Just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, adjacent to Playa del Carmen you will find the Caribbean island of Cozumel, Mexico. With its Mexican heart and Caribbean soul, Cozumel appeals to all sorts of travelers, from cruise ship passengers to extreme diving fanatics to history and nature buffs to those simply seeking relaxation.
Native Mayans first established Cozumel as a ceremonial center and commercial port for trade. Today it still continues to be an important haven for ships, welcoming passengers from the most popular cruise lines as Mexico’s most popular port-of-call. One-day cruise ship visitors will discover island traditions, natural wonders and San Miguel, Cozumel’s only town.
San Miguel offers an extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and colorful shops selling unique souvenirs and traditional Mayan handicrafts. Take a leisurely seaside stroll along the charming malecón (boardwalk) that is full of with sculptures and monuments. Despite being the main tourist destination of Cozumel, San Miguel still retains a sense of laid-back tranquility.
Cozumel is also renowned for its incredible snorkeling and diving due to the sea’s remarkable clarity. Whether you are a pro-diver or a first-time snorkeler, the island is sprinkled with accessible sites for underwater exploration over one of the world’s largest reef systems that teems with tropical fish and marine life.
After Jacques Cousteau declared Cozumel to be of the most spectacular diving sites in the world in 1961, people from every corner of the planet now come to discover this underwater Caribbean biosphere.
Several ecological parks, such as Chankanaab and Faro Celerain (Punta Sur), offer the most popular snorkel and dive sites for all levels. More activities for adventuresome sightseers include jungle trails, lush botanical gardens, enchanting lagoons, delightful dolphin encounter programs and sea turtle sanctuaries.
If you’d prefer to escape the tourist areas, no worries, because on this small 48-km (30-mile) by 16-km (10-mile) island, roughly only six percent is actually developed, leaving a jungle-like interior and deserted beaches for rest and relaxation. Although it’s only 35 minutes from the Riviera Maya mainland, Cozumel provides blissful isolation if you wish.
Whether you’re in search of extreme adventures or some peaceful beach time, Cozumel might just your ideal vacation island.