Arrecifes de Cozumel was declared a national marine park on July 19, 1996, under the direction of president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León. At almost 30,000 acres, it begins just south of the International Pier and continues down and around Punta Sur and up just a small portion of the east side of the island. The park was created to protect, conserve, and restore the natural resources which play such important roles in this fragile ecosystem. Within the park there are over 100 species of sponge and coral, and over 500 species of fish.
The climate of the Cozumel is classified as tropical savanna, there are two distinct seasons, wet and dry with the dry season, between December and April, being the best time to visit. There is however seasonal marine life to be considered when planning a trip to Cozumel.
The Meosamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest barrier reef in the world, lies within the Caribbean Sea and stretches south from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsular, extending through Belize, Guatemala and down into the Bay Islands of Honduras. As the reef passes through Cozumel it is characterised by towering coral structures, swim-thrus, walls and sweeping reefs covered with large gorgonians, sea plumes, giant barrel sponges, rope and tube sponges, black corals, pillar corals and impressive elkhorn corals providing food and shelter for a huge diversity of marine life.
Cozumel is renowned for its drift diving due to the strong, predominant south to north currents. However there are also much calmer reefs for those who prefer a more gentle diving pace. Depths vary from between 10-60m/33-200ft so there is diving for all levels, from introductory through to technical. Great visibility, temperate waters and an abundance of marine life all add to the appeal for divers visiting the spectacular Arrecifes de Cozumel.