Located in Southeastern Mexico, just off the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel offers plentiful sandy white beaches with beautiful clear ocean waters. Cozumel, only 28 miles long, is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island. You can get to the island by plane, ferry or by ship as it sits approximately 12 miles away from the mainland.
Known for being one of the premier scuba diving destinations to visit, divers can maneuver the best reefs in the world and a see a huge variety of marine life while out in its waters. While diving and snorkeling are the main attraction to Cozumel, there are a wide variety of other things to see and do while there.
The Maya are thought to have been the first to call Cozumel home over 2,000 years ago and you can still today, see many of their ruins. San Gervasio, located in the center of the island, holds the ruins where Mayan woman paid tribute to the goddess of love and fertility, Ix-Chel. There are many more ruins to visit on the island such as Tikal, surrounded by thick jungle, Chichen Itza, which has massive pyramids and Tulum, the only Mayan city built to overlook the sea.
In 1518, an expedition led by Juan de Grijalva came to the island followed by Hernan Cortes in 1519. 10,000 Maya people openly received both of these expedition teams. In 1520, crew members of the Panfilo Narvaez expedition brought smallpox to the island and by 1570, only 358 Maya had survived. By 1688, most on the island came inland to towns such as Chemax. In 1848, refugees escaping the tumult of the Caste War of Yucatan settled on the island and the next year, in 1849 the town of San Miguel de Cozumel was recognized by the Mexican government.
In the 1960s, Jacques Cousteau brought notoriety to the island and described Cozumel as one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas of the word. After this, the tourism boom began and in the early 1970’s the island saw a cruise ship terminal being built.
Each year, Cozumel celebrate Carnaval de Cozumel, a tradition that dates back to 1876. This huge fiesta, which typically occurs in February each year, boasts 3 to 4 nights of colorful parades that feature an array of beautiful costumes and groups performing for your entertainment and has been compared to Mardi Gras here in the United States.
Today, approximately 95,000 residents live in Cozumel and are said to be the friendliest, courteous people in Mexican who welcome tourists to enjoy their island.