Population: 100,000 citizens
Size: 185 square miles
Cozumel, Mexico is a beautiful paradise that has been said to fulfill the tourist's dream of a tropical destination. The sun radiates all day on the ivory beaches lined with coral reefs. Cozumel is the perfect mix of natural and commercial. There are wild natural pockets where flora and fauna flourish in the area along with the commercialized portions where restaurants and bars have blossomed up over the years.
San Miguel is the island's only city where all of the hot spots and attractions are located. Although it is still Mexico, Cozumel offers a different experience than Cancun. Cozumel is smaller but actually has more ruins, history, and more handicrafts at better prices. In addition, wild jungle roams the area which is not as easy to find in the more commercialized Cancun.
When To Go
The high season to travel to Cozumel is November to March; this is when the greatest volume of tourist traffic occurs. This season does have the most pleasant weather but you will pay more for airfare and hotel; the resorts can double in price in some cases. This season is also the least rainy which ensures better diving weather. Yet, Cozumel offers year-round temperate weather so there really is not a bad time to visit.
Sun, Sand, Sea and Shopping
Cozumel's clear turquoise waters have visitors flocking to the many beautiful beaches. Diving, snorkeling, and fishing are popular activities. You can take a glass bottom boat tour of the coral reefs or just relax on a quiet beach and read. Exploring the natural areas of Cozumel is an adventure as well, with wild plants and animals roaming, hiking is a great experience.
Castillo Real is a Mayan site located in Cozumel. This "royal castle" consists of the base of a pyramid, a look-out tower, and a temple. The waters near Castillo Real harbor many shipwrecks from its history. El Cedral was the hub of Mayan life in 1518 in Cozumel, this is now the island's first official city but also has historical ruins.
San Miguel, the capital city, can be clogged with cruise ships during the day. Waiting for these cruise ships to sail away can leave a peaceful stroll on the boardwalk. The waterfront is the home to many large shops but the farther inland you walk there are many family owned shops and restaurants. Shopping in Cozumel is mainly downtown along Avienda Refael E. Melgar and on side streets surrounding the plaza. Clusters of shops are also found at Plaza del Sol and Vista del Mar.
Dining and Nightlife
Cozumel has a wide variety of dining options. From simply made seafood dishes to American fare, there is something for everyone. Steaks and seafood are popular as well as traditional Mexican dishes. Recently, a handful of creative chefs have begun serving up diverse cuisine in Cozumel. Most of the restaurants are downtown with a few note-worthy scattered further.
Cozumel nightlife can be pretty quiet. Some tourists have commented that the city seems to have shut down at midnight. Clubs and discos are not Cozumel's scene. There are fun bars and beach clubs that often host live music such as a salsa band, but the nightlife is not as rowdy as it can be in Cancun.