Each year since 1908, Cozumel celebrates Carnaval, the island’s time-honored pre-Lenten festival, which is a veritable explosion of color and sound brings together the elderly, adults, teenagers and children. Cozumel’s Carnaval is the most popular and authentic celebration in all the Mexican-Caribbean, providing a more traditional and family-oriented event. Locals and visitors alike enjoy five days of celebration that include parades, floats, traditional regional foods, music, and dancing. The highlight of the festivities is the Comparsas Ball that features a mesmerizing dance competition that is not to be missed!
May 3 2023, 2023
The anniversary of the first Catholic mass in Mexico, which was celebrated in El Cedral. A more than 150-year-old tradition, the fair at El Cedral is held every year during the first week of May to commemorate the Day of the Holy Cross, honoring the safe passage of the 11 founding families who fled the mainland to Cozumel in 1848 during La Guerra de Castas (The Caste War). At the fair, both residents and visitors can enjoy the many foods stands, games, dancing, and shopping displayed throughout this week-long festival. Particularly of note are the “Head of the Boar” and “The Ribbons” traditional dances which are performed on May 3rd Day of the Holy Cross (Día de la Santa Cruz ). The event also features cattle exhibitions, races, rides, and bullfight
Feria del Cedral (Cedral Fair)
April 29 – May 3, 2023
A tradition that has stood for over 150 years, the fair at El Cedral is held every year during the first week of May on the anniversary of the first Catholic mass in Mexico, which was celebrated in El Cedral. The celebration commemorates the Day of the Holy Cross, which honors the safe passage of the 11 founding families of El Cedral, who fled the mainland to Cozumel in 1848 to escape the violence of the Guerra de Castas (The Caste War). The week-long festival is attended by thousands of residents and visitors who come to enjoy the many games, dancing, drinking, food stands, and shopping. Particularly of note are the “Head of the Boar” and “The Ribbons” traditional dances that are performed on May 3rd, Day of the Holy Cross (Día de la Santa Cruz). The event also features cattle exhibitions, races, rides, and bullfights.
Mexico Underwater Dive Show
May 12 – 14, 2023
Cozumel, one of the world’s top diving destinations, will play host to the “Mexico Underwater” event – the country’s first-ever diving show. The international event, to be held May 12 to 14, will allow dive industry professionals to explore Mexico’s fabled underwater environment and experience at first-hand the fascinating marine life and natural treasures that abound in the country’s waters. The annual dive show will include educational seminars, news on dive technology, equipment information, travel opportunities, and new product demos. As a tribute to ocean life, a film festival featuring award-winning underwater cinematography from around the world will be held concurrently, along with a photo contest. Dive operators, instructors, environmentalists, and members of the Mexican dive community are invited to participate.
34th Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas (Mexican Boat Rodeo)
May 13 – 14, 2023
The annual game fishing tournament brings together competitors from Mexico and around the world to fish for Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado, Tuna, Barracuda and other game fish. More than 100 boats participate each year. The tournament has prizes for several categories and is open to the general public. The only prerequisite for foreign competitors is to register their boats previously in Mexico.
San Pedro y San Pablo Festival
June 29, 2023
A religious festival honoring Saint Peter and Saint Paul, with fair, rides, food and crafts shows.
Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
September 15 – 16, 2023
A nationwide festival celebrating Mexican Independence Day. On September 15, local residents and visitors gather around the City Hall to participate in the traditional “Grito”, or cry for independence. At 11:00 PM and led by the Mayor of Cozumel standing at a balcony in City Hall, the cry of “Viva Mexico” is made by all present. Following the “Grito”, an impressive fireworks display lights up the sky as the festivities begin with colorful musical and folkloric dance performances as well as plenty of food and drink. On September 16, Independence Day, the celebrations continue with a parade that marches along Cozumel’s downtown waterfront. Throughout the week, residents and visitors gather at the fair near City Hall that includes food stands, games, dancing and shopping.
Fiestas de San Miguel Arcangel
September 21 – 29, 2023
One of Cozumel’s most important religious festivals honors San Miguel Arcángel (Archangel Saint Michael), patron saint of the island. The festival is marked by daily processions, lively food, and arts and crafts fairs. The celebrations start on September 21, when local residents wearing traditional Mayan outfits called “huipiles” attend mass at the church of San Miguel and then take part in the downtown procession. On the last day, a company of fishermen carries an image of the Archangel to the downtown pier. There the image is brought aboard a boat for the procession by sea. The accompanying faithful board the waiting fishing boats and a ferry and follow their object of devotion on its voyage as they cast flowers into the waters. San Miguel has been the patron saint of Cozumel since 1848 when Father Rejón, a priest from Chemax, Yucatan, arrived in Cozumel with new settlers and an image of Saint Michael. Before that, in 1526, Francisco de Montejo, a representative of the King of Spain, was authorized to conquer and develop the island of Cozumel and gave the island the Christian name of San Miguel de Cozumel.
Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
November 1 – 2, 2023
The history of the Day of the Dead dates back to over 3,000 years ago, when the local inhabitants saw life as a dream and believed that only by dying was a human being truly awakened, and the soul set free. For the Day of the Dead, special altars are made with flowers, candles, and food and are displayed in hotels, restaurants, and other public places. The island’s bakeries make unique skull-shaped sweets for the occasion, and flowers and mementos fill the cemetery. Particularly popular are orange marigolds, a flower sacred to the ancient peoples of the land and used as a symbol of death.
Día de Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day)
November 1, 2023
Closely related to the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day is the day Mexicans pay homage to the souls of the children who have passed away. Tradition states that the souls of departed children descend from the heavens on this day, so family members prepare for their arrival by leaving sugar skeletons, skulls, and treats on altars specially made for the occasion. Deceased adults are honored on the next day, Día de Los Muertos, and families leave offerings of their favorite food and drink on altars built inside their homes or at the tomb of the departed ancestor.
Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe
December 1 – 12, 2023
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most popular celebrations in all Mexico and in Cozumel. Cozumeleños are very much devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe and every year, an island-wide festival takes place, Cozumelian-style. The commemoration kicks off on the first day of December with a pilgrimage followed by various religious and non-religious organizations from many of the island’s towns to the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 9, groups embark on another pilgrimage to the parish and celebrate a Thanksgiving mass. The festivities continue with a race around the island on December 11, with adults, youths, and children joyfully participating. The race begins at Guadalupe Parish, crossing the island to return to the Parish in time for a festival full of zesty regional foods, folkloric dances, and musical performances. The celebration includes the traditional mariachi bands that sing paeans throughout the day to the Virgin as Patroness of Mexico and Empress of America.
On the last day of the festival, several masses are held, and celebrations with regional foods, dance, and music continue until the grand closing ceremony that celebrates the apparitions of the Virgin on Mount Tepeyac.
- Carnaval 2023
- El Cedral
- Feria del Cedral (Cedral Fair)
- Mexico Underwater Dive Show
- 34th Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas (Mexican Boat Rodeo)
- San Pedro y San Pablo Festival
- Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
- Fiestas de San Miguel Arcangel
- Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
- Día de Todos Los Santos (All Saints Day)
- Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe