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Cozumel, a Caribbean island 19 km (12 mi) east of the Quintana Roo coast, is Mexico’s largest island with a territorial extension of 647.33 km2 (258.93 mi2). The average temperature is 26 C (79 F) and the climate is warm and humid, with strong rainfall in the summer.

The island is covered with lush jungle vegetation and surrounded by rocky coastlines, white-sand beaches, lagoons and mangroves. The waters encircling the island have an impressive group of coral reefs that are part of the Great Mayan Reef, the second largest reef system in the world. Marine reserves of great ecological importance, such as Parque Marino Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel (Cozumel National Reef Marine Park) and Parque Natural Chankanaab (Chankanaab Nature Park), were created to protect areas with a wide diversity of marine life, and they have drawn the attention of researchers and marine biologists such as Jacques Cousteau. Moreover, they are great places to do scuba diving and ecotourism outings.

The island’s only town is San Miguel de Cozumel, which has a relaxed Caribbean atmosphere and Mexico’s most important international cruise dock. Tourists flock to Cozumel looking for the peace, quiet and comfort that the island’s hotel zone offers. During your stay, you can also enjoy excellent golf courses, spas, and restaurants serving up a wide array of regional fish and seafood dishes. And of course there’s the thriving nightlife in the bars, where one can drink national and exotic beverages with new friends under a moonlit sky.

Outdoor activities:
Cozumel’s jungle surroundings allow you to do all kinds of outdoor activities, such as touring through its woodlands on foot or bicycle, exploring archaeological sites, or enjoying fine-sand beaches as you go on a romantic horseback ride. We also recommend that you take a stroll through the town of San Miguel so that you can appreciate the modern and luxurious tourist resorts full of local Caribbean flavor.

Cozumel is considered an excellent place for sport fishing. You can catch sailfish, marlin and swordfish, which is why the island has hosted international fishing tournaments such as the “Torneo de Pesca con Mosca.” Here you’ll find plenty of rental shops if you need tackle and gear. November is the best time of year for fishing.

Cozumel has a select group of beaches that are ideal for kayaking. To do this activity, we recommend that you rent the necessary equipment directly from the companies offering kayaking rental services.

In Cozumel you’ll find various places to do ecotourism outings. You can visit nature reserves with indigenous flora and fauna, lagoons surrounded by regional plant species and coral reefs off the coast.

Scuba diving:
For several decades now Cozumel has been considered an ideal place to scuba dive, thanks to its biodiversity of marine life. In its waters you can see countless schools of angelfish and parrotfish, as well as sponges and manta rays that inhabit the Great Mayan Reef. The reef system is the second largest in the world, spanning from Isla Mujeres to Costa Rica. In Cozumel’s National Reef Marine Park you’ll find 25 reefs where you can scuba dive, some of which are excellent spots for novice divers due to the calm waters.

Cozumel has a port with optimal infrastructure and top-rate services for boating. Not only does it receive cruise liners coming from South America, North America and Europe, but it also provides docking for yachts, sailboats and other private boats that navigate off the Caribbean coast in search of adventures.

In Cozumel you’ll find world-class professional golf courses surrounded by the island’s unique natural beauty. All of the courses offer fine services, comfort and exclusivity. These are some of the most known golf courses:

  • Cozumel Country Club: Located at Km 6.5 off the Costera Norte Highway. Designed by the Nicklaus Design Group, this country club has a 10-hole, par-72 course
  • Playa Azul Golf and Beach: Located at Km 4 off the San Juan Highway in the northern part of the hotel zone. Designed by the Nicklaus Design Group, it has a 10-hole, par 72-course
  • Melia Golf and Beach: Located at Km 5.8 off the Costera Norte Highway. Designed by the Nicklaus Design Group, this club has a 10-hole, par-72 course
  • Minigolf Cozumel: Located at the corner of Calle 1 and Avenida 15. This is an 18-hole miniature golf course

Cozumel’s best hotels and resorts have world-famous spas that offer complete services and treatments for the care of your skin and body. Some use ancient treatment methods, such as temazcal steam baths (a pre-Hispanic tradition) or holistic treatments to ease stress. During your stay, don’t miss out on the spas’ excellent facilities and the personal attention that they provide.

Cozumel has beautiful archaeological sites that are well worth visiting, including one that was once an ancient Mayan ceremonial center.

Located 17 km (10.5 mi) east of San Miguel. This Mayan archaeological zone has various groups of buildings that were built in distinct eras. The structures were used for housing, religious and political purposes. Currently, only three groups of buildings are open to the public: Manitas, Plaza Central and Murcielagos. Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Located on the island’s southern coast, 30 km (18 mi) from the town of San Miguel. Has virgin beaches and wonderful jungle landscape, such as mangroves, marshes and dunes. Here you can visit the archaeological ruins of El Caracol, which were ancient Mayan worshipping grounds. You can also see an observatory that was probably used by the island’s villagers to predict the arrival of hurricanes and storms.

The crafts you’ll find on the island are similar to the ones you’ll find in other Mayan regions. Local artisans make a wide array of products such as huipiles (blouses with handmade trimming), wood sculptures, hand-woven hats, diverse trinkets made from seashells, and imitation pre-Hispanic figurines with stone settings. You can buy these items at the Mercado Municipal in the town of San Miguel or at various shops along the boardwalk.

Among Cozumel’s most important festivities is its annual Carnival in February, a tradition that began last century. Nearly all the residents participate in the event, which adds to the festive atmosphere in the streets and public squares. The Fiesta de la Catedral, also called the Fiesta de la Santa Cruz, is another important festivity that takes place during the first week of March in the town of El Cedral. During the event, there is an agricultural fair that brings together many people from the Yucatan Peninsula region, and you can also see popular regional dances such as La Cabeza del Cochino and Las Cintas. Other important celebrations held in Cozumel are the Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo, which takes place in June and offers various dance performances, and the Fiesta de San Miguel, which pays homage to the town’s patron saint during the month of September.

In Cozumel, much like in the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula, the cuisine is widely diverse thanks to the blending of indigenous and European influences. The traditional fare in the state of Quintana Roo is fish and seafood dishes, such as sea bass, red snapper, lobster and sea snails. The dishes are prepared with various spices and chili peppers commonly used in Quintana Roo cooking. During your stay, you can also try delicious Yucatecan favorites such as cochinita pibil (a marinated pork dish), chocolomo (a seasoned veal dish) and papadzules (enchiladas bathed in pumpkin seed sauce).

Cozumel has interesting museums in which you can learn more about the island and the southeastern region’s history and cultural development.

Museum of the Island of Cozumel: Located on the boardwalk off Avenida Rafael Melgar, at Calle 6 Norte. This interactive museum has four showrooms with various historical exhibits, ecological displays of the region’s flora and fauna, as well as pieces focusing on the development of ancient and modern Mayan culture. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Museum of Musical Instruments: This museum houses an important collection of Pre-Hispanic and mestizo musical instruments, as well as other instruments from other parts of the world. It also has an audio library and an extensive collection of books. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m0. Located on Calle 2 Norte.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Museo: This diving museum has an interesting display of photos depicting the island’s beautiful underwater world. There is also an exhibition of objects related to scuba diving and a shell collection of different sizes and shapes. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Located in Parque Natural Chankanaab, nine km (5.5 mi) from San Miguel.

Like any top-notch tourist zone, Cozumel offers various places to go shopping. If you’re looking for a traditional market for souvenirs or more expensive items like jewelry, we recommend that you visit the Mercado Municipal, located five blocks from the pier. You’ll also find numerous shops along the boardwalk offering their merchandise at the best prices, such as Cinco Soles. On Avenida Melgar, you’ll find stores selling swim wear and accessories for water sports, as well as other shops that have crafts, perfumes and other merchandise at reasonable prices.

Even though it’s an island, Cozumel has plenty of places to offer you an excellent night on the town. The fun lasts until the break of dawn, especially at bars and discos such as Neptuno, considered one of the hippest night spots on the island thanks to its great music and party atmosphere. Another option is Carlos & Charlie’s, which serves all kinds of exotic drinks, food and spins pop music in a festive setting. You can also drop in on Guido’s, Las Palmeras or Fat Tuesday, a disco/bar that targets bar hoppers between the ages of 18 to 25 and serves excellent frappes. We also recommend that you visit some of the island’s more traditional bars such as Viva Mexico or Lounge 1.5, where you can enjoy typical national drinks as you take in the Mexican Caribbean’s azure-blue scenery under the moonlight.

Cozumel has an important dock that receives all kinds of boats ranging from small yachts to international cruise liners. It is also the departure point for ferries going to Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos, which are 40-minute and one-hour boat rides, respectively. Upon arrival, you can head north along Highway 307 to Cancun, or south in the direction of Chetumal, the state capital of Quintana Roo. For air travel, the island has an international airport with services offered by the following carriers: Mexicana, American Airlines, Continental and Delta, among others. The airlines have direct flights from various U.S. cities and connecting flights through Mexico City.


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