Aquamarine waters, blue skies and glorious beaches of dazzling white sand – Cozumel holidays offer a glimpse of paradise in the Caribbean. If you’re looking to experience Mexico’s natural beauty, you’ve come to the right place. This holiday hotspot is famed for its unspoilt landscape and the world’s second largest barrier reef system, making it the ideal place to relax on the beach or view the spectacular range of marine life beneath the surface. These natural marvels are complemented by atmospheric Mayan ruins and the lively little city of San Miguel. Plus, the island’s beautiful modern hotels and huge range of facilities make Cozumel the perfect holiday destination whether you’re looking for a romantic honeymoon or an adventure-crammed escape.
Cozumel is simply breathtaking. Its stunning beaches of white sand are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean, and the scuba diving and snorkelling are superb. Cozumel’s vast barrier reef attracts myriad species of aquatic life, and is a protected nature reserve. The lively little city of San Miguel is packed with shops, cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs, but if you want to escape the crowds head to the pristine eastern coast, where you’ll find secluded beaches and mangrove forests. Although Cozumel is Mexico’s third-largest island, it’s only about 30 miles long and 15 miles, making all its sights within easy reach. Cozumel also boasts some remarkable Mayan ruins, the best of which are in the centre of the island at San Gervasio.
Cozumel is a hugely popular tourist destination, and so you’ll find restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. There are eateries offering cuisines from around the globe, but you won’t want to miss out on the amazing local dishes. Traditional Mexican cuisine is so good, it’s been awarded Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO (see our blog for more). You can tuck into chiles en nogada, chillies stuffed with a spicy meat mixture and topped with walnut sauce, or go for some tamales, dough parcels filled with a variety of fillings (usually meat, cheese, vegetables, chillies, or something sweet), which are wrapped in banana leaves or cornhusks and steamed. And of course, you can enjoy some spectacularly good seafood in a beautiful beachfront setting.
Families will adore Cozumel, which offers a winning combination of gorgeous beaches with plenty to see and do. The stunning beaches are the focus of most holidays, with their picture-postcard white sands, palm trees and azure seas. The Playa de San Francisco, which has the widest range of facilities, and the sheltered Playa de San Juan are both particularly good for families. Older kids will love the fabulous snorkelling and diving opportunities – which might even include sightings of sharks – while younger children will adore the pirate boat tours or the chance to see the coral reef from a glass-bottomed boat. There are some fabulous Mayan ruins to explore, or you could even visit a theme park that has all the biggest Mexican monuments in miniature. Then there are dolphin shows and water parks – everything, in fact, which you could hope for to enjoy a perfect family holiday!
Cozumel may be a relatively small island (30 miles by 15 miles) but it packs in plenty of adventure! The scuba diving and snorkelling are superb, thanks to the presence of the world’s second-largest barrier reef, which attracts myriad aquatic creatures, including loggerhead turtles, sharks, and multi-coloured tropical fish. Numerous local suppliers offer courses, rent out equipment and run diving excursions to the best dive sites. Lots of other water sports are available, whether you want to try kayaking, canoeing or sailing, and there are several boat trips on offer, from glass-bottomed tours of the coral reefs to party boats. On land, you can go horse-trekking, take Jeep safaris, or go zip-lining over the tropical greenery.
One of the most popular beaches in Cozumel is San Francisco, which boasts the classic Caribbean combination of white sand, palm trees and calm, turquoise seas. It has excellent amenities, including beach clubs and facilities for water sports, and is also the main departure point for glass-bottomed boats running tours of the coral reef. If you’re travelling with the family, the Playa de San Juan is a great option, thanks to its sheltered waters and opportunities for exploring the surrounding forests. The Playa Bonita (‘Beautiful Beach’) on the undeveloped eastern coast is considered one of the loveliest and most romantic on the island, while the Playa Encantada is another spectacular and unspoilt beach on the southern tip of Cozumel.
Cozumel is a dreamy, paradisiacal island, but its capital city (and only major town) San Miguel has got plenty of nightlife to keep things lively on balmy nights. There are scores of bars and clubs to choose from, whether you just want to chill out on the beach, get dressed up and sip cocktails in glamorous surroundings or dance until dawn. If you want to hang out with the locals, head to the Plaza Central (the main square) on Sunday nights. There’s usually some live music at the bandstand, and couples salsa around the square. The city also has lots of great festivals, including a spectacular carnival celebration in spring, and the atmospheric ‘Sacred Mayan Crossings’, a 3-day event during which hundreds of people paddle from the mainland to Cozumel and back in wooden canoes, held in May or June.
Cozumel is a lush, Caribbean island fringed with spectacular beaches of dazzling white sand. Throw in some ancient Mayan ruins, spectacular scuba diving and snorkelling, a vibrant little capital, and a wild and undeveloped eastern coast where you can escape the crowds, and you’ve got the perfect island for romance! You can laze on the beaches, admire the world’s second largest barrier reef with a snorkel or on a scuba diving excursion, or take a boat trip to the Isla de la Pasión (‘Passion Island’), which has pristine beaches and luxuriant forest. There are scores of romantic places to eat and drink, whether you want beachfront luxury or a remote country restaurant serving local cuisine. No wonder Cozumel is a favourite with honeymooners!
Cozumel was settled by the Mayans two thousand years ago, and the island is still scattered with ancient ruins. The biggest of these are located at San Gervasio, in the centre of the island. These ruins were once a temple to the Mayan fertility goddess Ix Chel, and a popular pilgrimage destination. The area is now a nature reserve, and iguanas scuttle over the ancient stones. To find out more about local history and culture, there is a clutch of interesting museums in Cozumel’s capital city, San Miguel. These include the Museo de Arte Popular, which has exhibits on local traditions, and the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, which offers an interesting overview of the island’s remarkable history.