Once upon a time, Sundays in Cozumel were quiet days with less hustle. A time for church and family, and many local businesses would close, accordingly.
Well, times are changing here, too, of course. More and more things to do are open on Sundays in Cozumel.
There are a few Sunday traditions in Cozumel that have changed over the years, and a few special ones that are still firmly in place.
Cruise ships are typically not in town, for example, but in the past few years that unofficial rule has eased and you’ll see more in port these days.
If you’re in town for a while, coming over on the Cozumel ferry from Playa del Carmen for a fun day trip, or are a passenger on one of the Cozumel cruise ships porting on a Sunday, plan ahead to catch some of the things you might only encounter here once a week.
Start your Cozumel Sunday With Cochinita Pibil
We’ll get to Sunday mass, but another nearly religious experience in Quintana Roo and the greater Yucatan area of Mexico is a good breakfast.
On Sundays in the Cozumel region, a good breakfast or brunch with family becomes a special event.
“Sunday” means an early morning quest to find the drool-worthy Yucatan special dish: cochinita pibil.
(Don’t worry – if you want to find some of your favorite Canadian or American breakfast dishes, you’ll be able to find those dishes all over town. But try the cochinita somewhere on a Sunday morning. If you eat meat, I think you’ll be glad you did.)
Cochinita pibil is a slow-roasted pork dish spiced with sour orange, achiote, and other flavorings from the Yucatán region. To see a really traditional preparation of cochinita pibil check out the taco episode on David Chang’s show Ugly Delicious, or the Cochinita episode on the excellent Netflix series, The Taco Chronicles.)
Merida, the beautiful colonial city on the eastern side of the Yucatán Peninsula, is another headquarters of outstanding cochinita.
Cochinita pibil in Cozumel is definitely a popular weekly deal, so if you’re new to regional Mexican food and want to learn more, seek out a few of our well-known places that specialize in this low-and-slow pork delicacy each week.
If you’re in Cozumel on a Sunday morning, the best way to find a good spot is to ask your local dive shop team where they go (because they definitely do go…), or ask your hotel contacts to point you in the right direction.
Another great method? Hire a private taxi for a few hours to hit all the hotspots (and trust me, the taxi drivers will take you to some I don’t even know about), or walk around downtown San Miguel de Cozumel until you see a long line of locals, cueing up for their cochinita with tortillas and all the fixings. A long line = good stuff.
Here are a few specific places in Cozumel known for great cochinita (though there are many more! follow your nose…):
1. El Amigo Mario – taquería on Calle 5, dine in or take out
2. El Amigo Campeche – best to order delivery via their social pages
3. The classic Casa Denis restaurant in the town square
For more on this, and other must-try traditional foods while you’re here, check out our related post on regional dishes, here.
If slow-roasted pork is not your thing (huh?), another awesome experience for Sunday tacos is the only-on-weekends quesabirria tacos at Cozumel’s very local Quesabirria el Caribe taquería – read more in this round-up of the best Cozumel tacos, right here.
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Churches in Cozumel – Where You Can Attend
Of course, for some people, Sunday is still church day.
Personally, I like to go diving on Sunday and honor the gods of the oceans and the coral reefs… That’s my altar.
But Cozumel has a good number of religious services in churches, temples, and synagogues throughout the island that you’re welcome to attend.
Two of the most well-known churches – but/and the ones most frequented by vacationing tourists and ex-pat residents, alike – are also Catholic churches.
- The Church of San Miguel de Cozumel is located close to the center of town, a few blocks from the ferry terminal. Walk to the rear of the main town plaza (a.k.a. the north-east corner of Parque Benito Juarez).
- Corpus Christi is a large, beautiful church, painted in a a happy yellow color that makes a striking impression against the typically bright blue skies of Cozumel – you can’t miss it.
Both of these are welcoming, but please be respectful – they are also active parishes with regular attendees.
The church of San Miguel also has a lot of seasonal displays and seems to have several masses a day, where you’ll often hear hymns and songs spilling out into the bustling streets surrounding it.
Another very pretty and interesting venue to go for a Sunday service is the chapel along the water’s edge, adjacent to the snorkeling-friendly Sky Reef beach club and restaurant.
The Capilla Stella Maris is also a Catholic-based chapel, and has services each Sunday. It’s also a popular spot for weddings and baptisms.
Consult their Facebook page to see it in all it’s photogenic glory, and confirm the current times.
Cozumel Beach Clubs are Great on Sundays
Cozumel has beautiful beaches, and several popular and well-appointed beach clubs as a result.
Most are situated along the entirety of the island’s western shoreline.
There are a handful of cool beach spots on the eastern coast – or “the other side” of the island – as well. All of them will have you lounging back, staring at Cozumel’s gorgeous blue waters.
Cozumel’s best beach clubs are some of the biggest hotspots during the day, especially among day-trippers and those coming ashore from the cruise ships.
Popular options for beach clubs include Mr. Sancho’s, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, Paradise Beach Club, Nachi Cocom (my favorite), Playa Palancar, and the Punta Sur Eco Park receive visitors on Sundays.
Each beach club has a different daily deal, but typically you’ll pay a relatively low entrance fee and be asked to purchase a minimum amount of food and drink, at which point your entrance fee will be deducted from your bill total.
Some other beach clubs in Cozumel have all-inclusive day passes.
Mr. Sancho’s for example is well known for its fun vibe and all-you-can-eat-and-drink day pass making it a fun and easy-going day where all your needs are taken care of with one flat fee.
Those who prefer a quieter setting, perhaps don’t drink enough to justify the daily tally, or simply want to go a little bit further off the beaten path, should look for a beach club area without the all-inclusive option.
The good news regarding Sundays is that, traditionally, Cozumel does not have cruise ships in Port.
In recent years, exceptions have been made, and it is now more common to see a ship in town on Sunday, here and there.
Generally speaking, Sunday is the best day to go to Cozumel beach clubs as you mostly encounter locals enjoying the lower Sunday entrance fee for residents and longer-term vacationers on the island who tend to have a more serene vibe.
Public Concerts and Cultural Programs in Cozumel’s Town Plazas
One of the most charming things about Cozumel island is its musical culture, including a tradition of robust programming for public music and cultural events.
From the boisterous Carnaval events in February or March, to the many live events hosted by the Cozumel municipal government throughout the year, there is often something going on in the main plaza in the center of downtown Cozumel, Benito Juarez Park, or in the park at the Palacio.
Ironman triathlon events, the GFNY bicycle event, and the live music concerts, holiday events, and Day of the Dead festivities in downtown Cozumel have given us all the feeling that some of our dear traditions and community interaction are returning to normal after the pandemic.
If you’re in town visiting be sure to check out flyers, signs, and the island’s Cultural departments social media feeds to find out what’s going on and where to enjoy catching a live performance, an artisan flea market, or whatever public event is going on downtown.
Cozumel Museum is a Great Sunday Activity
In 2020, Cozumel‘s “Museo de la Isla” (Museum of the Island) was fully renovated. It has now reopened with refreshed permanent exhibitions on the island’s natural history, cultural history, and deep pre-hispanic roots, namely the traditions of the Mayan people who inhabited the Yucatan region of Mexico.
The museum also has secondary galleries that provide spaces for temporary and rotating exhibits, including such recent local highlights as the craftsmanship behind the annual Carnaval costumes, resident artists and painters, and photography exhibits of Cozumel‘s amazing underwater diving landscapes and marine life.
The museum is currently open on Sundays! That could always potentially change, so just do a quick check before you go.
(The Museum of the Island is also among our suggested rainy day activity ideas in Cozumel – link through for more ideas in case you happen to get an unlucky few hours of rain while you’re here.)
Plus, a visit to Cozumel‘s museum of the island sets you up perfectly for a day downtown, walking around enjoying some great authentic shopping, street art and galleries, cool new coffee shops, and some incredible local food and other activities – also, link here for some essential things to do in downtown Cozumel.
Diving in Cozumel: All Seven Days a Week
Of course, you can go diving on a Sunday, where the coral reef and the Island’s national marine park remain open!
The Cozumel diving scene never fully rests. Divemasters work 7/365.
Except maybe on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but even that varies from one dive shop to another.
If your favorite dive shop gives their staff New Year’s Eve off, for example, you could try to prearrange a shore dive for your party. Or, you can likely find an operator that has a new year’s night dive on the books – just ask around, or ask your dive shop for recommendations on who’d they send you to for that specific request.
In fact, the holidays are some of the busiest times on the island. Many visitors from Canada, the U.S., other parts of Mexico, and many other countries converge in this tropical hangout, to dive their way into the new year.
As noted in our overall guide to Cozumel diving, the conditions the water temperatures and the marine life here is great all year round.
Throughout the whole year, Sundays in Cozumel are some of the best times to go diving as it is frequently a travel day for those coming and going on vacation. This means that vacationing divers are more apt to be in transit than they are to be on the dive boat.
Generally speaking, the town slows down and it’s a lot quieter.
While Cozumel diving always takes place if the port is open and the weather conditions are fine, Sunday is just traditionally a little lighter, a little quieter, and your best chance for a light boat and some small group diving – including a little extra elbow-room on your dive boat. Never a bad thing…
Sunday is Movie Day in Cozumel
We covered the nice movie theater in Cozumel during our rainy day ideas post, but Sunday is also a popular day to go to the movies for locals that live on the island.
Once church is done in the late afternoon and the big family meal is over, Sunday often turns into a date night or family night at the Cinepolis theater in the Chedraui mall downtown.
Go early to get your tickets, people-watch, and enjoy some of the coffees, pastries, and other foods available right at the movie theater – and of course, they have the full monty of movie snacks like popcorn, candies, and soda.
English-speaking visitors will be happy to know that many of the new releases coming from Hollywood are shown in English with Spanish subtitles so everyone can follow along.
Some showings are in Spanish, but that is noted in the timetables posted by the theaters.
Further, any movie that is a children’s feature, such as a Pixar movie or other animated feature, will be in Spanish to benefit the local population of kids, but they usually provide English subtitles in that case.
Check the Cinepolis website here for the Cozumel location‘s current showings.
Cozumel Foodies: Every Day is a Good Day to Eat!
When in doubt on what to do on Sunday, you should probably ponder that question over a nice plate of cochinita tacos…
Cozumel’s delicious Mexican cuisine never rests!
Traditionally, some restaurants in town are closed, especially mom and pop shops of the Mexican variety.
One meal that’s always popular here on the island is breakfast and or brunch, especially on Sunday.
All-day Sunday you’ll find plenty of places serving traditional Mexican specialties like chilaquiles, Cochinita (see above), huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, delicious coffees and pastries, waffles, pancakes, and more.
As mentioned in the first section, cochinita pibil tacos and sandwiches (tortas) made from the delicious slow-roasted pork are definitely great options on a Sunday.
If you’re a Sunday sports fan, don’t forget to hit up some of the grill masters in the various sports bars for pub grub while you watch the NFL on TV, and so on. (For a full rundown of sports bars and other great day-drinking spots, check out this post.)
Or if you’re more the type to treat Sunday as a restorative day of rest and health, you can find out all about the island’s growing number of vegetarian and vegan options (including amazing smoothies made from a wide array of tropical fresh fruits), hit a local Yoga class, get lost in a book under a shady beach-side palm tree, or participate in one of our best eco-friendly excursions in Cozumel.
Please note that some restaurants are closed for their own day of rest, though that seems to be changing. It’s always best to check ahead of time, and have a plan B in mind.
Mayan Ruins in Cozumel on Sunday
Cozumel’s prime archaeological site of Mayan Ruins is known as San Gervasio, which is run by the municipality’s parks department. It is open on Sundays!
For more on all the various Mayan ruins and cultural traditions on the island, link next to this practical guide to visiting Cozumel’s Mayan heritage sites.
The Cozumel Ferries Run on Sundays
If you still need some more ideas, you could always take a short ride (approximately 35 minutes) on one of the ferries in Cozumel and spend some Sunday Funday time in Playa del Carmen.
Or perhaps continue on and take a tour of the famous geological wonders of the Riviera Maya, or secure guided transportation to one of the other famous nearby towns like Tulum, Cancun, or the capital of Quintana Roo, Chetumal.
Each of these places is just another short ADO bus ride away, or hire a private taxi van to get you there.
The Cozumel ferries and the ADO buses run 7 days a week.
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