Cozumel By Ashtyn Brinker

Where is Cozumel?

Cozumel is Mexico's largest island, located 12 miles off the Yucatan peninsula and 45 miles south of Cancun. It's located in the western Caribbean, making it a common stop for massive cruise ships. The island itself is about 30 miles long and 9.9 miles wide. A non-stop flight to Cozumel from Chicago would take 3 hours and 50 minutes, while a connecting flight with 1 stop in Houston, Texas would take 6 hours.

History of Cozumel

Archaeologists believe the first people that inhabited the island were the Mayans in the first millennium A.D because of the Mayan ruins that scatter the island. The Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortes and his small fleet, arrived at Cozumel in the early 16th century. At this time, around 40,000 Mayans inhabited the island. Like many other islands in the Caribbean that the Europeans arrived at, diseases swept through the inhabitants. Smallpox and other diseases eliminated most of the population, drastically dropping the numbers to only a few dozen, making it a target for pirate attacks.

a painting of Hernan Cortes arriving in Cozumel

Economy of Cozumel

The island of Cozumel is home to over 300 restaurants, all of which get their food from places other than the island. Since Cozumel is a regular stop for cruise ships, inhabitants have created many square blocks of shops that sell a variety of souvenirs at these ports. The official currency of the island is the Mexican peso. One peso equals .046 U.S dollars.

This bill would equal $0.93 in US Dollars

Culture of Cozumel

Cozumel Carnival (Carnaval de Cozumel) fills the streets of Cozumel with parades every year before the week of Mardi Gras which takes place in February. Another celebration that happens in Cozumel are the Santa Cruz Festivities and El Cedral Fair that began over 150 years ago. These festivities include fairs, traditional feasts, rodeos, bull fights, music, and competitions. Three Kings Day represents the height of the Christmas season and marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, which reminds children of the three wise men. In Cozumel people believe the three wise men rode into Bethlehem on an elephant, camel, and a horse, showing they came from all over the world.

Natives dress in costumes called Estudiantinas or Comparsas to sing and dance in parades

What to do in Cozumel

El Cielo Cozumel "Heaven"

This destination features crystal clear waters as far as the eye can see. Because of the clear water, it's a snorkel destination, operated by one family, and is only available through that family. It's located one mile off of Cozumel's shoreline and is only accessible by boat.

San Gervasio Ruins

These ruins are thought to have been the sanctuary site of Ixchel, goddess of fertility. Because of this, Maya women worshiped this site. The ruins have been preserved by Cozumel so future generations will be able to see them.

The arch at San Gervasio ruins

Arrecife Palancar

Also known as Palancar reef, these stunning coral formations make it one of the best scuba and snorkel destinations. The reef provides kilometers of coral formations with a visibility of 230 feet. This reef is the best snorkel destination that Cozumel has to offer.

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