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Cozumel Transporation - Horse Drawn Carriages - See the City!
Enjoy a Carriage Ride Tour Through the City! While it is wildly unpopular on the island to mention them, there is another way to tour the city area of Cozumel and that is by horse drawn carriage. Since anyone passing along the beachfront street or in town during peak tourist times will see many horse drawn carriages waiting for passengers outside the pier areas or filled with tourists taking a city tour, it would be remiss not to mention them here or the controversy surrounding their existence on the island.

Horse drawn carriages are an island tradition and have been operating in Cozumel for decades just as they do all across Mexico. These carriages typically take passengers back and forth between hotels or the ship piers and the downtown area but they are also available for a city highlights tour as well. Each carriage carries up to 4 passengers comfortably and sports a collapsing shade top for comfort.

The carriages can provide a complete highlights tour or they can take passengers to their destination via "a scenic route" if time allows. Simply discuss desired timeframe and highlights with the horseman and step up into the carriage to enjoy one of Mexico's time honored traditions of horse drawn carriages.

Horse Drawn Carriage Controversy and Actions

Horse drawn carriages have been working for centuries around the globe and even today throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe there are cities where horse drawn carriages operate. In the U.S. probably the most famous horse drawn carriage ride is that of Central Park in Manhattan. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg continually reiterates his stance that the horses and buggies are iconic and historic. "It makes New York, New York," he insisted on his radio show, pointing out that tourists enjoy the rides. Of course Bloomberg's comments are not without controversy.

On the other hand, because of numerous accidents and the working conditions of the carriage horses, animal rights activists all over the planet have taken a stand against horse carriage operation resulting in bans of horse drawn carriages in many cities including Toronto, Bejing, Biloxi, Mississippi; Camden, New Jersey; Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Key West, and Treasure Island, Florida to name a few. The activist group PETA states "there is no way that cities, with their exhaust fumes, hard road surfaces and busy traffic patterns can provide a humane environment for a carriage horse."

In Cozumel, there is also a strong activist movement in place against the horse drawn carriages on the island and throughout the State of Quintana Roo and they have have an active petition drive where they point to recent State legislation that is not being enforced:


and Well-Being of Animals Act of the State of Quintanat Roo published in the Official Journal on March 30, 2010. Article 29 Section XI reads: IT IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER: THE USE AND TRAFFIC OF ANIMAL POWERED VEHICLES ON PAVED ROADS AND FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN FARMING.

"Therefore it is clearly understood that the use of tourist carriages are forbidden within all Districts in the State of Quintana Roo, accordingly we feel there are enough grounds to cancel the concessions and/or permits and we request that it be done." states their petition. View the petition

Despite this law being enacted in 2010, horse drawn carriages still populate the streets of Cozumel giving tourists city tours and taking folks to and from their destinations. Clearly local politicians struggle with what to so since many families depend on the income from this niche market to support their families. And they point to dozens of cities throughout Mexico where horse drawn carriage services are still available as evidence they are not a dying or out-dated service.

Fortunately we here at Insider do not have to decide or take sides in this debate but rather merely inform travelers so they can make their own decisions. But it goes without saying that if people have strong negative associations with horse-drawn carriages and view it as both unscrupulous and hazardous, a natural boycott of the industry can and will easily emerge over time.


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