): $81
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Maui Kahului Airport OGG: $31

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or Maui?

Prices for flights to both Maui 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
    Maui $94

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
  • Private Mexican Trompitos Cooking Class in Cozumel: $78
  • Cozumel Food Tour: $90
  • Cozumel Food Tour: $110
  • Cozumel Cooking Class: $115

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Maui

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Maui.

  • From Ma'alaea Harbor: Sunset Dinner Cruise Aboard the Quicksilver: $120
  • From Ma'alaea Harbor: Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise Aboard Calypso: $130
  • Ma'alaea Harbor: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise : $140
  • Farm to Taco: A Farm to Table Cooking Class: $149
  • Premium Sunset Dinner Cruise from Ka’anapali Beach: $154
  • South Gilligans' Island Luau with Dinner and Drinks: $166
  • Mystery Puzzle Food Tour in Lahaina for 2 People: $170
  • Haleakala's Best Sunset Tour with Dinner: $179
  • Maui Sunset Luau Dinner Cruise from Ma'alaea Harbor aboard Pride of Maui: $185

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $44
    Maui $38

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: $6.20
  • 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 & Snorkel Cozumel Tour with Drinks: $37
  • Amazing Cozumel Buggy Adventure with Snorkeling Tequila and More: $39
  • Cozumel Beach Horseback Riding Tour: $40
  • Guided Day Tour in Cozumel on a Clear Boat and Electric Scooter: $41
  • Crystal Boat Tour with Snorkeling and Drinks in Cozumel: $42
  • VIP Glass Bottom Boat & Snorkeling 3 Reefs Tour: $42
  • Cozumel History Walking Tour: $46

Tours and Activities in Maui

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

  • Kayak Whale Watching Tour (7am-10am): $125
  • Private Upcountry Farm Tour on Maui : $300
  • 1- Day Majestic Maui Scooter Tour With Waterfalls and Sea Cliffs: $145
  • 2 Hours 30 Minutes Whale Watch and/or Scenic Tour: $150
  • 2hr Koa Kai Sunset Whale Watch Adventure: $104
  • 4 Dual-Zipline Mountain Adventure ~ Maui: $200
  • 4-Hour Molokini Crater plus Turtle Town Snorkeling Experience: $180
  • 7-Line Maui Zipline Tour on the North Shore: $149
  • 8 Line Ka'anapali Zipline Adventure on Maui: $215
  • 9am Haleakala Guided Downhill Tour : $149
  • Activity Tour in Hidden Mango and Coconut Orchard at Lahaina USA: $85
  • Afternoon Adventure Snorkel from Ka'anapali: $169

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    Maui $41

Sample the Local Flavors in Cozumel

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Cozumel:

  • Chocolate Seaside Workshop & Wine Tasting: $50
  • Cozumel 5-Hour Private Bar Crawl Tour: $110

Sample the Local Flavors in Maui

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

  • Maui Farm Distillery and local craft experience Full-Day Tour: $224
  • Goat Farm, Distillery, & Glass-Blowing Tour w/ Tasting: $224


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