• Population: 100,000
  • East to West Distance: Approximately 10 miles
  • North to South Distance: Approximately 28 miles
  • Name Translation: From the Mayan for “land of the swallows” referring to the swallow birds that inhabit the island
  • Main Industry: Tourism
  • State: Quintana Roo, Municipality: Cozumel
  • Location: About 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula


Recently, Cozumel has been declared a ‘Magic Town’, which is a federal government program that recognizes cities and towns for their efforts to protect and preserve their cultural heritage. Cozumel is the fourth municipality of Quintana Roo to have this national emblem, joining Tulum, Isla Mujeres and Bacalar.  Read more about the Magic Town declaration...


Diving in Cozumel offers an awe-inspiring experience that captivates divers from the very first moment. The crystal-clear waters greet you with a mesmerizing shade of blue, setting the stage for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Cozumel is a paradise adorned with magnificent coral formations, where you can explore lush walls and embark on thrilling drift dives. Discover hidden caves and caverns that beckon you to unveil their secrets, all while ensuring your regulator stays securely in place.  Read more about diving in Cozumel...


The transition of hospitality in Cozumel did not originate with modern tourism. It began hundreds of years ago, before the Europeans ever arrived. The first Mayans settled in Cozumel around 300AD. The name Cozumel comes from the Mayan word cuzamil which means “land of the swallows”. The Mayans believed Cozumel to be home of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and the moon. The island became a major destination for religious pilgrimages, and Mayan followers of Ixchel came as far as Central Mexico and parts of Central America to pray to this goddess.

On May 3, 1518 the expedition led by Captain Don Juan Grijalva discovered this island giving the name of Santa Cruz because of the Catholic celebration of this day. During the Spanish colonial period, between the 16th and the 19th centuries, numerous visitors continued to arrive. However, many of them were not particularly welcome, as the island had become a base of operations for the many pirates and cutthroats that infested the Caribbean at the time; Henry Morgan being the most infamous among them. The island’s population dwindled to only a few hundred due to fighting and diseases brought by the newcomers.

In the late 19th century, the island became settled again and grew into an important hub for the distribution of chicle, natural chewing gum, from the mainland, and the commercial success of coconuts. The first hotels were opened between 1924 through the late 1930’s; however the economic crisis of 1939, World War II, and the post war reconstruction limited additional development. It was not until the late 1950’s that Cozumel was discovered by tourists once again. Made famous by a Jacques Cousteau television documentary in the 1960’s,the world became aware of the island’s beauty and its amazing reefs. Since then, tourism has grown, initiating the boom that has made Cozumel an extremely important port, not just in Mexico, but in the world. With a population of a little over 100,000, Cozumel now welcomes more than 3,000,000 visitors every year and is considered one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico.


Located about 12 miles off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is the largest of the Mexican islands in the Caribbean Sea, as well as the most populated island in the country. The island measures only 28 miles from the north to south, and about 10 miles from the east to west. Like a major portion of the nearby Yucatan Peninsula, the island was one of the landmasses that emerged from the ocean in later part of the Pliocene Age. As a result, the base of the island is composed of marine sediment, covered with fossilized shells and sea life. Its age is estimated at 16 million years.

The island is very porous and aside from rain runoff, it has no surface lakes or fresh water rivers. Like the peninsula, Cozumel has many underground rivers and ponds, known as Cenotes. Because of the incredible beauty of the caverns and tunnels carved out of the rock over the centuries, and the famous clear water, many Cenotes are considered to be ideal sites for diving and snorkeling.

Due to its location, Cozumel is in the tropical zone. Its climate is hot and humid, and although there are rainy and dry seasons, there is occasionally rainfall year-round, making very little difference between the seasons. Average temperature year round is 80 degrees, and the variation from winter to summer is 68 degrees to 90 degrees.

Like that of all tropical regions, Cozumel’s plant life is varied and plentiful. The trees reach a maximum of 75 feet in height. Predominant amount them are sapodilla, quebracho, ceiba, chechen, huaya, and caracolillo, as well as shrubs like icaco and resinosa. In the marshy areas grow tasiste, red mangrove, white mangrove, and botoncillo. The plants generally grown in the tropics like pineapples, marney, mango, bananas, organs, and lemons were once widely cultivated. But like other traditional crops, such as corn, beans, squash, chiles, and sweet potatoes, the production has diminished in recent years, as more people abandon the countryside to more lucrative jobs in the tourist sector. The same can be said about flowers and other tropical plants; they grow all over the island but are not specifically cultivated.

Wildlife also bounds, especially since hunting has been prohibited in recent years. The jungles are inhabited by rabbits, badgers, raccoons, armadillos, iguanas, wild boars, and occasionally deer. The indigenous snakes are not poisonous. Crocodiles live only in the lagoons and mangroves, and there are no big cats on the island.