Hurricane Cozumel Gilbert

Hurricane Gilbert Remembered in Cozumel 29 Years Later

Remembering the 1988 hurricane ….

Photos of Cozumel in the 80s courtesy of Recuerdos de Cozumel

Over 29 years ago, on September 14, 1988 Hurricane Gilbert struck Cozumel.  The storm brought epic winds and heavy rains that lasted nearly 72 hours.  Professor Velio Vivas Valdes, Cozumel’s official historian, recently reminisced about Gilbert; considered to be the first hurricane to cause mass destruction on the island.


According to the historian, all radio transmissions to Cozumel were cut prior to the hurricane’s arrival to avoid a “widespread panic.” At that time, this was the only means of communication residents had with the mainland, since it was the pre-internet era.


Many of the island’s buildings were made of wood or laminate, and did not stand-up as well as our modern construction methods.  Many of the island’s lovely wooden houses did not survive the storm.   This can partially explain, why much of the island’s construction is less than 30 years old.  After Gilbert, most of the reconstruction was accomplished using cement block.

Additionally, at that time, according to Velio Vivas there was no Civil Protection or Hurricane Preparedness Plans, or

Photos of Cozumel in the 80s courtesy of Recuerdos de Cozumel

even refuges such as the Municipality has in place now, which also worsened to the effects of Hurricane Gilbert.


Recordando 29 años después al huracán Gilberto en Cozumel

Recordando el huracán de 1988…

Hace 29 años, el 14 de septiembre de 1988 el huracán Gilberto pegó en Cozumel. El embate trajo consigo vientos a gran escala y lluvias torrenciales que duraron 72 horas. En fechas recientes el profesor Velio Vivas Valdés, cronista oficial de

Photos of Cozumel in the 80s courtesy of Recuerdos de Cozumel

Cozumel, recordó el huracán Gilberto el cual es considerado como el primer huracán que causa destrucción masiva en la Isla.


Según el historiador, todas las transmisiones de radio hacia Cozumel fueron cortadas antes de la llegada del huracán con el fin de evitar el “pánico generalizado”. En esa época, este era el único medio de comunicación que los habitantes de la Isla tenían con tierra firme ya que eran los tiempos anteriores a internet.


Muchas de las construcciones de la Isla eran de madera o lámina y no resistieron tanto como nuestros métodos modernos de construcción. Muchas de las bellas construcciones de madera de la Isla no sobrevivieron la tormenta. Ello posiblemente explique por qué gran parte de las construcciones de la Isla tienen menos de 30 años. Después de Gilberto, la mayor parte de la reconstrucción se realizó con bloques de cemento.


Además, según Velio Vivas, en esa época no había Protección Civil ni Plan de Preparación para Huracán, o incluso los refugios que ahora dispone el municipio, lo que empeoró los efectos del huracán Gilberto.

Laura Wilkinson

Author at Cozumel 4 You
Laura Wilkinson is the Editor for Cozumel 4 You. An ex-Connecticut Yankee who has called Cozumel home for over 15 years, Laura ran away to the Caribbean years ago, bumped around the islands teaching SCUBA diving, lost some time in Jamaica, and finally stopped in Cozumel for a 2 week vacation that hasn’t ended yet. With a degree in Journalism from a fancy private college she convinced her parents to pay for, Laura writes, edits, and creates the weekly Cozumel 4 You news, promotional articles about the island, and her very own blog, which she finds hilarious. Her long suffering husband, the Fabster, has long since resigned himself to having zero private life, as he’s been involved in her various schemes and plots since his arrival. Proud parents to a variety of rescue dogs and cats, Laura continues to be the bane of her traditional Mexican mother-in-law’s existence, as she muses her way through life in the Mexican Caribbean.

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1 Comment
  1. Macario 10 months ago

    Solo quiero agradecer con mucho gusto las fotos de Cozumel que aparecieron hoy en
    me hicieron recordar los anios tan maravillosos que vivi en cozumel donde hasta la fecha tengo amigos y les quiero mandar un gran saludo deseandoles que vivan muy felices y saludables y espero volver algun dia a Cozumel y saludarlos ya que por ahora vivo en Hawaii!… Les mando mucha salud, amor, felicidad y amor a TODOS LOS COZUMELENIOS!!!…

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