A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico Cozumel vs. Puerto Vallarta for Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Beaches, and Food

Should you visit Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

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 Puerto Vallarta can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cozumel

Cozumel is a vibrant, active, and colorful island. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and shopping.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a laid-back, cultural, and coastal town. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta: 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
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Cozumel than Puerto Vallarta. While Puerto Vallarta is larger than Cozumel, Cozumel has more sights and attractions for tourists. Cozumel is better known for its scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and impressive beauty, while Puerto Vallarta is more popular for its food and resorts. Cozumel is more touristy than Puerto Vallarta and is popular for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. Also, Cozumel is famous for Palancar Reef. Puerto Vallarta is well known for its natural beauty and vibrant nightlife.

How is Cozumel different from Puerto Vallarta?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Spend time exploring the notable sights and museums in either Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta.

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.

Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a number of historical sights around town like Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.


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

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a great town 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 Puerto Vallarta. The charming character combined with the authentic local cuisine makes for a wonderful culinary experience. There's everything from taco stands to romantic restaurants that you can try.

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 Puerto Vallarta Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find very good options in both Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta.

The nightlife in Cozumel has something for everybody. 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.

Puerto Vallarta offers plenty to do in the evening. You'll find a mix of active clubs, cozy bars, and cosmopolitan cafes. Head to the Romantic Zone or Los Muertos Beach for some of the best places.

Is Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta 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, Puerto Vallarta is a perfect choice. There are many different places to stay from all-inclusive resorts to high end hotels or beachfront properties.

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 Puerto Vallarta Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Cozumel is renowned for snorkeling and scuba diving. Also, Puerto Vallarta is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling.

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.

Many visitors go to Puerto Vallarta to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. Divers in the area may get to experience once in a lifetime opportunities like diving with manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks, hammerheads, or schools of jacks.

Is Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Cozumel is renowned for the beach. Also, Puerto Vallarta is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its beaches.

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.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta. There are many beaches spread out around town that have soft sand and blue water. Most have all of the amenities you could need. Popular beaches include Playa de los Muertos, Playa Mismaloya, and Playa Conchas Chinas.

Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

If you're looking to go shopping, Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta both offer plenty of very good 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.

Puerto Vallarta is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There's a mix of shopping malls, open-air markets, boutiques, and international brands.


Is Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta Better for Families?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

You'll find very good kid-friendly activities in either Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta.

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.

Puerto Vallarta is a very kid-friendly island. Kids will love the water parks and thrilling activities, such as Aquaventuras Water Park or Los Veranos Canopy Tour. There's rock climbing and ropes courses at Las Animas Aventura Park. You'll also find horseback riding and even pirate boat tours in the area.

Is Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta Better for Couples?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Both Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta are very good destinations to visit as a couple.

Cozumel is a great island if you're traveling as a couple. Beaches, resorts, and adventure sports make this the perfect couples destination. There are also great restaurants and plenty of interesting places to explore.

Puerto Vallarta is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will enjoy sunset boat trips, horseback riding, and adventure sports. There are also many restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic dinner or a refreshing drink.

Is Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

For backpackers, both Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta 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.

Puerto Vallarta is a great island to visit for backpackers. There are hostels around, as well as many adventure sports or thrilling activities that backpackers will enjoy.


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

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

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

While Puerto Vallarta offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are blue, green or orange buses that travel 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 Puerto Vallarta a more walkable city?

Cozumel
Puerto Vallarta

Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta 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.

Puerto Vallarta is a very walkable island. There are several walkable neighborhoods in town such as 5 de Diciembre, el Centro, and Zona Romantica.

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

Should I spend more time in Puerto Vallarta or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

In either Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Cozumel than Puerto Vallarta 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 Puerto Vallarta.

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


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

One day in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

The active destination of Cozumel offers food and scuba diving and snorkeling. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Puerto Vallarta, you'll find shopping and museums. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This town 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 Puerto Vallarta?

The island of Cozumel offers scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

In Puerto Vallarta, 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 Puerto Vallarta?

Cozumel is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

Puerto Vallarta 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 Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

The colorful island of Cozumel offers museums and nightlife. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. For many, it makes a great getaway for one week. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Puerto Vallarta. Many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting Puerto Vallarta. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


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, Puerto Vallarta 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 Puerto Vallarta is $114. 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 Puerto Vallarta in more detail.



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

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta? 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 Puerto Vallarta


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 Puerto Vallarta Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    Puerto Vallarta $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cozumel

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

  • Private One Way Transfer in Cozumel Airport To/From Cozumel: $29
  • Shared Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel island hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM)Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Airport to Cozumel Port Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel hotels Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Island hotels to Cozumel Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel -Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel Island Transfers: $70
  • Wild Jade Cavern Private ATV Tour With Transfer: $86

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Vallarta

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Vallarta:

  • Private Transfer from Sayulita to Guadalajara: $243
  • Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR): Transfer to Puerto Vallarta: $211
  • Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR) to Sayulita hotels - Private Roundtrip Transfer: $192
  • Mexico Private Transfer from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) Airport to Punta de Mita: $163
  • Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR) to Puerto Vallarta - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $153
  • Airport Transfer Puerto Vallarta : $135
  • Private transfer round trip Puerto Vallarta Airport To Hotel In Luxury Vehicle: $129
  • Private transfer round trip Vallarta Airport to your hotel in a luxury vehicle: $129
  • Private Transfer from PVR to Puerto Vallarta / Punta de Mita / Sayulita: $129
  • Puerto Vallarta Airp.(PVR): Transfer to Puerto Vallarta Port: $119
  • Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port: Transfer to Puerto Vallarta: $119
  • Sayulita hotels to Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR) – Private Departure Transfer : $97

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Vallarta 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
    Puerto Vallarta $37

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 Cooking Class: $115

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Puerto Vallarta

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

  • Off The Beaten Path Food Tour, Breakfast in Pitillal: $55
  • Dinner Tacos Food Tour: $55
  • Puerto Vallarta 3-Hour Food Tour of Authentic Local Cuisine: $55
  • Off The Beaten Path Food Tour. Dinner in Pitillal : $55
  • Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour with Vallarta Food Tours: $55
  • Taco Adventure Evening Food Tour with Vallarta Food Tours: $55
  • Puerta Vallarta: Seafood Lover's Food Tour: $56
  • Seafood Lover's Tour with Vallarta Food Tours : $59
  • Vallarta by Road Food Tour: $75
  • Mexican Cooking Class, Tequila Tasting & Unlimited Margaritas: $81
  • Bucerias Bike and Food Tour: $90
  • Sayulita Tacos and Tequila Food Tour : $99

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $44
    Puerto Vallarta $19

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: $6.23
  • 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
  • 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

Tours and Activities in Puerto Vallarta

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Puerto Vallarta are as follows:

  • 3-hr ATV Mountian Exclusive Tour to Sierra Madre: $65
  • Zip Line Adventure in the heights in Puerto Vallarta 10 zip lines: $69
  • 2 Hour and 30 Minutes Walking Tour in 5 De Diciembre: $47
  • 2 Hours Catamaran Sunset Tour: $99
  • 3-Hour Exclusive Guided RZR Adventure Sierra Madre Mountains Tour: $125
  • 360 Puerto Vallarta City Tour with Lunch: $65
  • 4 Hour Surf Experience in Corral Del Risco: $75
  • 8 hour All Inclusive Tour in Catamaran Arcos Animas Quimixto: $80
  • 8 hour All Inclusive Tour in Catamaran Arcos Animas Quimixto: $85
  • ATV Adventure in Puerto Vallarta (Single): $105
  • ATV Adventure in Vallarta (Shared) : $125
  • ATV Adventure in the Jungle Single in Puerto Vallarta: $108

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    Puerto Vallarta $24

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 Puerto Vallarta

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Puerto Vallarta:

  • All you can drink Bar Crawl: $99
  • Tequila Tasting and Tour at Puerto Vallarta Distillery: $112
  • Mountains Route, visiting a traditional distillery: $270


When comparing the travel costs between Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta, we can see that Cozumel is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Cozumel. When comparing the sizes of Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta, 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.