Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, Cozumel, is hard to miss if you’re on the country’s Yucatán coast – it’s a top destination for divers and sun-worshippers, with ferries and flights ready to zip you across to its lazy palms and white sands. But the paradisiacal backdrop doesn’t have to cost the earth. The island is popular with young couples, and affordable yet on-trend hotels abound. Tighten up those purse strings with our top picks of hostels and hotels in Cozumel, Mexico, for wallet-friendly travelers – bookable on Culture Trip.
Centrally located Hostelito Cozumel is perfect for budget travelers craving a hint of boutique. Yes, it’s simple but nonetheless comfortable, clean and as colorful as Cozumel itself with kaleidoscopic murals and bright textiles. The hostel offers spacious dorms with orthopedic beds and more secluded private rooms, too. The sundeck is slung with hammocks, the kitchen fully kitted out and the centerpiece pool is the perfect spot for cooling off in the midday heat.
Basic but cheery rooms and comfortable communal areas make this well-placed hostel in Cozumel a great bet. The impressive fruit garden has a large pool – perfect for soaking up the sun surrounded by tropical plants and palms – and there’s even an outdoor barbecue to put your Mexican cooking skills to the test. The communal palapa hut has a kitchen, free tea and coffee, and cable TV. As its name suggests, Amigos is a great place to make new friends, and scuba diving and snorkeling trips can be arranged from the property – including to the island’s Great Mayan Reef and neighboring Isla Holbox for whale-shark diving in season (May to September).
This cozy homestay-style B&B in Cozumel, run by Alicia and Chuco (plus their dogs), offers five simple but spacious rooms in downtown. Ticking all the amenity boxes, it has air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a breakfast of fresh fruits, eggs, waffles, tortillas and guacamole, cooked by Chuco each morning – who also doubles as a dive pro, pointing you to the island’s best spots. A convenient location just a 1mi (1.6km) from the beach, 2mi (3.2km) from the airport and close to great restaurants confirms its broad appeal.
Expect a warm welcome from husband and wife owners, Alex and Jimena, at this homey B&B, four blocks from the oceanfront in Zona Centro. Established 20 years ago, Tamarindo was taken over by the couple in 2017 and has been a mainstay on the Cozumel hotel scene ever since – thanks to its pool, exotic gardens, yoga and massage room, and rooftop terrace crowned by a bar. Tamarindo prides itself on top-notch service and traditional Mexican breakfasts. The couple lives on-site, so they’re always on hand for questions, and grown-ups are guaranteed a quiet stay, as only children over 10 are accepted.
This budget hostel in Cozumel puts an emphasis on the basics done right. Situated in San Miguel de Cozumel, it’s spotless and popular and just off the Plaza Central with ideal transport links to the rest of the island. Also down the road is the Punta Langosta Pier, a jumping-off point for boat trips and tours, and one of Cozumel’s main ferry terminals. Within easy reach are a range of restaurants, including Amparo’s Breakfast Bistro, which serves hearty brunches until 3pm, and local-favorite El Gato Negro Cantina for live music and ice-cold beers.
With over 40 years of experience, Hotel Mary Carmen is legendary in Cozumel. Just 3mi (5km) from the airport and less than a five-minute stroll from the pier, it attracts visitors with its convenient location, next to the market and clock tower. For single guests on a tight budget, the simple rooms are just the ticket – double beds with wall-mounted TVs, USB connectors and private bathrooms with showers. Rooms extend to doubles, triples and study rooms, each with its own quirks and colorful walls, all surrounding a sanctuary-like tiled courtyard plotted with tropical plants. One of the best finds on the island.
Great for couples with children (they have bunk beds), the Safari Inn is a quiet hotel that’s very much still on the beaten track. In fact, being on Avenue Rafael Melgar, you can take in the sigh-worthy views of the shoreline and be within reach of most of the island’s attractions in minutes. Situated above the Aqua Safari Dive Shop, guests have the opportunity to hire equipment and explore the island’s coral reefs on the sea-style safaris of the hotel’s name before returning to one of the 12 rooms – all with air conditioning, some with king-size beds.
Instantly recognizable by its quirky zigzag façade, Hotel Plaza is set just off Avenue Rafael Melgar, and its proximity to the pier and the sculptural, fountain-like Coral Reefs Monument makes it an attractive choice for travelers. The standard double rooms have two beds – perfect for a group of four who like to keep costs down – and they come with flat-screen TVs with cable channels, city views, air conditioning, free toiletries and a handy wake-up service if you’re using the nearby ferry.
Additional reporting by Joe Varley.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.