An island off the coast of south eastern Mexico, Cozumel is a haven of clear blue water, palm trees, white sands, diving and a host of other things that add up to spell paradise. The island’s still one of Mexico’s essential tourist stop offs, despite being all-but flattened by a hurricane back in 2005, and is one of the world’s foremost destinations when it comes to anything underwater. From snorkeling to scuba diving, you’ll find some of the best under-sea views this side of the Great Barrier Reef.
Scuba diving classes are ample and relatively affordable, with dozens of companies eager to take you out and throw you overboard, and, though the reef is not quite as good as it used to be due to the hurricane, it remains world class. It’s not all about scuba, of course, with swimming with dolphins, glass bottomed boat tours and deep-sea fishing offering alternative ways to enjoy the water that are well worth exploring.
There’s only one town of any note on the island, San Miguel, and that’s the place to go if you’re shopping for souvenirs, looking to compare water sports prices, or just want an affordable place to stay. The local cuisine (think a seafood-heavy take on Mexican) and abundance of Tequila on offer here is a lot of fun, too.
Most likely, though, you’ll prefer to spend time making the most of the natural scenery, which includes Chankanaab National Park (lagoons and Iguanas), and even some exceptional surfing off the less populated side of the island. Hunt hard, and you’ll find some small Mayan relics to explore, tucked away in the less fashionable corners of the island.
Basically, though, Cozumel does exactly what it says on the tin: blends Mexican culture with a Caribbean climate and obsesses endless on all things water sport. Which is certainly not a bad thing, providing you’re ready to make the most of an underwater ethos that’s every bit as enticing as any other you’re likely to find around the Caribbean.
At the heart of a district that’s become known as the ‘Mayan Riviera’, Playa Del Carmen offers a chic alternative to its larger cousin to the north, Cancun, in laying on pedestrian only…