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Vacationers who desire expansive beaches, superb diving conditions, and copious wildlife, in a much less developed atmosphere that Cancun, might choose Cozumel (KO soo mel).  Located 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the island is an important tourist attraction; however it contains only about a sixth as many hotel rooms as Cancun.

Cozumel has found a way to balance nature and tourism.  The vast majority of Cozumel’s land area consists of undeveloped beaches, lagoons, coves, palm groves, swamps, and low hills.  However, Cozumel is a major cruise port.  It lies opposite the town of Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of Cancun.  Playa del Carmen has itself become a low-key resort.

Cozumel has its own airport, and most of the flights are shuttles to and from Cancun.  The airport occasionally receives continuing flights from other Mexican cities or charters from the United States (which usually stop in Cancun as well).  During the day, frequent ferries connect Cozumel with Playa del Carmen.

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