Cozumel: A Shopper’s Paradise

March 05, 2014 1 Comment
Fifth Avenue, Cozumel

Cruise ships dock near the town of San Miguel, the sole commercial center on the island of Cozumel. It’s one of the busiest ports in the region, with upward of a dozen ships in port on any given day. There are a few different berths, but most often ships dock at International Pier, about two miles south of San Miguel. Some of the island’s best beaches are nearby, and the town is a quick taxi ride away. Hop in and tell the driver: “Take me to the Forum Shops!” It’s about a 10-minute taxi ride to the town center.

This quaint and friendly community of about 75,000 is the island’s only major center of commerce. The once sleepy town has been transformed into the No. 1 cruise ship destination in the Mexican Caribbean. The majority of the finer shops can be found along Avenue Melgar’s main stretch between the Forum Shops and Punta Langosta. Cozumel is one of the Caribbean’s best ports for shopping—and the absolute best for silver jewelry.

There is one main road in San Miguel—Avenue Rafael E. Melgar—and it runs along the waterfront in town, making it easy to find your way around. The Forum Shops are located at the far end of the shopping district, making this the ideal place to start a shopping spree. Visitors can procure outstanding deals on luxury jewelry and watches, particularly those with exotic diamonds and gemstones, as well as handcrafted Mexican silver merchandise. The streets are lined with shops, so be sure to bring your Port Shopping Map ashore to find the stores backed by the cruise line guarantee.

Punta Langosta is a unique entertainment complex and shopping mall. Items like precious stones, brand-name watches, tequila, and spices are available at prices well below U.S. retail. The whole family can delight in the daily live entertainment, which includes human statues, dancers, and mariachi bands. The Forum Shops is a two-story air-conditioned shopping center where visitors can watch local artisans diligently perfecting their crafts.

San Miguel is laid out in an easy grid around a central plaza (Plaza del Sol) that is a bit of an oasis in the midst of the bustling shopping district. It’s a great spot to settle in with a refreshing margarita for some people watching. Authentic crafts and souvenirs such as embroidered shawls, sombreros, hammocks, marionettes, handblown glass, and pottery are available throughout the city’s streets and plazas.

Dining in town is a gustatory treat as restaurants often combine traditional cuisine with their own special flair. Mouthwatering Mexican classics like tamales and enchiladas frequently appear on menus, but there are more than 90 restaurants, cantinas, and cafes offering a range of international cuisine. As Cozumel is still dominated by the fishing industry, seafood is a principal ingredient in many dishes. Pancho’s Backyard and Margaritaville, both located on the main strip, are standout eateries where the fare is consistently scrumptious.

Explore the archaeological ruins and relics of the walled city of Tulum. After, relax at a private beach club on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.

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Venture to a seaside terrace at Stingray Beach for the Interactive Chocolate Workshop. Learn about chocolate’s Mexican origins, sip wine as you sample, and make your own cocoa bar.

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Explore the underwater world of the Caribbean without getting wet on the Ocean View Explorer. The air-conditioned vessel cruises above the second largest barrier reef system in the world during the 1 hour and 15 minute tour.

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Add some aquatic adventure to your Mexican vacation with a carefree, fun-filled day at Playa Mia Grand Beach & Water Park, the largest beach attraction in Cozumel. Complete with round-trip transportation to and from port, enjoy approximately 4 hours exploring the park at your leisure.

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