||Do It Yourself - Cozumel Monuments, Landmarks & Tributes
|An excellent way to become familiar with various parts of the island as well as learn more about the history and culture of the island is to seek out and visit Cozumel's monuments and tributes located throughout the city. So strike out on your own, do this yourself and explore more!
1: Book a rental car since the monuments and landmarks are really spread out. A car will make getting around to see all of them alot easier. Remember, Cozumel is relatively small so circling the island via paved road can take as little as 2 hours or as many as you want depending on how many stops you decide to make along the way!
2: Order a Franko's Map to ensure you can find your way around!
3: Print this Guide to Cozumel Monuments, Landmarks & Tributes to take with you on your adventure!
4: Have fun, think of all the money you're saving and remember to use Cozumel Insider for reserving tours, rental cars, hotels and condos!
|Monuments Tour Begins at Rafael Melgar (Beachfront Street) & Airport Road|
Monument of Two Cultures
Melgar & Cozumel’s main avenue Rafael Melgar is decorated with several sculptures commemorating events in Cozumel's history. Most notably is the Monument of Two Cultures, also known as the Mestizo Monument. It depicts Gonzalo Guerrero who has become a political and literary icon and has been transformed into a national myth.
Gonzalo Guerrero, a sailor from Spain, and Fray Jerónimo de Aguilar who had taken holy orders in his native Spain, were shipwrecked along the Yucatan Peninsula with their crew and all were taken as slaves by the local Maya. They managed to escape but were captured by other Mayan lords, who also enslaved them. After some time the only survivors were Aguilar and Guerrero. Guerrero assimilated the Mayan culture, learning the language and adopting Mayan ways. He earned his freedom, became a respected warrior under Nachan Kaan, Lord of Chektumal, married his daughter and fathered her three children, which became the first Mestizos. Mestizo is a Spanish term that continues to be used today in Latin America to refer to people of mixed European (Spaniard) and Amerindian ancestry living in the region of Latin America. Aguilar remained true to his priestly vows and refused to form a romantic liaison with any of the attractive girls whom the chief placed at his disposal.
On Holy Cross Day (May 3rd), 1518 an expedition led by Juan de Grijalva landed in Cozumel. During three days the Spaniards circled the island, and the 6th of May, 1518, they found safe harbor next to what is now San Miguel, where they expected to find resistance, but were received in peace, and were surprised to see the first building made of stone in the new world. The islanders traded with the Spaniards, exchanging gold and a variety of goods. The Catholic mass held that day at the beach, currently named Las Casitas (little houses), and is still celebrated by locals every year.
Upon his return to Cuba, Juan de Grijalva brought news about the existence of two Spaniards in the land of the Yucatán. When Hernán Cortés arrived in Cozumel in command of the next expedition in 1519, he sent Guerrero and Aguilar word to join him on the island. Fray Jerónimo de Aguilar did so after a few days, but Gonzalo Guerrero sent word back refusing to return with the Spaniards.
Aguilar spoke to Guerrero, reminding him that he was of Christian faith and should not throw away his everlasting soul for the sake of an Indian woman, but Gonzalo was not to be convinced. Guerrero’s response is inscribed on a plaque at the monument, and the translation is: "Brother Aguilar; I am married and have three children, and they look on me as a cacique (lord) here, and captain in time of war. My face is tattooed and my ears are pierced. What would the Spaniards say if they saw me like this? Go and God's blessing be with you, for you have seen how handsome these children of mine are.” The offspring of Guerrero's union with a Maya were the first of mixed race called "mestizos." Read more about the Meztizos
Francisco de Montejo had joined Grijalva’s expedition and was in command of four ships. After discovering Guerrero’s respected position with the Mayans, Montejo tried to win over Guerrero by sending him a long letter, again reminding him of his Christian faith, offering him his friendship and a complete pardon. Guerrero refused to join his countrymen and furthermore set about organizing the Mayans so that they could defend their land from the Spanish takeover. Guerrero was later killed while fighting on the side of the Indians against the Spaniards.
Cozumel was the first site touched by the army of Hernán Cortés in what is now Mexican territory, becoming the starting point for the conquest of Mexico.
|Monuments Tour Stop 2 - Melgar & Air Force Runway Entrance .5 Miles into North Hotel Zone|
WW II Aztec Eagles Fighter Planes
Over 300 Mexicans served with Allied forces in World War II and some were part of an elite fighter pilot squadron whose planes have been entrusted to Cozumel to serve as a Memorial to those who served.
Read more about the Aztec Eagles
|Monuments Tour Stop 3 - Melgar & Calle 10 Norte|
|Monuments Tour Stop 4 - Melgar & Calle 8 Norte|
This monument is dedicated to all of the people who
have contributed and participated in Cozumel Carnaval
throughout the years, making it one of the most popular
Carnaval celebrations in the region. Cozumel Carnaval
(Mardi Gras) is an annual island tradition that dates back
over 135 years. The parade route is here along Melgar
where thousands of Cozumelenos like these will don their
costumes, ride floats and dance in the streets for hours.
If you have never seen Cozumel Carnaval, then make
reservations now and join us for a week long party!
|Monuments Tour Stop 5 - Melgar & Calle 4 Norte|
Girl's Leap Frog
|Monuments Tour Stop 6 - Melgar & Calle 2 Norte|
Flag Pole Plaza
|Monuments Tour Stop 7 - Melgar & Calle 1 Sur|
Many civic events are held here throughout the
year but otherwise not that crowded so it's a
good photo op with the big eagles standing guard.
|Monuments Tour Stop 8 - Melgar & Calle 7 Sur|
Rafael Melgar Monument
|Monuments Tour Stop 9 - Melgar & Calle 11 Sur|
Andres Quintana Roo Park
With funding provided by the State in 2008, this park honoring
the State's name sake has been completely re-designed with a
modern contemporary look. As a result, gone are the green grass
soccer fields filled with Cozumel children learning to play the national
sport. Instead the area is 100% cement complete with (band/speaking)
staging areas and plenty of public seating areas. Good place to sit
back and people watch although it won't be of children learning to play soccer.
|Monuments Tour Stop 10 - Rafael Melgar & Freight Ferry Pier Road|
Captain at the Helm
This bronze is of Captain D. Claudio Canto Anduze
Born May 11, 1884 & Died March 2, 1980
Captain Canto's life revolved around the sea.
Honest, frank and a skilled captain, he
exemplifies the brilliant generation of seamen
that comprised Cozumel in the first half of
the 20th century.
|Monuments Tour Stop 11 - Avenida 30 & Calle 35 Sur|
Woman with Fruit Basket & Child
|Monuments Tour Stop 12 - Avenida 65 & Airport Road|
What better way to end a tour of the memorials and monuments
of Cozumel than with a beautiful bronze of our Island's namesake ~ The Swallows!
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