lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

The Marine Park runs along the coast south of downtown and around Punta Sur - the southern tip of the island.

1.8 million people visit Cozumel's Marine Park every year and the area is protected by Mexican federal law.

If you're one of the many to visit please remember to follow the marine park rules and you can also play your part in conserving this amazing piece of nature.

Please remember, under Park Rules it is strictly prohibited to:

  • Stand on or take hold of the coral reefs.
  • Fish for, collect or disturb any marine organism (fish, coral, shells, winkles, starfish etc).
  • Use sunblock or suntan oil that is not biodegradable.
  • Carry spears, hooks, harpoons or explosives.
  • Carry gloves or knives (dive professionals may register to carry such items).
  • Disturb or remove fauna and flora from their refuges.
  • Feed any fish or animal.
  • Dispose of any kind of solid waste.
  • Dump fuel, grease, oil or any other liquid substance.


Whale Shark Tour - Code of Conduct

This is the code of conduct for whale shark tours, that take place in a different marine park off the north-east tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Objective: The main objective is to protect the whale sharks and give greater security to the tourists who visit them.

  • (Boat) permit conditions must be respected.
  • These rules of conduct should be explained to tourists before departing on a tour.
  • Tourists may only snorkel or swim (with the whale sharks).
  • The number of boats will be restricted in the area where the whale sharks appear.
  • Boats longer than 40ft (12m) are not permitted.
  • The maximum capacity of the boat depends on size and is 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 passengers for boats of 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29 feet or more, respectively.
  • The maximum boat speed within the whale shark observation area is 3 knots.
  • Tourists must be asked to use biodegradable sun protection (cream, etc.)
  • Boats should be a minimum distance of 33ft (10m) from the whale sharks.
  • There should be a maximum of one boat per whale shark.
  • Tourists should be a distance of at least 6.5ft (2m) from the whale sharks (when in the water).
  • There will be a maximum of 1 guide and 2 tourists in the water with a whale shark at a time.
  • Life vests are obligatory when in the water.
  • The maximum time a boat can be with a whale shark is 30 minutes if there are other boats waiting.
  • If a whale shark displays evasive behaviour it should not be harassed or pursued.
  • Boats should keep 330ft (100m) apart.
  • Activities should only take place in daylight hours, between 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset.
  • No litter must be left in the area.
  • No residual liquids (fuel, lubricants, cleaning products, etc.) must be spilled in the sea.
  • The use of recording devices, microphones or any equipment that may produce noise that annoys the whale sharks is not permitted.
  • All involved should assist the authorities to ensure this agreement is followed.
  • Workshops will be held to educate those involved in these activities to give a better service.
  • Those involved will help with the monitoring of the whale sharks for "Domino" (local scientific project into whale shark behaviour).
  • Those involved must provide any information about their activities that is requested by the authorities.
  • Propeller protectors should be used to protect the animals as proposed by CONANP.

Translated from the original version in Spanish from the Mexican National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), 2013.