"An Island to see and Shop" Isla Cozumel by BruceDunning

Isla Cozumel Travel Guide: 583 reviews and 1,483 photos

Map of island

The island is the third largest in Mexico; off the Yucatan coast and near Cancun. The island is 30 miles long by 10 miles wide, and 12 miles off the mainland coast. They have preserved nature vegetation in the east section. It first was used as a mecca by Mayan Indians who came here to worship the fertility goddess; Ix Chel, nearly 2,000 years ago, and became a famed placed for worshippers to travel hundreds of miles from inland. The island was discovered by Don Grijalva in 1518. Over the years, Mayans were enslaved and Spanish searched for gold and silver. The real travesty is that of the 40,000 indigenous Indians living there, only 40 survived after smallpox plague. They did rebel against the tyranny in 1848, but the fight was suppressed.
Today those items plus diamonds are in the shops. Cruise ships drop off here and thousands converge in town to shop.

The Beauty is in the greenery

Scenery is the splendor of the island, but also scuba diving and snorkeling made it famous 50 years ago, with Jacques Cousteau declaring its beauty. The coral is one of the better around, and many species of fish. There are still over a dozen main reefs for scuba. Boating, fishing, air gliding, and other sport activities are available, besides tours inland to see the vegetation.
The island vegetation, coral reefs, and some buildings were destroyed in 2005 from two hurricanes. Rebuilding began immediately and tourism again became the top goal, ready in a few months with new shops. Carnival pier was not completed until November, 2008

Decorated for Shoppers

This is the main street, and shopping runs about 2 miles end to end, filled with shops of all types. The major tourism shops are on this main street, while the locals have "secondary shops one/two blocks off this. In summer is surely would get crowded with people and taxis.
There are 2 million tourists coming here annually, and that is not chump change. Many dollars are passed on for purchases. For well over a century pirates ruled form here, and visitations by Indians and others died back, so to speak. A first hotel was built for tourists in 1920's, but that flagged due to economic depression, and did not revive until 1950's

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A nice place to walk and shop for goods
  • Cons:Too commercialized, and the locals are agressive
  • In a nutshell:It is a place to come once to say you have been there
  • Last visit to Isla Cozumel: Feb 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (7)

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Hi Bruce, Thanks for the virtual visut, the traffic along the beach looks horrific.

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Great job on tips and pics! :-) Ann, TS

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2009 at 7:32 PM

    Interesting place and very relaxing. But the parking does noes not seem worse than our Kolkata! It's hellish here with narrow roads and no where to park! You sure had great time.

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2009 at 12:22 AM

    Interesting page of what looks like a pretty but touristy place. The traffic jams actually remind me of my hometown. :) Enjoyed your pictures too.

  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Enjoyed browsing through your Cozumel page - I'm looking forward to my visit in January 2010!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    I appreciate your positive attitude toward the locals and your encouraging of their means to a living. Some mighty fine photographs.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2009 at 2:04 AM

    Thanks for your nice story, Bruce! I am glad you have visited that place... I would, too...


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