A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Cozumel vs. Mazatlan for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Cozumel or Mazatlan?

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 Mazatlan 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.

Mazatlan

Mazatlan is a historical, cultural, and authentic city. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Cozumel and Mazatlan: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • 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
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling


Is there more to do in Cozumel or Mazatlan?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Cozumel than Mazatlan. While Mazatlan is larger than Cozumel, Cozumel has more sights and attractions for tourists. Cozumel is very popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Mazatlan attracts visitors for its museums, food, and historical sights. Cozumel is more touristy than Mazatlan and is popular for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. It is also well known for Palancar Reef. Mazatlan is famous for its historic center, authenticity, and surfing areas.

How is Cozumel different from Mazatlan?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Mazatlan 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 Mazatlan specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There are colonial buildings around the Centro Historico. You should also check out the Historic Cathedral and the Angela Peralta Theater.

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 Mazatlan? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Mazatlan 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 Mazatlan. Stewed meats and shrimp are a big part of the cuisine here. Many recipes have a little bit of spice. The restaurants around town are authentic and local, making for a great dining experience.

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 Mazatlan Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is well known for nightlife and partying. Also, Mazatlan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

Cozumel is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Mazatlan has a few options to choose from. There are plenty of bars and clubs around town, particularly along the beach. Like anywhere else, remember to stay cautious late at night around town. This is considered to be one of the less safe parts of Mexico.

Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is well known for its resorts. However, Mazatlan is not a resort destination.

Cozumel is known as a popular and fun resort destination. 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.

Mazatlan is not a resort destination.


Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is a world-class destination for its diving and snorkeling. Also, Mazatlan 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.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Mazatlan. Most of the diving takes place around the Pajaros, Venados and Lobos islands. This is where you'll see the most tropical fish.

Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is a world-class destination for the beache. Also, Mazatlan is still popular, but not quite as popular for the beach.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Cozumel. 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.

Mazatlan is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are many stretches of beach around town. Most notable is the 13 miles that run along Malecon where there's a boardwalk. Surfing is also popular in the area.

Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for its Old Town?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Mazatlan 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 Mazatlan. It's a historic port city with a charming colonial old town.

Cozumel does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or Mazatlan?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is well known for its shopping opportunities. Also, Mazatlan 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.

Mazatlan has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are local shops, big box stores, and souvenir vendors where you can pick up anything you may need or items to commemorate your trip.

Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Families?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Mazatlan is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

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.

Mazatlan offers lots of family activities. Kids will enjoy the all-inclusive resorts and the waterfront setting. There are also many cultural opportunities such as markets, history, and shows. The food is very kid-friendly as well.

Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Couples?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel is well known for its romantic activities. Also, Mazatlan is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Couples visit Cozumel frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Beaches, resorts, and adventure sports make this the perfect couples destination. There are also great restaurants and plenty of interesting places to explore.

Mazatlan is a good island for couples to visit. The resorts are romantic and the beaches are stunning. If you're looking for an idyllic escape that also has culture, authenticity, and great food, then this is your spot.


Is Cozumel or Mazatlan Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

For backpackers, both Cozumel and Mazatlan are great 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.

Mazatlan is a great island to visit for backpackers. The laid back atmosphere makes this a great stopover for backpackers who want to experience the Mexican culture. Stick to the touristy areas if possible.

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

Cozumel
Mazatlan

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

While Mazatlan offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are city buses around town.

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 Mazatlan a more walkable city?

Cozumel
Mazatlan

Cozumel and Mazatlan are great 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.

Mazatlan is a very walkable island. The city is relatively walkable.


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

Should I spend more time in Mazatlan or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or Mazatlan?

In either Cozumel or Mazatlan, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Cozumel than Mazatlan because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Cozumel, and 3-5 days is enough time in Mazatlan.

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

Couples should spend more time in Cozumel than Mazatlan. 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.


  • How many days in Cozumel or Mazatlan? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cozumel 3-7 
    Mazatlan 3-5

One day in Cozumel or Mazatlan?

The island of Cozumel offers museums and nightlife. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Mazatlan, you'll find shopping and museums. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. 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 Mazatlan?

Cozumel is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

In Mazatlan, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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 Mazatlan?

Cozumel is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Cozumel, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Mazatlan is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Mazatlan has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Cozumel or Mazatlan?

Cozumel is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Cozumel has to offer. This island offers something for everyone.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Mazatlan. Many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting Mazatlan. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


Which place is cheaper, Mazatlan 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 Mazatlan is $77. 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 Mazatlan in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cozumel $68
    Mazatlan $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cozumel $136
    Mazatlan $64
Compare Hotels in Cozumel and Mazatlan

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or Mazatlan? 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 Mazatlan


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 Mazatlan Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    Mazatlan $20

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 (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $88
  • Cozumel Airport or Ferry/Cruise Port Transfer to/from Cozumel: $56
  • Cozumel Airport to Cozumel Port Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel Island Hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $88
  • 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 Port to Cozumel Airport CZM Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Private Airport Transfer: $150

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Mazatlan

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Mazatlan:

  • Mazatlan Intl Airport (MZT): Private Transfer to Mazatlan: $298
  • Private roundtrip airport to hotel transfer in Mazatlan: $261
  • Mazatlan Cruise Port: Private Transfer to Mazatlan hotels: $238
  • Private Airport-Hotel Transfer: $119
  • Mazatlan Airport (MZT) to Mazatlan Round-Trip Private Transfer: $118
  • Mazatlan Airport (MZT) to Mazatlan Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $77
  • Mazatlan to Mazatlan International Airport (MZT) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Mazatlan International Airport(MZT) to Mazatlan hotels -Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Round transfer airport to hotel in Mazatlán: $49
  • Mazatlan Cruise Port to Mazatlan Airport(MZT)- Departure Transfer: $39
  • Mazatlan Cruise Port to Mazatlan Hotels- Arrival Private Transfer: $39
  • Mazatlan City to Mazatlan Cruise Port Departure Private Transfer: $39

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or Mazatlan?

Prices for flights to both Mazatlan 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
    Mazatlan $33

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Mazatlan

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

  • Mercado walking food tour: $78
  • Mazatlan routes of taste food tour: $84
  • Authentic Mexican Cooking Class in Mazatlan: $84
  • Tacos, Beer and Mezcal Food Tour in Mazatlan: $96

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $43
    Mazatlan $9.34

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: $6.00
  • Cozumel!! Guacamole And Margarita Fiesta!!! ( Virtual Experience): $12
  • Tequila History Tour and Beach Break : $13
  • Skip the Line: Admission Ticket to El Cedral Town and Mayan Temple: $16
  • Buccanos Beach Full-Day Snorkeling Adventure: $25
  • Cozumel El Cielo 3x1 Reefs Tour: $29
  • Clear Boat & Snorkel Cozumel Tour with Drinks: $37
  • Private 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 Mazatlan

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

  • Barrio Bites tour: $78
  • Beach Activities and All Inclusive Tour: $52
  • Beach Day Tour with Horseback Ride Water Sports and City Tour: $79
  • Bird Watching Mazatlán - Birding Tour: $115
  • Deer Island Kayak tour: $70
  • From Zipline & ATV Adventure with Tequila Tasting: $211
  • Full Day Private Shore Tour in Mazatlan from Mazatlan Cruise Port: $220
  • Half-Day Tour to Tequila Factory and Villages from Mazatlan: $75
  • Half-Day Ziplining Experience from Mazatlán: $110
  • Jungle and beach ATV tour + lunch + tequila tasting: $120
  • Mazatlán city tour: $55
  • Mazatlán: Beach & Jungle ATV Tour w/ Lunch & Tequila Tasting: $127

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    Mazatlan $18

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


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cozumel and Mazatlan, we can see that Cozumel is more expensive. And not only is Mazatlan much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Mazatlan would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Mazatlan 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 Cozumel would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cozumel than you might in Mazatlan.

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


Which is Bigger, Cozumel or Mazatlan?

Mazatlan has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Cozumel. When comparing the sizes of Cozumel and Mazatlan, 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.