We use the most efficient way to reach the island by using local speedboats, avoiding the hassle of ferries. The morning boat navigates directly to the federally protected area for two dives and then immediately returns to Playa del Carmen.
Cozumel (‘Kùutsmil’ or ‘Cuzamil’; meaning ‘the island of the swallows’ in the Mayan language) is an island on the Caribbean coast, just in front of Playa del Carmen. It is 48km long and 16km wide, making it the largest permanently inhabited island in Mexico. It is believed that the first immigrants were Mayan pilgrims seeking shelter. The islanders built temples in honor of their moon, love, and fertility goddess ‘Ixchel’. As a gesture, she sent her favorite birds, the swallows, hence the name.
The island gained fame in the 1960s when French oceanographer Jaques Cousteau discovered its steep walls and healthy corals, attracting divers from around the world. The reefs have been under federal protection since 1996, and Cozumel became a National Park in 2005.