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You will not get a break buying film for your camera in Mexico. Look for a sale where you live and buy your film before you leave.


Experience the Tortuga Liberation!
Every year hundreds of baby Green Sea Turtles emerge from the sandy beaches of the Mayan Riviera and head into the vast ocean.

Mexico peso (Mex$) = 100 centavos

In 1998 there were 9.6 million telephones main lines in use.

There are 31,048 km of railways in Mexico.

Females are allowed to volunteer for military service.

In 1997 Mexico had 31 million radios in use.

Mexico's exports partners: US 89.3%, Canada 1.7%, Spain 0.6%, Japan 0.5%, Venezuela 0.3%, Chile 0.3%, Brazil 0.3%.

Mexico produced 176.055 billion kWh of electricity in 1998.

The main industries are: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism.

The Mexican name for the Atlantic coastal region of the Yucatan Peninsula is Riviera Maya. The English use is either Maya Riviera or Mayan Riviera. It is used all three ways in this web site.

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Buckle Up!

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SCUBA DIVING IN COZUMEL

This page at a glance:Page 2:

DIVING
CLIMATE
AVERAGE COSTS



COZUMEL HISTORY

Cozumel Dive Map Cozumel is the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. It is also the most populated island in Mexico boasting a population of more than 65,000.

Cozumel is situated near the eastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the State of Quintana Roo. The island is approximately 30 miles [48 km] long and 10 miles [16 km] wide.

Isla Cozumel [or Cozumel Island] derives its name from the Mayans who once lived there and believed the island to be a sacred place. In Maya, Cuzamil translates to "land of the swallows," a reflection of the indigenous birds that inhabit the island.

The Mayans are believed to have settled the island over 2000 years ago harvesting the rich abundance of seafood for commercial use. Conch shells were collected as an ingredient for stucco, which was used extensively on the mainland. The ocean also supplied a large number of other valuable items such as shark teeth, stingray spines and seashells that were used for ritual purposes.

The Spanish explorer Juan de Grijalva first landed on the shores of Cozumel in 1518. The visit was proceeded a year later by the butcher Hernán Cortés. The conquistadors ruthlessly invaded the island destroying everything that lay in their path. Whether or not the Spanish knowingly imported smallpox on purpose is a matter of speculation however to the ravaged Mayans the disease soon eclipsed their very being. Those who did not die a miserable death were shackled and sent to Cuba to live out their lives as slaves.

Between 1519 and 1570 the island's population dropped from 40,000 to 30. By 1600 the island was desolate, its once flourishing community gone.

In 1848 during the "War of the Castes" the island was reclaimed by the Maya and used as a safe haven for those seeking refuge from the war. Slowly the island was reinhabted and in 1910-1917 the Mexican Revolution resulted in land reforms and freedom for the Isleños. By 1970, Cozumel's population had grown to 10,000 and with the influx of tourism this once desolate island has now become the jewel of the Mexican Caribbean.



COZUMEL TODAY

When you get off the ferry in Cozumel you are met by a barrage of sales representatives for various dive and snorkel operations. Also in the mix are representatives for hotels and resorts who often carry photo-albums of pictures of the resorts. Once you get through this you are in the shopping zone. The merchants on the island are much more aggressive than those on the mainland. This is a stark contrast.

There are public information booths present however these are manned by sales representatives for time-shares. Once you ask a question you are a step away from a free lunch and tour.

There are numerous shops selling everything that is carried on the mainland so shopping is not a problem and one does not have to leave the island. In fact some people prefer to shop in Cozumel instead of Playa del Carmen although the two are quite similar.

Cozumel has some things that you don't find in Playa such as a Kentucky Fried Chicken. You just have to look around and you will be surprised. Because the island gets so many tourists from cruise ships the island is geared towards the international visitor coming for a day or even a couple of hours. In this respect the island is extremely transient and except for the locals you may never see the same face twice.

San Miguel, Cozumel's largest town was just a laid-back fishing spot until world-famous explorer Jacques Cousteau and his team discovered the wall of reefs just off the island's shoreline and declared them to be one of the most incredible diving destinations in the world.

The town of San Miguel, the airport, and the hotels are all located on the western side of the island. Fortunately, massive resort development is paralyzed by a lack of potable water and a desire to protect the island's delicate ecosystem.



GETTING THERE

Cozumel has an international airport as well as connecting routes to Playa del Carmen, Cancun and other destinations in Mexico, Belize and Guatamala.

The most common method of transportation is by boat. There is a ferry service that connects Cozumel to Playa del Carmen for pedestrians and a ferry out of Calica for vehicle transportation. The ferry connecting to Playa del Carmen runs quite frequently [there are 3 ferries on duty].

NOTE: You are not allowed to take rented cars accross the ferry to Cozumel.



RUIN SITES

Ruin sites located within a reasonable distance from Playa del Carmen are:

Yucatan
Chichen Itza***
Ek Balam**
Izamal*

View Ruin site Map for the state of Yucatan.

Quintana Roo
Coba***
Muyil*
Punta Laguna
Tulum**
Xel-Ha*

*** large site       ** medium site       * small site

View Ruin site Map for the state of Quintana Roo.

For more information regarding visiting ruin sites please investigate

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In Mexico they speak: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages.

90% of Mexicans age 15 and over can read and write.

Mexico Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Mexico has a population of: 100,349,766 (July 2000 est.)

There is 61,000 sq km of irrigated land. (1993 est.)

Mexico's natural resources are: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber.

There is 9,330 km of coastline.

The life expectancy is: male 68.47 years, female 74.66 years. (2000 est.)

The geographic coordinates are: 23 00 N, 102 00 W

Mexico had 38.6 million people in the labor force in 1999.

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