Cozumel (Maya: Island of the Swallows) is an island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen. It is one of the eight municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo. Cozumel is a popular tourist destination renowned for its scuba diving. The main town on the island is San Miguel.
The island is about 48 km (30 miles) north-south and 16 km (10 miles) east-west, and is the largest island of Mexico. It is about 20 km (12 miles) from the mainland, and some 60 km (36 miles) south of Cancún. Nearly everybody in Cozumel lives in the town of San Miguel (pop. est. 90,000 in 2003), which is on the western shore. The rest of the island is low, flat, and densely vegetated.
Cozumel is a flat island based on porous volcanic rock. The highest natural point on the island is less than 100 meters above sea level. The Cenotes are deep water filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone soil during thousands of years. Cenotes can be explored by snorkeling, swimming or diving, in which several marine species can be appreciated. Ancient inhabitants of the island also used the large holes in the rocks for shelter, particularly to escape the heat, by digging out small caves in the ground.