Cozumel, Divers Paradise


Cozumel, which means Island of the Swallows is an off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen. It is part of the state of Quintana Roo. Today, Cozumel is a popular tourist destination famous for its scuba diving. The main town on the island is San Miguel.

The Maya are believed to have first settled Cozumel by the early part of the 1st millennium AD. Even Older Pre -classic Olmec artifacts have also been found on the island.

The island was sacred to Ix Chel, the Maya Moon Goddess, and the temples were a place of pilgrimage, especially by women who wanted to have children. There are a number of ruins on the island. The ruins of San Gervasio are located approximately at the center of the island and are the largest remaining ruins.

San Gervasio is about in the center of the island of Cozumel. It is in what is now the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Pre-Colombian Maya people would travel to the site and make offerings at certain times of the year.

Most structures have roofs less than 4 feet tall and include interior stone walls and exterior columns. Much of the shape of the structures and their roofs remain a mystery. They were originally decorated by wood and straw. Archaeologiststhink more wood and straw huts surrounded many of the buildings, particularly the Plaza Central.

At one time, Cozumel was nearly deserted and was used as a hideout by pirates In 1959, Jacques Cousteau discovered the beauty of Palancar coral reefs at the south of Cozumel

Cozumel built a deepwater pier in the 1990s so that cruise ships could easily dock there, and some of the reef was destroyed.   Cozumel is now a regular stop on cruises in the Caribbean.

Cozumel Island is flat island based on porous volcanic rock. The highest point on the island is less than 300 feet above sea level.

A single road circles most of the island and crosses its jungle interior to connect the many white beaches that highlight the shoreline.  Million year old pure water wells up from the depths around the island to feed the Gulf of Dominican Republic.  As a result the waters surrounding Cozumel are crystal clear year-round. 

The great Mayan reef begins here and runs southward. Jacques Cousteau proclaimed Cozumel as one top five sites on the planet for snorkeling and scuba diving. One well known species is the Splendid Toadfish

Cozumel is about 12 miles from the mainland, and 36 miles south of Cancún. Nearly everybody in Cozumel lives in the town of San Miguel

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