Your cruise ship docks at Cozumel, Mexico, but you can only stay for eight hours. Fortunately, that’s just enough time to explore one of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. Yes, eight hours may not seem like a lot, but here are some things you can do and still get back to the ship before it sails to  the next exotic destination.

Visit Mexico Park

Do you want to explore Mexico in just a few hours? Your first stop should be Discover Mexico Park. This coastline attraction is south of San Juan and features miniature replicas of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City as well as the Mayan ruins in Tulum. The park is just a 10-minute walk from the area where cruise ships dock. If you don’t feel like hoofing it, take a taxi. You’ll get there in five minutes. Soak up all the Mexican culture in one spot and still get back to your cruise ship in time. And if you have a hankering for chocolate and tequila, check out the attraction’s chocolate factory and an exhibit where you can sample some tequila.

Relax at the Beach


Why go to Cozumel if you’re not going to relax on the beach? No visit is complete without soaking up the sun and enjoying some outdoors activities. So why not spend the day at Palancar Beach, located about 15 miles from San Miguel, Cozumel? Enjoy a day of parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing or kayaking. Get a relaxing massage or visit the craft shop.  And there are plenty of inexpensive restaurants available when you’re ready to eat.  Sun Worshippers will find there’s no better way to spend their eight hours in Cozumel.

Check Out Chankanaab Park

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If you’re looking for a place with a variety of things to keep you busy, consider visiting Chankanaab Park. Just 10 minutes away from the primary cruise ship port, Chankanaab Park boasts a spacious beach with water perfect for snorkeling. While there, you can swim with dolphins, watch a sea lion show, stroll through botanical gardens and eat at various restaurants. Feeling adventurous? They offer a zipline too.

Go Shopping


No matter where you visit, most tourists want to purchase souvenirs from their trip. Of course, Cozumel has plenty of shops eager to sell you that t-shirt for your mom or a handcrafted necklace for your sister. To get the best deals, steer clear of the shops in the heart of San Miguel. Instead, explore stores further away from the waterfront. Seek out flea markets that may offer more unique items. And most flea market vendors are willing to bargain with you before settling on a fair price. Only bring the cash or credit cards you plan to use for your shopping spree and keep track of your belongings whenever you’re in a crowded shop or flea market.

Take a Boat Tour

Enjoy the ocean without getting into a swimsuit by taking a boat tour. Boat tours allow you to sit back and enjoy the scenery and sunny weather. If you’re a scuba diver, some tours offer this adventurous activity as well. The fee often includes everything you need to enjoy a relaxing day around the ocean, including equipment, water, soda and other refreshments.

Visit Ancient Mayan Ruins

Although the Mayan ruins in San Gervasio are not as large as the ones on the mainland, this site is well worth the visit. During ancient times, Mayan women made the pilgrimage to San Gervasio to honor Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. If you decide to go, check out “Las Manitas,” a building where mysterious red handprints are located on some of the walls that still stand.

Just because your stay in Cozumel is a mere eight hours doesn’t mean you don’t have time to do anything fun. If you plan ahead, you can pack a lot of excitement into just a few hours. Better yet, if you don’t want to spend your time running all over Cozumel, choose one specific attraction and remain there for several hours. However you decide to spend your time in Cozumel, there’s one thing that’s certain: You’ll absolutely love the beautiful weather and scenery.

About the writer: Kimberly Solis is a freelance writer for hire who enjoys crafting blog posts and articles that capture readers’ imaginations. When she’s not writing, she’s busy spending time with her husband and three rambunctious children.