The stunning white sand beaches and clear blue waters of the Mexican Caribbean Sea are just a few of Cozumel’s many charms. Drenched in seemingly endless sunshine and located just a few yards from the Great Mesoamerican Reef,which is the second largest barrier reef on earth,Cozumel is a diving Mecca and home to a variety of sea creatures,including giant lobsters,bright green parrotfish,a number of different eels and much more.
The coastline of Cozumel is also a beautiful place to take a walk,with bright blue-green waves crashing up against limestone bluffs and quiet beaches. Some of these areas are not great for swimming,but they offer an excellent place to kite board thanks to the high winds. Many restaurants and fresh seafood stands line the shores,while the island’s Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Resort & Spa offers an upscale dining and lodging experience.
During the summer months,hundreds of sea turtles can be seen making their way up the beach from the ocean to dig their nests and lay eggs before returning to the warm waters. Several months later,the hatchlings cause a stir as they follow in their mother’s wake and make their own precarious journeys to the sea. A number of volunteer protection programs have worked hard to protect the turtles,which remain quite safe from poachers on Cozumel’s beaches.
The northwest shores of Cozumel,which is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island,remain somewhat wild,but there is a beach park located on Isla Pasión and the area offers fabulous opportunities for birding enthusiasts. In addition,canoeing and photography tours are available here,led by conservationists who are dedicated to preserving the island’s considerable natural beauty.
Cozumel is also Mexico’s largest cruise port,with more than three million passengers visiting annually to spend a few enjoyable hours perusing the island’s duty-free shops. The luckiest visitors will have time to explore the wilder areas of the island,or to snorkel above the stunning barrier reef.
Safety remains one of Cozumel’s top priorities,with violent crimes a very rare occurrence. To keep it this way,the Mexican Federal Police,Army and Navy all have posts on the island,in addition to a dedicated Cozumel police force. Many high-end shops located along the town’s malecón have also hired round the clock private security forces,making this one of the safest places in all of Mexico. In fact,chances are good that Cozumel is even safer than the city in which you currently live!
Perhaps part of the reason for the safety of Cozumel also lies in the fact that the locals are dedicated to a strong sense of community and family. The traditional mercado and other stores are a favorite place for islanders to gather on Sunday evenings,while it is a common site to see several family members riding together on a single motor scooter,which is one of the most popular forms of transportation on the island.
If you travel a short distance from the coast into the more rural areas of Cozumel,such as El Cedral,there is a strong sense of history that dates back to the island’s modern-day founders,who arrived in 1848. They built a church here next to an ancient Maya temple and several of the founding families still own homes or ranches in the area. In addition,the inland portions of the island remain a favorite place for locals and savvy visitors alike to escape the maddening coastal crowds.
Each year in late April and early May Cozumel is home to the Fería Cedral,which is a weeklong festival that is held in celebration of the resident’s ancestry. The celebration brings together the descendents of the island’s founding families and other official guests to eat,and enjoy traditional dancing and entertainment.