Day 31: Discovering Cozumel
Cozumel is not what I expected. I feared it would be crowded, commercial, and pushy. And while it may be that at times, especially when more than one cruise ship is docked, we found it to be a lovely island with friendly people, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful sea life.
It is very easy to reach Cozumel. You can either fly directly onto the island or you can take a ferry from Playa del Carmen. At the time this was written, the ferry cost $162 pesos (about $13-14 USD) for those 12 years old and older, and $97 pesos for children 6-11 (about $8 USD) one way, while children 5 and under are free. Of course, there is a “locals” price, about half the cost, but even though we’re now living here, unless we are citizens, we do not qualify for this. Too bad for us!
Taxis are somewhat reasonable, although it may be less expensive to rent a car, even when you factor in the cost of insurance. Interestingly enough, the more people you have, the more taxis charge. For example, to travel from the ferry port to the first hotel we visited, it cost $15 USD for up to 4 passengers. If you added a fifth passenger, the cost increases to $25 USD, and for 6 passengers? It cost our family $30 USD. However, we paid in pesos – $300 pesos – so we saved a bit on the exchange rate. The nice thing is, they have the prices posted at the dock, so you can feel fairly confident you are not being cheated. Just make sure to check the board first and verify the price with your driver. But of course, I’m sure you already know this.
Below are a few photos we wanted to share from our weekend experience.
Shopping in Cozumel.
After exploring the island for a bit, we also got to spend some time on several of Cozumel’s gorgeous beaches. Our first stop, Money Bar and Dzul Ha Reef, recommended to me by a dear travel agent colleague. The snorkeling there was spectacular. No entrance fee required. You only had to pay if you wanted to rent equipment or purchase food and beverages. Here, however, you also have access to open air showers and restrooms.
After Dzul Reef, we headed to Palancar Beach, a white, sandy beautiful stretch of beach. We were told we’d find excellent snorkeling here, but I think we were mislead. My guess is, this is a better destination for divers, as there was little coral to be found within swimming distance. The shells, however are a different story. They were beautiful. Below is a Conch Shell Kathryn found while snorkeling. Isn’t it lovely?
After leaving Palancar, we headed west and then south to see explore the rest of the island. Given the high cost of minivan rentals, we chose to hire a driver for four hours. His nickname was Eddie, and he did a great job showing us his island.
We discovered colorful homes, quaint cafes, and eateries every few blocks.
We visited Punta Sur, the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel. The lighthouse here is a well-known landmark. Punta Sur was closed for the evening, so we did not have to pay an entrance fee, but were allowed to take a few moments to take in the beauty. We would love to return to this location, as it was gorgeous!
Not too much further down the road, we came to El Mirador. What a lovely beach. The coral rocks have been pounded by the waves, creating unique formations. The sound of the surf crashing into the coral is mesmerizing. We could have spent the whole day here and hope to return soon. Next time, I will capture a few video clips, so you can see what I’m talking about. Wow…just stunning!
On Sunday evenings, many tourists have departed and the locals gather together in the square for a little music, dancing, and conversation. This was probably one of our favorite moments. Of course, the freshly fried Churros may have had something to do with this.
And of course, what better way to say good-night to Cozumel than by watching the sun set on her calm waters. Yes, we hope to return. Thank you, Cozumel, for a fantastic visit.