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The First Cowboys - Vaqueros
Although cattle ranching has never been a big part of Cozumel life due to the rugged terrain and lack of grazing areas, there are plenty of cowboys (vaqueros) that call the island home. And many are expert riders and skilled horsemen.

Contrary to popular belief, the first cowboys were Mexican, not American. The cattle ranching that later emerged in the west was a blend of Mexican and Anglo-American practices but many of the techniques and terms that were used in the American cowboy culture came from the Spanish. In Mexico, the cowboy is called a “vaquero,” which is a form of the word “cow” (vaca), and one out of every three cowboys in the late 1800’s was the Mexican vaquero. Vaqueros working on ranchos or missions were often individuals of mixed race and in the eyes of most Spaniards were nothing more than poor laborers on horseback. Vaqueros developed their skills of roping, branding and rounding up cattle after the Spanish conquistadors introduced them to horses and cattle.

Vaqueros provided not only the way of the work but the words of the trade. “Lariat” is derived from a vaquero’s long rope of braided rawhide used for catching animals, called a riata. Other words from the Spanish such as canyon, chaparral (tough, thick brush), corral, chaps (protective leather leg coverings) hackamore (a headstall or a halter for a horse, usually made of braided rawhide), mustang (wild horse), and savvy (to comprehend) have found their way into the traditional cowboy’s language.

Originally, Mexican cowboys held contests among themselves to show off ranching skills such as bronco riding and roping. Now these rodeo showmen have refined their act so that they provide high-quality entertainment to rodeo fans. A new type of Mexican cowboy or vaquero is the brave and proud charro. A charreada is basically a rodeo, and in Mexico it is a recognized sport with strict rules to be followed during the competitions. Both men and women are allowed to compete, wearing colorful costumes trimmed in silver studs. During intermissions, the horsemen make their mounts dance to a live Mariachi band, while vendors circulate in the stands selling refreshments and snacks.


Vacquero in Traditional SombreroThe horsemen (charros) who compete at charreadas sometimes travel many miles for the competition. They usually start their training as small children because it is often a family tradition, and learn to perform rope tricks and fancy horsemanship on finely-trained steeds, along with bull riding, bronco riding, and steer roping. The charros say their sport is living history, an art form developed from actual skills of a life working on the ranch.

Here on the island of Cozumel vaqueros can most often be found working on horseback riding ranches and tours offered to island visitors. And typically during Cozumel's Carnaval, some vaqueros will dress to ride in the parades while others prefer to wait and show their skills at events held during Festival de Cedral each year in the month of May.

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 Cozumel Dolphin Royal Swim Program
"Action" and "speed" pretty much describe this popular dolphin program! Get a handshake, a kiss and then you give them one. Feel the strength of your new friends as they push you across the water from the bottom of your feet in the thrilling foot-push. It is "the experience of a lifetime!" US$ 149/Adult / US$ 89 child
 Cozumel Atlantis Submarine Adventure
Dive to depths of 100 feet in a REAL submarine piloted by a professional and licensed crew and experience why Cozumel remains one of the top dive destinations in the world. $105/Adult, $65/Child
 Cozumel Playa Mia All Inclusive Day Pass
Enjoy a relaxing "all inclusive" day at this white powder sand beach featuring top notch facilities and tons of activities for kiddos like water cannons, twin water slides as well as a 200 foot long pool and a pirate ship! Here there is an underwater Mayan City, organized games, kayaks, paddle boats, hobie cats and more! US$73 Adult / US$63 Child
 Cozumel Playa Mia Day Pass
Enjoy a relaxing day at this fantastic white powder sand beach featuring top notch facilities and tons of activities for kiddos like water cannons, twin water slides as well as a 200 foot long pool and a pirate ship! Here there is an underwater Mayan City, organized games, kayaks, paddle boats, hobie cats and more! US$ 30 Adult / US$ 25 Child
 Cozumel Country Club Golf
Since its opening, in year 2001, the Cozumel Country Club, Nicklaus Design Group 18-hole golf course has been steadily attracting more travelers to Cozumel. T Time Rates From $ 89 for 18 Holes
 Cozumel Marine Turtle Observation & Baby Liberation Events with FP&M
Sign up for an observation and education session about Cozumel's nesting sea turtles and the volunteer brigades that help in their conservation. Learn about these amazing creatures in the Fundacion de Paques & Museos program and help release hatching baby turtles as they make their way to the sea. From $ 40 - 70 / person donation
Personal Experiences
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Thank you so much for helping me book this experience. I am so excited to go. I went swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas but I never went swimming with the sea lions. I really appreciate you helping me book this. J. McCredo ~ Unknown

My husabnd and I did the Dolphin Royal swim in Cozumel. We loved it! It was the best time ever! Would do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks for everything Benicia ~ PA USA

We cannot begin to express our thanks to Sherri and the staff at IslaMar Villas for our wonderful 11-night stay. This was our third time staying at IslaMar Villas and for us it's the only place to stay in Cozumel. It has truly become our home away from home. We love the apartments, the courtyard and pool, and the warm and friendly neighborhood.

We also used "COZUMELINSIDER" to book our car rental with Avis. It went very smoothly and you guys also helped us trade in our little Chevy Pop for something a little bigger.

A big THANK YOU to Sherri for introducing us to a wonderful private driver on the mainland and for arranging our excursion to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Akumal. We were so happy that we decided to finally venture off the island and go to the mainland to see the ruins. The driver Sherri arranged for us was extremely friendly and went above and beyond to make sure we saw things we wouldn't have even known about had we taken the car ferry and driven on our own. To anyone looking for a private tour of places on the mainland, we highly recommend asking Sherri to arrange it for you. It was well worth it!

Thank you again, Sherri! Your kindness and warm hospitality makes us choose IslaMar Villas and your services over and over again. R & M Browning ~ Superior, CO

Sherri...thank you again so very much for your fantastic website and for your excellent stories on life in Cozumel. We fellow Texans that are not fortunate enough to actually live there are able to do it through you and we are all extremely grateful...and incredibly envious! Having been an airline employee until retirement I have been lucky to have been down island over 20 times and it NEVER gets old. I thought I knew all about Cozumel, but was delighted to learn of new things and places through you and your website. Your current posting of how you came to Cozumel was so cool. You really need to work on that book! Congrats on this milestone, and continued luck and success in all you do. See you in September for our annual trip down for my birthday and Mexican Independence Day. M. Goodwin ~ Dallas, Texas

Just got back from our cruise and wanted to let you know how much fun we had at Chankanaab Park. My daughter, Emily, had the most wonderful dolphin experience and the $2.00 off coupon for me to get into the park worked like a charm. And, your confirmation email telling us about getting to the park was very helpful. Thank you for the experience! This was well organized and an absolutely perfect day in Cozumel for us! We (the old ladies in my family) are coming back in February, I'll be sure to connect with you again as we'll do the dolphin swim with you again. The Kershek Family ~ Wisconsin


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