Talking about Mexico, what comes to your mind?
Check the list!
Did you check all of it, or is there anything to add?
Now, let’s explore Cozumel together and see how much of Mexico we can get covered within your short trip!
1. Beaches & beyond:
Cozumel’s beaches are a haven for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. From white powder sand, crystal clear calm waters and palm tree fringed coastlines in the west to scenic rocky cliffs and crashing waves in the east, there’s a perfect spot for every mood and activity.
In 2016, UNESCO declared Cozumel a Biosphere Reserve with a surface of 134,623.73 ha, consisting of medium semi-evergreen forest and mangroves, as well as a significant portion of marine ecosystems that are part of the Mesoamerican Reef – the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. The protected area incorporates two Ramsar sites: ‘Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel’ and ‘Manglares y Humedales del Norte de Isla Cozumel’.
Tacos al pastor, quesadillas, ceviche, tamales, burritos, fajitas, pozole… you name them! Mexican cuisine is vibrant and authentic, full of flavor, including fresh and healthy ingredients like avocados, tomatoes, chiles and beans, as well as all kinds of available meat, chicken and fish. It’s no surprise that Mexican food is well known around the world and many people’s favorite.
In Cozumel you can find plenty of delicious dining options in all price-ranges, no matter if you decide to eat at your hotel’s restaurants, in downtown San Miguel or at smaller family-owned spots. Careful with the hot sauce though!
Ancient Mayans and their descendants considered Tequila a sacred potion and gift from the Gods (regalo de dios), made of blue agave and aging in wooden barrels awaiting the day to become a Blanco, Reposado or Añejo.
While Mexican laws state that tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas, in Cozumel you can join some tastings and classes where you will learn about the origins, history, preparation methods and correct way to appreciate and savor this sacred potion, and of course can bring your new favorite beverage home with you.
4. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
We can’t highlight it enough and the large number of repeat dive travelers speaks for itself – The number one thing to do in Cozumel is scuba diving! Perfect for both experienced divers and beginners due to its diversity of dive sites, amazing visibility, and a vibrant underwater world with an abundance of colorful corals and sponges, marine life including around 500 species of fish, 60 species of hard and soft coral, 350 mollusks and marine mammals, algaes and seagrasses. This is the place where you will fall in love with scuba diving and the underwater world!
How about night diving? Have you ever gazed out at the open ocean at night wondering what happens down there as the sun disappears over the horizon and darkness sets in? Checkout Pro Dive International’s recent blog about “The Magic of Night Diving in Cozumel”!
There are also several mapped cenotes in Cozumel, of which only 2 or 3 can be more easily accessed by cave divers. However, since they are located in areas that are heavily frequented by crocodiles, you’d be better off joining the organized day trips to the famous cenotes of the Riviera Maya.
To encounter the big guys during their season, day trips can be arranged to snorkel with whale sharks – the world’s largest fish and sailfish – the world’s fastest fish, as well as dives with the majestic predator – bull shark.
5. Mayan history & culture
Cozumel was a commercial and ceremonial center during the Mayan period. The first foreign expedition to the island was led by the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva in 1518, who was one of the first to explore the Mexican shores in the Spanish efforts to conquer the New World. Using the island as a base, Hernán Cortés’ troops destroyed most of Cozumel’s Mayan temples as they started executing the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas that also caused the fall of the Aztec empire.
Though not as large a city as Chichen Itza, Cozumel features about 40 archaeological sites on the island, including material remains like ceremonial and commercial centers and pilgrimage routes. Two of the most important Mayan archeological sites are San Gervasio in the North and El Cedral in the South.
5.1 San Gervasio in the North
The Mayan settlement of San Gervasio dates back to 100 BC. Every woman was obliged to make a pilgrimage to the island of the swallows ‘Cuzaam Luumi’ at least once in her life to worship Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, love, medicine and textile arts.
The site is easily accessible, well maintained, and features informational signage.
San Gervasio opens to visitors daily from 9am to 4pm, and charges about MX$200/ US$10 per ticket. (subject to change)
5.2 El Cedral in the South
Once the capital and largest community in Cozumel, El Cedral dates back to 800 BC. Of the Mayan temples, only the ancient fertility temple is left today, which was used for ceremonies to honor the goddess Ixchel.
Admission is approximately MX$40/ US$2.
5.3 Museo de la Isla de Cozumel
If you are interested in learning more about Cozumel’s origins, its people and heritage, the Museum features 11 interactive exhibits that let you discover the origins, natural diversity and resilience of its inhabitants in a playful, informed and entertaining way. There are also 2 temporary exhibit rooms for local and international artists and a special room that pays tribute to 146 years of Carnival tradition.
The museum opens its doors on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm, for an admission of around MX$200/ US$11 and permitting kids under 3 years free entry. (subject to change)
Six! out of the seven sea turtle species worldwide visit Mexico every year. We are lucky enough to get to see Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles regularly during our dives, as they are in search of food and a good clean.
Besides the opportunity of observing turtles underwater during your dived and snorkeling trips, you may be lucky to find some turtle nests in front of your resort. Hotel employees usually rope them off to ensure their protection.
Turtle conservation projects like the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park – a 247-acre ecological park in Cozumel – are a great alternative to learn more about their behaviors, importance for the marine environment, how you can help protect them, and to observe nests or turtles first hand.
Check out our recent blog about the hatching, fun facts and protection of the “Turtles of the Riviera Maya & Cozumel”.
7. Chocolate & Coffee
Mayan chocolate was very different from the chocolate that we know today. It was a liquid made from crushed cocoa beans, chili peppers and water. During that period, there wasn’t any sugar yet available in Central America. They poured the liquid from one cup to another until a frothy foam appeared on top. Once a year they gathered to honor the God of Cocoa – Ek Chuah. Check out one of the chocolate factories located on Cozumel!
Did you know that Mexico’s coffee production only started in the late 1700 by European-owned farmers? Meanwhile it has become one of the largest in the world, with the crop growing across 16 states on 711,000 ha. Most of the plantations can be found in the south of the country. Its main regions are Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.
Luckily, you don’t need to travel there for a cup of flavorful coffee, but can enjoy it either at your hotel’s cafe or visit one of the many cafes in San Miguel.
Chocolate, coffee, Mexican fashion, delicate artwork, handmade crafts and much more are waiting for you to be picked from the many stands, boutiques and souvenir shops spread all over Cozumel.
What do you think? Did we get everything covered? Let us know!
Where to stay in Cozumel?
There are plenty of options available in all price categories and comfort levels in the north and south of the island. Pro Diving International is the official dive and water sports service provider for the following 4 and 5-star beach resorts in Cozumel, welcomes guests of other hotels, and offers diving, snorkeling and tours in Cozumel and to or from the mainland:
Allegro Cozumel · Occidental Cozumel · Melia Cozumel · The Westin Cozumel · El Cozumeleño
How to start your Cozumel Adventure?
- Check out Pro Dive International’s services and tours in the north and south.
- Contact us for guidance and to reserve your vacation package.