Crossing the Channel to Coz
A mere 30 years ago, Playa del Carmen was a sleepy fishing village with dirt roads, a dusty bus station, a lone church and a small wooden pier with boats going to Cozumel. Playa owes much of its prosperity and popularity to the gorgeous reef-encircled island, which is a popular cruise destination.
Now, with three ferry companies to choose from, getting to Cozumel has never been easier! Experience one of the best-loved Caribbean islands on your terms.
Generally, a ferry leaves every half-hour, so you’ll never have to wait long. Departures from 6am to 10pm give you a range of options for your day.
Do you want a full day of sightseeing on the island or just an afternoon dive and sunset cocktail? Buy a one-way ticket and then cruise back to Playa whenever you like. (Tickets are non-transferable, so buying one-way keeps your options open.)
Check the schedules and even purchase tickets online before you go:
- http://www.mexicowaterjets.com/eng/ (blue & white boats)
- http://www.granpuerto.com.mx/en (blue & yellow boats)
- http://barcoscaribe.com/horarios.html (turquoise & pink boats) *NEWEST!
All the ferries are catamarans and have air-conditioned seating areas as well as sun decks. I prefer to sit outside up top. Playa’s coastline is as pretty as a postcard and the sea’s changing hues of aqua are stunning. Flying fish skim the water as we zoom along and the sea spray is so refreshing.
It can get a little choppy out there; depending on the weather. If you’re prone to seasickness, the 40-minute ride might be a little taxing. The newest ferry company, Barcos Caribe, prides itself on cutting the
ride down to 30 minutes! (And only $10 US one way.) The staff is very friendly & professional. The indoor seats are cushioned and recline, while the outdoor seats are comfortable canvas to let the air flow through.
All 3 companies have outfitted their ferries with snack bars (yes, they serve alcoholic drinks as well) and bathrooms. Tour guides in a number of languages are on hand in case you have any questions. Sometimes there are even presentations and live music on board!
Until mid-2015, passengers will have to put up with renovations at Playa del Carmen’s ferry terminal. It’s a bit noisy and messy, but work is coming along nicely and the finished design promises to be amazing! Shops, fine restaurants, and air-conditioned waiting lounges are all part of the new look. Cozumel’s modern dock looks great, and it’s about time that Playa caught up.
Visiting Cozumel is always a good time—whether you like snorkelling, diving, shopping or sightseeing. One of my favorite things to do is rent a convertible bug and drive the coastline. (The east side of the island
is breathtaking.) Sun on my skin, wind in my hair, reggae music cranked…. It’s good to be alive! With cheaper, faster ferries, I think I’ll be visiting one of my favorite Caribbean islands a lot more often!
Written by Kelly G.