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Cozumel: Ready, Jet Set, Mexico

Sure it’s the only island in Mexico, and it has some of best diving in the world. Cozumel, the resort oasis with 90% of its island undeveloped, also offers white beaches, azure blue water, and a many other muy caliente reasons – like buying diamonds - to rediscover Mexico right now.

Where to Eat and Drink: For you Cantina lizards, the mango margaritas run like tap water here. And the ones with guava, kiwi and dozens more flavors can be found at Pancho’s Back Yard (Av. Rafael E. Melgar # 27, Cozumel, 77600, Tel.: +52.9.872.2141.) That and some very authentic Mexican food with a live mariachi band soundtrack. At the Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Resort and Spa (Carretera a Chankanaab KM 6.5 Cozumel, 77600 Tel: +52.987.872.9500) some of the finest dining in the world awaits you. Caribeno provides an outdoor setting next to the water under an oversize thatched roof, serving Mexican and international specialties a la’ carte or buffet style. If you love exotic seafood with an Italian twist, Alfredo di Roma is the place to be. For casual beachside dining, try Bar Cana Brava for an afternoon refresher of light fare.

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Where to Stay: The Presidente envelops the history, culture and vibrant traditions of Mexico and exceeds the expectations of even the most demanding international traveler. The rooms, many of which overlook the ocean, offer private terraces perfect for al fresco dining or a quick hop into the ocean. Coupled with superb service, luxurious amenities, and brightly colored rooms with marble floors, it’s the insider’s place to stay. Keep in mind Cozumel is known to locals as “fertility island” because of its romantic beaches and swaying palm trees.

How to Relax: The spa at the El Presidente will help you embrace your inner Mayan. The Serenity Spa incorporates indigenous fruits, plants, herbs and other natural elements into its signature treatments, as well as traditional ancient techniques designed to relax, soothe and pamper even the most Type-A soul. For couples, the Mayan Citrus Blossom bath is a relaxing massage done side by side in the privacy of your own tropical garden paradise. The traditional Temescal sweat lodge will also cure what ails you with its holistic and ritual body treatments. Also at the Presidente, there’s a daily, supervised children’s program that offers recreation, special events and arts and crafts. At the nearby Cozumel Country Club (Carretera Costera Norte, KM 6.5 Interior Casa Club Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77600, Tel.: +52.987.872.9570) you can play a round or two on a gorgeous, world-class course, too. The sand traps take on a whole new meaning because of the crocodiles that make a cameo appearance.

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Where to Shop: There’s not one department store to be found on the island. Yet, if you want diamonds, this is the place to visit. There are literally hundreds of jewelry stores on the island’s main commercial strip specializing in diamond pieces. The main street downtown shopping has many fun gift shops to buy like the country’s genuine native wares.

What to See: Scuba diving and snorkeling are serious business here and it attracts most of the island’s visitors year ‘round. Swimming with the dolphins and horseback riding are always a favorite, too. You can explore replicas of Mexico’s Mayan Ruins and learn more about it in an organized setting at the local history museum, Museo de la Isla de Cozumel (Avenida Rafael Melgar at Calle 4, Cozumel, 77600 Mexico +52.987.21.475 {note: this # is a digit short, but has been fact checked})

How to Get There: Commercial flights on many of the big carriers like American Airlines, United, Delta depart daily. The trip is only a few hours by jet, so if you leave in the morning, you’ll arrive in time for a late lunch and an afternoon of sunny fun.