On top of the age-old structures of the Mesoamerican Reef (also known by its Spanish acronym, SAM ,Sistema Arrecifal Mesoamericano, is the largest reef system of the Americas, extending nearly 1000 kilometers) , stands the Island of Cozumel. Located at the Easter tip, of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cozumel was formed by coralline limestone rock and sandy soils, is the largest inhabited island in Mexico and Caribbean´s premier dive spot. (declared a national park in 1996).
The Island of Cozumel measures 48 km (30 miles) from north to south but only 16(10 miles ) from east to west. On either side of the island, beaches form a long, white sandy coast. Gentle waves and transparent waters wash the western side of the island, while huge waves crash against the eastern side.
The average daily air temperature on Cozumel is 80 degrees(27°C). In July/August, the highs range from the upper 80s to the low 90s.(32°C) In December and January, the daytime temperatures average in the mid-70s.(24° C.)Winter Months: Cold fronts may create windy, cloudy and cooler weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, usually lasting for an hour.
Water temperatures range from 77°-82°F (25°-28°C) throughout the year.
With their crystal-clear water and incredible variety of marine life, Cozumel’s reefs offer an underwater experience you won’t soon forget. The waters surrounding the island are so clear that visibility can be up to 250 feet, opening up a world of beauty unlike any other.
As many as 250 different species of fish can be seen in Cozumel’s waters; one of the most spectacular is the Queen Angelfish, possessing bright blue-and-yellow markings and the distinctive blue “crown” on the top of the head. You can even catch a glimpse of the Toad fish, found nowhere else in the world. Making it’s home in the holes along the reef, this fish grows from 12 to 16 inches in length. It has the distinction of being one of the world’s fastest eaters: it can capture and eat a whole fish in milliseconds- faster than the blink of an eye!
In addition to the colorful fish, Cozumel boasts some of the biggest and most spectacular sponge formations in the world. Fed by a continuous current bringing a steady supply of food to the reefs, some sponges, such as the Elephant Ear sponge, can grow as large as 12 feet across. Other sponges, like the Barrel sponge, gain considerable size as well.
On the surface Cozumel has a number of unusual features and include certain endemic species, such as the dwarf raccoon(procyon pygmaeus) and the Cozumel wren(nasua nelsoni) Migratory birds also rely heavily on the richly productive feeding grounds of the reef, which supports populations of magnificent frigate birds,brown pelican,olivaceous cormorant, and many others. The prehistoric iguana and the crocodile are the state’s largest lizards and there are a host of amphibians, tree frogs are particularly colorful, their bright hues a warning to predators.
Clothing at the Caribbean coast is very casual no ties are required anywhere. Some upscale restaurants do have a medium dress code. During the winter months, we suggest you bring light sweater with you. Comfortable, flat-heeled walking shoes, such as sneakers, are recommended all year round so that you can safely explore the archeological zones and islands.