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Cozumel was once an important destination for Mayans. Mayans inhabited the island from about 600AD to about 1200AD. The name is believe to have originated from the Mayan phrase for “Land of the Swallows” (in Mayan: “Ah-Cuzamil-Peten”). The island was both an important trade center and a sacred pilgrimage destination. As a trade center, Cozumel was important because of its location but also because of the fact that its main exports, salt and honey, were more valuable than gold at the time. As a sacred land, it was dedicated to the goddess Ixchel, who was the Mayan goddess of fertility, childbirth and the moon. She was oftentimes depicted with swallows around her and at her feet. All Mayan women were supposed to make the pilgrimage to the Land of the Swallows to honor the goddess at least once in their lives. Today, you can see the remains of the temples and ruins that were dedicated to Ixhcel at the San Gervasio site.
Spanish explorers began arriving on the island of Cozumel in 1518. Two Spanish explorers, Geronimo de Aguilar and Gonzales Guerrero, were held as slaves by the Mayans until they eventually befriended their captors. One of them, Guerrero, went on to die defending the Mayans during Spanish raids against the Mayan. By 1570, very few Mayans remained, having been killed off in battle or by disease. By the 1600 the island was virtually completely abandoned until later on that century when it was re-discovered by pirates such as legendary buccaneers Jean Lafitte and Henry Morgan. It was used by pirates for many years as a hiding grounds and as a place to hide treasure. After a resurgence of the island's trade days (thanks to the island's supply of zapote trees), Cozumel remained mostly a quiet fisherman's village until Jean Custeau featured the island's teeming coral reef gardens on his popular television show. Since then, the island has become one of the world's top scuba diving destinations.
Cozumel has some of the area's most gorgeous beaches. Cozumel has two sides: the leeward side to its west and the windward side on the east. For many visitors, the beaches on the west side are easier to access and, for many people, are preferred for their calmer and usually shallower waters. This side is also where the majority of hotels and resorts are located, as well as Cozumel's main town, San Miguel. For shallower waters, head towards the north part of the leeward side. You can even go snorkeling in many of these beaches. Keep en eye out for rocky shorelines and piers for the best snorkeling, though most people will recommend going on a snorkeling excursion to get to the best patches of coral reef. On the east side of the island, the beaches are more remote, less crowded, and the waters sometimes a little choppier. You have to rent a car to get to these beaches, but most people the drive is well worth it in order to reach the beautiful and emptier beaches of Cozumel's windward side.
Here at Cozumel Dolphins, we work with only the most dedicated and service-oriented travel agents. Our team is made up of expert Cozumel agents who know how to provide you with only the best customer service. Our staff is familiar with all of our Cozumel dolphin tours and will be happy to answer any questions you might have about our tours, Cozumel, or the Yucatan Peninsula. Not sure which of our tours to go on? Simply call our offices and our agents will be happy to find the Cozumel dolphin tour that is perfect for you and your group!
The team at Cozumel Dolphins is made up of enthusiastic and expert agents who are highly familiar with the travel industry and Cozumel. We work with the most highly trained dolphin experts who provide our clients with a truly unforgettable dolphin experience, whether you are going on the Dolphin Encounters or the Dolphin Swims.