Last Updated on July 6, 2023

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“Relax and unwind, get in a flip flop state of mind” — Villa Zaztun owners Sharon & Robert

Relaxing and tranquil.

That’s exactly what I found at Villa Zaztun on Cozumel—Mexico’s largest island. Cozumel has been one of the Caribbean’s premier destinations for decades. In the heart of Riviera Maya, it’s an island full of dreams and delights just an hour south of Cancun.

Getting there is half the fun. Visitors can fly into Cancun and take a bus, shuttle or private driver from the airport to Playa del Carmen and catch a fast boat over to the island. Or, you can fly directly into Cozumel. Personally, I loved taking the ferry.

Fast Boat Ferry to Cozumel

Ultramar ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel
Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse

Clean and spacious, the ferry provides guest seating inside, outside, on the bow, upper deck, or in first class. There’s even a pet friendly area to take your doggie friend with you. On weekends, live music is provided. It’s a perfect time to grab a Corona or Modelo with lime, sit out in the open air, and enjoy the sunset in true Mexican style. 

Check the ferry to Cozumel schedules here: Winjet or Ultramar

I chose to sit in first class which was fantastic. The best part is I paid no extra charge for the ticket, just walked in and sank into my large cushioned seat. Top-of-the-line ship stabilizers made this an extremely smooth ride on the easy 35-minute transit across the strait to beautiful Isla Cozumel.

As we approached the island, deep sapphire waters lightened to a vibrant azure blue with bright turquoise and aquamarines hues closer to shore. It’s easy to see why Cozumel is one of the world’s top diving destinations.

Ooh’s and aahs were audible everywhere on board as passengers hurried to take photos of the island before stepping ashore.

Cozumel is a dream location. With average annual temperatures in the high 70s, it’s a haven for water sports and fun in the sun. It’s also a safe island, and oh so beautiful. Spending time outdoors is what Cozumel is all about, and that is what made Villa Zaztun such a perfect fit for me.

Villa Zaztun, A Charming Vacation Rental in Cozumel

Entrance view of Villa Zaztun in Cozumel
The view as you step into the courtyard at Villa Zaztun (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

As I pulled up to the villa, a large cheery Caribbean blue flip flops painted on the bougainvillea draped wall were my ‘welcome to paradise’ greeting. The lush tropical garden courtyard magnified the laid-back tropical vibe. “My own private oasis in the Mexican sun” were my first thoughts.

Mayan sculpted warriors and Mexican art displayed throughout the villa added color, providing an insight into the traditions of the island and its rich heritage. Dazzling bright textiles, tapestries, blankets, and sea shells were everywhere– delighting the soul of this art and nature lover.

A Spacious and Charming Villa in Cozumel

Large windows overlooking lush tropical gardens from the villa
Large windows in the villa overlook lush tropical gardens (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

The 550-meter (1800 square-foot) villa felt spacious with everything I could have wanted in an island rental.

A comfy queen-sized bed, full wardrobe and private outdoor shaded courtyard in which to enjoy my morning tea or afternoon glass of wine added something special to my stay. A wall safe for valuables was also much appreciated.

The immaculate bathroom had the cutest happy octopus shower curtain that made me smile every time I went in, and still does every time I think of it.

The bedroom at Villa Zaztun
The bedroom at Villa Zaztun (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

As I settled in, I realized the whole villa is designed for comfort. Fully air-conditioned with homey living room couches, a flat screen TV, the best high-speed internet on the island made it a home away from home. Or perhaps even better.

Stocking the full-sized fridge and walk in pantry was super easy as Villa Zaztun is but a few-minutes’ walk from two major supermarkets.

A Spectacular Rooftop

We enjoyed lounging on the rooftop of the villa (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

One aspect of this villa that truly stole my heart was the rooftop with spectacular 360-degree views of the island. Day or night it’s where I spent most of my time. The roof even sported a tank for washing out dive and snorkel gear. As Cozumel is one of the world top dive destinations, we all want to plunge into that water as soon as we can.

Mornings on the rooftop were easily spent lazing in a hammock, reading a book, or sunbathing. A quarter wall ensured privacy from neighbours and blocking out what little street noise there was. The rooftop was also a place to observe native wildlife. Much to my delight, gorgeous parrots flew by each afternoon, their cheery chirps announcing their arrival.

The rooftop was also perfect for enjoying the evening breeze after a day of sight-seeing or local activities, and ideal for savouring sunset cocktails or a romantic dinner. A large grill provided the place to prepare fresh-caught island seafood.

But the icing on the cake came later in the evening as friends and I stargazed the night away. The sky was so clear as we watched Jupiter and Saturn’s heavenly dance across the night sky. This Great Conjunction astrological event only happens every 800 years and we got a ringside seat. It was almost indescribable.

Local golden church bells chiming from Corpus Christi echoed through the night added a sense of godliness to the event. It’s as if all heavenly bodies at that moment were in perfect harmony.

Villa Zaztun has the Perfect Cozumel Location

Seafood platter at Buccanos Beach Club in Cozumel
The seafood platter at Buccanos Beach Club in Cozumel (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

Villa Zaztun provided the perfect balance of location and seclusion– the best of both worlds. The villa is only a few blocks from the centro, yet still removed from the hustle and bustle of a city centre. We found it relaxing and quiet with ocean breezes, romantic sunsets, and always offering a peaceful night’s sleep.

How to Get Around in Cozumel

oceanfront view in Cozumel
Cozumel along Melgar Avenue, the main street (Photo credit: Bel Woodhouse)

Close to Villa Zaztun, supermarket Chedraui is the place to find taxis or local island transport.

The local transport is a white minivan called a collective. For ten pesos (fifty cents) they’re a super reasonable means of transportation. It’s impossible to miss their red COLLECTIVO logo, and they can be flagged down at any time.

I rode in one for about an hour to visit the backside of the island where the locals live. This fun tour costing less than a dollar gave me a look at the real Cozumel most tourists never see.

Renting a Car in Cozumel

For those really wanting to experience more of Cozumel, rental cars are available for $39 a day–and delivered right to your door. Then you can explore the island’s best beach clubs, oceanfront restaurants, stunning beaches, and tequila tours at your own pace.

This Mexican Caribbean tropical paradise has a lot to offer. Scuba diving, snorkel trips, beaches, shopping, amazing food, and super friendly locals.

Perhaps the only drawback to staying in the perfect place in Cozumel was never wanting to leave Villa Zaztun. I had such a wonderful time there; I know I’ll be back. Next time for a longer stay.

Click here to book Villa Zaztun

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2 Comments
  • Penny
    June 5, 2021

    After reading this, I know where I want to go, and I know where I want to stay. Thank you for sharing this tropical gem.

    • Noreen Kompanik
      June 8, 2021

      Penny, thank you so much for reading Bel’s article and commenting. It is a lovely place!