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Cozumel

Cozumel

Cozumel is a large island just 20 km (12 miles) off  the Yucatan Peninsula. The island is about 48 km (30 miles) long and 16 km (10 miles) wide. With safer conditions, sand beaches, beautiful reefs and ancient ruins this island has everything to offer to tourists who want quitter and safer vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of Cozumel Island

Besides Cozumel has international airport (CZM) that receives planes from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Halifax, Houston, Miami, and Toronto. Another way to reach the island is to fly to Cancun, take a bus or a van to Playa del Carmen and then take the ferry across to Cozumel to city of San Miguel, largest settlement on the island (pop. 71,401). Ferry runs on hourly bases and costs 110 pesos per adult one way. Another ferry travels from Puerto Morelos, but it is less reliable and less frequent, just twice a day. You can get taxi, scooter or even rent a car for $55 American dollars per day.

Diving on Cozumel Island

In 1959 Jacques Cousteau visited Cozumel and publicized its reefs as one of the most remarkable. Protected by the island, south western part of the island is the best place for both diving and snorkelling. This laid grounds for the popularity for scuba diving as well as snorkelling. In 1996 Mexican government established Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park however growth of cruise ship traffic undermine ecology of the island. Most popular reefs are Santa Rosa and Cedral.  Now those who are lazy to get to the reefs and see the fishes can make fishes come to them. Take some bread in both hands and walk just couple of yards into a sea. Even at waist height silvery fishes will come and start eating your bread. They don’t have teeth and their bites feel ticklish on your hands.

 

Cozumel     Cozumel     Cozumel

Boats on Cozumel Island

Those who want to get away from an island can rent a glass bottom boat for about $40 per couple or a fishing boat. Fishing is enjoyable way to stretch sea legs, but it might take a long time to catch the fish so do not feel disappointed. We caught one after 2.5 hours of driving around aimlessly. But just then hope was vanquished and we started taking down the poles we actually caught barracuda.

 

Other activities include swimming with dolphins, catamaran sail boat or just baking in the sun. Most of these you will find on the western side, but few surfers and wind surfers take it to more isolated eastern part of the island. After 2005 Hurricane Wilma this side is slow to repair.

History of Cozumel Island

The Maya are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Cozumel island. Judging by artefacts people came to island in the early part of the first millennium. It is not clear why it happened, but Cozumel island has become closely associated with Ix Chel, Mayan Moon Goddess. It became the site of pilgrimage for Mayans from the mainland, in particularly women who asked for fertility. Most of ruins on the island are from post- Classical period (10th- 13th century). Unfortunately the largest ruins were bulldozed to make room for airport during World War II. San Gervasio is the largest settlement left on the island.

 

Mayan pilgrimage and permanent settlement on the island continued until 16th century. The first European explorer who visited the island was Juan de Grijalva in 1518. He put the island on the map and a year later Hernan Cortez came with a fleet. He destroyed pagan temples and shrines. In addition smallpox brought by Europeans devastated the population. From population of about 40,000 then Europeans came only 30 survived by 1570. The island remained virtually deserted, visited only by pirates and refugees who flee the mainland to escape wars, plagues and starvation.

San Gervasio Archaeological Site (Cozumel)

Cozumel                                                                                             Cozumel

                 Ritualistic Arch of San Gervasio     Central Plaza of San Gervasio. Main altar where sacrifices were performed.

 

 

Cozumel  Cozumel

Nohoch Nah        Chi Chan Nah  

 

 

Cozumel

Ka'na Nah structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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