Cozumel, Mexico is an invigorating port of call on a Disney Cruise Line Caribbean Cruise vacation. An island and a city off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is known for some of the world's healthiest coral reefs and rarest natural recreation. This island in the Caribbean Sea is an extremely popular destination for scuba-diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
Things to See and Do
This island paradise provides wonders and pleasures galore for visitors of all ages. Though a vast array of recreation options can be found all over the island, scuba diving remains the main attraction for visitors who flock to take advantage of the island's natural geography. Cozumel encloses and protects 20 miles of coral reef and all of its sea life. The Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park was established by the government in 1996 to further protect the health of the precious reefs, and is a great place for families to spend an afternoon.
Tourists who choose to partake of activities further from the beach and the lagoons have a world of dining adventures and sightseeing excursions to select from. The small island boasts over 100 restaurants and numerous sites of archaeological importance—the ruins of a Mayan civilization dating back to before 1000 AD.
Local Culture and Flavor
Life on the island itself is rich in Mayan and Mexican culture. The majority of Cozumel residents live in San Miguel, the rest of the island being largely untouched and covered in lush vegetation.
Heavily dependent on its thriving tourist trade, Cozumel holds irresistible attractions for vacationers interested in bargain shopping, island life and leisure, water sports and archaeological curiosities. The famous Pre-Columbian Xelha Mayan ruins are a perennial draw, and a unique place to visit for a taste of the island's ancient history.
Past and Present
The site of an old civilization indeed, Cozumel was settled by Mayans by the first century AD. They considered the site sacred to the Moon Goddess, Ixchel, and women would make regular pilgrimages there to pay tribute and to wish for fertility in return.
The arrival of the Spanish in 1518 brought disease and devastation, nearly wiping out the Mayans and leaving the island all but deserted by 1570. It was an outpost for pirates until 1848, when warfare in the Yucatan drove refugees to settle there. A boom in visitors to the island came after 1959, when the famed Jacques Cousteau publicized Cozumel's coral reefs as among the best in the world for scuba diving.
Today, Guests of Disney Cruise Line can let their imaginations take flight in the island the Mayans named Cozumel—the "Island of the Swallows"—so long ago.
Fun Facts & Tips
Cozumel is the leading port in Mexico for jewelry, especially silver. Bring a magnet if you're planning to purchase silver from street vendors. If the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, it is NOT real silver.
The island of Cozumel is approximately 30 miles long and 9 miles wide.
There are approximately 175,000 people on Cozumel.