The island of Cozumel is Mexico's largest island and a very popular destination with holidaymakers. It's located 12 miles (19km) off the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, opposite the resort Playa del Carmen. Cozumel has exceptional coral gardens and spectacular reef drop-offs offering legendary snorkelling and the best diving in Mexico, frequently ranking as one of the top five dive destinations in the world. In addition, the Great Maya Reef is a chain of shallow patches that stretches all along the Yucatan Coastline and is home to hundreds of species of fish and sea turtles
The west coast of the island is where the majority of development has taken place and where the town of San Miguel is situated. Due to the island's popularity with wealthy day-visitors from the passing cruise ships, the town is packed with pricey shops, restaurants and bars, as well as dozens of dive stores. Cozumel is a favourite holiday destination for divers and non-divers alike, offering some great beaches, crystal clear water and plenty of sunshine. Its ease of access to the mainland also makes day excursions possible to some of the popular Mayan sites, like Chichén Itzá.
San Miguel is a duty-free zone, and there are hundreds of stores selling most things imaginable and certainly anything tourists might desire. The cruise ship passenger terminal at Punta Langosta Pier has a variety of shops, but these are among the island's most expensive, catering to day-visitors with little time and lots of money. Prices decrease the further away from the docks one ventures.
The waterfront shopping zone stretches to La Plaza, behind which is a craft market. For groceries, there are a few food stores, as well as the Cozumel Market on Adolfo Rosado Salas where holidaymakers can buy fresh seafood, spices, and fruits and vegetables. In the markets, travellers should be prepared to bargain, with some wonderful arts and crafts can be found.
Although there is a wide variety of night time entertainment for holidaymakers to enjoy, things tend to begin and end earlier in Cozumel compared to the rest of the famous Mexican beach resorts. Those who desire a resort which doesn't host hordes of young party animals will prefer Cozumel's slightly more sedate and stylish nightlife, although this is not the case over Spring Break (March) when US teenagers descend on the island.