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About Cozumel, Mexico

The largest inhabited island in Mexico and the oldest in the Caribbean group, Cozumel is located 12 miles off the eastern coast of the mainland (Yucatan Peninsula.)The limestone plateau that forms the base of the island is 34 miles long (north to south) and 11 miles wide (east to west).

Satelilite View of Cozumel IslandThe Satellite image here shows the Yucatan Channel and a stretch of the Mexican mainland coast.

Despite the boom in tourist and residential development in the past few years, continues to have vast expanses of untouched jungle and shoreline.

The Miami-like resort of Cancun is on the mainland approximately 35 miles north as the crow flies. You can fly into Cancun and take the airport bus/ferry crossing. Or zoom directly into Cozumel's small, modern airport.

The island is one of the top 5 dive destinations in the world thanks to the stunning coral reefs (second largest in the world) that are located just off it's southwestern coast.

Cozumel FSBO Home

Cozumel Coral

Add in unusually clear water--with visibility often as great as 200 ft--and you have the formula for some incredible underwater adventures. The diving is fabulous with over 100 dive ops offering far more service than you are probably accustomed to at other Class A dive destinations.

The snorkeling is not too shabby either although for the most spectacular views down under consider a Boat Tour.

The west side of the island, facing the Yucatan Channel and the Mexican mainland coast is where everyone lives and stays when they come to visit. This is because, unlike the east side of Cozumel which faces the open Atlantic and Cuba, the west side has electricity. It is also largely sheltered from the strong winds and battering surf that are near constant visitors on 'the wild side'.

The large central portion of the island is mostly undeveloped jungle brimming with wild life. PICTURE OF Coatamundi here?

Just like everywhere on what has come to be called the Mayan Riviera, Cozumel has experienced tremendous growth over the past 20 years. But there is nothing here like the boom town atmosphere of constant building currently occurring on the nearby mainland coast from Tulum to Cancun.

At the north end of Cozumel's developed west shores, there are 6 or 7 high rise condos and several resorts and hotels. The southern end has approximately the same number of all-inclusives.

And right in the center you have the the vibrant city of San Miguel, population 90,000. This safe, extraordinarily friendly Mayan/Mexican community has somehow managed to retain its own customs and cultural identity despite the increasing influx of visitors.

San Miguel, in fact remains one of the very few places left in the Mayan Riviera where visitors can truly experience and even become involved in traditional Yucatecan culture. It's also a great place for shopping and sampling a wide variety of Mexican, Yucatecan and international cuisine.

  • Rippling Water Makes a Lovely Sound within the Casa
  • Easy to Clean, Soft on the feet -- and the eyes!
  • There is a Roof Water Tank Hidden in the 2nd Story Tower.
  • Great Room is to the Left, Downstairs Bedroom Wing to the Right
  • Overflow Rain Water Drips from the Roof into a Charmingly Preserved Well.
Cozumel's Mercado

Left,a typical scene outside San Miguel's Mercado (downtown market) where family and friends meet and visit as they pick over produce, & buy recado balls, epozote & helados. Right, the downtown plaza's gazebo.

Cozumel's zolaco

Although Avenida Raphael Melgar, the waterfront road and promenade, is often thronging with cruise ship passengers and day-trippers from the mainland, they're gone by sunset. Plus you need only wander a few blocks inland at any time of the day to discover a different, mellower world.

Cozumel Bougainvillea

Here riots of pink or purple bougainvillea tumble down over bright-pastel walls, church bells toll and children laugh and play soccer in the streets until long after dark.

San Miguel is a a food lover's paradise, too. Stores sell fresh yogurt laced with walnuts, crystallized limes and sour orange juice squeezed while you wait. Up on Avenida 30, five blocks from the waterfront, there's whole, mesquite-cooked chickens to be had.

And the Mercado market on 25th displays enough prime and inexpensive produce to make a vegetarian's heart sing for joy.

Fresh squeezed juice at Cozumel's Mercado

Left, Freshly squeezed juices are one of the many interesting treats to be found at El Centro's El Mercado. Right,Street vendors like this ice cream man are common sights on the on the streets of San Miguel.

Cozumel Helado Truck Plying the Streets

But the best thing about San Miguel is its people. You'll meet all kinds: stout Mayan housekeepers in embroidered finery, glossy-haired mothers proudly pushing baby prams, sailors strolling with their sweethearts.Listen for the bread man's clap as he peddles past. He's announcing to the neighborhood that his pan dulce is ready to eat. Or the knife sharpener who plays a haunting tune on his flute as he wheels slowly through the quiet streets

Cozumel Carnival Girl

Dignified, merry and kind, Cozumeleños judge you not by what you do for a living, but by who you are as a person. So next time you're in San Miguel, be sure to smile and say "hola" to the people you meet. You may be surprised at how many will reward you with a warm, rich grin in return.

San Miguel Related Links

Walking Tour of San Miguel Traditional Cozumel Home
Downtown Shopping Cozumel Shopping Link
Sampling Yucatecan Cooking  
San Miguel Nightlife Cozumel Night Life
Is a Downtown-Based Vacation Right for You?  
How to Be More than "Just Another Tourist"  
Hot Tips: Where the Locals Eat Cozumel Rotisserie Chicken