Skip to Content

Why Winter Travelers Are Flocking To This Idyllic Island Near Cancun

Share The Article

Last Updated

As Cancun and the Riviera Maya celebrate another record-breaking holiday season, popular destinations across the region remain packed with tourists.

And Cozumel, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean, is no exception.

Hotel occupancy rates averaged a whopping 90% during Christmas week, even exceeding forecasts – highlighting the popularity of the destination among travelers.

Cozumel Island with ferry dock, resorts, restaurants in the background

Remarkably, these impressive rates don’t apply to the island’s luxurious all-inclusives only, as Cozumel’s small downtown hotels experienced near full occupancy during the holiday season.

For the Christmas week, the 18 hotels with 2,850 rooms achieved 75% occupancy, which climbed up to 94% on New Year’s Eve.

The president of the Association of Lodging in Downtown Cozumel, Franco González Alcérreca, described it as the best in the last three years for the sector, thanks to the arrival of national, North American, and European travelers.

@khmtravel Swimming with the 🐠! #travel #travellife #snorkeling #cozumel #cozumelmexico #travelbucketlist ♬ snowfall – Øneheart & reidenshi

Yet it seems like the jamboree on this stunning island isn’t winding down anytime soon.

Bookings for the upcoming carnival period, taking place from February 7-14 (more details on that later), are already soaring, with a notable percentage attributed to Canadian visitors.

Cozumel Is Trending With Travelers As 2024 Begins

The end of the year marked the peak of the high winter season at Cozumel, with the island’s international airport reaching up to 75 weekly operations.

These positive figures can be largely attributed to the island’s recently enhanced air connectivity, according to Isela Valenzuela Jiménez, the manager of the Cozumel Hotel Association (AHIC).

@amyandjon.travels Day 1 in Cozumel 💙💙 #travel #cozumel #snorkelday #travelvlog #love #traveling #partner #traveltiktok #travellife #traveltok #travelbucketlist #traveldiaries ♬ Summer day – TimTaj

December witnessed the revival of routes paused during the pandemic and an increase in frequencies from various U.S. and Canadian cities, with major carriers such as American Airlines, Delta, Air Canada, and WestJet.

New routes were introduced as well, with Cozumel International Airport now offering direct flights from Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Raleigh.

This boost in air connectivity, added to the island’s warm winter weather, stunning beaches, and countless natural and cultural attractions, makes Cozumel a perfect choice for winter travelers.

Cozumel In Winter

While in the past, Cozumel was primarily known as a cruise ship destination and a diving hotspot, in recent years, it has evolved into a prime Mexican Caribbean destination, even earning the Magical Town designation in 2023.

@its_lien_ Exact location at the end! Most beautiful water I’ve seen since Maldives 😍 #cozumelmexico #cozumelboatrentals #elcielito #elcielitocozumel #playadelcarmentrip #islacozumelmx #mexicotravelvlog #mexicotravelchannel #yucatanpeninsula #mexicobeaches #travelmexico🇲🇽 #cozumelisland #maldivesofmexico #mexicotravels ♬ This is heaven – Nightshade

This prestigious title is granted by the Mexican Government to destinations that possess distinct natural, cultural, and historical features. Needless to say, Cozumel is not lacking in any of these.

During Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Cozumel traditionally experiences its peak in visitor numbers. However, February introduces one of the island’s most significant celebrations of the entire year – the iconic Cozumel carnival.

Renowned as the best carnival in the region and even in Mexico, Cozumel carnival is, rather surprisingly, the oldest one in the country, with over 140 years of history and lasting up to a month. 

dancers in mexican parade

Not bad for an island known for its generally sedate atmosphere!

The festivities kick off with a pre-carnival period featuring warm-up events in the weeks leading up to the main celebration, including live music and performances.

During the main week from February 7-14, the island comes alive with numerous colorful parades, street concerts where people join the performers in dance, and the crowning of the Carnival King and Queen. 

Beachfront parties continue well into the night, offering an unforgettable experience for travelers visiting Cozumel during this time. It’s no wonder that hotel bookings for the carnival season are on the rise.

A remaining mayan ruin at San Gervasio at Cozumel

Yet, despite the influx of visitors, Cozumel never feels too crowded during the winter, offering the perfect balance between tranquility and a festive ambiance.

It all depends on what you want to do. Rent a golf car and explore the island’s secluded beaches or the San Gervasio archeological zone, head to the Museum of Cozumel to learn about the island’s rich history.

Find the perfect souvenir at the local arts and crafts shops, visit an art gallery, enjoy a vibrant night out at one of the numerous bars and nightclubs – the opportunities are endless!

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.