Cozumel is Mexico's largest inhabited island, is also one of
the country's biggest paradoxes. Serene, laid-back and somewhat
undiscovered by Mexico's 20 million annual visitors, Cozumel
rivals many Caribbean island destinations when it comes to visitor
facilities, activities, and stunning beauty.
appeal lies with its combination of the best of Mexico with
the allure of vacationing on a Caribbean island. This mix makes
Cozumel one of Mexico's most unique destinations, offering a
hard-to-find vacation duality.
The jewel shaped island lies just 19 kms. off of the Yucatan
Coast, and measures 29 miles ( 47 kilometers) long and 10 miles
(15 kilometers) wide. Its jungle-clad interior and ivory white
beaches are girdled by one of the most spectacular ensembles
of coral reefs in this hemisphere. The island's limestone shore
is surrounded by temperate, crystal clear waters which range
from stunning turquoise to deep indigo.
The climate on the island is warm year around with an average
temperature of 81 F (27 C). Heavy rains start in June and go
on through October. It is a possibility that rain can fall everyday,
but the usual duration of a shower is brief. Expect high humidity
during the rainy season. The humidity levels are lower November
through May, with an occasional cool evening. However, because
it a tropical climate, the weather can change from one day to
The westward side of the island is calm, and is ideal for swimming,
diving or just relaxing in the sun. This part of the island
is also the most developed with banks, markets, shops, restaurants
and hotels. The eastern side of the island is more secluded,
with very few people living there and little activity. There
are some calm beaches with clear emerald green water. There
are at least 20 live reefs so close to the shore, it makes snorkeling
and diving a must. The island also has it's share of Mayan ruins
hidden in the jungles that can be explored by car, bike or foot.
The area's diving and snorkeling are legendary. Following a
1961 documentary by Jacques Cousteau, Cozumel earned a world-wide
following of divers who ranked it one of the top five scuba
diving and snorkeling sites on the planet. The island's surrounding
sea is teeming with undersea life, colorful reefs, and the slumbering
hulls of Spanish galleons.
For non-divers, the island has something for everyone. Sightseeing
includes over 35 archaeological sites (only a few of which are
and worth seeing), and the charming city of San Miguel. The
town is a collection of cafes, restaurants, and attractive boutiques.
It encircles the main plaza, and extends several blocks along
the city's breezy seaside promenade.
Nature lovers come to Cozumel to see giant see turtles laying
their eggs (May to September) and to observe the island's variety
of exotic migratory bird life. Visitors are only a 40 minute
ferry ride from the incredible Tulum Corridor region of the
Yucatan Peninsula, brimming with hidden beaches, secluded resorts
and archaeological treasures.
Large numbers of daytrippers from Cancun and cruise ship passengers
sometimes overtake the city proper, only to retreat a couple
of hours later. This is when Cozumel really shines, as the island's
bountiful man-made and natural attractions can be leisurely
We flew into Cozumel on Christmas Day, 1999, aboard
Airlines. The weather was warm and sunny, about 80°F
(27°C) as we got off the plane and headed across the runway
area to the gate. Of course, right off the bat we were
met by a guy who attempted to get us to attend a "welcome party"
at the Reef Club (to get us to buy timeshare). We politely
refused, and boarded the airport taxi on the way to our hotel.
Our Hotel was the
Coral Princess Club, about 5 minutes drive North of downtown
San Miguel, the only city on the island. The check-in
went okay, though the clerk
didn't speak very good English. The staff at the
Coral Princess Club was very polite throughout our trip,
and the bellboy assisted us to our room. We had a gorgeous
ocean view, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The furniture
in the room was coral-themed (what else?), and appeared a bit
cheesy. The bed was hard and we noticed that the locks
were missing from the bathroom and the connecting door to the
next room. The room was nice, though and much more spacious
than we had expected when we booked it through
International (RCI). The hotel is located on a beautiful
stretch of palm-lined road, with a man-made beach built over
rugged coral outcroppings which were great for
The first night, Christmas, we ate at our restaurant, El
Galeon. Sandra had some chicken fajitas, covered with
cheese, which were very tasty. I opted for the Christmas
Dinner special, which was unimpressive and quite a rip-off.
Overall, El Galeon was decent. The prices were
a bit high (to be expected in a hotel), and the food was decent.
We examined the room service menu and were shocked to find tropical
drinks costing 99 pesos ($11USD)! We went down to the
poolside bar and they were just as much down there! We
ended up having a beer at happy hour one day for 2x1 and a total
of $4USD. That means they were normally charging $4USD
for one bottle of beer! Ridiculous.
The next morning, we set out into town. We were scheduled
to meet with our dive shop,
Dive With Martin, at the international pier at 10AM.
We stopped by
SMART Rentals to rent a VW Convertible. We had seen
SMART Rentals on the internet before our trip and had printed
out their webpage to receive 50% off our car rental. It
ended up being about $25/day for our convertible bug.
We thought that was a great deal, considering other agencies
were advertising $50/day or more. The only real problem
with the car was a sunshield strip on the top of the windshield
that was really hard for me to see through. I had to scrunch
way down in the car to see where I was going. No big deal,
though. One time we came back from walking around town
to find our car missing! It turned out that we had parked
in a no-parking zone and the police had asked our rental agency
to move it. Boy were we relieved.
No, I'm not going to take you on a minute-by-minute account
of our trip. (I know...darn...) The rest of this
area of our site will give you an overview of our experiences
during our stay in Cozumel. Also check out our
- This part of our site details our scuba diving experiences
while in Cozumel.
Dining - Our guide
to where to eat and not to eat in Cozumel.
What to Do -
An overview of activities in Cozumel, including nightlife.
- Photos from our trip to Cozumel, all thumbnailed for your
Snorkeling - Our
description of how snorkeling went, along with photos of what
Cancun - Our guide
to Cancun, complete with photos and links.