Cozumel Ferry Schedule

…how to get to Cozumel (and back again) in a timely fashion…

The first time I took the ferry to Cozumel I fell for the biggest sucker punch.

I bought a round-trip ticket and spent an amazing day exploring Cozumel island.

Then I came to the dock in Cozumel and tried to get on the ferry–access denied! I couldn’t believe it.

I was pointing at my ticket and they were just pointing at the name of the ferry.

My ferry didn’t leave for over an hour!

Thus, if you want to avoid having the same problem that I did, make sure you check the ferry schedule BEFORE purchasing a round-trip ticket and make sure that you get to the dock BEFORE that departure time!

Nobody in their right mind ever said Mexicans were organized – they’re not!

Unless you are trying to be a politically correct idiot, you will notice the subtle chaos immediately upon arriving in Mexico.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

To be honest with you, this incompetent chaos is what makes this place unpredictable and fun; it’s a little like the Wild West.

It also keeps the price of vacationing here cheap.

Just don’t be surprised by it.

FERRY SCHEDULE LINKS:

Because of the daily, monthly, and seasonal changes in demand, the ferry companies often change their departure schedules – mind you, it’s completely unnecessary.

Moreover, the ferry schedule is always subject to change and completely out of my control.

With that being said, here are the links to the schedules of the three ferry companies that travel between Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel.

THESE FERRY SCHEDULES CHANGE FROM MONTH TO MONTH. PLEASE DON’T FORGET THIS WHEN PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO COZUMEL AND BACK.

Cozumel Ferry Dock & Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock Location Map

Zoom in and out of this map by either scrolling with your mouse wheel or pinching in/out on your phone:

 

Tell Me More About The Cozumel Ferry Schedule

Three ferries go between Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel.

The journey takes 45 minutes and all of the ferries offer similar services.

You can read more about what it’s like on board in my Playa Del Carmen ferry article.

  • Prices are similar – but you get what you pay for – Ultramar is the oldest and usually considered the best ferry service
  • Tickets must be purchased separately – each ferry company sells their own tickets
  • All ferry companies maintain different schedules – all three companies have different departure / arrival times
  • Schedules change every day – the ferry companies change schedules every day (only Barcos Caribe does not)
  • The ferry schedules are a disorganized mess – like everything run by Mexicans (i.e. the Mexican economy, the Mexican military, the Mexican education system, the Mexican peso, etc…)

I hope you can understand how I ended up making my classic ferry mistake.

But you must learn from your mistakes right?

I’ve learned and I’m going to show you how to avoid this classic mistake.

The Playa Del Carmen To Cozumel Ferry Schedule

So, the Ultramar leaves at 7am on odd days and 8am on even days.

Then the captain naps at 1pm if it’s a Sunday and 2pm if it’s a Saturday.

And if you try following this mumbo jumbo, you’ll get nowhere – and fast.

Instead, you have links to all the ferry schedules above, which simplifies everything.

Sometimes the schedules changes due to bad weather etc.

But if there is a storm brewing you don’t really want to go on a boat anyway.

But How Do I Know Which Ferry Is Departing?

The number one rule is DON’T COUNT ON ANYTHING – even the companies’ websites!

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Take a look at the schedules via the links above
  2. On the day of departure, arrive at the dock 40 minutes before scheduled departure time
  3. Either take your scheduled ferry or take the ferry that is leaving the soonest
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to get back to the original dock you departed from

Relax, stay calm, and take your time on each leg of your journey.

Different Ticket Options

There are many places where you can buy tickets.

You can get them online, at stalls along Fifth Avenue, and at the ferry terminal.

At the time of this writing, a one-way ticket costs ~150 Mexican pesos for adults and ~90 Mexican pesos for children.

That works out to $11.50 USD.

Children aged 0-5 are free.

A round-trip ticket is slightly cheaper than two singles.

So you only save a little money.

HINT: If you buy an Ultramar ticket you must use it on the Ultramar ferry.

This was my original schoolboy mistake.

The Best Tactics For Buying Playa Del Carmen To Cozumel Ferry Tickets

SOLUTION: Don’t buy a ticket in advance.

If you already have a ticket, then you reduce your options by two-thirds.

Imagine if you just miss the 7am Ultramar service.

You can’t use your ticket on the 8am service as it’s run by Mexico Waterjets.

So you have to buy a new ticket or wait until 10am! WTF?!?

The best tactic is to go down to the port and buy a ticket for the next departure.

I recommend always buying a single ticket – even if the single costs a little more.

Then when you need to return just do the same thing.

This gives you maximum flexibility in Cozumel and you can easily change your plans.

But Won’t The Ferry Be Full?

I’ve never seen a Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel ferry that is completely full.

The ticket agents might try and con you and say the next departure is full.

But that’s because they’re selling tickets for the other ferry that comes an hour later!

Ignore them and try a different ticket stall.

If you’re really worried about the ferry being full then arrive 20 minutes before departure.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter when you buy your tickets.

Everybody is allowed on the boat at the same time.

So if you want the best seats (upper deck for good views, lower deck for access to the A/C and bars, etc…), then you should arrive a little earlier.

So, in conclusion…

The Cozumel ferry schedule is very confusing.

Don’t get worked up or stressed out about it.

Believe me, it’s kind of like the saying, “You can’t fight city hall.”

You won’t change anything by getting angry, but you will waste precious time on your trip in a fit of rage. DON’T DO IT!

This is Mexico! Take it easy people! Nothing here ever makes sense!

Just rock up at the port and buy a one-way ticket for the next departure.

This way you’ve got maximum flexibility for your trip to Cozumel and it’s not a disaster if the ferry just left on either end of your journey.

Happy ferry scheduling!

Lots of love,

Rufus

Rufus signature

Now it’s your turn! Do you have something you would like to add to this article? Please leave it in the comments section below!

4 comments on “Cozumel Ferry Schedule

  1. does the ferry take cars? If not will I need to rent a car in Cozumel? Staying a week in Playa del Carmen and a week on Cozumel. want to do site seeing and diving in both spots, thus the caar.

    • Gregarious Greg,

      First of all, congratulations on your decision to come to Playa Del Carmen / Cozumel. I think you will find a lot of interesting things to do here.

      In regard to your question about cars – no, the ferries in Playa Del Carmen do not accept vehicles. They only take people (and possibly pets/bikes).

      Nonetheless, there is a company that does transport vehicles between the mainland and Cozumel. It is located in a city called Calica, which is about 15 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen. The name of the company is TransCaribe (NOTE: I could not find an English version of their site).

      Location of Calica: https://goo.gl/maps/uL2f4Yxo3W42

      Even though it is possible, I would not recommend renting a single car for both locations. First of all, although I have never done it, I would imagine that there is a significant loading time for getting all the vehicles that are crossing back and forth between Cozumel Island and Calica. Thus, it’s probably going to take more time than renting a car in each locale.

      Second, you may want to try a different means of transportation in each of the locations. I know that it is very popular to ride golf carts around Cozumel. If you’ve rented a car for several weeks, you’re going to be stuck with that specific means of transportation without the option to change your mind at at any given point during your vacation. With those two reasons in mind, I think you are better off renting two different vehicles – one for Playa Del Carmen, and one for Cozumel.

      I hope this helps, Greg, and I hope you enjoy your vacation here. If you need anything else, do not hesitate to contact me.

      Also, if you are looking for special events and discounts while you are in Playa Del Carmen, take a look at my Playa Del Carmen Events Calendar.

      Take care,

      Rufus

  2. Just an FYI, we took the Mexico Waterjets ferry last week for 100 pesos round trip! That’s about $5 right now. And we weren’t tied to a particular return time.

    • CtotheT,

      Thank you so much for sharing the useful information. I haven’t been down to the docks for several months. However, I do know that there are now three companies operating there: UltraMar, Mexico WaterJets, and some funky company with the word “Caribe” in it.

      The “Caribe” company is the newest, and, although their boats seem to be the sh*tiest, I am happy there is a third option. I really think the other two companies had a price-fixing/monopoly conspiracy going on prior to the third company’s arrival.

      Competition is good for consumers. Unfortunately, it is rare to see in the transportation industry in Mexico. For example, when Uber started offering services in the city Merida, the local taxi union damn near killed one of the Uber drivers!

      Uber is still not allowed in Playa Del Carmen because of the corrupt and evil taxi union that exists here. If you ever take a bus to Akumal or Tulum, you will see the taxi union building on your right about 10 minutes or so out of Playa Del Carmen. It looks like a maximum security prison – and its inhabitants are just as filthy.

      Taxi drivers here are the second most vile creatures in this city (one step up from the ladyboys who haunt the darker alleys of 5th Avenue after 2AM, and one step down from the high-pressure salesmen on 5th Avenue who would try to sell you their moms’ underwear if they could). The irony is that if these fools had any vision or foresight, they would welcome Uber with open arms (and could easily work for Uber themselves). The taxi union/government here places exorbitant licencing fees on all the taxi drivers. It’s ridiculous. But the even bigger threat is driverless cars, which are only a few years away and will put ALL drivers out of business!!!

      Anyhow, you got one heck of a deal on the ferry tickets, so you should be happy!!

      Thanks again!!!!

      Rufus

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