What to Do in Cozumel
Cozumel is a small island, but there are hundreds of ways to enjoy your time here, whether you have an afternoon or a whole week to spend. In the city of San Miguel, you'll find museums and souvenir shops to wander through and restaurants that serve up authentic Mexican cuisine that’s irresistible. But if you want to find activities that are a little farther out, here are five favorite options.
Take an off-road tour by Jeep or dune buggy
Cozumel is largely undeveloped, which means there are few roads. One way to get out and see the natural beauty of this tropical island is to take an off-road tour by Jeep or dune buggy. A private dune buggy tour with a small group and a local guide offers the best opportunity to explore the rock formations, caves, blowholes and secret beaches of the wild side of the island. It is a pristine environment with breathtaking views of the wide blue Caribbean Sea. After the tour, have your guide take you to one of the beachfront tiki restaurants for lunch.
Have a Mayan wedding ceremony on the beach
If you’re thinking of tying the knot, you should remember that Cozumel is the home of Ix Chel, the ancient moon goddess of fertility, so be forewarned. She may bless you with more than a new spouse. A Mayan wedding ceremony held on a quiet beach at sunset is a mystical experience. Wedding planners on the island can help you plan every detail, including photographers, catered reception halls and the services of a shaman. The shaman, a traditional healer, will incorporate the four main elements of the Earth and perform ancient rituals of various Mayan cultures. In front of the elements, your union will be blessed with the energy of the universe and a bond of everlasting love. It is a memorable and moving experience.
Go visit a unique pearl farm
The only active pearl farm in the Caribbean is far from civilization on a secluded cove on the north shore of Cozumel. It is only accessible by sea since it is surrounded by the mangrove lagoons on one side and the blue waters of the Caribbean on the other. The farm is run by a nature-loving family that welcomes small groups of tourists to explore their operation. The family members will take you out to the oyster beds where you can snorkel in the clear water, then cook you a delicious grilled lunch on the beach. It is a unique learning experience in an area of the world that sees very little human interaction.
Spend an afternoon in heaven
El Cielo translates to “sky” or “heaven” and both are apt descriptions of the large, shallow beach area bearing the name. Imagine a crescent-shaped cove with clear, shallow water as far as you can see, covering white sand dotted with orange starfish. El Cielo beach and snorkel harbor lie on the southwestern coast of Cozumel, just north of Punta Sur Beach and the Celarain Lighthouse. Snorkeling is the favorite pastime here, but just sitting or lying in the sand with the water all around is pure relaxation. If you venture out to the reef with snorkel gear, you might see sea turtles, stingrays, and colorful tropical fish.
Take a submarine tour
If you are not able to snorkel or scuba dive for some reason, the Atlantis Submarine Expedition is a fun alternative. The submarine is large enough inside to avoid feelings of claustrophobia, and there are rows of large windows on both sides. The state-of-the-art submarine takes off from Chankanaab, a protected marine park on the west coast of the island. It reaches depths of 100 feet and follows the coral reef, where you can see tropical fish, lobsters, turtles and the diversity of a protected marine ecosystem.
So have fun at the cruise port or at your all-inclusive resort, but don’t neglect to get out and explore the natural side of this well-protected island paradise. Cozumel is a place that remains unspoiled, and that’s a rarity you should not take for granted.
By Kay D. Harrison
El Cid La Ceiba Beach
Hotel Villablanca Garden Beach
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