A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Cozumel vs. San Francisco for Attractions, Food, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Cozumel or San Francisco?

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 San Francisco can help you decide which place is right for you.

Cozumel

Cozumel is a active, colorful, and scenic island. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a scenic, beautiful, and outdoorsy coastal city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include theater, nightlife, and live music.

Cozumel and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge


Is there more to do in Cozumel or San Francisco?

You'll generally find more things to do in San Francisco than Cozumel. San Francisco is bigger than Cozumel, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. San Francisco is better known for its museums, theatre productions, food, music, hiking, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Cozumel is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches. Cozumel is well known for its beautiful beaches and world class dive sites. San Francisco is well known for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. Also, San Francisco is famous for The Golden Gate Bridge.

How is Cozumel different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its historical sights. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its sights and museums.

Travelers visit San Francisco from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city's landmarks are as diverse as the people who live there. The most recognizable landmark is the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors also enjoy seeing Alcatraz Island, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the small but fascinating Cable Car 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 Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Theater?

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is very good for theatre. However, Cozumel is not a theatre destination.

If you have some extra time in San Francisco, take in a show. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Cozumel is not a theatre destination.

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

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its local cuisine and restaurants.

San Francisco has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. There are local dives as well as five star restaurants, with everything in between. Popular local dining experiences include sourdough bread bowls and Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, and dim sum in Chinatown. Head away from the touristy neighborhoods if you want to sample some of the more local restaurants around town.

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 San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Cozumel is a great island for its evening party scene. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for nightlife.

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.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in San Francisco. It has a great nightlife with many local bars and trendy clubs. For the best nightlife away from the tourists, head to Valencia Street or Polk Street. If you want to be in a more touristy area, check out Union Square. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.


Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Music?

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is very good for live music. However, Cozumel is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in San Francisco. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Cozumel is not a live music destination.

Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Resorts?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Cozumel is a great island for its luxury resorts. However, San Francisco is not a resort destination.

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.

San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Cozumel is an amazing island to visit for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, San Francisco is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

People travel to Cozumel specifically to enjoy its famous scuba diving and snorkeling areas. 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.

San Francisco is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Beaches?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Cozumel is an amazing island to visit for the beach. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its beaches.

The beaches in Cozumel are among the best in the world. 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 at San Francisco attract visitors from all over. Whether you're interested in surfing or simply taking in the dramatic views, the beaches of San Francisco will take your breath away. Some of the best beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach.

Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Cozumel
San Francisco

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

Many people visit San Francisco specifically for its hiking. The city's hikes take in the dramatic views of the bay and city. Just outside of town there are also countless hikes through the Redwoods and along the coastline. Popular hikes in the area include Lands End, Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore, and Muir Woods.

Cozumel is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cozumel or San Francisco?

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for shopping. Also, Cozumel is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its shopping opportunities.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in San Francisco. The city has excellent shopping from local vendors to recognizable brands. Union Square, Embarcadero, Fillmore Street and Haight Street are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping.

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.


Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Families?

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco 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.

San Francisco is one of the most popular family destinations. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination. There are also many amazing playgrounds with stunning views of the bay and city. Head to Chinatown for some unique and kid-friendly food, or down to Pier 39 for fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

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 San Francisco Better for Couples?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Both Cozumel and San Francisco are excellent 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.

San Francisco is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples enjoy the romantic backdrop of this beautiful city. There are world-class restaurants and plenty of spas that couples can enjoy during a honeymoon or romantic getaway. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.

Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cozumel
San Francisco

For backpackers, both Cozumel and San Francisco are excellent 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.

San Francisco is a great island to visit for backpackers. The city is one of the more backpacker friendly cities in the United States. There are a handful of hostels throughout, many concentrated in the popular Union Square and Downtown neighborhoods of the city.


Is Cozumel or San Francisco Better for Students?

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is a great coastal city for its student-friendly activities. However, Cozumel is not popular with students.

San Francisco is very popular with students. As a large and dynamic city, the area is popular with international students who want to experience this unique side of the United States. Major universities in the area include University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and nearby, the University of California, Berkeley.

Cozumel is not popular with students.

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

Cozumel
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Cozumel is not known for its public transit.

San Francisco has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

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 San Francisco a more walkable city?

Cozumel
San Francisco

Cozumel and San Francisco are excellent 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.

San Francisco is a very walkable island. It is compact enough to explore on foot, but given the large hills, it's a bit of a challenge, even for the most fit among us.


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

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Cozumel?

How long in Cozumel or San Francisco?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco 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 San Francisco.


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

One day in Cozumel or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the lively destination of Cozumel. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This coastal 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 San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cozumel. Most people come for the beaches. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. 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 San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the scenic destination of Cozumel. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

San Francisco 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 San Francisco has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Cozumel or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the island of Cozumel. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Francisco. Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. 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 Contiki Tours to United States of America, and The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, San Francisco 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 San Francisco is $222. 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 San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cozumel $70
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cozumel $140
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Cozumel and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Cozumel or San Francisco? 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 San Francisco


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 San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cozumel $23
    San Francisco $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cozumel

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

  • Cuban Cigar Master Class & Beach Break® with transfer: $153
  • Private Transfer from Cozumel Airport: $110
  • ATV Adventure to Jade Cavern with transfer: $93
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) Cozumel - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $87
  • Cozumel Cruise Port to Cozumel Island Hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $87
  • Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $87
  • Wild Jade Cavern Private ATV Tour With Transfer: $86
  • Cozumel Island Transfers: $70
  • Cozumel Island hotels to Cozumel Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Cozumel to Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM)Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Mexico Cozumel Airport (CZM) to Cozumel -Arrival Private Transfer: $44

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

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

  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to Cruise Terminal: $565
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $535
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to/from Sacramento: $414
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $400
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to San Francisco: $348
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Calistoga Resorts Round-Trip Transfer: $295
  • Private Airport Transfer From SFO to Sonoma (One-way): $280
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from SFO to East Bay (one way): $262
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $245
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport in a SUV: $203
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183

Is it cheaper to fly into Cozumel or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco 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
    San Francisco $46

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 San Francisco

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

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Bay: $82
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $84
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $90

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cozumel $44
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Cozumel

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

  • Private Cozumel Jeep Tour & Jade Caverns Cenote: All-Inclusive: $85
  • 1 Hour and Half Private Tropical Fitness Experience in Cozumel: $6.23
  • 15-minute Private Parasailing Experience in Cozumel: $72
  • 2 Hour Discover Mermaid Experience : $20
  • 2 Hour Diving Experience in San Miguel de Cozumel: $88
  • 2 Hours ATV Jungle, Caverns and Mayan Ruins Tour: $85
  • 4 Hours Experience in La Chula Catamarán : $81
  • A Pirate's Adventure in Cozumel with Captain Draco : $80
  • A snorkeling adventure in a glass-bottom boat at Cozumel's reef.: $70
  • ATV Adventure to Mayan Jade Cavern plus Snorkeling and Lunch: $79
  • ATV Off Road Adventure to Jade Cavern Tequila and Beach : $75
  • ATV Seashore Combo: Adventure to Mezcalitos plus Optional Snorkeling at Playa Uvas: $70

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $73
  • 2 or 3 Hour Private Group San Francisco City Tour Open-air Jeep: $169
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (Unlimited Pass): $73
  • 2-Hour Double Decker City Tour of San Francisco: $73
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop GoCar Tour: $172
  • 3-Hour Private Group San Francisco Open Top Jeep Tour: $249
  • 3-Hour Private Muir Giant Redwoods Trees and Sausalito Tour: $203
  • 3HR Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park GoCar Tour: $228
  • 8 Course Nano-Brewed Liqueur Experience by an SF Native: $100
  • 90 minute Sunset Tour aboard Wine Therapy: $95
  • A Sip and Paint Experience in San Francisco: $89
  • Airplane San Francisco Sunset Flight Tour: $289

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cozumel $11
    San Francisco $22

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 San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Small Group: The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150
  • Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $159


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


Which is Bigger, Cozumel or San Francisco?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Cozumel. When comparing the sizes of Cozumel and San Francisco, 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.