The reefs of the Cozumel National Park are among the finest in the Caribbean. Especially the Palancar Caves impress with their great visibility. The steep walls covered with sponges, corals and chimneys convince with each dive with always new impressions. No wonder that in the national park nobody is allowed into the water without the guidance of the guides. The preservation of their treasure is a personal concern to them. And their success proves them right. Despite the many divers, the reefs off Cozumel look very good. Often you can see nurse sharks, eagle rays and mackerels. Numerous stingrays cavort on the sandy areas. The turtles are used to divers and like to be seen eating over the shell. Schools of snappers swim between shallow reefs. From every third hole a toad fish looks out.
A large part of the land mass also belongs to the national park. It is fun to explore the quiet island by rental car. Old Mayan ruins and lonely sandy beaches quickly make you forget the hustle and bustle of the island capital San Miguel.
Cenotes Diving in Mexico
The ferry trip from Cozumel to the Yucatàn peninsula opens up a completely different world. The whole region around Playa del Carmen is the destination of many cave divers from all over the world. They come because of the largest cave system in the world! Even as an Open Water Diver, the curious can dive safely into the mystical world. After the Arctic Sea, the water in the Cenotes is considered to be the clearest of our planet.
Safety is of course the top priority when diving in the Cenotes. A guide equipped with double equipment accompanies the divers. The next ray of hope is never more than 60 meters away. The sun-flooded entrances of the caves alone are worth it. There you will find colourful water lilies, cichlids, tetra and turtles. Also for snorkelers it is a pleasure of the special kind.
Explore the surroundings on land
After the Cenotes, a detour to Tulum on Yucatàn is worthwhile. The city was once one of the most important metropolises of the old Mayan empire. Some important old buildings still bear witness to this today.
Back to Cozumel again. In San Miguel the evening stroll lures through the numerous pubs and bars. When the cruise ship passengers have left the city again, the Malecon promenade seems extinct. The best time to enjoy real Mexican flair!
On the trail of pirates
Cozumel is the largest island in Mexico. It is located at the southwestern end of the Gulf of Mexico. Off the coast of the Yucatán peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. On the mostly windy east side there are lonely beaches. A popular spot for surfers. Center of the holiday island is the capital San Miguel (75,000 inhabitants) in the northeast.
Around 1000 AD Cozumel was an important centre. Of the former 30 Mayan sites of the island, the one near San Gervasio in the interior of the island is best kept. Until the end of the 17th century, the island was forgotten and became the hiding place of notorious pirates such as Jean Lafitte and Henry Morgan.
The current inhabitants of Cozumel live from booming tourism. In addition to cruisers who come to the island for short visits, many divers follow in the footsteps of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He already explored the reefs in 1954.
Cenote diving also for beginners
A special diving attraction are the Cenotes (from: Dzonot = Holy Gift) of Puerto del Carmen on the Yucatàn Peninsula. They can be reached by ferry in 30 minutes. The porous limestone soil is home to huge cave systems and beautiful blue pots. This area, created about 18,000 years ago, covers the entire Yucatàn peninsula. Nowhere else is Cenote diving possible for beginners. For example in the Grande Cenote. The light-flooded blue pots also bring a lot of fun when bathing and snorkeling.
Diving and snorkeling in Cozumel at a glance
Arrival: Flight to Cancun. The journey time from the airport to the ferry to Playa del Carmen is about 50 minutes. The crossing to Cozumel takes 30 minutes.
Diving on Cozumel: The reefs of Cozumel are easy to dive despite constant currents. The dive sites along the reef, which covers the island from the northeast to the southwest, are varied. With steep walls, coral towers and spotted reefs. They run through the light sand like pearls on a chain. The Cozumel National Park is also located in this area. The preferred dive site for many bases.
What to see when diving on Cozumel: The visibility is good all year round, barely below 30 meters. Snappers and mackerels populate the reefs in schools. Stingrays, eagles and electric rays as well as nurse sharks and turtles roam the sandy areas. You will also often see different coral fish, lobsters and giant spiders. Due to the high water temperatures a shorty is sufficient in summer. In winter a five millimetre wetsuit is recommended. On the island there are well over one hundred diving bases. Excursions lead from the port of Caleta to the reefs of the Cozumel National Park. Where two dives are carried out in each case.
Snorkeling in Cozumel: There are good snorkeling spots along the coast. But also the reefs in the national park Cozumels reach depths, which are well suitable for snorkelers.
The best dive sites on Cozumel
Barracuda: The northernmost dive site in Cozumel. It is only visited when large schools of eagle rays pass by from November to February. Further visitors are numerous barracudas and mackerels.
Colombia: Large corals and canyons. They change into a steep wall at a depth of 45 meters. The reef is broken by sandy areas. Here you will find nurse sharks, groupers, mackerels and turtles.
Diving at the wreck “C-53 Felipe Xicotencatl”: A 63 meter long mine sweeper that was sunk in 2000 for divers. The ship stands upright at a depth of 24 metres and is beautifully overgrown, providing shelter for many fish.
Palancar: The most famous reef of Cozumel stretches over five kilometres and is divided into the sections Gardens, Horseshoe, Caves and Bricks. The reef fascinates by a highly varied topography with canyons, breakthroughs, gorges and tunnels.
Paso del Cedra: A plateau covered with horn corals and sponges at a depth of eleven to 16 metres. Here you can dive with eagle rays, nurse sharks, barracudas and turtles.
Everything about your stay in Cozumel
Entry: Every tourist needs a passport valid for at least six months. EU citizens also need a tourist card. It will be issued upon entry. It is valid for 30, 90 or 180 days. It can be extended for a further six months.
Means of payment: The currency is the Mexican peso. Common credit cards are accepted.
Power: 110 Volt/50 Hz. There are also 220 volt connections.
Climate: Cozumel is a classic year-round destination. Those who prefer milder temperatures should arrive during the moderately warm months from October to May. The rest of the year is hot and humid. Short showers are always to be expected. There is no season for diving. Hurricanes are possible from July to October.
Accommodation: The Mexican holiday island of Cozumel has a wide range of accommodation for every budget. Up to five-star hotels.
Cuisine: Numerous inexpensive restaurants in San Miguel off the coast road Malecon offer local specialties such as tacos and seafood, but also international dishes.
Other activities: In addition to water sports, horse riding, golf and hiking are possible. Tours by bike, quad, moped or car are a must. Just as interesting: The submarine trip with the Atlantis Submarines Company.
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