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Travel Tip 4 Ė Explore Cozumelís Underwater World
C.J. Gustafson, Freelance Writer and Photographer

I have a friend who says that Cozumel is just like many other Caribbean destinations except for the snorkeling and diving. I disagree strongly. Cozumel has a unique blend of rustic fishing village, Mexican identity with strong Mayan influences, and a Caribbean setting to add some spice. You don't find that combination many other places, and the result is a comfortable and safe island with people who welcome visitors and approach life as an experience to be enjoyed and savored.

But I do agree with my friend's view that if you come to Cozumel, you must explore the amazing underwater world. I'm sure you've heard it before - Cozumel is home to the world's second largest barrier reef, with beautiful coral and a host of spectacular creatures. Once you slip on that mask and get below the surface of the water, you become part of this exciting world of fish, turtles, seahorses, rays, and all the other animal life that lives in the turquoise waters.

Not only that, the water clarity is remarkable, so you get a really good view of all of these wonders, even while floating on the surface 20 feet above. And this underwater world is available to visitors regardless of their budgets since some of the best snorkeling on the island can be found right in front of the hotels or at public beaches.

Snorkeling
Snorkeling requires very little practice. Many people are swimming around like pros after just a few minutes. The key is to get good equipment that fits correctly and doesn't leak. If you feel nervous about how you will react in the ocean, practice in the pool at first or simply stand waist deep in the ocean and stick your head under the water while you get used to breathing through the tube. I have found that flippers really help you move through the water easier and keep you from tiring out as quickly.

Diving
Diving in Cozumel is almost as easy. Because of the excellent conditions and places to dive, some of the best in the world are here to help you learn. You can be diving under the supervision of a dive master the same day that you receive your instruction. When picking a dive outfit, talk to experienced divers and go with those that are highly recommended. Cheaper is not always better when it comes to diving services and safety.

For those who want something in between, snuba provides the ability to go up to 20 feet below the surface, without the more involved training and equipment needed for diving.

Friendly Fish
Does the idea of swimming in the ocean with all the critters make you nervous? There are very few creatures in the waters of Cozumel that will attack you without provocation. While the schools of smaller fish will come close to you and even swim right with you, they will not bite you, and in fact, it would be difficult to touch one if you tried.

Even the larger fish would rather avoid you. A barracuda may look ferocious, and their curiosity might make them approach you for a closer look, but you are not his idea of dinner. (Read about my Barracuda Adventure.)

Just can't bring yourself to get in the water? At the very least, take a tour in a glass bottom boat. With the wonderful water clarity, you will be able to see many of the same things as those who are in the water.

With all the different ways to explore Cozumel's underwater world, you should find something that fits your budget and comfort level. Don't let fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing this underwater world that truly is one of the most unforgettable aspects of the island. In my opinion, snorkeling and diving aren't the only reasons to come to Cozumel, but they are certainly something you don't want to miss.
Other Interesting Perspectives and Tips by CJ you might Enjoy!
 Spicy Travels - Introduction
Romance, adventure, good food, hot dancing, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the island of Cozumel!
 Spicy Travels 1 - The Iguana Adventure
He's little, he's cute, he doesn't bite me, and he eats mosquitoes and other bugs. I'm on a Caribbean island with no worries. Let it go. It is all part of the adventure - but what an experience!
 Spicy Travels 2 - Moonlight Dance Adventure
These are the times in your life where you have to tell yourself that times like these seldom come along in life and you can't let them slip by because you're embarrassed or nervous or afraid.
 Spicy Travels 3 - Language Learning Adventure
My adventure reminded me that there is common ground when it comes to language on Cozumel, with both tourists and locals wanting to learn how to better communicate.
 Spicy Travels 4 - Barracuda Adventure
Suddenly I saw a large shadow move across the ocean floor and I looked over expecting to see another snorkeler swimming alongside.
 Travel Tip 1 - Cozumel is a State of Mind
There's something about a Caribbean island that is just fundamentally different from the rest of the world. This definitely true of Cozumel!
 Travel Tip 2 - Always Bring Music
I've learned through my travels that music can set the tone and enhance the enjoyment of almost any activity on the island.
 Travel Tip 3 - Learn Spanish
Although many people on the island speak English quite well, there have been numerous instances where I was glad to know some Spanish.
 Photo Tips - Introduction
The endless supply of subjects, the beautiful lighting, and constant activity make photograhing Cozumel basically effortless
 Photo Tips 1 - Cozumel Sunsets
Cozumel has some of the most beautiful sunsets to be found on earth. Here are some tips on capturing them!
 Photo Tips 2 - Hit the Tourist Spots
Don't avoid the tourist spots completely because they provide some good photo opportunities as well as fun activities - all in one location!
 Photo Tips 3 - Walk Don't Ride (At Least Part of the Way)
It has been my experience that very rarely do you get good Cozumel pictures riding in the back seat of a taxi cab.
 Photo Tips 4 - San Miguel & the West Coast
Taking pictures in town can be a bit of a challenge because there is usually so much activity. But thatís what makes it so interesting!


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