As a result of efforts by local activists, the vast majority of reef formations are environmentally protected as a marine refuge. The Cozumel Reefs - National Marine Park was declared in 1996. As of mid-1998, its visits are regulated by an Environmental Sustainability Program.
The Park consists of 11,987.5 hectares, and includes marine, estuarine and land ecosystem which support the biological communities. Migratory and resident birds live here. Marine Park hosts an overwhelming variety of marine wildlife; soft & hard coral, hydrozoa, gorgonians, annelids, anemones, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, sponges, algae, turtles & 500+ fish species.
Park visitors are briefed by tour guides regarding the applicable restrictions while in the Park. For example, the recollection, touching or damaging of underwater organisms is strictly prohibited, biodegradable suntan lotion is mandatory; feeding fish or fishing is not permitted within the Park. Boat tours inside the Marine Park are guided by trained operators and an entrance fee is applicable. The clear intention is to preserve the beautiful environment through sustainable use of its resources for generations to come, as it has been for many past generations.
To visit the park, you may choose to visit the park’s many Beach Clubs, where restaurants, restrooms, showers and gear rentals are available on site (kayaks, snorkeling and beach diving gear). Beach clubs offer different atmospheres to select from, lounge meditative, reggae bar, Carlos ‘n Charlie’s raucous. To find the perfect beach, Beach-Hopping is the soundest choice, renting a 4x4 Jeep; a must.
Conversely, dive enthusiasts normally choose to boat-dive the reef sites using the services of a Dive Shop. As a rule of thumb, dive boats will pick you up at your hotel pier, downtown pier or marina. You may even choose to head to a Beach Club, leave the non-diving relatives behind, and take off from the Beach Club pier.
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