Island Charm Beyond the Beach
variety of Cozumel excursions available to tourists offer everything
imaginable: from Jeep tours to sunset catamaran cruises, from
hacienda tours to day trips to nearby Mayan ruins.
our list of some of Cozumel's most popular activities:
We've also included a list of travel agencies on the island that
can help you book your reservations.
History and Culture
Cozumel has a
fascinating history. From the time of the conquest until 1961, the
island of Cozumel appeared and faded throughout the historical
narrative of the Yucatan region. When Juan de Grijalva landed in
1518 and Cortez a year later, the island was a Mayan outpost, a
ceremonial center and fishing and farming community.
then, its fortunes followed the mercurial adventures of pirates,
slave traders and politicians, the rise and fall of the hennequen
trade, until in the 1930s it fell into a long period of decline as a
result of the Great Depression.
Then, in 1961, undersea
explorer Jacques Cousteau, drawn by tales of the beauty of Cozumel's
coral reefs, featured the island on his popular TV series. From that
point on, the island's has become known as a diver's paradise, a
favorite stop for cruise ships and a favorite destination for
tourists form all over the world.
There are plenty of Cozumel excursions that focus on
history and culture. Here are a few examples:
Antigua Tequila Tour. Visit
actual former hacienda and learn how this unlikely spirit is
concocted from the agave plant (actually not a cactus but a member
of the lotus family). The tour is $14.
Chankanaab/Discover Mexico Combination
Tour. The Chankanaab National Park contains the San
Gervasio Mayan Site, once the most important ceremonial center on
the island, Cozumel's Island Museum and the Faro Celarain Eco Park.
The combo package
includes Discover Mexico, a 90 minute four-screen movie that
provides a Cliff Notes version of Mexican history, including an
overview of the arts and culture. Spend the rest of the day enjoying
the eco-park and beautiful lagoon. The cost is $34.
Self-Guided and Guided Tours
Exploration. Renting a car in Cozumel is easy. Avis and Dollar have
agencies at the airport. Driving on the island is easy too. How
lost can you get? It is an island, after all, and renting a car is
a great way to take of on your own private Cozumel excursions. Drive
south out of the centro to spend the day at one of the great west coast
beaches, then tour the island's archaeological sites and eco-parks.
It's all within easy reach, and, since the island is only 27 miles,
you can even return to your hotel for an afternoon siesta and then
head out again for the afternoon and evening.
Guided Tours. If you want to completely relax and let
someone else do the driving, take a guided tour. Tour companies
offer both pre-planned and customized excursions. A typical
pre-planned itinerary includes a visit to San Gervasio, a drive
along the beaches and a visit to Chankanaab National park to see the
botanical gardens, watch a dolphin and sea lion show and a light
meal on the beach. A guided tour usually runs around $30.00
SCUBA and Marine Life
SCUBA. As you would expect from
island made famous by Jacques Cousteau, the most popular of all
Cozumel excurions include opportunities to explore the island's amazing
marine life. For those with their SCUBA credentials, there are
plenty of accompanied dives. If you'd rather stay topside, here are
Glass Bottom Boat
Tours. Let a trained naturalist introduce you to the
wonders of the ocean floor from the comfort of an air conditioned
glass bottom boat. Tours run about $40.00. Glass Bottom Boat tour -
Submarine Tour. For an even
closer look at some of Cozumel's most popular dive sites climb
aboard a 48 person Atlantis submarine and drop to depths of 100 feet
or more. Tours are under $90 per person.
Discovery. Includes a 45 minute “Dolphin Encounter,”
and sea lion show. There is also a re-created Mayan village with
accompanying educational program, botanical gardens and forest
Jungle, Jeep and Horseback Tours
Tour. This tour travels through jungle areas and
along seculded beaches on the Caribbean side of the island with side
trips to Mayan ruins and, if you'd like, snorkeling at the “micro
atolls” which feature unusual coral formations.
Jungle Horseback Riding. As with the jeep tours, these horseback
excursions lead inland into forest and jungle areas. $70
Fishing, Sailing and Cruising
Charters. Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Shark,
Snapper, Wahoo, Barracuda, and Amberjack. Best fishing season is
from February to July. Bonefishing charters also available. Charters
run from $350.00
Sailing and Cruises Sail
Charters. 47' single hull yacht takes passengers on
snorkel and sunset cruises without the racket of a noisy motor. from
Catamaran Sunset Sail and Snorkel. This 65' cat visits Palancar and Colombia
Reefs. End the day with free cocktails and a Caribbean sunset. -
Off Island Activities
Tulum and Xel-Ha day
Cozumel excursions also include day long trips to the mainland to visit Tulum's
impressive archaeological site and Xel-Ha, a sort of natural and
historical theme park. There's more to do at Xel-Ha than you would
probably want to take in on a single visit. But that's all right;
it's also a great place to lie in a hammock and do nothing. $161
Xcaret day trip. Another theme-park
like attraction similar to Xel-Ha, but with a terrific folkloric
espectaculo: a gala presentation that covers the Spanish Conquest
before intermission, then celebrates the music of Mexico's many
regions. I will never forget how nearly everyone in the enormous
amphitheater seemed to know all the words to all the songs: an
impressive and moving display of Mexican's pride in their country.
TRAVEL AGENCIES...to help you plan your own
Come to Cozumel