Cozumel in Mexico

Friday, 5 June 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

San Miguel de Cozumel © Harpqueen

San Miguel de Cozumel © Harpqueen

Cozumel is an island and municipality in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico‘s Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen. It is separated from the mainland by Cozumel Channel and is close to the Yucatán Channel. The municipality is part of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The economy of Cozumel is based on tourism, with visitors able to benefit from the island’s balnearios, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel.

Cozumel is surrounded by a diverse ecosystem of coral reefs that is home to more than 1,000 marine species. The reefs are primarily found on underwater cliffs, there are also some in coastal lagoons and on sand bars at the north tip of the island. They are part of the much larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest reef in the world, stretching over 1,000 kilometers (620 mi). Cozumel’s deeper coral reefs were historically famed for their black corals, yet black coral populations declined from the 1960s to the mid-1990s because of overharvesting and by 2016 had not recovered. A huge portion of the reef on the south side of island is sectioned off into the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park. This park is protected under the Ramsar Convention along with Manglares y Humedales del Norte de Isla Cozumel, they both are included in the UNESCO protected area called Isla Cozumel Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. The site includes the coral reefs on the southern coast of Cozumel. The reefs in Cozumel are made up of hard coral and soft coral. The marine life that inhibit the reefs include zoanthids, polychaets, actinarians, hydroids, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and many varieties of Caribbean fish. The park is also a habitat to several endangered marine species such as the loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, queen triggerfish, and the endemic splendid toadfish. Due to the abundant marine life and coral reefs the clear and warm Caribbean water, Cozumel is considered one the best scuba-diving destinations in the world.

Tourism, diving and charter fishing comprise the majority of the island’s economy. There are more than 300 restaurants on the island and many hotels, some of which run dive operations, have swimming pools, private docks, and multiple dining facilities. Other water activities include para-sailing, kitesurfing, and a tourist submarine. There are also two dolphinariums. At the cruise ship docks, there are several square blocks of stores selling Cuban cigars, jewellery, T-shirts, tequila, and a large variety of inexpensive souvenirs. Also, the only working pearl farm in the Caribbean is located on the North edge of the island. San Miguel is home to many restaurants with a huge variety of different cuisines, along with several discothèques, bars, cinemas, and outdoor stages. The main plaza is surrounded by shops; in the middle of the plaza is a fixed stage where Cozumeleños and tourists celebrate every Sunday evening with music and dancing. All food and manufactured supplies are shipped to the island. Water is provided by three different desalination facilities located on the island.

© Kushboy/cc-by-sa-3.0 Multiple cruise ships in Cozumel © Whiskey5jda/cc-by-sa-4.0 Plaza del Sol © panoramio.com - lazyweaver/cc-by-3.0 Plaza del Sol © panoramio.com - lazyweaver/cc-by-3.0 Plaza del Sol © panoramio.com - lazyweaver/cc-by-3.0 San Miguel de Cozumel © Harpqueen
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Multiple cruise ships in Cozumel © Whiskey5jda/cc-by-sa-4.0
The Festival of Santa Cruz and El Cedral Fair is a historical tradition held in the town of El Cedral, in the south of Cozumel Island at the end of April. This annual event is said to have been started over 150 years ago by Casimiro Cárdenas. Cárdenas was one of a group that fled to the island from the village of Saban, on the mainland, after an attack during the Caste War of Yucatánin 1848. The attackers killed other villagers, but Cárdenas survived whilst clutching a small wooden cross. Legend has it that Cárdenas vowed to start an annual festival wherever he settled, to honor the religious power of this crucifix. Today, the original Holy Cross (Santa Cruz) Festival forms part of the wider Festival of El Cedral, which includes fairs, traditional feasts, rodeos, bullfights, music and competitions. The celebrations last about 5 days in all and are held every year at the end of April or beginning of May.

The Cozumel Carnival or Carnaval de Cozumel is one of the most important carnival festivities in México. It has been celebrated as a tradition beginning from the late nineteenth century and fills Cozumel’s streets with parades. It begins the week before Mardi-Gras in February. Cozumel’s Carnaval is a tradition which has been passed down through many generations that celebrates a mixture of cultures that escaped to the warm embrace of Cozumel. Dating back to the mid-1800s, Cozumel Carnaval was started by young people dressed in vibrantly colorful costumes known as “Estudiantinas” or “Comparsas”, who expressed themselves in the streets of Cozumel through the artforms of dance, song, and fantasy.

Read more on Cozumel, LonelyPlanet.com – Cozumel, Wikitravel Cozumel, Wikivoyage Cozumel and Wikipedia Cozumel (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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