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5 interesting facts about the Cozumel Museum

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Located in the Mexican Caribbean, full of reefs, crystal clear waters, humid climate and surreal landscapes, Isla Cozumel is a paradise on earth. Also known as the Island of the Swallows, Cozumel is forty minutes by ferry from Playa del Carmen.

During your stay in the Riviera Maya, you must visit is the Museum of the Island of Cozumel. We share with you five reasons not to miss it.

The first tourist hotel on the Island becomes a museum

The museum is installed in what was the first tourist hotel on Isla Cozumel; in a building built during the 30s.

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2018, the International Year of Coral Reefs (2nd part)

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As seen in our last blog, 2018 is the International Year of Coral Reefs and all around the world, people and NGOs are taking action for saving them.

Mexico, an example for other countries

A contributive factor of the destruction of the reefs is sunscreen. A laboratory experiment found that some sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a chemical that exposes corals to whitening.

Marine fauna in Cozumel's Reef.

Marine fauna in Cozumel’s Reef.

Due to the above, in the main marine parks of Mexico, harmful sunscreens have been banned, and only “reef-friendly” are allowed. Also, after seeing this initiative, the United States has asked tourists who visit national parks to use eco-friendly products.

The largest reef in the Hemisphere

Isla Cozumel, in the Caribbean Sea, is surrounded by coral reefs. On the western coast of the island lies the Cozumel Reef National Park. This barrier reef is part of the Mesoamerican Reef System and has been a protected habitat since 1996.

Be a responsible diver and take care of nature.

Be a responsible diver and take care of nature.

The Great Mayan Reef, the largest of the Western Hemisphere, with a length of 1,000 kilometers. A reef shared by Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. This reef system is home to more than 500 species of fish! In addition to being a refuge for manatees, whale sharks and sea turtles.

Thanks to the beauty of its reefs, Isla Cozumel is one of the best places in the world to dive and get to know this wonder of nature up close. On the island, you can find certified instructors for all kinds of divers, from beginners to advanced. And best of all: with a permit from the local authorities, it is possible to observe the nesting of sea turtles.

 

The world belongs to us all: take care of it and discover its wonders in Isla Cozumel.

Sea turtle feeding from a coral reef in Cozumel.

Sea turtle feeding from a coral reef in Cozumel.

2018, the International Year of Coral Reefs (1st part)

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The United Nations Environment Program officially launched last January the International Year of Coral Reefs in a ceremony held in Fiji. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of coral reefs in the biosphere. And most importantly: it pretends to motivate the general public into taking action.

2018 is the year for rescuing the coral reefs.

The undeniable beauty of a coral reef, in Cozumel.

The importance of conserving coral reefs

The conservation of coral reefs is of utmost importance to millions of people around the globe, as they are a considerable source of food. Also, they harbor 25% of the life that inhabits the oceans.

Coral organisms are also the source of medicines, such as antivirals and the anticancer Ara-C. The latter is an essential treatment for lymphoma and leukemia.

Over the last three decades, we have lost half of the corals worldwide. The main reason is the acidification of the waters and the increase in the temperature of the oceans. Similarly, activities related to fishing, such as the contamination of plastics and chemicals and overexploitation, contribute to the destruction of these ecosystems.

Colombia Reef in Cozumel.

Colombia Reef in Cozumel.

Global action for the reefs

In all four corners of the world, different countries are taking action to save the reefs from the destruction of man. For example, Australia and Belize, two nations separated by the immense Pacific Ocean, have joined forces under the Sister Reef project.

This project for the environment was born thanks to the joint association of the World Wildlife Fund and the Belize Tourism Board. The project seeks to raise funds for the restoration of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the Barrier Reef of Belize.

 

Cozumel’s Reef is the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Learn more in our next blog.

Coral reefs harbor a quarter of all living species in the oceans.

Coral reefs harbor a quarter of all living species in the oceans.

Celebrate the 500 years of Cozumel!

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An ancient Mayan legend tells that the Goddess of love and fertility lived on a beautiful island. As a sign of respect, the inhabitants built magnificent temples in her honor. She, eternally grateful, gave the villagers the gift of the swallows. The island received the name of Kusamil, or Land of the Swallows. With the passage of time, the word became Castilianized, and now we call that island: Cozumel.

This 2018, Cozumel will celebrate on May 3 the 500 years since the arrival of the Spanish colonizer Juan Grijalva. The whole year will be full of activities and celebrations!

A beautiful swallow, originally from Cozumel.

A beautiful swallow, originally from Cozumel.

As part of the festivities, the Island will recreate the millenarian journey that the Mayans made to obtain the favor of the gods. In the same way, it will take place a recreation of the arrival of the Spanish galleons to the shores of the island.

Finally, the traditional vaqueria, consisting of three celebrations, will be carried out: starting with a mass, following by a bullfight, and concluding with a folkloric dance accompanied by jaranas. All this with one intention: to commemorate more than 500 years of history and culture.

A traditional celebration of 'vaqueria'.

A traditional celebration of ‘vaqueria’.

Celebrating 500 years

The festivities will cover the entire Cozumel Island. The program contemplates activities of great variety, such as the Gastronomic and Artesanal Peninsular Fair in the Benito Juárez Park, the inaugurations of the Park and the Memorial Chapel, or the presentation of the book “Memories of Cozumel,” a photographic archive.

The famous "Monument to the diver."

The famous “Monument to the diver.”

Also, there will be a ‘500 years Commemorative Festival’ for the meeting of Mayan and Spanish cultures. Of course, we could not miss the massive concert “Mexico-Spain” and the legendary Mesoamerican Ball tournament.

You can enjoy all this and more visiting Isla Cozumel. Mark on your calendar the month of May for a 500 years celebration.

To celebrate 500 years, how about a ball game?

To celebrate 500 years, how about a ball game?

Celebrating the Cozumel Carnival 2018

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Algarabía, revelry, music, and extravagance were the protagonists of the Cozumel Carnival 2018, which took place on the Rafael E. Melgar pier from February 9 to 14. As every year since 1874, families from Cozumel and visitors from around the world crowded the center of spectacles venue.

This edition of the Carnival was titled “The Caribbean Festival”. A great name, if we take into account that the Cozumel Carnival turned 144 years.

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More than 2,700 carnival participants attended the celebration, enjoying the music, dances and traditional meals the island has to offer. Both Cozumeleños and foreign visitors applauded the originality of the parade and the traditional comparsas dance.

Fernando Ferraez, the host of the event, kept the carnavalera spark on while the audience was amazed by the carnival’s official ballet. Each of the eight comparsas presented their choreographies, with extravagant costumes and spectacular color. After thorough discussion, the judges chose the winners of this regional dance.

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Hail to the new kings!

As every year, the audience votes for the queen and the king of the Carnival. The four candidates that competed for the crown tried to win by encouraging the public with their dances.

The first to light the stage were Frank Alonso and his comparsa, presenting a choreography dressed in extravagant costumes made of fruits and kitchen utensils. On the other hand, the elegant Ana Zetina presumed a dress inspired by the 500 years celebration of the “encounter of two worlds.”

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Finally, Eva Romo and Michelle Emporio cheered up the audience thanks to their eccentric and Cozumeleño style.

At the end of the presentations, the votes were counted, which declared Ana Zetina and Frank Lozano as “Carnival Kings,” with more than a thousand votes each. Finally, Eva Romo and Michelle Emporio were crowned as “Kings of Joy.”

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Fall in love with Isla de la Pasion

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Among the majestic waters of the Mexican Caribbean emerges a hidden gem from the Riviera Maya: Isla de la Pasion. Less than a mile long, its exceptional natural beauty has turned this little paradise into an exclusive location to organize special events in Cozumel. The best place to fall in love.

Blue skies and turquoise waters light the landscape.

Blue skies and turquoise waters light the landscape.

An island like no other

Starting from its unique geography, Isla de la Pasion meets three ecosystems that could not be more different from each other: mangrove, dwarf forest, and coral reef. Walking around the island you can encounter a mangrove forest, then trees, shrubs and endemic vines, and finally reach the coast to dive and enjoy the views of a coral reef.

The emblematic animal of the island is the dwarf raccoon, a species native to Cozumel protected by environmental laws. This mammal unfolds easily in the mangroves, their natural habitat. But the raccoons do not have any problem in socializing and living with the population, whether they are looking for food or contemplating the tourists with wonder.

Dwarf raccon, an endemic species of Cozumel.

Dwarf raccoon, an endemic species of Cozumel.

The Mayan island of love

It tells an ancient Mayan legend that the beautiful princess Ixchel fell in love with a warrior from another kingdom, Itzama. When he ascended and became God of the Sun, he granted his beloved the virtue of night and made her the Goddess of the Moon. The lovers contracted nuptials, and from their union came the balance: Ixchel was femininity, night, and water; Itzama, masculinity, day, and earth.

The island became a sacred place for the Mayans, so they visited it exclusively to celebrate their marriage rituals. They called it Mukyaj Peten, and with the passage of time it became known as “Passion Island.”

An island for lovers.

An island for lovers.

Today there is a wide variety of options to celebrate your marriage in Isla de la Pasion. From the traditional Catholic wedlock, in the consecrated chapel at the seashore, to an egalitarian wedding, since the island is certified by the Gay Wedding Institute.

Get ready to share a lifetime with your partner and fall in love with Isla de la Pasion!

Isla de la Pasion awaits you.

Isla de la Pasion awaits you.

Christmas in the Caribbean

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Does a perfect Christmas require snow, cold and tons of clothes? Not always. It is true that winter has its charms in the north, among mountains of snow and ice. But in Cozumel, we will convince you that the atmosphere of the Caribbean winter can also be the perfect setting for a memorable Christmas. (more…)

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