Cozumel Mexico has a park called Parque Punta Sur. It is located 30 Kilometers or 18 miles south of San Miguel. The park is dominated by mangroves swamp, marshes and sand dunes covered in natural vegetation.
It used to be a dirt road that led straight to the Celarain Lighthouse. It is located at the southern most part of the island and was built to warn ships passing at night so that they would not run aground. In the early 1980's and before, the lighthouse was watched over by a family that would make fresh whole fish (caught that morning, with their eyes still looking at you :-) along with rice, refried beans and fresh tortillas made by the mom, for people that would come to visit. If the father of the family was so inclined he would get the keys and let you into the lighthouse; where you would scale the 127 steps to look out at what to this day is still the best panoramic view of Cozumel.
Now it has been renovated and turned into a lighthouse museum as part of "Parque Punta Sur" a park that is controlled by a concession. This overpriced "wildlife reserve" concession has constructed several observation towers and has a visitors center with shops, restaurants, a staging area where you are herded onto tour trucks that will take you to the lighthouse which is an additional 3 kilometers or 1.86 miles. The cost is a $10 per person "donation". You can even take a catamaran ride through Columbia lagoon to observe the wildlife.
During the migratory birding season, which peaks around May, is the best time to view the water fowl, turtles, crocodiles and other wildlife that was always there, in greater numbers, before the "reserve" was built.
Between the staging area and the lighthouse you will see a small Mayan ruin which is called Tumba del Caracol. It is also known as the Shell Tomb. We used to go there at night and sit on top of it while reflecting on our good fortune of living on our paradise island. These days (due in large part to vandals seeking souvenirs), you can look at it from a short distance as it is cordoned off.
The hours of
operation of Parque Punta Sur are
The location of Celarain Lighthouse (museum and Parque Punta Sur) can be found on our Cozumel beaches map.
Even though it is now a commercial enterprise; it is still worth seeing!