Linda and I just returned from a relaxing week in Cozumel. This is the second time that we’ve been to the island in as many months and that fact has not escaped some of our more dedicated followers. It has even prompted several of them to ask if we’re thinking about making a permanent move there.
If you’ve been wondering the same thing, here’s your answer: Although we love Cozumel, our condo on the mainland is the perfect home base for us to travel around the peninsula. At a moment’s notice, we can jump in the car and drive to places like Valladolid, Mahahual and Merida.
If we were on the island, which does not have a bridge or a tunnel, spontaneous trips like that would require more planning, time and money.
When we visit Cozumel nowadays, we still have to work transportation expenses into our budget. Since we typically only go for a night or two, we have found that the least expensive option has been to leave our car at overnight parking in Playa del Carmen and take the passenger ferry (with the locals discount) over to the island. Once there, we rely on taxis to get around.
This month we had some RCI points that were about to expire, so we booked a week at the Coral Princess in Cozumel. Since we were staying seven days this time, we decided it was worth the time and expense to bring our car along with us.
When we told our friends we were taking our car with us, they had a lot of questions about the costs and procedure. I told them I would do a post about it when we returned — and well, here we are.
The Logistics of Taking the Car Ferry
There are two companies that operate ferries to transport cargo and vehicles to Cozumel: Ultramar and Transcaribe.
They both leave out of the Port of Calica, which is located on the south side of Playa del Carmen off of 307. The ferry trip takes about an hour.
Ultramar: $400 pesos (approx $20 USD) per passenger vehicle each way
Transcaribe: $500 pesos (approx $25 USD) per passenger vehicle each way
Although Ultramar’s fares are lower, we used Transcaribe because their schedule worked better for us.
Schedules and Reservations
We were told by a Transcaribe employee that we needed to arrive at the port one hour ahead of the scheduled departure time; however, the official website for Transcaribe says that vehicles need to arrive at least 90 minutes early.
You can find scheduled departure times and make reservations* directly via each company’s website:
* It’s not necessary to make a reservation.
The ferry that we took over to Cozumel was much nicer than the one we took back the following Saturday. It had a comfortable seating area that was air conditioned. There was even an area with bunk beds just in case you feel like taking a little siesta.
Here are a few pics:
The return ferry was older and much smaller. We were required to drive up a narrow ramp that led to the top deck.
We watched one car try to go up the ramp three times unsuccessfully. Each time, the tires would lose traction and the car would slide back down. They finally let him park on the lower deck with the trucks.
I later discovered that going down the ramp was worse than going up because of visibility issues at the point that you first start down the ramp. It was like being at the top of the roller coaster unable to see the track below.
Let’s Wrap This Up
We really enjoyed having our vehicle on the island this time, but we both agree that it wouldn’t be worth the time and expense to bring it over for shorter stays.