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Cozumel Marine Park History

Cozumel Marine Park History - main picture

The Cozumel Marine Park is a symbol of this Mexican heart and Caribbean soul island. It is an enormous protected area that is a refuge for many endemic species and is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.

Where is the Cozumel Marine Park?

Cozumel Marine Park covers an area of 11,987-87-50 hectares in the northwestern Caribbean and is part of the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

From 16.5 km east of the Yucatan Peninsula approximately, you can find the Cozumel Marine Park, exactly, stretching the western coast of the island. It belongs to the municipality of Cozumel, Caribbean province of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Cozumel Marine Park History

It seems Cozumel Island´s destiny is to be a pilgrimage place. Just as in Mayan times, it became the main sanctuary of the goddess Ixchel, a deity of the moon, fertility, and birth. Now it is a diving mecca.

When the Spanish arrived in Cozumel in 1518, they were amazed to find a population with stone buildings and level streets. They called the island “Santa Cruz”. With the Spanish colonization, the island became uninhabited, but then, pirates visited it looking for refuge.

Cozumel was repopulated in 1848 by 21 families fleeing from the caste wars of the Yucatan Peninsula. They settled there and dedicated themselves to fishing mainly.

By the middle of the 20th century, divers loved to visit Cozumel. In the 1970s, Jacques Cousteau came to the island attracted by the crystal-clear waters and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest in the world. He contributed to Cozumel’s international fame as an underwater wonder, but much less than legend says.

An article that appeared in the American Automobile Association magazine written by reporter John Richard was the main reason for the tourism sparkling. It was so successful that tourists carried the magazine in their hands, looking for the marvelous places described therein. And since then, the tourists have not stopped arriving.

The excess in the tourist exploitation led the Mexican government to consider extra protection measures for the conservation of Cozumel’s several natural areas, among them, the Cozumel Marine Park.

Thus, on June 11, 1980, the federal government declared as “Refuge Zone for the Protection of the Marine Flora and Fauna of the Western Coast of Cozumel Island” the zone that begins at the fiscal pier and ends at Punta Celarain, at the sea line that reaches the 50m/164feet isobath when the tide is high.

It was not until July 15, 1996, when a decree published by the state of Quintana Roo declared the region of the Laguna de Colombia (some 734 hectares) a Zone Subject to Ecological Conservation, a state Flora and Fauna Refuge.

Finally, just four days later, the Official Journal of the Federation published the decree declaring the area a Cozumel Marine Park.

Today, the “Arrecifes de Cozumel” Marine Park is the attraction for divers from all over the world, who visit the island in search of adventure.

Do they come as tourists? Yes, but they do it in a healthy and controlled way.

What Does the Cozumel Marine Park Protect?

The Cozumel Marine Park protects the most visited reefs of the island and carries out programs to conserve the environment and environmental awareness.

In this park you can find diving areas such as: Palancar  (Gardens, Horsehoe and Caves), Yucab, Tormentos, Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Colombia. All of them within the Dressel Divers Cozumel dive catalog and no more than 10 minutes boat ride from our pier.

Do you want to dive the reefs of the Cozumel National Park? Write us, we’ll take you there.