Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cozumel, Mexico - GoPro Hero 4 Silver - Best Snorkeling and Scuba Diving




Cozumel (Spanish pronunciation: [koˈsumel], Yucatec Maya: Kùutsmil, English: Island of the Swallows) is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatán Channel

Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities (municipios) of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The economy of Cozumel is based on tourism. There are a number of visitors to the islands balnearios, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel.
 

Etymology

The name Cozumel was derived from the Mayan "Cuzamil" or "Ah Cuzamil Peten" in full, which means the island of swallows (Spanish: Isla de las Golondrinas).[1][2]


Geography

The island is located in the Caribbean Sea along the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula about 82 km (51 mi) south of Cancún and 19 km (12 mi) from the mainland. The island is about 48 km (30 mi) long and 16 km (9.9 mi) wide.

 With a total area of 477.961 km2 (184.542 sq mi), it is Mexico's largest Caribbean island, and Mexico's third-largest island, following Tiburón Island and Isla Ángel de la Guarda.

The majority of the population of island lives in the town of San Miguel (pop. 77,236 in 2010),[3] which is on the island's western shore. The municipality, which includes two small areas on the mainland enclaved within the Municipality of Solidaridad with a land area of 10.423 km2 (4.024 sq mi), has a total land area of 647.33 km2 (249.93 sq mi).[4]

 The island is covered with mangrove forest which has many endemic animal species. Cozumel is a flat island based on limestone, resulting in a karst topography.

The highest natural point on the island is less than 15 m (49 ft) above sea level. The cenotes are deep water filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone soil during thousands of years.

Cozumel's cenotes are restricted to qualified cave divers with appropriate credentials. In the early 1990s, a group of cave explorers here discovered the fifth-largest underwater cave in the world.[citation needed]


Cozumel
Native name: Kùtz
Nickname: Cuzamil
Isla cozumel April17-2001-crop.jpg
Satellite image of Cozumel Island in 2001
Cozumel en Quintana Roo.svg
Geography
Location Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 20°25′N 86°55′WCoordinates: 20°25′N 86°55′W
Total islands 2
Area 647.33 km2 (249.94 sq mi)
Highest point 14m
Country
Mexico
State Quintana Roo
Municipios (Municipality) Cozumel
Largest settlement San Miguel de Cozumel (pop. 77,236)
Presidente municipal (Municipal president) Juan Carlos González Hernández (PRI)
Demographics
Population 100,000 (as of 2011)
Density 154.5 /km2 (400.2 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Maya
Additional information
Official website Government website
Time zone UTC −6
DST: UTC −5

 

 

Cozumel southeast coast

 
Landscape view of Cozumel

 

Fauna

Cozumel has a number of endemic species and subspecies of bird including:
Endemic dwarf mammals are found on the island:
There are three rodents that are larger than their mainland counterpart: Oryzomys couesi, Peromyscus leucopus, and critically endangered Reithrodontomys spectabilis, the latter of which is also endemic to the island.
Endemic marine life:
Other native wildlife includes:


Climate

Cozumel has tropical savanna climate under the Köppen climate classification that closely borders on a tropical monsoon climate.[9]

The dry season is short, only occurring from February to April but even in these months, precipitation is observed, averaging about 45 millimeters (1.8 in) of rain per month.

The wet season is lengthy, covering most of the months, with September and October being the wettest months, when precipitation averages over 240 millimeters (9.4 in).

Thunderstorms can occasionally occur during the wet season.[10]

Temperatures tend to remain stable with little variation from month to month though the temperatures are cooler from December to February with the coolest month averaging 22.9 °C (73.2 °F).

Owing to its proximity to the sea, the island is fairly humid, with an average humidity of 83%.[10]

The wettest recorded month was October 1980 with 792 millimeters (31.2 in) of precipitation and the wettest recorded day was June 19, 1975 with 281 millimeters (11.1 in).[10]

Extremes range from 9.2 °C (48.6 °F) on January 18, 1977 to 39.2 °C (102.6 °F).[10]


Climate data for Cozumel (1951–1980)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.4
(97.5)
36.0
(96.8)
34.7
(94.5)
39.0
(102.2)
36.6
(97.9)
36.4
(97.5)
39.2
(102.6)
36.8
(98.2)
36.6
(97.9)
36.1
(97)
35.2
(95.4)
32.6
(90.7)
39.2
(102.6)
Average high °C (°F) 28.6
(83.5)
29.1
(84.4)
30.9
(87.6)
32.0
(89.6)
32.7
(90.9)
32.4
(90.3)
32.6
(90.7)
33.0
(91.4)
31.9
(89.4)
30.7
(87.3)
29.7
(85.5)
28.6
(83.5)
31.0
(87.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.9
(73.2)
23.2
(73.8)
24.7
(76.5)
26.0
(78.8)
26.9
(80.4)
27.2
(81)
27.2
(81)
27.2
(81)
26.7
(80.1)
25.9
(78.6)
24.8
(76.6)
23.4
(74.1)
25.5
(77.9)
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
20.7
(69.3)
21.8
(71.2)
22.9
(73.2)
23.8
(74.8)
23.5
(74.3)
23.5
(74.3)
23.6
(74.5)
23.1
(73.6)
21.7
(71.1)
20.3
(68.5)
22.0
(71.6)
Record low °C (°F) 9.2
(48.6)
9.7
(49.5)
11.4
(52.5)
14.6
(58.3)
15.2
(59.4)
18.8
(65.8)
17.0
(62.6)
20.8
(69.4)
20.8
(69.4)
17.0
(62.6)
11.2
(52.2)
12.7
(54.9)
9.2
(48.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 81.4
(3.205)
60.0
(2.362)
32.2
(1.268)
44.8
(1.764)
110.6
(4.354)
191.7
(7.547)
115.5
(4.547)
141.7
(5.579)
240.2
(9.457)
242.5
(9.547)
122.5
(4.823)
106.8
(4.205)
1,489.9
(58.657)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 8.66 6.46 4.03 3.73 7.20 12.63 11.83 13.37 15.43 15.70 11.06 9.76 119.86
 % humidity 82 81 79 79 80 84 84 84 87 85 83 83 83
Mean monthly sunshine hours 198.0 192.3 232.0 257.0 231.9 206.5 220.1 221.7 181.5 193.7 183.9 192.2 2,510.8
Source: Colegio de Postgraduados[10]

 
Cozumel on the Paris Gilt Globe, c.1528.

 
Maya ruins of San Gervasio

History

The Maya are believed to have first settled Cozumel by the early part of the 1st millennium AD, and older Preclassic Olmec artifacts have been found on the island as well.

The island was sacred to Ix Chel, the Maya Moon Goddess, and the temples here were a place of pilgrimage, especially by women desiring fertility.[11] 

There are a number of ruins on the island, most from the Post-Classic period.

The largest Maya ruins on the island were near the downtown area and have now been destroyed.[12]

Today, the largest remaining ruins are at San Gervasio, located approximately at the center of the island.

 The first Spanish expedition to visit Cozumel was led by Juan de Grijalva in 1518.[13]:28

In the following year Hernán Cortés stopped by the island on his way to Veracruz.[13]:57 

 The Grijalva and Cortés expeditions were both received peacefully by the Maya of Cozumel, unlike the expeditions’ experiences on other parts of the mainland.

Even after Cortés destroyed some of the Maya idols on Cozumel and replaced them with an image of the Virgin Mary, the native inhabitants of the island continued to help the Spanish re-supply their ships with food and water so they could continue their voyages. Gerónimo de Aguilar was rescued at this time.[13]:60-64


 As many as 10,000 Maya lived on the island then, but in 1520, infected crew members of the Pánfilo Narváez expedition brought the smallpox contagion to the island and by 1570 only 186 men and 172 women were left alive on Cozumel.

In the ensuing years Cozumel was often the target of attacks by pirates, and in 1650 many of the islanders were forcibly relocated to the mainland town of Xcan Boloná to avoid the buccaneers’ predation.

Later, in 1688, most of the rest of the island’s population, as well as many of the settlements along the Quintana Roo coast, were evacuated inland to towns such as Chemax.

 
Chan Santa Cruz


In 1848, refugees escaping the tumult of the Caste War of Yucatán settled on the island and in 1849 the town of San Miguel de Cozumel was officially recognized by the Mexican government.[14]

In 1861, American President Abraham Lincoln ordered his Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, to meet with the Mexican charge d’affaires Matias Romero to explore the possibility of purchasing the island of Cozumel for the purpose of relocating freed American slaves offshore.

The idea was summarily dismissed by Mexican President Benito Juarez, but in 1862 Lincoln did manage to establish a short-lived colony of ex-slaves on Île à Vache off the coast of Haiti.[citation needed]


 
San Miguel Church


In 1848, refugees escaping the tumult of the Caste War of Yucatán settled on the island and in 1849 the town of San Miguel de Cozumel was officially recognized by the Mexican government.[14]

In 1861, American President Abraham Lincoln ordered his Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, to meet with the Mexican charge d’affaires Matias Romero to explore the possibility of purchasing the island of Cozumel for the purpose of relocating freed American slaves offshore.

The idea was summarily dismissed by Mexican President Benito Juarez, but in 1862 Lincoln did manage to establish a short-lived colony of ex-slaves on Île à Vache off the coast of Haiti.[citation needed]


 
Cruise Port in San Miguel de Cozumel.


Although the original airport was a World War II relic and was able to handle jet aircraft and international flights, a much larger airport was built in the late 1970s.[citation needed]

Scuba diving is still one of Cozumel's primary attractions, mainly due to the healthy coral reef marine communities.

These coral reefs are protected from the open ocean by the island's natural geography.

 In 1996, the government of Mexico also established the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, forbidding anyone from touching or removing any marine life within the park boundaries.[15]

Despite the importance of healthy reefs to Cozumel's tourist trade, a deepwater pier was built in the 1990s for cruise ships to dock, causing damage to the reefs, and it is now a regular stop on cruises in the Caribbean.


 
Cozumel seen through the eye of Hurricane Wilma


The island was struck directly by two Category 5 hurricanes during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. First to arrive was Hurricane Emily in July.

Despite Emily being a powerful storm, it was the slower moving Hurricane Wilma that caused the most destruction when it hit the island in October.[16]

There was some damage to the underwater marine habitat. This included the coral reefs, which suffered particularly at the shallower dive sites, and the fish that inhabit the reefs.[17][18]


Source: Wikipedia.org



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