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Cozumel
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Cozumel (Island of the Swallows) is the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean.

Located off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen. View Map

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5 Fun Facts

1. Mayan Heritage:

Cozumel was an important island for the ancient Maya civilization. They considered it sacred and dedicated it to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, medicine, and the moon. There are several archaeological sites on the island, including San Gervasio, where pilgrimages were made to honor Ixchel.

2. World-Class Diving:

Cozumel is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs, making it one of the top diving destinations in the world. The underwater visibility often exceeds 100 feet, and divers can explore a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, and even nurse sharks.

3. Jacques Cousteau's Influence:

The legendary marine explorer Jacques Cousteau played a significant role in putting Cozumel on the map as a diving destination. His 1961 documentary featuring the island's reefs helped showcase its natural beauty to the world.

4. Chankanaab Park:

This ecological park is a popular attraction on Cozumel. It offers a beautiful beach, botanical gardens, and a lagoon where visitors can swim with dolphins. It's also an excellent spot for snorkeling due to its clear waters and abundant marine life.

5.Cultural Fusion:

Cozumel has a rich cultural blend influenced by its Mayan heritage and more recent history. The island's cuisine, for example, combines traditional Mayan flavors with Spanish, Caribbean, and Mexican influences. Visitors can enjoy dishes like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), fresh seafood, and tropical fruits.

Read Serious Facts below

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Top 10 Attractions Random Order
1. Hacienda Antigua Tequila Tour and witness how Mexicans turn a spiky plant into their national drink? 2. San Gervasio Mayan Ruins - built in AD 800. 3. El Mirador Lookout 4. A Diver's Delight: Palancar Reef 5. Laguna Chankanaab, a small freshwater lake 6. Island Museum 7. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park 8. Stingray Beach 9. Celarain: Cozumel's Lighthouse 10. Cozumel Market - for strolling, food and people watching.
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National Anthem

“Himno Nacional Mexicano”


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Serious Facts Cozumel
Meaning
Cozumel:
Yucatec Maya: Kùutsmil
English: Island of the Swallows
Nationality
Mexican and Mayan (ethnic group)
Size
647.33 km2 (249.94 sq mi)
Population
100,000 (as of 2011)
Coordinates
20 deg 25' N 86 deg 55' W
Capital
San Miguel de Cozumel
Time Zone
UTC -6
Drives on the
Right
Currency & Credit Cards
Mexican Peso
Banks
HSBC Sucursal 1780, Banco Santander, Banco Mercantil del Norte, Banco Monex S.A.
Animals
Iguanas, raccoons, manatees, peacocks, crocodiles, mongoose, horses, donkeys, various species of lizard, various birds species, various insect species
Food
Sweet and sour oranges, limes, grapefruit, papaya, and avocado. The mamey tree, which grows to 15-20 meters in height, provides a brown avocado-shaped fruit with a sweet salmon-pink flesh in the middle (a flavor similar to the sweet yam). A lanky evergreen known as the Guaya produces small, green, leathery pods that grow in clumps like grapes. These pods have a sweet, yellowish, jellylike flesh.
Plants
The tropical forests include mangroves, bamboo, swamp cypresses, ferns, vines, and flowers, include orchids (71 species), and many types of palm trees. Henequen, Ceiba (Mayan Tree of Life), Framboyanes (royal poinciana) trees are also found here. The Southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula has tropical rainforests with tall mahoganies, campeche, zapote, and kapok, all of which are covered by jungle vines. White and Red Ginger herbs, Plumeria, Hibiscus and bougainvillea bloom in the forests and Morning Glory creeps over trees and bushes.
Language
Spanish
Brief History
The Maya are believed to have first settled Cozumel by the early part of the 1st millennium AD, and older Pre-Classic Olmec artifacts have been found on the island as well. There are a number of ruins on the island, most from the Post-Classic period. The largest Maya ruins on the island were near the downtown area and have now been destroyed. Today, the largest remaining ruins are at San Gervasio, located at the center of the island.

The first Spanish expedition to visit Cozumel was led by Juan de Grijalva in 1518. In 1650 many of the Mayan islanders were forcibly relocated to the mainland town of Xcan Boloná to avoid buccaneers' predation. Later, in 1688, the rest of the island's population, as well as many of the settlements along the Quintana Roo coast, were evacuated inland to towns such as Chemax.

In 1848, refugees escaping the tumult of the Caste War of Yucatán settled on the island and in 1849 the town of San Miguel de Cozumel was officially recognized by the Mexican government.

The original airport was a World War II relic and was able to handle jet aircraft and international flights, a much larger airport was built in the late 1970s. This resulted in much greater tourism to Cozumel.

Scuba diving is still one of Cozumel's primary attractions, mainly due to the healthy coral reef marine communities. These coral reefs are protected from the open ocean by the island's natural geography. In 1996, the government of Mexico also established the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, forbidding anyone from touching or removing any marine life within the park boundaries.

The island was struck directly by two Category 5 hurricanes during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Despite Emily being a powerful storm, it was the slower moving Hurricane Wilma that caused the most destruction when it hit the island in October. There was some damage to the underwater marine habitat. This included the coral reefs, which suffered particularly at the shallower dive sites, and the fish that inhabit the reefs. [info: Wikipedia]

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