Experience Cozumel

  • Diving
  • Ecotourism
  • Sports
  • Culture

Diving

Are you familiar with Cozumel´s underwater world?

Run free... or rather swim free: Cozumel is one of the best five places worldwide for scuba diving, and it´s the second largest reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef, made up of 26 areas of protected reef.

The transparency of the water makes the diving experience a dream: at the bottom you´ll run into pure white sand that wonderfully reflects the sun´s light, a great variety of corals to explore: from shallow reefs perfect for beginners training (Cardona, Palancar Jardines, Colombia), medium ones (Santa Rosa, Paso del Cedral, La Francesa, Punta Dalila, Hanán, Cañones, Yucab, Punta Tunich, San Francisco), and deep ones for experienced divers (Punta Sur, Maracaibo, Chun-Chacaab, El Islote, Playa Bosh, El Mirador, Punta Chiqueros, Chen Rio, Punta Morena, Los Atolones, Punta Molas).

If you are an experienced diver we recommend accessing The Devils Throat on the south end of the island, the average diving depth is 150 ft. Journey among caves and enormous tunnels, a true challenge for the experienced diver. You´ll plunge at 60 ft. into this natural scenario with coral reefs that resemble buildings, the called “cathedral” is where you´ll exit this biodiversity fueled area after having observed rays, black-tip sharks, barracudas, and colorful fish, one of the most beautiful underwater locations in the world.

I want to get immersed into the water but I don´t know how to dive...


If you are not familiar with diving, don´t worry, in Cozumel there´s also many reefs for snorkeling, (Las Palmas, Paradise Bajos, Chankanaab, Bolones), there´s even an area with remainders of a sunk boat in case that you are feeling like it.

From any part of the island that you decide to head into the ocean, in less that half an hour of traveling by boat, you´ll reach brilliant reefs.

For swimming and snorkeling we recommend El Cielo and La Pasion, places where you´ll be able to see pearl farms.

Can I get a PADI Open Diver certificate in Cozumel?

In Cozumel you´ll learn all the needed knowledge to become a certified diver and increase and improve your immersion experiences. If you prefer small boats, more luxurious ones, or even a catamaran, Cozumel adapts to your taste.

Can I find all the equipment there?

Everything that you might need: weights, tanks, belts, etc. There´s specialized captains in Cozumel, dive masters, experienced instructors that work on diving establishments where you can rent all the required equipment, you can even rent underwater photography devices.

There´s also trained personnel on first aid, RCP, Oxygen administration, and help in case of decompression. a/

Which sea animals can be seen?

Where to begin? Depending on the reef you choose, and the depth you reach, you will be able to see: nurse sharks, rays (eagle), lobsters, crabs, turtles (hawksbill), barracudas, octopus, eels, seahorses, horse mackerels, toads, a wide range of fish: stonefish, scorpion fish, crossbow fish, surgeonfish, toadfish, snorer fish, red snappers, shads, blowfish, lionfish, butterflyfish, pipefish, parrotfish, moray (brown and speckled), green damselfish, angelfish, groupers, among many others.

Among the rare species that you might encounter while diving are: the blue land crab, green giant moray, horse fish, and the splendid toadfish (endemic creature native to Cozumel and found nowhere else in the world).

During winter on the north end of the island (in front of Hotel B), rays arrive in groups of 5 to 20, you can see them up close either from a small boat or diving. This is one of the best diving experiences you can get, it begins with a flourishing cliff and soon these incomparable creatures will surround you.


How is the plant life?

You´ll run into sea anemone, sponge, sea fan, coral hills, gorgonians, marine grass, to name a few. According to the area where you decide to dive you might cross tunnels, caves, canyons, fissures, and vertical columns.

Is it possible to dive at night?

It depends on the place, but you can dive either daytime or nighttime, there are spots where at dawn the visibility is fantastic.

What is the best season for diving?

All year long.

Ecotourism

Do you love nature intensely?

You´ll feel like a child at a candy store: Cozumel is an area with incomparable biodiversity. Its protected areas add up to 185,000 hectares; it is the place with more protected area in relation to its territory in the whole country. About 40% of Quintana Roo´s flora is in Cozumel, having 542 species. It is completely surrounded by mangrove, of which there are 4 kinds, the endangered palm Nacax is also inside its limits.

Are there Ecotouristic parks?

Of course, you can visit Cozumel National Reef Park, Chankanaab Natural Park, Punt Sur Eco Park, Palancar National Park, also the Molas Point Light House is an interesting sight; each one has its one particularities but altogether make up beautiful landscapes.

Cozumel National Reef Park is the second largest coral reef system in the world, compromised of many reefs and top destination for snorkeling and diving. Palancar National Park is within its limits.

Chankanaab (little sea) Natural Park is a beautiful sea park where you can swim, snorkel, wander around its many natural attractions or even swim with manatees!

Punta Sur Ecotoursitic Park: one thousand hectares rich in mangroves, reefs, lagoons, and a museum dedicated to navigation. Snorkeling also available.

Molas Point Light House is located on the northern part of the island, built on 1900, a magic and secluded spot rarely seen in Cozumel.

Are turtles visible?

Cozumel is a sanctuary for turtles and you can watch their life circle on the other side of the island. On recent years, more than 3000 nests have been registered and more than 150 000 newborns! An unforgettable experience is to watch the turtles arrive in the Summer to lay eggs. Among the turtle species arriving into the island there are: the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) threatened by extinction.

There is a Turtle Camp where monitoring, conservation, and protection take place, you can approach them and they will solve any question that you have.

The turtle nesting season goes from April through September.

Around 60 days later, the young hatchlings emerge at the surface of the nest, and head towards the ocean at night.


Is it possible to swim with dolphins?

We recommend watching out for groups of free dolphins passing by your hotel at any time of the year. Sometimes they pass so close that you can join them swimming fast or with a kayak. If you go out on a boat trip or if there is rain coming soon, your probabilities of watching them will increase.

Also, inside the Chankanaab National Park and at Dolphin Discovery you can touch, greet, listen to, swim, and even kiss these beautiful animals. You can also spend time with sea lions and manatees.


Birds?

Cozumel is full of birds…and is famous among biologists and bird watchers. Every year Cozumel receives more than 80 different species of migratory birds: American redstart, flamboyant ovenbird, little zebra, yellow throat ovenbird, pink spatula, Candian ducks, Ibis, among many others. It is best to observe them between October and March. The rest of the year you can observe other species like the Cuitlacoche Cozumeleño, emerald hummingbird and hocopheasant; trees are covered by them as well as brown pelicans and frigate birds.

The best way for a bird-watching trip is to go to Montecristo Lagoon early in the morning with a small boat or kayak and wait for an amazing show. Ask for bird watching trips at your hotel.


Sports

Sports for every muscle of your body...

Would you rather practice: golf, fishing, kayaking, trailing, segway, gotcha, 4-wheeled motor biking, 4x4 routes, buggies, cycling, motorbiking, rappeling, parasailing, canopy, horse riding, water motorbikes, jetskying, paddle surf, kiteboarding, flyboard, canoeing, boat outings, or just run along the coastline? In Cozumel you will be able to practice your favorite sport.

Make a Hole in One!

Cozumel Country Club is a certified golf field, part of the Nicklaus Design Group, composed of 18 holes and 6734 yards of jungle and mangrove; while you enjoy your game in the middle of native vegetation, it is likely that you´ll stumble upon blue crabs, iguanas, crocodiles, or even raccoons.

Cozumel Country Club is Mexico´s first Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course and offers tours for bird watchers.

There are daily and weekly packages starting on $99USD per person

Variation of colors at the bottom of the sea...Fishing paradise

Cozumel is known as one of the best places for different sorts of fishing, you will find sailfish, marlin, tuna, swordfish, barracudas, bonito, dorados, bream, halibut, among many others. Sailfish can be found within 5 miles of shore.

You can also practice fly fishing.

High season for deep sea fishing goes on from March to August, peak season from March through June. (fish entering Cozumel waters: marlin, sailfish, and mahi mahi).

In winter there are plenty of year round species to catch like wahoo, barracuda, tuna, bonita, and amber jack.

Your hotel can coordinate your fishing trip and help you select the type of boat you want to take.



If you enjoy riding a bicycle while gazing at the ocean…

It is not well known that Cozumel has the largest bike lane by the ocean in Mexico, perfect for carrying out a scenic journey through the city. There are many places for bike rental for every age and requirement all over the island, including most hotels.

The bicycle track in Cozumel has an extension of 60 kms, of which 20 kms circle the Caribbean Sea and by the end of November it hosts the international competition GFNY Cozumel (www.gfnycozumel.com)

Cozumel is becoming an important national sports center, hosting triathlons, since 2009 it is the annual host of the Ironman competition (www.ironmancozumel.com), where men and women with the best physical constitution in the world compete for the Ironman title.




Many reasons have contributed in naming Cozumel "Sports Island of Mexico", among them the clearness of the water, the security of the island, the variety of species, the privileged weather and location, and the interest in athletes from all over the world to train on its territory.

Cozumel all year round wind flow is perfect to practice kite surf, sailing, and diverse wind sports. Since it´s an island, there´s always wind blowing at some point at the beach. The hotels offer equipment rental for practicing these sports, also with wind surf, water sky, kayaking, and sailing.




Have you always wanted to fly?

Try flyboarding: a jet ski creates a thrust and re directs it to the flyboard and levitates the user with its power; within minutes of practice users soar up to 30 ft. in the air, like Superman! Although it sounds adventurous, this activity is becoming increasingly popular and users find it addictive, it´s safe and instructors will guide you through the whole procedure.



Cozumel is a place with fascinating history and Mayan influence which is still alive. Throughout history, Cozumel has been a strategic and iconic place dating back to the Mayan culture. It was also an important commercial entry site for Spaniards, they carried out several expeditions during the Conquer period, encountering a place that in many aspects had higher knowledge than the European: Mayans back then had their own writing system, astronomical, mathematical, medical, architectural, among much more knowledge.

On the second half on the past century, traditional economical activities underwent a crisis due to natural factors and the mostly because depression after World War II, with this problem behind the option was tourism, and the true pioneer of this activity was Ilya Chamberlain, promoter of the first tourist hotel in 1960, Maya Luum, several followed.

By the 1970s the arrival of tourist cruises became regular, making Cozumel the main port of arrival in Mexico and the Caribbean, also a new airport was built around that time.

"Ixhcel´s Sanctuary: Mayan Godess of Fertility"



All the way back from the Mayan period, Cozumel was considered an iconic place, legend says that the home of goddess Ix Chel was on the island, powers of fertility, health, and love were attributed to her. She determined men and women´s fate, their vital and reproductive cycle, plus having the power of destruction through storms and hurricanes. In addition to this, let´s not forget that Ix Chel made out of Cozumel a sacred place by sending her favorite birds in: the swallows.

For over a thousand years, Cozumel was one of the most important sanctuaries on the Yucatan Peninsula, and women born within the Mayan tradition must visit at least once in their lifetime the temple of the goddess in order to purify their bodies and spirit and later on, become mothers.

Is it possible to witness any Mayan ritual?

At the end of May, the Sacred Mayan Journey takes place in which the ancient traditions are recreated and where Mayans cross the Caribbean Sea towards Cozumel to adore goddess Ix Chel.

San Gervasio is the most important Mayan site on the island, the archeological site Ka´na Nah (High House) is located there, there you can stroll around Manitas (meaning little hands, you´ll see why it is called like that, but make sure to look at the walls!), Chichán Nah (Small House), El Álamo, El Palacio, Los Murales, El Osario, and Las Pilastras.

Do you want to know more about Mexico?

The Discover Mexico Park experience is now completely available in 5 languages: English, Spanish, French and German, and is 100% accessible to anyone regardless of their mobility level. We are in full compliance with the ADA (Americans with disabilities Act). We’ve shown more than 50,000 visitors per year, the vital essence of México. Our passionate employees, innovations and continued research and capacitation, have made us one of the top ranked attractions in Cozumel and the entire Caribbean. For more information: http://www.discovermexico.org


Cozumel: place of pirates

Famous pirates like Pierre Sanfroy, Henry Morgan, and Jean Lafitte used Cozumel as a refugee during the Colonial period, when the island was completely empty.

Is the Carnival of Cozumel really the most vivid of the region?

The Carnival of Cozumel dates back to a century of tradition; it is the busiest on the southwest region of Mexico because of its flashing colors and costumes. For a whole week, locals and foreigners come together on a family fiesta, tradition passed from generation to generation.

Participants organize processions, and a parade that goes along island´s streets all day long giving place to a musical spectacle in which famous artists take part of.

From wherever you choose to see it, the Carnival is pure fun, a rollicking good time full of flavor, you´ll certainly laugh at the people´s costumes and ideas. Everybody´s invited, it doesn´t matter where they come from, what they do for a living, their age, whatever, the carnival is there for enjoyment and to spend an unforgettable night.

The Carnival will take place from February 8th to 17th, 2015 and from February 3rd to 9th, 2016. (www.carnavalcozumel.com.mx)

Cozumel, so much to celebrate...

El Cedral Celebrations are a tradition that date back from 1848 in Cozumel, making it one of the oldest fiestas in Mexico. Legend goes like this: when Casimiro Cárdenas arrived into Cozumel during the Caste War of Yucatán fleeing from persecution, he made a promise to yearly celebrate the power of the cross and thus created what today is known as the Fair of El Cedral. This happens at the same time than the Santa Cruz Festival, both include celebrations and religious rites within a big fair full of dancing, music, regional food, rodeos, cock fights, bullfights, and rides.

These celebrations will take place from April 26th to May 4th, 2015.



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