A travel guide to Isla Cozumel, Mexico providing Isla Cozumel tourism & travel information, hotels, attractions, restaurants & shopping.
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Isla Cozumel travel guide


Overview

Located directly off the fabulous coastal playground of Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island. This wild island remains only moderately developed; the rest is wild jungle populated by iguanas, foxes, deer, and other wildlife. However, it isn’t the terrestrial scenery that draws visitors back year after year, it’s the water. The turquoise water is so clear that visibility can reach up to 76m, and underwater scenery includes black coral and millions of exotic fluorescent fish. Cozumel’s chains of barrier coral reefs just beyond the southwestern coast help to create one of the world’s best scuba-diving and snorkeling spots.  One of Cozumel’s big draws is that due to the clarity of the water here, you do not have to be a diver to enjoy the underwater views. Just put on a mask and a snorkel, dive in and be instantly amazed at the beauty and diversity of the sea! The underwater activities here are endless, for both beginners and experts alike.

Before Cozumel was established as a major resort destination, the island’s economy was based on seasonal harvests of chicle (used for chewing gum), coconuts, and seafood. It remained mostly “undiscovered” until the famous French diver and marine biologist Cousteau experienced the wonders of Cozumel’s waters as a diver’s paradise over 50 years ago, and named it one of the most beautiful diving areas in the world. The National Marine Park of Cozumel Reefs was created to protect the delicate balance of its fantastic coral reefs and abundant variety of tropical fish. Located within the park is a saltwater lagoon called Chankanaab Nature Park where you can not only snorkel, but may also swim with the dolphins, if you so desire.

The native Cozumel islanders are of Mayan descent. Spend half a day discovering the island’s main Mayan ruin, historically considered a minor discovery but still rather interesting, San Gervacio, which was once a sacred place of pilgrimage where Mayan women journeyed to pay homage to Ixchel, their goddess of fertility. Archaeologists excavating the site discovered a tomb filled with 50 skeletons and a cache of Spanish beads; the bodies are assumed to be 16th-century Maya who succumbed to diseases introduced by the Spanish conquistadors.

Visitors can expect to experience a modest ruin, with sturdy, squat buildings (close to the ground with small doors) typical of those found elsewhere on Cozumel. The architectural style has come to be known as oratorio, and most certainly was created to withstand the hurricanes that have battered the island for thousands of years.

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