White-sand beaches, Mayan temple ruins, exotic jungle wildlife, and crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish: you can discover all these in Cozumel, a Mexican paradise!
Cozumel is a really amazing place for all travelers! This small paradise is located in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen and is rated as one of the top dive destinations in the world thanks to the stunning coral reefs and Jacques Yves Cousteau. The island was a sleepy little fishing community until 1961, when Jacques Yves Cousteau declared it one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas in the world, because of the spectacular reef walls, caves, swim-throughs and diverse marine life. Since that time, Cozumel has become an underwater marine park that protects the delicate balance of its dazzling coral reefs and abundant varieties of tropical fish that are not afraid of divers.
The diverse and unique marine life of the island
The underwater wildlife is very diverse, and you should see it with your own eyes. Over 250 species of fish can be seen in Cozumel, as well as turtles, grouper, moray eels, nurse sharks, and seahorses, and if you are lucky you may see an eagle ray in the winter months when they visit the north shore in large numbers, or a reef shark. In Cozumel you have a chance to see a unique creature, the splendid toadfish that can only be found here and in a small area in Belize. It is highly endangered and is severely at risk of extinction in the wild.
No matter whether you are an advanced diver or a first-time snorkeler, the island offers a variety of underwater exploration in one of the world’s largest reef systems, the Mesoamerican Reef (966-km-long/600-mi-long), which stretches from Cozumel down the Central American coast. More experienced divers can visit the deeper reef walls and have some really good drift dives. One of Cozumel’s recommended dive sites is the Palancar Reef, a reef wall leading down to a sandy slope with a variety of marine life. The site of Punta Sur also consists of a deep wall with a complex system of colorful reef tunnels and caves full of marine life. Another popular dive site is the Barracuda Reef, which has strong currents, but here you have the best chance to spot great barracudas, sharks, and rays. You can book diving in Cozumel in the following dive centers: Anitadivers, Albatros Charters, Babieca Dive Center, Eco Divers Cozumel, Beachouse Dive Hostel (Cozumel’s best local dive shop), Blue Angel Dive Shop and Scuba School, Blue Magic Scuba, Scuba Libre, DiveMex, ScubaCaribe Riu, Fantasea Dive and Adventures, and Deep Life Divers. Planning your journey in advance? You can book diving in advance at all these dive centers using Divebooker.com
What to see in Cozumel
There are a lot of interesting sights in Cozumel to visit, like several ecological parks, such as Chankanaab and Faro Celerain (Punta Sur), where you can find the most popular snorkeling and dive sites for all levels. More activities for adventuresome tourists include jungle trails, lush botanical gardens, enchanting lagoons, dolphin encounter programs and sea turtle sanctuaries. With a fast modern ferry running 10 trips per day, you can also visit popular attractions like Playa del Carmen, Chichén Itzá, Cobá, Tulum, and Xcaret. The famous Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park covers nearly 85% of the diving sites around the island. This park is subject to considerable research and conservation to protect biodiversity. Divers are asked for a voluntary $2 donation in support of conservation initiatives. The main city on the island is San Miguel, which has an extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and colorful shops with souvenirs and traditional Mayan handicrafts. In fact, San Miguel is one of the very few places in the Mayan Riviera where tourists can truly sample the flavor of traditional Yucatecan culture.
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Have you decided to visit Cozumel? Then make your trip in November, February, March, late autumn, and early spring for the best weather (warm and dry). The off season in Cozumel is June through October and December through January, with occasional tropical storms and hurricanes. The dive season in Cozumel is year round, with only a very few days of diving being canceled due to weather.
How to get there, and some advice
There are several ways to get to Cozumel, the first being a few national and international flights that land at the Aeropuerto Internacional de Cozumel. However, flights to Cancún are usually considerably less expensive. Mayair offers flights between Cancún and Cozumel for about $70 each way, with luggage limited to 25 kg (55 lbs) per passenger. A budget alternative is to take a bus from the Cancún airport to Playa del Carmen and then the ferry to Cozumel. If everything runs on schedule, the trip should cost less than $20 and take about three hours.
Passenger-only ferries to and from Playa del Carmen leave roughly every hour from early morning until late at night. The trip takes 45 minutes, and you will be on the little paradise called Cozumel!
Whether you’re in search of extreme adventures or peaceful beach time, Cozumel is an ideal vacation island!
If you are interested to explore West Coast on a Liveaboard, please check Mexico Liveaboards
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