Silver Linings In Cozumel, Mexico

What do you do when travel plans go awry? The weather ruined our plans in Cozumel, Mexico, and my friends and I were left trying to find something to do in Cozumel that isn’t water-based.

We’d planned to spend the whole day snorkelling around some of Cozumel’s best underwater spots. Did you know that the island boast some of the best reefs in the world?

Unfortunately, the weather meant we wouldn’t get to experience Cozumel’s marine scenes.

What to do in Cozumel when the weather makes snorkelling impossible

As we boarded the ferry to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen and the band began to play (I love Mexico’s insistence that there should be live music everywhere!), the vessel started rocking – and it didn’t stop.

The band aboard that ferry could have played the Titanic soundtrack and it wouldn’t have been out of place. They persevered, as the drum kit comically crashed to the floor and people began rushing to the toilets.

It was only a short ferry ride, but I couldn’t wait to place my feet back on dry land.

Cozumel Mexico guide

Shop the look

It was obvious we couldn’t put our poor, flimsy bodies in that rough water – so what should we do? We’d landed on Cozumel having done zero research about the island. In fact, I’d expected a few wooden huts and maybe somewhere to eat lunch, not a full-blown tourist town waiting for me at the other end of the ferry ride.

Cozumel, Mexico on a rainy day

Cozumel Mexico guide

After a stodgy Mexican breakfast to line our stomachs and gather ourselves after the crossing, we walked through Cozumel’s gaudy souvenir shops and bars like we’d been shipwrecked. I suppose in a way, we had.

What to do on Cozumel in bad weather

Like a typical Instagram addict, I found myself being enticed down the colourful streets.

Street art in Cozumel Mexico

Colourful streets in Cozumel

I yearned to see what Cozumel had to offer besides tourist tat, so we hired a car.

And what a car.

Why hiring a car to explore Cozumel is a great idea

Driving in Cozumel Mexico

The powder blue rust bucket put the classic car I rode around Cuba in to shame. She had rusty, sharp pieces of metal sticking out into the interiors, cardboard where the radio should have been and a sticker warning us not to attempt going over 60 km per hour.

Car hire in Cozumel

I absolutely loved her.

Best things to do in Cozumel Mexico

The five of us squeezed in and set off with a throaty roar that didn’t ease off for the entire day. Arriving in this car was certainly one way to announce our presence!

Car hire in Cozumel

We drove out to the other side of the island, past the private beach resorts and on to the more rugged public (free) beaches.

Hiring a car on Cozumel, Mexico

We passed a sea turtle conservation as we wound down the coastal road with the wind whipping our hair. The sea may have been impenetrable that day, but the temperature on land was just perfect.

What to do in Cozumel island, Mexico

Sea turtle conservation in Cozumel

Things to do in Cozumel, Mexico

Day trip to Cozumel Mexico

Group activities on Cozumel Mexico

Our day in Cozumel was the perfect reminder to always search for the silver lining on a cloudy day. We couldn’t go snorkelling, but the memories of giggling away in the back of that car as the sea raged behind us will last forever.

Sometimes, travel plans – like life – go tits up, but it’s how you respond to the change of plans that determines how amazing your day will be.

What to do on Cozumel in bad weather

Have you ever had travel plans get messed up, and ended up doing something even better instead? And have you been to Cozumel? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Photographs taken on my Olympus Pen E-PL7.

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Driving around Cozumel Mexico

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21 Comments

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 20, 2017 / 11:48 am

      Sam it was SUCH a tight squeeze and the person in the middle had to deal with two rusty pieces of metal sticking into their shoulder blades! But you’re right, a fab adventure that I’ll always remember 🙂

  1. November 19, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    Beautiful pictures, sounds like a lovely trip!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 20, 2017 / 11:47 am

      Thank you!

  2. November 21, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    I am dying to visit Mexico, specifically the area around Cancun, Tulum and Cozumel and it looks so amazing! The car (even though it sounds absolutely terrifying) looks so cute! It’s a shame you guys couldn’t go snorkelling, but it sounds like you had such an amazing day anyway!
    xo April

  3. November 21, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    Cool! I love your outfit! Your trip sounds wonderful, it makes my want to travel there as soon as possible.

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 22, 2017 / 9:06 am

      Let me know if you do ever get to Cozumel!

  4. November 21, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    Thanks for showing us a different side of Mexico. The graffiti art indeed is interesting. I love our car pictures the best though. Very stylish and classy. Mexico looks like my kind of destination –raw and fun!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 22, 2017 / 9:04 am

      Thanks Abinhav! Cozumel is in fact really touristy but I think because we were there in low season and we made an effort to get off the beaten path, we were able to have a unique experience.

  5. November 24, 2017 / 2:46 am

    It was a pity that you could not explore the underwater world. However I can see you still had a nice time. The street are is really amazing, so colourful and vivid. Street art of a place is always very interesting. A mirror to the culture and heritage of a place.

  6. November 25, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    I’ve been living in Playa del Carmen for 5 months and still haven’t gone to Cozumel! I need to do it ASAP. Thanks for this — your photos are beautiful!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 26, 2017 / 9:44 am

      I’d love to live there for a while, I’m jealous! Let me know if you eventually go to Cozumel, I’d love to hear what you get up to.

  7. November 25, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    Oh my! How could I’ve missed this when I went to Playa del Carmen? Looks so chill, laid-back and lovely… I need to go back to Mexico really soon…

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 26, 2017 / 9:44 am

      Yes do it!!

  8. Anisa
    November 25, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    So I did go to Cozumel on a cruise once but we just took the ferry to Playa del Carmen to go and see Tulum. Next time, I would like to spend time in Cozumel and snorkel. The street art you found looks nice too.

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 26, 2017 / 9:44 am

      It’s definitely worth a visit. I loved Tulum, did you like it?

  9. November 26, 2017 / 12:40 am

    I was so jealous when I saw this on your iG stories!! your adventures in Mexico looked so epic. Glad to see your day turned out even better in the end 😉

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 26, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Yeah, it was a super fun trip! Thanks Christina 🙂

  10. November 26, 2017 / 1:48 am

    I cannot believe y’all all fit in that car!!! That is crazy. I love the colorful wall murals too. And your swimsuit is so beautiful! Glad to see y’all made the most of your trip despite the weather!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 26, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Haha, neither could we! It was such a fun day. I get SO many compliments on that swimsuit 🙂 Thanks!

  11. November 27, 2017 / 9:17 am

    You did make the best of the weather and the situation. The street art is so lovely and I too would have had fun posing around. Love your spirit here.