Cozumel

Cozumel, meaning Island of the swallows in Mayan is Mexico’s largest island; it is nestled just twelve miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The island measures ten miles in width and twenty-eight miles in length and is world-renowned for its clear waters and sandy beaches which are quite stunning. Spanish is the native language but the locals of this island have made a lot of effort to learn English.

cozumel

With a sub-tropical climate and resting in the multi-hued Caribbean ocean, Cozumel has over the years become an underwater marine park that protects an abundant variety of tropical fish and the delicate balance of coral reefs around the waters. It is worth mentioning that due to clarity of water, 100 to 200 feet visibility, watching the underwater wildlife is quite breath-taking to say the least and snorkelling is a real treat, even for beginners. But if you’re not one for getting your feet wet how about a submarine trip?

Map of CozumelAs earlier mentioned, the island is not very large and it is possible to navigate the island in two hours or less in a car. Cozumel is fairly flat and is mostly covered in jungle. The eastern side of the town faces the open sea and has several beaches which are constantly pounded by relatively powerful waves. The water along the western coast is quite calm though, making this side ideal for great snorkelling. It is worth mentioning that the sandy bottom areas of the western side tend to produce far less spectacular results than the coral areas offer.

In addition to the above mentioned spectacular open water diving facilities, Cozumel is well known for its underground rivers that honeycomb the numerous porous limestone of the great Yucatan, in the process providing some of the most beautiful cenote and cave diving in the world. Some caves are quite spectacular with stalactites hanging down and in most instances look like dry caves that are filled with the clearest water you will ever see. Because these caves are basically protected and supported by their water filled environment, these caves are quite pristine and each of the caves tend to have its own marine life that’s quite unique to the environment of a water-filled cave.

Transport

Even though it is true that you can get around the town on foot, to see more of the island you would require a vehicle. The island does have an airport shuttle which does have the exclusive right to transport incoming passengers from the airport, though private pickups from the airport are allowed. In most instances, you vacation package will include this shuttle service.

The island does also have a very good taxi service which can get you back to the airport and around the island. For those arriving with cruise ships and ferries there are also taxis by the roadway. Fares for taxis are usually pre-set but it is advisable to confirm the fare to your destination before getting in. Even though the island does have a bus system, it is not very reliable. The bus system also does tends to serve areas where the locals live and not to tourist attraction sites.

The best and safest way to get around the island though is by car. There are several car rental agents dotting the island. If you are flying directly to the island, it is advisable to make reservations in advance and make sure you carry a copy of the confirmation agreement with you when go to claim your car. Some of the popular hire car companies in the area include Executive, Isis, Avis and Hertz.

 Currency

The official currency of Cozumel Island is the Mexican Peso even though the US Dollar is widely accepted. Many of the shops and restaurants targeting tourists tend to show their prices in both currencies, irrespective of the currency you offer, they usually provide change in pesos. Even though the island has several ATM machines, they only dispense pesos. Debit cards are not widely used and when you opt to use a credit card, make sure you verify the currency used to charge the card.

Hotels

Cozumel does offer a very wide choice of hotels. A popular option in Cozumel are the all-inclusive hotels. The prices do vary greatly and it is therefore important to make the necessary inquiries. To be on the safer side and avoid disappointment, it is advisable to make advance bookings and confirm the same prior to your arrival.

Drinking Water

For those contemplating a visit to this island, chances are that you will be concerned about the quality of drinking water keeping in mind that Cozumel is an island. Even though the island does have its own water purification system, this is usually not safe to drink and as a matter of fact, almost all the locals drink bottled water which is usually delivered to their homes by various companies. To this end, always make sure you drink only bottled water that’s not been opened. Bottled water is also used for cooking purposes and you should therefore not worry about the water used to make your food.

Safety

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Cozumel has a long history of being a safe and secure tourism spot and your security is virtually assured even though you are expected to take the normal security and safety measures such as looking after your valuables, locking your room, car etc.

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