There’s no better way to kick-start a day of diving in the Palancar Reef and swimming between the starfish-dotted sandbars of Playa El Cielo than with one of our Cozumel best breakfast choices. These are the establishments that we think offer the finest morning meals on the whole island; the places that will fuel you up for sunbathing sessions, snorkeling jaunts, cycle tours – and plenty more.
The good news is that there’s an eclectic mix on the menu. We’ve got places where you can score fiery huevos rancheros with jalapeno salsas and sides of refried beans. There are pitstops for healthy breakfasts of locally made juices and granola. And you get European-style cafés that tout croissants and omelets and more.
Most of our best Cozumel breakfast options are located in and around the town of San Miguel de Cozumel. That’s to be expected since it’s the dining and entertainment hub of the whole island. There are a few choices that dot the coast road going south, too, along with one or two near the beaches and snorkeling coves of the west coast.
Jolly: Coffee and Late Breakfast
Right next door the Museo de Cozumel just a short stroll up the promenade from the cruise ship port, Jolly: Coffee and Late Breakfast touts a range of creative and tasty morning dishes. What’s more, just as the name implies, they do some pretty excellent brews here to boot…
Those with a pang of hunger can get stuck into the bigger plates – we’re talking things like the cheesy toast with fried egg and serrano ham or the chicken enchiladas with their cold cheese and Oaxaca-style rojo salsa. There are sweet dishes on offer, too, like the stacks of pancakes with fruit and ricotta or the waffles with Nutella and banana.
The setting is pretty sleek. Thin and long, the joint opens into a space with walls that are scrawled with artist murals and graffiti. The roof is strewn in a canopy of rough rope. There’s polished concrete everywhere else. It’s all very boho; very Bali.
Rock ‘n Java Cozumel Caribbean Bar & Grill
Just a few steps away from the main cruise ship terminal on the main Avenue Rafael E Melgar running along the edge of San Miguel, Rock ‘n Java Cozumel Caribbean Bar & Grill is a top place to seek out a breakfast after alighting from your cabin. The joint sits opposite the Mega Mall, marking itself out with bold neon signage and cartoonish designs, all sitting above an exterior dining space that’s shaded by a duo of gazebos.
The menu is pretty hefty. It’s packed with lunch meals and dinner options that run the gamut from big old hamburgers to gigantes burritos. One whole card is dedicated to breakfast, though, so there should be no shortage of choices for that morning meal – we’re talking everything from omelet with chili con carne to traditional Yucatan chilaquiles to huevos veganos (a vegan version of that favorite Mexican brunch dish).
Inside has some casual seating between brightly painted walls of yellow and orange. The main bar space is marked out by a big wooden trellis with the slogan “Tex-Mex” emblazoned on high – a clue to the type of food churned out in the kitchen behind.
COZ Coffee Roasting Company
A lot of fuss has been made about the COZ Coffee Roasting Company. All of it’s justified, at least in our humble opinion. Yep, this local caffeine pitstop in the Centro part of San Miguel de Cozumel has to be home to some of the finest coffee on the whole island. The owners – who actually hail from the snowy mountain climbs of Montana in the US – have been on a quest to find the best beans and roasting techniques going, and they put passion into every cup that’s brewed here.
The specialty coffees are what really set them apart from the crowd. Playful and experimental versions of your usual cup of joe involve spicing the mix with cumin and turmeric, or reworking a cold brew into a zingy mojito inspired by the Caribbean. Don’t worry, though – you can also grab all the normal iterations of your morning tipple in the form of flat whites, lattes, and cappuccinos.
There’s a food menu to go alongside all this. It runs the gamut from the downright healthy – fresh fruit platter, we’re looking at you! – to the hearty pre-dive filler – check out the eggs and cheese casserole skillet. You can also sample some nice regional treats like Mexican scrambled eggs or smashed local avo on toast.
The Money Bar Beach Club
Perched right on the sloshing Caribbean Sea in front of the huge Landmark Resort of Cozumel, the Money Bar Beach Club is about 15 minutes’ drive or 25 minutes’ cycle south of the main town square in San Miguel. That makes it the perfect early stop off for folks embarking on a round-the-island tour, especially since it’s surely up there with the Cozumel best breakfast options overall…
Opening at 7am, the kitchen here starts the day by serving up a storm of both Mexican breakfasts and international ones. Health nuts can go for the granola and yoghurt combo with fruits and fresh juice. Tummy rumblers can opt for the rancheros eggs in a choice of green or red salsa, or perhaps that sprawling Money Bar Deluxe – a symphony of three eggs, French toast, hash browns, and bacon or sausage. Talk about a refuel!
Prices here are likely to be a touch higher than they are in the more casual joints you find back in the city. However, you’re paying for a fantastic setting…The outdoor tables are literally meters from the water’s edge. You’ll smell the salt and be able to look out for turtles playing in the reefs as you dine!
Drinks and dining, local style – that’s the name of the game in the fun and vibrant joint of Tequila Flavours. It’s literally opposite the big port area on the south side of San Miguel de Cozumel, and only a detour from the main Quintana Roo C-1 highway (basically the only highway on the western coast of the island), making it a cinch to get to for those morning meals. Don’t rush too much, though, because the doors here don’t officially open until 9am.
The order of the day is very much filling, hearty Mexicana foods. Most are just as good for brunch, lunch, and dinner as they are for your first meal of the day. Examples include the chips and salsa medley with a side of spicy pico de gallo, quesadillas packed with your choice of meat and cheese, and fajitas served sizzling in a iron-cast pan.
If you think it’s early enough for a drink, then Cozumel best breakfast options hardly get better than this. Why? Well…there’s a whole range of in-house mojitos and cold beers to pick from, not to mention speciality iced margaritas that are served like a slush puppy with a straw.
Pull up into Doña Chely on your way to the Palancar Reef or the turquoise swimming coves of Playa El Cielo and you won’t be disappointed. This honest, local eatery is a no-frills establishment that focuses on showcasing the simple tastiness of the Mexican kitchen.
There’s really not that much too it. Just a hole in the wall topped by a corrugated iron roof and fronted by a glass desk where people place their orders. The in-house cooks are always smiling and happy to chat. They’ll even offer a recommendation off the menu if you can’t decide.
Talking of the menu…there’s a dedicated breakfast section here that is basically two eggs in any style of your choosing with a top of local food (which could be rojo salsa or refried beans depending on the day). The non-morning menu also has options that could be good for early on, including traditional tortas sandwiches and tacos with chorizo and egg.
Amparo’s Breakfast Bistro
Amparo’s Breakfast Bistro is the place to head in the main town center of San Miguel de Cozumel if you want to skip the fancy sourdough and toasts and whatnot. This is a real, down-to-earth local establishment where you’ll eat homemade chilaquiles in terracotta bowls and devour fiery habanero salsas on the top of your fried eggs.
The setting is authentic in its own right. Lines of hardwood tables cluster the interior and spill out onto the cobbled streets out front. The inside is colorfully designed with Day of the Dead murals scrawled across the L-shaped bar area.
When it comes to choosing what to eat, you’ll have some thinking to do. Yep, there’s oodles to get through, from smoky mole enchiladas to fried corn tortillas with scrambled eggs. There’s also a dedicated vegan menu for those skipping the animal products, along with a selection of more international dishes in the form of lobster benedict and eggs benedict.
Where is the Cozumel best breakfast? Our verdict…
In Cozumel, best breakfast establishments tend to cluster in the bustling middle of the main town: San Miguel de Cozumel. That’s good news for day trippers coming in on the ferry from Playa del Carmen or on a cruise ship, as both the terminals are really close by. What’s more, the mix of places to pick from is quite daunting. You’ve got old-school Mexican kitchens that do torta sandwiches packed with ground pork and chili. But there are also roastery cafes that flaunt frothy coffees and a side of artisan French pastry.