If you're heading to Cozumel, Mexico you're going to need a way to get around.
Using taxis can get expensive in Cozumel, so I highly recommend getting your own form of transport to explore at your own pace.
After basing ourselves in Tulum, we decided to take 4 days to explore the nearby island of Cozumel.
Getting around Cozumel
As Mexico's third-largest island and one of the Yucatan Penisula's most visited destinations, it's no surprise there's a lot to explore in Cozumel.
Perhaps more surprising is the lack of development in Cozumel, which is what makes Cozumel special.
No matter what your plans here, when arrive you'll need some form of transport.
Cozumel has a variety of transportation options including:
We rented both a scooter and jeep during our time in Cozumel.
If you're thinking of renting a scooter or jeep in Cozumel - this guide is for you.
Renting a scooter in Cozumel
Renting a scooter on Cozumel is one of the best ways to explore the tropical island.
The 30-mile (48-km) long island is mostly undeveloped providing sweeping coastal views, quiet roads, and plenty of unexplored beaches.
While it's possible to drive around the island in about 1.5 hours, you can easily spend an entire day getting around with stops.
How much does it cost to rent a scooter in Cozumel?
When you arrive in Cozumel you'll be immediately hounded by touts selling you tours and transport.
If you don't want to overpay, ignore them, and head into town for better deals.
Scooter rental prices vary on:
- Low/high season
- Store location
- Number of days renting
- Bartering skills
We found a small rental store a couple of blocks back from the main street where we negotiated a scooter for two days for 350 pesos per day.
Remember, starting prices are almost always significantly higher. Just be firm on a price and don't be afraid to walk away, which almost always works.
Reasons to rent a scooter in Cozumel
1. It's the most affordable way to get around
The best reason to rent a scooter in Cozumel is it's incredibly cheap.
While prices may start high you can barter prices down considerably, especially when you get further away from the ferry terminal.
We negotiated a price of 350 pesos a day (approx. $17USD).
2. Control your own schedule
So many tour operators try to cram too much into a day that you never really get to be in the moment.
Having your own transport means controlling your own schedule.
Cozumel isn't an island that should be rushed. On a scooter you can truly commit to island time.
3. Designated paths
Cozumel is basically one big loop.
There are many sections where the road divides between bike and car paths.
These paths are right next to the water making them some of the most scenic roads on the island.
4. Get a tan while you drive
Nothing beats the feeling of driving around a tropical island with the wind in your hair and sun on your skin.
You will feel alive!
5. It's fun
Whether it's your first time riding a moped or you're a seasoned pro, Cozumel is a perfect and safe island for scooters.
Safety tips for driving scooters on Cozumel
Driving in Cozumel is generally safe if you use basic precautions.
While there isn't a lot of traffic in Cozumel, the roads are fast and not always perfect, so it's key to stay alert.
Overall, driving in Cozumel is safer than on the Mexican mainland.
1. Stay right
Like in America, Mexicans drive on the right side of the road.
When driving a scooter you'll have to watch out for bigger vehicles that often overtake a little too close for comfort.
To avoid annoying local drivers, stay right and leave plenty of room for them to pass.
2. Wear a helmet
Helmets are mandatory by law for scooter drivers in Mexico and this applies to Cozumel too.
While the police on the island are generally lenient towards tourists, they will stop you (and possibly fine you) for not wearing a helmet.
3. Watch out for speedbumps
There are a number of unmarked speedbumps that can catch you off-guard.
These are more present around town, but there are also some in random places on the other side of the island too.
4. ...and potholes
Generally, Cozumel's roads are pretty good. But there are instances where you might pass big potholes or eroding road. Again, to ensure you're safe, drive sensibly and you'll be fine.
5. Pay attention to one-way roads
In San Miguel de Cozumel town there is a one-way system.
It's not always intuitive, so pay attention to signs and follow the direction the parked cars are facing.
Renting a jeep in Cozumel
Scooters are fun, but we couldn't resist the temptation of cruising around Cozumel in our very own jeep.
We negotiated a good deal with our rental shop and upgraded on our last day to explore some new areas of the island in a jeep.
How much does it cost to rent a jeep in Cozumel?
Renting a jeep is naturally more expensive than renting a car or scooter in Cozumel, however, we managed to barter to a price we were comfortable with.
We paid 1000 pesos ($50 USD) for 24 hours, which is quite a jump up from 350 pesos for the scooter, but we wanted to treat ourselves.
Jeeps usually rent for a lot more than this, so you might have to barter hard and try a few different rental shops to find a good deal.
Reasons to rent a jeep in Cozumel
1. Explore more of the island
The freedom of a jeep means almost nowhere is off-limits.
2. Get around faster
While distances took a while on a scooter, in a jeep you can really get places a lot faster meaning you can fit plenty more into your day.
3. Better for larger groups
Jeeps can actually work out more affordable if you have a group of 4 or 5 splitting the cost.
4. Safer when driving at night
You shouldn't ride scooters after dark for safety reasons, however, in a jeep you're not limited by daylight.
5. Because when else do you get to cruise an island in a jeep?
You have to admit, it's pretty cool!
Tips for driving a jeep in Cozumel
1. Jeeps are manual
You won't need to prove you can drive "a stick", but I highly recommend you know how to. Learning on the island is probably not a great idea.
2. Be mindful of scooters and cyclists
Remember to leave plenty of space when passing.
3. Be careful if you're driving off-road
There are a couple of off-road paths in Cozumel. Make sure to drive slow and sensibly on these paths - it's not the kinda place you want to get stuck. Also, your jeep will get extremely dirty on these paths.
4. Don't drive on the side paths
These are reserved for bikes. We took one to get some better views and the police stopped us and directed us back to the main road.
Cozumel is a relatively small island. No matter what form of transport you decide on, you'll be able to see everything you want to.
If you're on a tight budget, a scooter will be the best option for you.
But if you're looking for a little more adventure, a jeep is ideal.
Just remember, no matter how you're traveling, make sure to stop and take in all the beauty that is Cozumel.
No one likes to think about it, but traveling in Mexico can have risks. By covering yourself with the right travel insurance, you can enjoy the world without worries.
I recommend World Nomads as my favorite travel insurance provider.