Teardrop-shaped Cozumel has seen some hard times - Spanish invasion, death by smallpox and a flailing economy - but these days it is a calm, charming island with a prime diving reputation. Known as Ah-Cuzamil-Peten (Island of Swallows) by its earliest inhabitants, it is Mexico's largest and most populated island.
Thanks to a Jacques Cousteau documentary on its world-class reefs it has been a favorite international diving destination since 1961. It is literally swimming with diving sites - about 100 have been identified around Cozumel, and at least a dozen of them are shallow enough for snorkelling.
Facts for the traveller
Off the beaten track