With a Mexican heart and a Caribbean soul, Cozumel is a paradise where tradition, flavor
and joy come together. You will always find a friendly face and a warm welcome to make your stay an unforgettable one.
Famous all over the world for its coral reefs, there are plenty of water sports such as diving, deep-sea fishing,
snorkeling, kayaking and more. Cozumel's mostly undeveloped territory at the center of the island is covered by jungle and
swampy lagoons, which are home to tiny mammals and endemic birds that have never left the island. Noteworthy is the Chankanaab
National Park, a Cozumel icon, and the Punta Sur Ecological Reserve. This huge protected area at the southern tip of the island
includes Punta Celarain and its historical lighthouse, as well as the Colombia Lagoon, a shelter for many of the island's
endemic species, as well as other endangered forms of life, such as marine turtles and their nesting areas.
With its beautiful beaches and exotic locale, Cozumel is an ideal
destination where honeymooners can enjoy colorful and breathtaking sunsets, moonlit walks on secluded beaches, swim through
crystal clear blue waters and romantic candlelight dinners
The first Maya settled in Cozumel 2,000
years ago. However, during the classic period 300-900 A.C.- a time when priests were at the top of the social hierarchy in
the Maya world and life revolved around religious ceremonies – Cozumel became one of the most important sanctuaries
in the Yucatan region. Cozumel derives its name from the Mayan words Cuzam (swallow) and Lumil (land of), which form the word
Cuzamil (land of swallows). The Mayan word changed with time to the Spanish name of Cozumel. The Mayans believed the island
to be a sacred shrine.
Religious pilgrimages were
common to the island especially from women who were either pregnant or wanted to get pregnant. They pay homage to the goddess
Ix Chel, the deity of the moon, pregnancy and childbirth. It was a tradition among the Maya People in general to make the
trip at least ossnce in their lifetime to the shrine of this goddess By 1200 D.C, in Middle America there existed an important
long distance trade in which Cozumel was a key link.
was on this island where all kinds of merchandise arrived from far away places. Goods were temporarily stored before being
sent in canoes to other distribution points.
It was by 1518 that the Spanish
explorer Juan de Grijalva arrived to the coast of the island on Holy Cross Day (May 3rd), named this land as “Isla de
la Santa Cruz” and proclaimed the land as property of the Doña Johanna and Don Carlos Kings of Spain, The Spanish
arrive, to Cozumel on May 06 making a peaceful stop on the island, received by the locals, exchanging gold and a variety of
Juan de Grijalva ordered the chaplain
Juan Díaz to offer a mass on the same place that the islanders had a temple therefore on may 6th the first catholic
ceremony was held in México, at a location named by the Spanish like Saint John (currently named Las Casitas
(little houses), where every year mass is still celebrated by the locals. The visit was followed a year later
by Hernán Cortés. Cozumel was the first site touched by the army of Hernán Cortés in what is now
Mexican territory, becoming the starting point for the conquest of Mexico. It was on this island that the
long, drawn out domination of the Yucatán started and was carried out. Between the arrival of Cortés
in 1519 and the year 1524 when the conquest culminated, there were no large-scale confrontations between the Indians and the
Spaniards on the island.
The Mayan ruler of Cozumel accepted their domination peacefully. The conqueror proceeded
to destroy many of the Mayan temples. By the time, Cortés left Cozumel, the ancient civilization lie in ruins. At the
same time, an outbreak of smallpox killed thousands. By 1525 Francisco de Montejo made a request to the king of Spain
to authorize the conquest and development of the Isla of Cozumel (Montejo was one of the captains that arrived with
Cortez 9 years prior). Don Francisco de Montejo arrives to Cozumel On September 29 of 1527 and gave the Christian name
of San Miguel de Cozumel. As the Spaniards became more familiar with the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, they realized
they did not have to stop-over in Cozumel, excluding it as a port of call for Spanish ships. At the same time, as an immediate
effect of the conquest, Mayan trade was nullified and the cult of the goddess Ix Chel suppressed. The islanders, deprived of their principal economic activity, were forced to depend only
on agriculture for their survival. By the decree of the King of Spain of July 15 of 1583, Cozumel became
directly dependent upon the Yucatan church. Between 1519 and 1570, the island's population dropped from 40,000 to 30. By 1700
it was finally uninhabited. Although several pirates used Cozumel as a base of operations in the 17th century, including
the notorious Henry Morgan and Jean Lafitte, the island was not resettled until 1848. England and Holland pirates came inside
the land to capture Indians and Spaniards as slaves.
During the caste war, refugees fled to the island. The mestizos founded San Miguel on the west coast and the Mayans settled
at El Cedral. From mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th, Cozumel´s economy boomed and it become an important
The depression (1930´s) seriously affected
the island economically, it bounced back during World War II putting Cozumel on the map. The U.S. built an air base for planes
hunting U-boats in the mid-Atlantic and an airport was built. Drawn by the clear waters, frogmen came to train and returned home with
stories of magnificent underwater vistas. Jacques Cousteau's declarations in 1960 about the richness of the coral reef
surrounding the island made underwater enthusiasts aware of Cozumel's existence.
By 1970, Cozumel's population quickly growth to 10,000 and today the island boasts a population of more