You could easily spend several hours in the port shop area. We, however, decided we wanted to go into Cozumel and see a bit more of the local area. What we found however was more shopping, a larger downtown that caters to tourist area and smaller artists markets. The main street is filled with larger stores and more of the chain stores we’re use to seeing, but if you go down the side street you can find smaller vendors – and barter with them on prices. You can find local artwork, Mexican silver, food vendors and even wrestling masks.
There are some benefits getting out of the port area. They still love tourists, so you can find some great deals and shopping. But the stores aren’t as regulated, so yes – you can barter, but you may have more pushy sales people when you go off the main drag.
With all that in mind we still had a great time. Goonie got a wrestling mask and was able to battle his first opponent. And back in the port shopping area, he even got to play with a mariachi band! I have to say, this was a much better experience with Mexico than the last one we had. We had some fantastic food, and did a great amount of shopping. But got a good laugh as the locals were wearing in winter jackets in 80 degree weather :).