What is there to do in Cozumel?
One of the most famous islands—if not the most famous—in Mexico, Cozumel has a wide variety of interesting things to see and do that are very different from its neighbor, Playa del Carmen. While the coastal city is known for its social lifestyle and activities in trendy restaurants and nightclubs, the experience on the island is more relaxing and eco-friendly. Here’s where the most important reef in Mexico is, making Cozumel a place to learn about the different kinds of life that exists under the surface of its crystalline, turquoise ocean, and a mecca of ecological tourism.
Where is Cozumel?
East of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is the largest island (by far) of the Riviera Maya; big enough to host a whole city of many activities and tourist attractions.
Playa del Carmen is just across the sea and moving between it and Cozumel is made easy by the ferries constantly going back and forth. Cancun is not far, either, just 45 minutes away.
Lodgings in Cozumel
As you can probably imagine, there are quite a few options to stay on an island this size. As Cozumel is not big on the nightlife experience, many of the hotels here are more traditional, geared towards family groups, with a few exceptions.
Most hotels around the coast are the big, all-inclusive places, like the Fiesta Americana with rates around USD 275 per night, with big, roomy lodgings, pools, and, of course, access to the beach. The USD 220 rate of Explorean Cozumel includes some tours to encourage tourists to explore and discover the island. Occidental Cozumel, with a similar rate of USD 215, looks—and feels—like a hacienda.
If you’re looking for a silent, relaxing vacation in a spa-like environment, however, Secrets Aura Cozumel is for adults only. At USD 219 per night, its guests are welcome to get things like massages and other spa treatments.
B Unique Cozumel is a smaller, comfortable boutique hotel with a USD 144 rate, and Iberostar, at around USD 270, doesn’t have rooms, but bungalows. AT USD 75, Hotel Casa del Mar is cheap, centric, and well-equipped.
All the previous rates depend, of course, on the time of year and demand.
Ixchel’s Sanctuary, San Gervasio Ruins
Ancient Mayans believed Cozumel was where Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, dwelled, and pilgrimages from the mainland to ask her for things like a happy marriage or healthy childbirth were commonplace. Vestiges of that life can be found in her sanctuary, the most important Mayan ruins on the island called San Gervasio.
See ancient Mayan temples and what once was an important center of commerce and trade, all joined by the famous sacbes, the Mayan white roads
Chankanaab Park and Lagoon
You often hear about the crystalline waters of oceans and lagoons around the Riviera Maya, but there’s not one clearer than Chankanaab’s lagoon.
Chankanaab is part of Cozumel’s National Marine Park, a zone of protected flora and fauna, where visitors can enjoy the beach surrounded by everything Cozumel’s nature, history, and culture have to offer. Its lagoon is one of the few bodies of water where swimming is still forbidden.
Of course, Cozumel being the most important reef in Mexico, snorkeling and diving are the main activities in Chankanaab, and pretty much the rest of the island. You’ll see all kinds of marine life under the surface, like banks of fish and even a ray or two, but Chankanaab, also has an underwater gallery of statues that offer an unusual submarine experience.
For a less unusual submarine experience (but no less beautiful), visit Punta Sur. Contrary to Chankanaab, this zone is less touched; there’s no eco-park here, just the creatures that inhabit it. The southernmost point of the island, Punta Sur is a great place to come to feel lost and isolated from the rest of the planet.
Food in Cozumel
There’s no shortage of places in Cozumel to satisfy every taste and pallet. If it’s pizza you fancy, visit La Molina, with its wide variety of toppings, some of which, like shrimp, you won’t find at your local Domino’s. But, if you’d like to try some traditional Mexican dishes, at a place that’s a bit more wallet-friendly, go no further than the Cozumel local market.
Of course, these are just a few of the things to do around Cozumel. The interesting places, tours, and activities are way too many to fit in one single article, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t get bored on this amazing Mexican island.