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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 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 $ 35 - 60 / person donation
Personal Experiences
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Sherri ~ I just wanted to pass along a huge THANK YOU for the dolphin excursion I booked through you in Cozumel for last Wednesday. The experience was something I will remember for a lifetime. Besides my friend and myself, there were only two other participants in our group so the dolphin trainer gave us extra time in the water. GREAT PICTURES were taken of the whole experience!!!!!!! Actually, a few people I spoke to when I got back on the cruise ship booked their excursion through Carnival directly and paid more $$$$ for less time in the water with the dolphins ( no swim, push off, etc). Again, thank you for everything....... D Garrett ~ not given

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

Less than an hour ago, I booked a dolphin swim package through your website. You have already confirmed my order with exactly what we wanted! I was really in a panic because when I tried to book directly through the Dolphin website, they said there was nothing available. I had read great things about your company on the on one of the popular message boards. I have to agree they are true! Thanks so much for your prompt service! I know this experience will be a great memory for my kids! L. Walker ~ Crosby, TX

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

My family and I have returned to Cozumel many times - it's a favorite destination and we have watched it change over the past 20 years. The Cozumel Insider is a great publication - it's a wonderful way to keep up with the news about one of our favorite islands. We are preparing to visit again this August and the Insider has shown us some different activities to try, as well as helped to bring us up to date with local political and ecological happenings. We're delighted to see the interest in wildlife conservation throughout the area. Keep up the good work on this terrific site. D. McClean ~ unknown


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