Cozumel achieves alliance with tourists to take care of reefs

21/01/2020

Cozumel boasts one of the most beautiful reefs in the world, but now it is also proud to be a destination where hoteliers and tourists protect the environment and especially the corals that have made the island so famous.

Ulises Guzman, president of the Cozumel Hotel Association, said in an exclusive interview with Notimex that 2019 did not close as negatively as they had hoped, only 1.8 percent behind the previous year, against all odds.

"We lived a different summer because since June, with the departure of several flights, we were about 10 percentage points away from the average occupancy rate, and we expected to close the year five points behind what was reached in 2018, but the last three months there was a rebound and the last four days of the year, most hotels had occupancies above 95 percent," he explained.

The Hoteliers' Association has 22 members, who offer 3,567 rooms, "but there are more hotels, small ones, that are not in the association, so we are around 4,500 rooms on the island.

Guzmán is confident that 2020 will be better than 2019, and at least they will be able to recover the annual occupancy rate of 68 percent. Its largest market comes from the United States, followed by Canada and Mexico; Cozumel has direct flights from Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Charlotte, Newark, Montreal, and Toronto, to mention just a few airports.

Cozumel is known worldwide for its diving and snorkeling activities, although it also seeks to position itself in other aspects such as gastronomy, ecotourism, culture, and tourism infrastructure, says the hotel leader.

In the face of natural phenomena that have affected the Mexican Caribbean, Ulises Guzman states that the sargassum that invades the Mayan Riviera and the continental zone came to confuse visitors, who thought that Cozumel was in the same situation.

"Fortunately we have not had and will not have sargassum, due to the geographical location; all the sargassum reaches the eastern part of the island, where there are no hotels and it does not affect tourism, so it is something we have tried to spread over the last six or seven months, to remind potential clients that, due to its geographical location, the tourist and hotel zone of Cozumel has no problems with these algae".

Another problem is coral bleaching, attributed to climate change, but here "there has been good communication. Coral bleaching is a reality, but it is not exclusive to Cozumel. It occurs all over the world, in Australia, in Miami.

Guzmán is also president of the Cozumel Sanitation Council, and explains that "the guests pay a right to environmental sanitation," so the committee ensures that the resources go towards security, cleaning up the beaches and everything related to ecotourism.

5 BEST REEFS IN COZUMEL

Paraíso

Its name says it all, it is a popular diving spot, which many instructors take as a training area. The visibility is excellent, the schools are unequaled, there is a large number of sponges on the coral heads and a wide variety of fans and anemones.

Paradise reef in Cozumel
Paradise reef in Cozumel

Chankanaab

This reef has gentle currents and is very sandy with small coral heads. There is a lagoon in the nature of a natural aquarium, which the Mayans called "little sea". For the tranquility of its waters, you can practice free diving, without a tank, or sports safely. It has a long continuous bar of the colorful reef with cracks and crevices that house colonies of very striking fish.

The part of the Bolones is named after the numerous spherical coral heads. Excellent place for night diving, where it is easier to see the octopuses.

The Caves are in the extreme south. Here is an interesting mix of cold freshwater that emerges from the caves and that is distinguished in the upper layer, with the warm saline water of the sea that is seen below.

Chankanaab reef in Cozumel. Image: Cozumel parks
Chankanaab reef in Cozumel. Image: Cozumel parks

Punta Tunich

Colorful formations and fish. Often the turtles hide in the seagrass. There are a lot of barrel sponges and rope sponges, as well as a hydro zoos black feather, which you just have to admire and avoid touching them. On this reef, you can find large sloping hills of sponges and corals, which are inhabited by thousands of fish.

Punta Tunich reef in Cozumel
Punta Tunich reef in Cozumel

Palancar

It is recognized as one of the most spectacular reefs in the world. The coral formations are spectacularly colorful and have, literally, hundreds of species, such as corals with giant purple and orange sponges interspersed, as well as fans and an abundant variety of tropical fish.

Palancar Horseshoe owes its name to its "U" shape that can be seen from the surface. This section is particularly beautiful with a series of giant coral heads and other coral structures that form tall towers, buttresses, ravines, and canyons.

Another section is Bricks, with large coral formations that rise from the bottom of white sand that slopes towards the blue abyss.

Palancar reef in Cozumel
Palancar reef in Cozumel

Santa Rosa

A place to practice the drift dive, for its strong currents, on the background of pure white sand that serves to reflect in a spectacular way the light for the photographs. The wall of this reef has a large number of ledges and caves.

On the tour of Santa Rosa, you will see all kinds of marine life: green and spotted moray eels, angelfish, snapper, triggerfish, lionfish, barracuda, eagle rays and large groupers. However, the sighting of hawksbill turtles is its main attraction.

Santa Rosa Wall reef in Cozumel
Santa Rosa Wall reef in Cozumel