Nature in Cozumel

Iguanas of Cozumel
Iguanas of Cozumel
Cozumel birds Cozumel Birds
Cozumel Tropical Plants Plants
Passion IslandPassion Island
Pets in Cozumel Under the Sea

Cozumel Fish

Say no to horse and buggy rides in Cozumellearnkite.jpg
Say NO to Horse & Buggies!

Natural & Animals Reef Life

There are many different animals in Cozumel. Some of the mammals on the island include the Cozumel Island Racoon, which is endangered. There is also the Dwarf Coatis, and the nearly extinct Cozumel Fox. We have three rodents indigenous to Cozumel, the Oryzomus couesi, and the Reithradontonys spectabilis.
Most people remember the underwater life more than the land animals since they are abundant.

Adam with a Dolphin

Marine Life

The President of Mexico declared the popular Cozumel reefs a national park on June 2, 1980. As a marine refuge it is prohibited to take, break, damage, or otherwise destroy the beautiful marine organisms. In fourteen years as a national park, most intentional damage and collecting has ceased. However, most scuba divers need to be informed that merely touching organisms causes irreparable damage. Many divers climb on top of the reef and break coral structures, kick and mutilate gorgonians, or let their heavy gauges drag along causing much unnecessary damage. Please help the reefs survive our generation and pass the word along so that our children can enjoy the abundant life under the sea.


There are no above ground rivers in the Yucatan. All rivers in the Yucatan peninsula are underground. They are called cenotes. The Maya´s original word was "tsónot" and the Spanish changed the word to cenote. They are fresh-water rivers that from time to time open up to the surface and becomes accessible. The Maya treated these fresh water veins as sacred.

A Cenote/Swimming Hole
A Cenote/Swimming Hole

There are many places where these underground rivers are accessible for people to swim in. In Xcaret, they have gentle currents that move you through the crystalline waters. There are subterranean formations, and skylit caves that seem like rooms that you will discover. The cenotes on the island are not accessible for swimming. If you are interested, Ixcaret is a wonderful park,

Occasionally there will be big openings into lagoons and families can have lots of fun here.

Iguanas and Other Lizards

These beautiful creatures are harmless, yet a bit creepy to most people unfamiliar with them. Remember when your parents told you they are more afraid of you than you are of them? Well, it’s true. The best thing about the small lizards is that they cut down the insect population a bit. If they happen to get in the house, just leave them alone and they’ll find their way out.

Land Crabs

Everything said above about iguanas applies equally to these crabs, which you may never see unless you go walking along the road in the northern hotel zone, where in the low-lying ground on the inland side of the road, there are millions of them. They climb on the screens and scratch around the doors of beachfront homes, and will sneak in if given the chance so watch out.In the past ten years or so, the population has greatly decreased, due to the construction of the County Club Golf Course, and other developments in their indiginous region. They live in the northern and western part of the island. These blue crab usually live in the swamps, and migrate to the ocean's shore. During the full moon, they are out in the millions, and there are many that get killed while they make the long journey across the street. Cars that are traveling north on the beachside road need to slow down and be careful not to kill these crabs. Police are helping with this effort. The blue crab of Cozumel is similar in taste to Maryland blue crab and are served in local restaurants.


Most of the homes on the island have a problem with ants. That is part of life in the tropics. Please try to keep food put away in the refrigerator once the packaging is opened. Just do what you can to clean up as much as possible or you’ll wake up one morning to find yourself invaded.

Sand fleas will occasionally get you, too. Locally called “no see ‘ems”, they give little stings that don’t ever swell, they just ich. Deet-based insect repellents help. If you become uncomfortable with the bites an antihistimine such as Claritine or Benadryl will help.

Mosquito Hour

The hour before sunset is prime-time for mosquitos. If you are going to be outside, put on plenty of insect repellent. Be sure to close all windows and doors in your home and in your car if you’ve rented one. You need a little planning to watch the sunset. There are months where they are scarce, and you have a good chance of enountering very few — if any — on your vacation.Rainy season brings more mosquitos so make sure there is not water filled containers in your area because they tend to reproduce quickly.

You won't find macaws like this on Cozumel (if you're lucky, you can spot them on the mainland nearby), but you might spot the native yellow-lored parrot


There are abundant birds on Cozumel, and three that occur nowhere else on earth. Flying overheard, you'll see flocks of green parrots, and the occassional flamingo. The Cozumel Bananaquit, a white-throated race of the normally gray-throated Bananaquit found elsewhere in the tropics, is a sparrow-size bird with a yellow belly, black back and head, and a white stripe above the eye. It drinks flower nectar and can often be seen on flowering trees, particularly on, you guessed it, bananas.

Also indigenous to Cozumel are the Cozumel Thrasher, a cousin and look-alike of the Brown Thrasher of the USA, and the Cozumel Vireo, which looks pretty much like any other Vireo, except for its rusty-colored back and head. Both of these are nearly extinct. There is also the wren, and the Great Curassow, which is highly endangered. There is also a unique emerald bird that is worth the look.
The best spot to bird watch is in the southern park of Punta Sur.


There are five species of flamingos in the world. The ones that live in the Yucatan and Caribbean islands are Phoenocopterus ruber. Flamingos can live more than 30 years and are monogamous. Males and females are identical, so it is impossible to tell their sex at first sight. They are pink and long legged and beautiful creatures. Their beak is adapted to feed on small marine organisms, such as crustaceans, sea-weed, and single-cell organisms, which are filtered through fine hairs on their tongues.
There are a few on the island that you'll see flying overheard. There were once many in the swamps of the northern part of the island but they left over the years, due to hurricanes and the construction activitiy in building the golf club.


There are many breeding programs on the mainland, and the largest colony of flamingoes in the western hemisphere can be found at the norther tip of the Yucatan at Rio Lagartos. They are often seen in the northern and southern tips of the island and often you will see them fly overhead.


You may notice that in Cozumel virtually all the coconut palms are pretty short on Cozumel. The reason is that in 1985–1986, Lethal-Yellowing disease struck the island, and the disease moved north along the Caribbean coast of Mexico, wiping out the coconuts. The coconut trees you see now have been planted since then, and are of a different variety which is highly resistant to the disease — the Malayan dwarf, which, despite its name, will eventually reach heights of 50–60 feet. Once a year, locals have to remove all the coconuts from the trees. The weight of the coconuts can be a hazard when they fall. We don't want them falling on someone or on our pet. Be sure to pick up some cold coconuts that are sold in the streets. They are wonderful!

Humane Society of Cozumel

The Cozumel Humane Society contributes a lot to caring for animals in Cozumel. Twenty years ago, there were large packs of dogs that were either lost or abandoned, in the streets of Cozumel. They had been in teh streest so long that they were no longer nice kind animals, but rather acted like a wild pack. The Humane Society was born and immediatly started tagging dogs on the streets to try to find out if they belonged to someone or not. We had fund raisers to raise enough money to make a difference. The Morales family, of Cinco Soles, donated a nice piece of land. Eventually, with donations, and lots of fund raising, the Humane Society bought a van, and eventually, built a two story building. The building has an operation room, and rooms upstairs to house visting vets. They offer an exchange program for visiting vets. The Humane Society has made arrangements with different restaurants, diving, and even housing to donate their services to these visiting vets. We have some animals that need operations that our doctors don't know how about so these visiting vets can teach the local vets, and enjoy Cozumel at a discounted price. Please give a donation, no matter how much. Take home an adopted pet-the best kind of souvenir from Cozumel!

Contact them directly. Humane Society of Cozumel:HumaneSociety.gif

Lost Dogs of Cozumel

There are many lost dogs running around. Please look at the photos of these lost dogs and while you explore Cozumel, you can help us look!
Send us an e-mail!

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Cozumel Dune Buggy Tours

If you are driving your own car, or a car rental from the mainland that allows you to cross it to Cozumel, then you will need to board in Puerto Morelos. You must wait in line for at least four hours before departure and then load your vehicle onto the ferry. The crossing is approximately three hours to Cozumel and about four hours going back.

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