There’s nothing I like more than discovering something that many people seem to overlook while I’m traveling. Cozumel is one of those things. So many people think of Cozumel as just a cruise ship stopover, or a quick afternoon ferry to and from Playa del Carmen. While it certainly is both of those things, it’s also so much more than just a brief stop. It’s a perfect final destination, too.
While most of the island’s tourists arrive in the morning and are whisked away on boats at night, the few that stay are welcomed into a nightlife scene that’s entirely local and inviting. At night, city lights from Playa del Carmen – the closest town back in the mainland peninsula, a 45-minute ferry ride away – are almost completely imperceptible. The town fills back up with locals as the cruise ships carry on their way, and all you can hear wherever you look is either the sound of the ocean, or the vibrations coming from the nearest salsa club. If not for anything else, this is why I think spending at least 1 night in Cozumel is absolutely worth the trip. And for that, you’ll need a place to stay!
I stayed at the Villas El Encanto for 3 nights, and I was really charmed by this small, family-run boutique hotel.
Though not waterfront, Villas El Encanto is just across the street from the water, and not too far away from beach access. The ‘action’ in Cozumel can all be found in San Miguel, the central business and tourist hub of the island. Villas El Encanto sits just outside of the town center, but is close enough to walk or bike. At a leisurely pace, I’d say about 15-20 minutes walking will get you anywhere you need to be in San Miguel. By taxi, I’d say 50-100 pesos ($2-5) should be more than enough to get you to and from San Miguel, too!
If you need food, toiletries, or pretty much anything during your stay, Chedraui (Mexico’s grocery and department store chain) is right around the corner.
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The Villas El Encanto Property
The Villas El Encanto is not just one hotel building, but rather a series of one- and two-story villas nestled inside its own private jungle, making for a really unique and memorable experience. On the grounds, you will find gardens, a pool and sunbathing area, a covered deck for hanging out and lounging on hammocks, and some resident animals (including a peacock that lives on the roof!). Throughout the property, each villa has an open kitchen area on the first floor that guests can use to cook meals, make coffee, grab water, and hang out. The whole area is designed to feel very secluded and submerged in nature, with touches of minimalist Mexican architecture mixed with tropical vibes peppered throughout.
The rooms themselves are quaint and simple, but spacious. I had a room on the second floor with 2 beds (1 full and 1 twin) and a balcony, which I loved. In my room, I had a coffee maker, a mini fridge, a fan, and AC, and a full bathroom with basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
One of my absolute favorite things about my room was opening the balcony each morning to drown my room in sunshine and listen to birds (so many birds!) chirping. Sipping coffee outside and listening to nature truly made this little hotel feel so special and relaxing.
If you’re traveling solo, this hotel was very easy to find and feels very safe. The staff made me feel like I could go to them with any concerns or questions, and that they would be able to assist me as best as they could. If you’re in a big group, the Villas have a handful of rooms that are larger and more spacious. And, the various communal areas throughout the property make it easy to congregate and hang out!
Cozumel itself was a laid-back, tropical paradise. I could not get enough of the turquoise water, the warm weather, and the friendly people. But beyond that, I will say that staying in a boutique, family-run hotel like the Villas El Encanto really helped make my weekend in the Caribbean feel relaxing and remote. At such an affordable price and with such unique charm, I would definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re thinking of visiting Cozumel!
Ready to pack your bags? Book your stay at the Villas El Encanto here.
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