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A small island called Cozumel, can be found in the Caribbean Sea, about 10 miles (16 km) off the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, in Quintana Roo Estado (state), southeastern México. Cozumel’s first inhabitants where the Mayan people. They settled here over 2000 years ago during the classic period between 300 and 900 AC. The predominant settlements were located around religious centers named, San Gervasio and El Cedral. In those days the island was a sacred place for Ix Chel, the Maya Moon Goddess. Women from the main land made the journey to the island to find a blessing from Ix Chel, especially by women desiring fertility.
The island has a flat form based on limestone that results in a karst topography. The island is known for magnificent coral reefs all around. These coral reefs are formed by the limestone being corroded by the constant turning of the water current. The limestone forms these cenotes all around the island. The water is crystal clear and you have the opportunity to see the most amazing colored fish and sea creatures.
Juan de Grijalva made the first Spanish expedition to Cozumel. There after a gentleman named Hernán Cortés also stopped over at Cozumel. The year 1519 was the last year that the island was seen as sacred. The Mayan people was slowly pushed out of their own home by the constant incline of foreigners. In 1520 one of the ships that docked for provisions brought with them the smallpox pandemic. The infection lasted five years and by 1570 only 360 of the 10,000 Mayan’s survived. The Maya could not survive the invasion of people from the main land after the pandemic.
Today it is a bustling island that is solely surviving on tourism. You can find tour guides every where you go. You have a collection of tours available; snorkeling and diving tours, cuisine tours, tequila tours, private beach tours, and so much more.
I will not be able to write about all the possibilities there is for you to do on this beautiful island but if you continue reading, you can find out more about my favorite places.
Discover México Park is an amazing park where you can become more familiar with the history of the island, the culture and the food. Your “Past and Present” admission ticket includes a 1.5 hour guided tour that will enhance your visit. This park has a variety of attractions such as: video experience room, outdoor walk through time and space, and have a look at the impressive pyramid replicas that includes the pyramid of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza. This is a relaxing walk surrounded by the most exuberant and exotic gardens. Be amazed at the unique art pieces, recognized and awarded around the world.
The park opens at 8am and you are free to spend as much time there as you want. There are local restaurants where you can experience the taste of authentic Mexican food and drinks after a leisure stroll through the park. Learn more about the brewing process of genuine Mexican tequila and also find the opportunity to purchase some of these home brewed tequilas.
Depends on the amount of time you have in Cozumel, this tour will take you 3 – 5 hours if you take the time to really experience the park. If your time is limited, then you can use 2 hours for the entire tour.
El Cedral is a religious village that was founded over 2000 years ago. This gorgeous little village is covered in bright flags and beautiful colored walls with quaint souvenir shops, portrays the once sacred grounds. This village is the protector of the last ruins still standing on Cozumel.
You do not have to book a tour before hand, as soon as you arrive there, you will be welcomed by a local that will be proud to show you around. They will show you all the beautiful and well preserved statues, tell you all about the goddess, Ix Chel, and show you the best local arts and crafts. You will see the face of the goddess everywhere you look. The color you see all around is for the goddess, Ix Chel’s pleasure.
This town is not funded by the Mexican Government and they survive solely on tourism. The biggest attraction is the El Cedral Festival that takes place at the end of April into the beginning of May. This is a tradition that dates back to 1848, a festival to celebrate the arrival of one of the first repopulates of the island, after fleeing from the Caste War.
Cozumel is surrounded with beautiful soft white sandy beaches. You will find quaint little restaurants all along the beaches where you can grab something local to eat, enjoy an ice cold cocktail all while lounging on a beach chair over looking the ocean. While there are plenty of beach there is only one aquatic park, and it’s a hit with tourists looking to stay active in the sun.
The day pass gives guests access to the park, there are massive water slides, white sandy beaches, and areas especially designed with the little ones in mind, like Buccaneer’s Bay, which includes water cannons and a pirate ship. The adults can take the much needed time, to relax and unwind, there is a pool bar that serves up tasty drinks and cocktails all day long.
With the day pass you have full access to 20 attractions around the park. You have the option for even more activities such as; kayaking, paddle boating, and games for children. Lounge under a shady palm, as the gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea lap at your feet and be assured this park is fully staffed and very safe for the entire family.
Cozumel has so much to over that it is always difficult to decide on which tours to take and which places will be the best to see. With a catamaran sail and snorkel tour you are spoiled with coral reef beauty. These tours will make sure that you see the beauty and wonder around the island.
These tours are available for full day or half day sails. With the experience of the tour guides, you can know for sure that you will have the experience of a life time. The ticket includes food and drinks. It’s a decadently enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, and you’ll get to experience the area’s natural splendor like few others will.
Tour sizes are limited to 30 to give it an intimate feel, and it’s a great way to meet like minded people from across the globe. All you need to bring is a swim suit, towel and enough energy. Kayaks, paddle-boards, and full snorkel equipment will be provided!
The captain of the catamaran will make the best recommendation based on weather conditions, so together you will find the perfect beach and snorkeling spot and see the underwater marvels of this amazing island.
México is known for the best carnivals and festivals all year round. El Cedral is one of the festivals that takes place at the end of April through to the beginning of May. This festival is held to celebrate the return of the repopulated after the Caste War.
The Cozumel Carnival or Carnaval de Cozumel is a very important carnival in México. It has been celebrated as a tradition beginning from the late nineteenth century and fills Cozumel’s streets with parades. It begins the week before Mardi-Gras in February, the dates are never fixed so that dates can be change for various reasons. In the mid-1800s the Cozumel Carnaval started by youths of México, dressed in vibrant colorful costumes known as “Estudiantinas” or “Comparsas,” who expressed themselves in the streets of Cozumel through art-forms such as dancing and singing.
The carnival is always from a Wednesday to the next week and “Fat Tuesday” concludes events every year with dazzling and bright color processions along Cozumel’s downtown oceanfront.
People line the streets, dancing with the performers and catching gifts that are showered on them. After the oceanfront extravaganza, the music keeps playing and parties continue well into the night. On the Wednesday after “Fat Tuesday” a closing ceremony is held, the tradition is the burning of Juan Carnaval.
An island rich with history and culture, a place where you will be filled with friendliness and hospitality, Cozumel!
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