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is a large island just 20 km (12 miles) offthe
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
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.
on Cozumel Island
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
on Cozumel Island
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.
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
Maya are believed to be the first inhabitants of the
island. Judging by artefacts people came to island in the early part of
the first millennium. It is not clear why it happened, but
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.
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.
Arch of San Gervasio
Central Plaza of San Gervasio. Main altar where sacrifices were performed.