Take a fascinating journey through the environmental and historical heritage of Cozumel with a visit to the island's biggest ecological reserve.
Situated in the south-west of Cozumel, an island off the eastern coast of Mexico, Punta Sur Ecological Park covers an immense area of about 100 hectares. The park's varied landscape is home to a wide variety of animal life from crocodiles to iguanas, and is a hub of diving and other tourism activity too.
Make your way from dense mangrove forests right through to the Punta Celerain Lighthouse and navigational museum, passing ancient Mayan ruins and eerily serene wetlands along the way. If you're visiting between the months of May and October, make sure to stop off at the Colombia Lagoon. During this time of year, turtles flock to the lagoon's beaches to nest.
The western side of the park is the place to go for a spot of snorkelling. The calm waters around the Mesoamerican Reef make this the perfect place to introduce your kids to the wonders of underwater adventure, while the park's eastern edge is replete with sand dunes and strange rock formations just begging to be explored.
As well as the natural heritage of the area, the ecological park also provides a fascinating insight into local maritime history from the Mayans through to the present. The Mayan ruins layered with conch shells are well worth a visit, if only to hear the music of the wind through the shells. This building is believed to have been an ancient lighthouse. Follow this with a trip to the slightly more recent lighthouse nearby. Here you'll find wonderful views across the park, as well as a great maritime museum.
Punta Sur Ecological Park is open every day. There is a fee to enter, and there are some nominal extra charges to enter specific areas of the park. There is no public transport, so unless transport is included in your diving tour, you will need to hire a car or bike or grab a taxi to get here.