Cozumel, a Mayan name that means Island of the Swallows, is a beautiful tropical island ten miles long and thirty miles wide, just twelve miles off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and a "municipos" (or municipality) in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo. San Miguel de Cozumel is the main town on the island, full of friendly people, safe streets, secure neighborhoods, and gorgeous beaches.
Quick strong rainstorms called "nortes" occur in the blink of an eye, drench the area, then leave, all within an hour. During October, there can be a week's worth of rain, but, in the spring, Cozumel will get, at most, two days of rain per month. Humidity is always high, especially in the interior rainforests, but, along the coast, sea breezes are very cooling.
Archaeology is one of the draws for tourists to Cozumel. A lighthouse supposedly built by the Mayans, the Templo El Caracol, is on the southern tip of Cozumel, within the Parque Punta Sur. One more Mayan site worth visiting is near the village of El Cedral near the Carretera Costera Sur. Another, called San Gervasio, is a few miles north of the Carretera Transversal.
The Chankanaab National Park is about five miles south of San Miguel, and is open during daylight hours. The park has a restaurant and bar, and changing rooms. You'll also find a beach, walking trails, and an iguana lagoon. You can snorkel, dive, or swim with the dolphins.
But, most people do visit Cozumel for the underwater diving, Cozumel is considered one of the finest places in the world to go scuba diving. Most of locations for diving are south of San Miguel, and the city is full of dive shops which will take you out to sea for a session of drift diving. A 'drift dive' is one where the boat drops you off, you drift with the current over the reef, and get picked up by your boat at the far end of your drift.
If you still went to see what's underwater and not scuba dive, there's always snorkeling. You can rent equipment cheaply at any dive shop beach-side. On the west coast, the limestone shoreline is great for snorkeling because there is less sand to disturb that would block visibility. Another alternative to diving is the Glass Bottom Boat Tour, during which you will see a wide variety of sea-life pass beneath you
The East Side, on the windward end of the island, is popular with surfers. Large waves and rocky outcroppings line the coast, and make the area dangerous to swimmers -- watch for the display of flags to see if an area is safe to take a dip. The beaches, however, are still stunning, and safe to walk
You should also try a deep sea fishing expedition out of Puerto Abrigo Marina, out in the deep channel between Cozumel Island and the Yucatan Coast and the island of Cozumel. You'll find vast numbers of sport fish, with wonderful fishing opportunities year round.
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