Cozumel, the colors of the Caribbean, where only you are missing

With its great variety of fauna, Cozumel is a delight to visit in the Mexican Caribbean, today, it is a magnificent tourist destination with the most amazing reefs for snorkeling, ecotourism, and golf. It has 19 kilometers (12 miles) of the western coast of Quintana Roo, with a capacity for boats.

Cozumel, the colors of the Caribbean, where only you are missing
Cozumel and its beautiful views are waiting to be discovered by you. Photo by Dennis Rochel / Unsplash

Formerly called Cuzamil, which in Mayan means "land of swallows", Cozumel, Mexico's largest inhabited island, is a paradisiacal place. For its transparent and crystalline waters, where you can practice diving, swimming, and other water sports; for its white sandy beaches where seashells, snails, and turtles abound, for its stupendous structure of tourist services, and above all for its friendly people, this beautiful place is enormously attractive.

How to get to Cozumel

Cozumel is located in the Mexican Caribbean 20 km from the coast and can be reached by air or by ferry from Playa del Carmen or Puerto Morelos. A modern boat also connects you every day with Cancun in a crossing of about an hour and a half.

Attractions in Cozumel

To get to know and explore the beautiful corners, archeology, and beaches of Cozumel, a good idea is to rent a car, or if you have an adventurous spirit, a jeep or a motorcycle to easily cross the mountains and trails. And if you want to experience the tasty island atmosphere and the quality of its people, it is essential to walk slowly through the town, which combines the modern and luxurious with the serene popular tradition.

To the north of the island, there are several archaeological sites, among them, you can visit Aguada Grande, next to the Punta Molas lighthouse. Bordering the sea along the road you will reach the small Chankanab Lagoon of natural origin, famous for its colorful fish, its beautiful botanical garden, and its beach where you can snorkel and scuba dive.

Continuing to the south you will reach the beaches of Santa Maria, wide and provided with palm trees, and San Francisco, preferred for its clear waters, the facilities it offers for diving, the richness of its colorful fish, and because it is the stopover point for the glass-bottomed boats that border the coast and allow you to appreciate the large coral reefs.

Not far from there we recommend visiting the Marina Norte, a refuge for yachts from all latitudes, and you can also visit its interesting aquarium. Nearby is El Cedral, a town that holds one of the 34 archaeological sites on the island.

Returning to the road that surrounds the island and in front of the coast, you will find the Palancar Reef, an admirable living sample of the copious population of colorful tropical fish, coral, and marine landscapes. It is a magnificent submerged garden, a diver's paradise. A large part of Palancar Reef, which ranks second in the world in terms of extension, is being set up as an underwater national park to protect marine species, some of which are in danger of extinction.

At the southern tip of the island awaits Punta Celarain, where there is another lighthouse that allows an indescribable view of the landscape and the blue Playa Encantada and four km from the place is the archaeological site of El Caracol, which was probably a Mayan observatory.

Going back north you will find the Colombia Lagoon, with its stupendous Solitary Cove and its Playa Bonita, whose access is not easy but rewarding. Further on you can visit Playa Hernán, protected by two tiny islets, and the pre-Hispanic construction of El Castillo Real, the largest on the island.

You should not forget to visit other beaches such as San Juan, Tanún, and Santa Pilar where there is also an archaeological site, Chenrío and Punta Morena in the center of the island on the Caribbean Seaside. Not far from there we recommend you to visit the north marina, a refuge for yachts from all latitudes and where there is also an interesting aquarium. You should not miss other beautiful sites such as the lagoons, Xlapan, and Ciega and the archaeological zones of Buenavista, Junán, and Nohná.

Other attractions are the Museum of Cozumel, which presents the history of the island, its description, and the ecological systems of land and sea, as well as El Mirador, a beautiful coral reef on the beach and where you will surely not forget the roar of the raging sea crashing against the rocks and the sunrises, which from here will captivate you with its fantastic range of colors.

Handicrafts and shopping in Cozumel

The commercial area of the island known as San Miguel is full of stores where you can buy handicrafts and jewelry, especially those made with the famous black coral; clothing and objects from various parts of the world, art, and many other surprises. If you want to do some good shopping island style, you must walk along the boardwalk and the streets of the town.

Surroundings of Cozumel

Surely when you visit Cozumel you will be captivated by the beauty of the Caribbean and if you have time we recommend you to visit other sensational places of exuberant beauty located on the coast of Quintana Roo.

Cancun is 25 km from the island of Cozumel, on the mainland. It is a tourist development of great international renown, with beautiful beaches of fine white sand from coral and transparent waters of very different shades ranging from emerald green to turquoise blue.

Puerto Morelos is 21 km away on the road to Tulum. From here the ferry leaves for Cozumel, and the trip lasts an hour and a half. Puerto Morelos is a small town that offers visitors tranquility and the friendliness of its inhabitants. Its main attraction is its three lighthouses built at different times.

Playa del Carmen, 32 km away on the same road, is an attractive fishing village, from where the ferry to Cozumel departs, it has a beautiful beach with palapas, restaurants, bars, and hotels. Xcaret is six kilometers from Playa del Carmen, towards Tulum, impressive for its beauty and majestic serenity.

There is a small pyramid back to the sea, a series of small lagoons, and a sacred cenote. Akumal is 68 km away on the same road as Tulum. The place is quiet, ideal for resting in a privileged environment, it also offers modern hotel facilities and a beautiful beach full of palm trees in front of the splendid and warm sea.

Xel-há, only 10 km from Akumal, is a National Park that occupies the site of what was once a sacred Mayan zone. In its clear lagoons, you can swim and snorkel through the caverns and underwater tunnels accompanied by beautiful colorful fish and you can also rent snorkeling equipment and cameras for underwater photography.

Tulum, 13 km from Cancun, is a walled complex dating from 1200 and contains different structures: temples, shrines, and observatories. We recommend you to enjoy its beach.

Food in Cozumel

Cozumel is the ideal place to enjoy the best Yucatan and international cuisine, not to mention the seafood prepared in every imaginable way.

We recommend you to taste the stuffed cheese, the cochinita chakwal, tamale dough mixed with achiote and chile; the dogfish empanadas, the Tulum calamari, the poc-chuc with pork meat, the tepezcuintle with garlic sauce, as well as the "rice and beans" delicious dish influenced by the neighboring country of Belize.

You should also try the typical sweets and drinks, such as coconut candy, hojarasca, papaya candy, coconut and guanabana ice cream, sweet corn atole, and xtabentún, a homemade aniseed liqueur.

Services in Cozumel

The island has all the amenities worthy of its prestige because you can find hotels of different categories, restaurants and nightclubs, sports equipment rental, cars and boats, as well as medical and mechanical services, banks, and travel agencies.