Cozumel- Best Beach to Retire In?

Welcome to Cozumel, a stunning Caribbean island in the amazing Riviera Maya.

Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and rich cultural heritage, Cozumel offers a unique living experience for both locals and foreigners alike.

In this blog post, we will explore the allure of living in Cozumel, covering topics such as the expat community, the best neighborhoods, cost of living, how to get around, breathtaking beaches, and shopping opportunities.

Let us guide you through this remarkable paradise if you’re considering making Cozumel your new home.

Expat Community in Cozumel

Cozumel has a population of about 90,000 people living here full-time. This number can double in the high season because a significant amount of snowbirds spend 4-6 months in Cozumel during the winter months.

However, out of 90,000 people, there are approx 1,000 foreigners living here full-time. And because the expat community is small, it won’t be hard to meet other foreigners quickly. And because Cozumel is relatively small, you’ll also quickly start to make friends with the locals just by carrying out your daily life.

That’s what makes Cozumel uniquely special. Because even though it is a tourist area when the cruise ships leave, and the ferries make their last stop for the night, the island is quiet, and all the locals here know one another. Making it a knit-tight community.

Check out this video to learn everything about living in Cozumel!

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Neighborhoods in Cozumel

Where to live in Cozumel will depend on your lifestyle and budget. If you want to be close to town and be able to walk everywhere, I recommend staying close to “Centro” or downtown.

Some of the neighborhoods I recommend around Centro include

  • Gonzalo Guerrero
  • Adolfo Lopez Mateos
  • 10 de Abril
  • Emiliano Zapata
  • Independencia

These neighborhoods are all very close to the centro and have shopping options within walking distance, which makes it easier for you to be car-free in Cozumel. What I also like about these neighborhoods is that you can find affordable houses here.

You can find studios starting at $8,000 Pesos and a big 3 Bedroom House starting at $14,000 Pesos/Month. It all depends on the size of the home, what services are included, and how modern or basic it is.

And then, of course, you can also find significantly more expensive rentals in gated communities where you have resort-like amenities.

Some other notable areas include:

  • Corpus Christi: A tranquil residential area with easy access to downtown and the island’s beaches.
  • Country Club Estates: A gated community with upscale homes and a prestigious golf course.
  • Residencias Reef: Perfect for beach lovers, this oceanfront community boasts stunning views and luxurious condos.

Cost of Living in Cozumel

Housing is going to be your biggest expense living in Cozumel. It just depends on whether you rent or buy a condo/house.

But let’s assume you’ll be renting in Cozumel.

You can find a range of rentals from small studios going for $8,000 Pesos a month (approx $460 USD depending on the exchange rate) and larger homes with 2-3 bedrooms going for $14-22k Pesos a month. (approx $800- $1200 USD/Month, depending on the exchange rate).

And because Cozumel gets rather hot, you’ll probably want air conditioning in your house. You can expect to pay at least $1,500 pesos monthly if you are very frugal with how often you turn it on. However, if you run your air conditioning 24/7, you’ll quickly increase your cost of electricity and can expect to pay $2500 pesos and up per month. Some people I know run their air conditioners nonstop while living in Cozumel, and their electricity is closer to $6,000 pesos a month—something for you to consider.

Your grocery bill will also depend on your lifestyle, how many people live in your household, and your budget. But to be safe, you can expect a couple to spend at least $8,000 pesos monthly on groceries. Of course, once you get settled and learn where to get the best deals for fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, spices, liquor, and packaged goods, you may lower your grocery bill. But for the first 6 months of living in Mexico, you can expect some of these expenses to be higher.

How to Get Around

Taxis and Public Transportation: Cozumel boasts a reliable taxi service that can take you to various destinations on the island. Taxis are readily available at the airport, ferry terminals, and downtown. They are a convenient option for short distances or when you prefer not to drive. The taxi union is honest and reliable, meaning fares are set in advance, and you shouldn’t pay more than $150 pesos to get anywhere on the island. But it’s always a good idea to ask the driver for the cost in advance to avoid surprises.

Buses: Cozumel has a variety of colectivos which are community buses that operate along the main routes and make frequent stops. These buses are an affordable option for getting around the island. They generally follow fixed schedules, making it easy to plan your trips. Remember that buses can get crowded during peak hours, so allow extra time for your commute.

Owning a Car –One of the most popular and convenient ways to get around Cozumel is by driving your own car. With a car, you can explore the island at your own pace, discovering hidden beaches, scenic vistas, and cultural landmarks. Remember to carry your driver’s license and Mexican insurance documents while driving, and adhere to local traffic rules and regulations.

Bicycles and Scooters: Embrace an eco-friendly approach to transportation by renting a bicycle or scooter in Cozumel. These options are particularly popular for short distances and exploring the local areas. If you’re visiting, you can rent a bike or scooter. Several rental shops in Cozumel offer a range of options to suit your preferences.

Walking: Cozumel’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly areas make walking a delightful way to explore the island. The downtown area is easily navigable on foot, with charming streets lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, known as the Malecón, and soak in the island’s vibrant atmosphere. Many popular beaches and landmarks are within walking distance of downtown, allowing you to enjoy the picturesque scenery.

Best Beaches in Cozumel

If you’re moving to Cozumel, chances are you are drawn to its turquoise waters, and the idea of having a beach nearby is attractive. After all, Cozumel is known for its beautiful and paradisical beaches.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Playa Palancar: Immerse yourself in white sands, swaying palm trees, and crystal-clear waters.
  • Paradise Beach: Experience a vibrant beach club atmosphere with water activities and entertainment.
  • Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park: Explore the marine life and natural beauty in this eco-park.

But if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy less visited beaches, we recommend:

  • Isla Pasion- On the north side. And it is only accessible by boat, and you have to pay a fee to access their beach club, for only $300 pesos- which gives you access to the restaurant, a bar, and clean restrooms.
  • Playa Chen Rio- A popular beach for snorkeling
  • El Cielo – on the south side. El Cielo is known for having some of the most crystalline waters and a lot of starfish.

Ready to Move to Cozumel?

Are you ready to start your new life in Cozumel? Book a private Cozumel Relocation Tour, and let a local show you what living in Cozumel is actually like. Because vacationing here is a whole different experience than living here.

One of our recommended private tour guides will help you navigate the island, show you around the various neighborhoods, help you discover local shopping gems, and introduce you to the incredible lifestyle that awaits you on this Caribbean island.

Check out all the cities we cover for our Mexico Relocation Tours.

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. Linda Stephens says

    Do you have information on where I can find cheap apartment/condo near a beach. I want to retired the but will only have $1100 per month to live on. I don’t need AC like most people do will cut costs considerably but do need internet for my TV. For food, I’m mostly fruit, veggies and fish.

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