Mexican Caribbean

Quintana Roo‘s Pearls - The Coral Islands (Part 4)- Cozumel (Cuzamil); The Swallows’ Island (Part 1)

Cozumel is the biggest and also the oldest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Cozumel is, besides, the highest of all. It was first settled by the Putun and it was an important chiefdom in what today is Quintana Roo.

Cozumel, in those days, was an especially important settlement for the Putun, that’s why we can find so many vestiges of this ancient culture here. Among these ancient cities, there is, of course, a Shrine to Ix-chel, goddess of fertility, abundance, and flood.

El Cedral. Unfortunately, there is little evidence of what was, at its time, an important Ceremonial Center, along the centuries, the stones, with which these monuments were built, were taken by the people, for other purposes. El Cedral is Cozumel´s most ancient structure, and the paintings can still be admired in some places.

Calica is another ancient maya settlement, built approximately in 300 b.c., it reached its zenith in the classic period between 600 and 900 a.d. In Calica there are drinkable and salty water cenotes, such as Kaahu Humm and Yikliil Cab. In some of these drinkable water cenotes, remains of stairs down to the water level, have been found.

In Putun’s sea routes, El Meco was an especially important site. In El Meco we can visit the 14 structures still standing, such as El Castillo and the Plaza Principal. There is a structure that catches our eyes because a fig tree has been growing inside it.

The ancient town of San Gervasio, whose original name has been lost in time, was founded around the III Century a.d. in its zenith, between 600 and 900 a.d., it was the largest in Cozumel. Its prominence grew with the emergence of Chichen-Itza. The most recent structures in this Centre, were built between 1200 and 1450 a.d.. In this period San Gervasio establishes all along Cozumel a vast net of minor communities connected by Sac-be (white roads). Some of these settlements can be visited, such as Manitas, Chichan- Nah, Nohoch-Nah, Murciélagos and Ka’na- Nah.  Some others, as El Ramoral, are still being explored, and cannot, therefore, be visited.

It is weird, that being San Gervasio of the outmost importance for the Putun culture, not a Shrine to Ix-Chel has yet been found.


Luz María Villela