Cozumel is certainly one of the western hemisphere's most unique and impressionable islands. The small island, located due east of Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya coast, was first brought to attention of the world by ecologist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. In the late 1960's, Cousteau featured the truly stunning and teeming coral reef ecosystems of Cozumel on his international television series, The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau. Once the world saw the beautiful biodiversity of these coral reef gardens, Cozumel quickly became a top vacation and scuba diving destination. It's true that few underwater habitats in this part of the world match the level of diversity, richness, and denseness of the coral gardens off the coast of Cozumel.
While scuba diving in Cozumel is probably the island's principal attraction, there is much more to Cozumel and today hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the small island every year. The island's main town and downtown, San Miguel de Cozumel, features the loud tourist-driven bars such as Senor Frogs alongside strips of great shopping, which borders a typical, small Mexican town. San Miguel is against the sea and has a great boardwalk along the water called The Malecon. Cozumel is also home to some of the best Mayan ruin sites in Mexico including the popular San Gervasio, which was once a sacred site of worship for the Mayan goddess Ixchel, goddess of fertility and of the moon.
In addition to scuba diving, Cozumel is also home to a variety of tours and activities. These include Cozumel fishing charters, Mayan ruins tours, snorkeling excursions, dolphin swims, and canopy zipline tours. Thanks to the small size of Cozumel (about 33 miles long and 9 miles wide), getting to your activities is relatively easy. Most of them even offer complimentary rides from the cruise ship docks.
Cozumel offers a relaxing contrast to Cancun's glamor and energetic nightlife. The hotels and resorts in Cozumel provide a more laid-back and non-pretentious attitude. The majority of the hotels and resorts in Cozumel are located on the island's leeward (west) side, close to downtown and close to many of the island's best beaches.