Cozumel, a sleepy duty-free shopping port known for superb dive sites, brilliant blue waters and sparkling white sands, is located on Mexico's east coast about 50 miles from faster paced, more citified Cancun.
Two miles from the Yucatan coastline (accessible by air or ferry), Cozumel's calm leeward side is lined with resorts, beginning at its only town, San Miguel -- a good place to begin exploring. The town can be great fun, especially on Sunday evenings when local families, wearing their fiesta best, gather in the "zocalo" for non-stop conversation, refreshments and dancing to a local brass band.
Cozumel features charming small restaurants which offer locally-caught seafood and Mexican specialties, within easy walking distance of the downtown area.
Hunting for colorful locally crafted souvenirs, available at prices which can usually be reduced by bargaining, is a popular pastime. Boutiques in and around the town square are favorite places to start, though every hotel has one or two lobby shops worth a look.
Cozumel is a long-time favorite of the scuba set drawn to the splendor of its undersea life, especially the spectacular sunken mountains of the Palancar reef -- recognized the world over as a prime skin diver's destination.
Landlubbers will find impressive three-dimensional models of underwater caves and historical exhibits at the Cozumel Museum. Chankanab Lagoon and Botanical Gardens are also popular with sightseers, which can easily be visited on a rented motor bike.