Traveller’s Guide to Cozumel

Traveller's Guide to CozumelLocated in the Mexican Caribbean, Cozumel is a flat island composed of limestone that comes from the reefs. The most important natural elevation on the island is less than thirteen meters. The sinkholes shaped by water trickling through limestone over thousands of years can be explored by engaging in activities such as swimming, snorkeling and diving. The island is also filled to the brim with various marine species.

Cozumel is a popular tourist destination and is particularly known for great diving spots. Jacques Cousteau helped raise awareness of this magnificent island as an exquisite diving spot with reports of most suitable, extensive coral reefs in the 1960s. Since the construction of an airport at end of the 1970s including several piers in the 1990s, tourism has grown dramatically.

Attractions

Visitors to the island are spoiled for choice as regards attractions, and these stretch beyond the popular diving activities. You can spend time at the Maya ruins, eco-themed parks or the vibrant town square. The pristine beaches comprise wild and rocky parts on the east side, wild water and white sands on the west side of Cozumel. For the dolphin adventure of your life, head towards the Dolphinaris Cozumel where you can swim with the dolphins or just enjoy the views from the observation deck.

The strong increase in cruise ship arrivals from the United States is now one of the main pillars of Cozumel’s tourism industry. It is a popular port of call for cruise ships. Cozumel has no industries, it depends on tourism; food and manufactured goods are shipped from the mainland.

The island of Cozumel is separated from the mainland (Playa del Carmen) by about 20 km long stretch of sea. It measures about 48 km long by 16 km wide, with a total area (including smaller islands) of 477 961 km²; this makes it the largest Mexican Caribbean island by extension. But drops to third place when considering all Mexican islands. The geological composition of the island is mainly calcareous.

Climate and Origins

Cozumel has a humid climate with abundant rainfall in summer and low in winter, with an average annual temperature greater than 18°C. Being surrounded by warm waters of the Caribbean and by the Yucatan channel, the island experiences prevalent high pressures affecting the northern and northwestern peninsular.

Hence, in summer the Mexican island develops enough clouds to deposit substantial rainfall. Likewise, Cozumel is constantly traversed by tropical waves that generate wind belts causing torrential rains mainly in the summer.

As regards its origins, recent research indicates that the first inhabitants of the island of Cozumel arrived around the second century BC. Although not fully identified, it is believed that they were part of Caribs semi-nomadic groups, dedicated to fishing and hunting.

The development of roads and infrastructure created opportunities for establishing a vibrant tourism industry, which is now the backbone of the local economy. Multitudes of underwater enthusiasts began flocking to this Mexican wonderland to engage in their favorite pastime only to discover there is more Cozumel than just coral reefs. The island is truly a Mexican Caribbean paradise.

Picture: yellowj – Fotolia