We started the day with a leisurely stroll down 5th Avenue to meet up with the tour group in front of Sr. Frogs by the ferry terminal. Round trip tickets (included in the tour price) were distributed by our tour leader, and we boarded the ferry for the scenic and thankfully tranquil 50 minute passage to Cozumel. Being prone to sea sickness, I am not one for boats, but given the guided tour of Cozumel I was able to overcome the limited discomfort for a daytime of fun.
In Cozumel we boarded a safari type bus which was a mix between a cargo truck decked out in camouflage and an army transport vehicle. Our first stop was the famous snorkeling spot, Chankanaab. Cozumel has the second largest barrier reef in the world, and Chankanaab is known for its snorkeling. The water ranges from 10 to 30 feet in depth and is marked by large coral formations, bright purple fans and a kaleidoscope of colorful marine creatures.
Snorkeling equipment and mandatory life vests are included, but the vests can be inflated or deflated depending on how adventurous you are. I prefer to keep mine deflated so I can plunge down and explore things like the large statue of Christ which is probably 20 feet tall and the head is still about 10 feet below the surface. It is really sometime to behold.
After roughly an hour in the water we dried off and boarded the safari bus for a scenic ride into the Faro Celarain Eco Park. I never knew this part of the island existed. I thought Cozumel was all sand, trees and buildings. However the southern end of the island is covered in pristine mangroves, marked by large brackish ponds and marshes. We stopped at a nearby white sandy beach for a delicious all you can eat buffet lunch of fajitas, beans, nachos and beverages, including beer. The respite lasted about an hour, half of which we spent lazily lounging on beach side hammocks while another part of the group decided to go for a dip in ocean.
Then it was back in the safari bus for a tour of the rocky eastern side of Cozumel where we stopped at a beach side cart for some adult beverages made and served in fresh coconuts and photo shoots on the large rock out-cropping. Our friendly and informative tour guide talked about the area and how Cozumel got its name. In Mayan the word "Cuzamil-Pectin" means "Land of the Swallows," and Ixchel, Mayan goddess of fertility and love, was said to have sent swallows, her favorite birds, to the island in thanks for dedicating temples to her. Spanish explorers then converted the name from Cuzamil to Cozumel. Likewise the state of Yucatan got its name from the Spanish. After having landed in the Yucatan they asked the Mayans what this place was called. The Mayan replied "Yuk ak katán" meaning I don't understand you. The Spanish took "Yuk ak katán" and made it Yucatan.
At the end of the trip we were dropped off in downtown Cozumel for about an hour of shopping before it was time to board the ferry again. Instead of shopping Allan and I opted to feast on ice cream and enjoy the scenery of a nearby park. We boarded the ferry to Playa at about 5pm and were pleasantly surprised with live Latin music on the boat. Being someone who likes quiet I was initially resistant to having my peace disturbed, but I must say the music was really good and by the end I was listening intently. It certainly made the time on the water pass much faster.
The Cozumel Day Pass Highlights Tour is certainly a worthwhile activity for the whole family. Allan and I are used to planning and running activities, and it was nice to actually sit back and have an informative guide take us around and do all the work, and even serve us lunch! We're looking forward to when family comes and visits so we can take them on the tour. If you'd like to book the tour please contact our concierge Claudia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live music on the Cozumel Ferry
|The Cozumel Ferry|
|Allan, Randy, Claudia and I at Senor Frogs|
|Allan and I in front of the jungle bus|
|Randy gets ready to go snorkeling at Chankanaab|
|Allan, I, Claudia, and Randy before our snorkel at Chankanaab|
|I'm snorkeling at Chankanaab|
|Submerged statue of Christ|
|I come up for air|
|Walking among the mangroves|
|Beach side hammocks after the all you can eat buffet|
|I'm trying to sleep after a big lunch|
|Relaxing in a beach side hammock after a wonderful buffet lunch|
|Allan and I on the jungle bus|