Visiting Cozumel was by far my favorite trip for several reasons. It is an island near the busy Playa del Carmen so you get the privacy mixed in with all of the choices of a non-island visitor. There are literally endless activities to do. We stayed at a place called Hotel Melia, which was extremely nice, but not too extravagant. My family visited during the spring season, so it was not nearly as crowded as it would be in the summer. We enjoyed fairly nice weather with a few rainy days, but still found time to SCUBA, snorkel, Jet Ski, ATV, and relax. Sounds like a lot for a 5 day visit, right? I loved this trip because it is so well rounded. You get the fun, the privacy, the history, the culture.
First, we walked along the beach and found a Jet Ski rental “puesto”. This is where we learned our first lesson in bartering. (You are a tourist. They WILL try to take advantage of you. Reduce the price, but modestly so you don’t offend.) Anyways, the Jet Skis were a blast. We were limited to a small area but it was fun nonetheless. Next we relaxed a bit. We took a day to snorkel and enjoy the hotel and the pool. Snorkeling is amazing if you know where to look. Find an area of beach that has an enclosure. That is where the exotic fish and the clearest water are. We took some time and saw a production put on by the hotel staff. There was singing, dancing, the whole nine yards. The people are definitely passionate about their culture. After that, there was a man outside selling art. He showed us some of his works and painted us some. It was so fascinating to watch how he brought the painting to life with merely spray paints.
My family was very fortunate and somehow met up with our SCUBA instructors at Cozumel. So, rather than getting SCUBA certified in a dirty lake in the middle of Missouri, we were able to get our certification in the crystal clear waters of Cozumel. That was a huge adventure. Although we did not get to see the reef, we dove near a wrecked plane, and saw many species of fish.
Faced with so many choices of what to do, we went out on a limb and decided to try out the ATV tour of the island. What a good choice that turned out to be. Maybe we got lucky with an amazing guide, but it was a blast. Our guide, named Patricio knew English well enough to be informative. He toured us through the wilderness and along the way briefed us on some of the local residencies and what not. He then took us to a sinkhole in the earth, which resembled a dirty pond. He explained that it was dirty because of the recent rain, and you could normally see straight to the bottom of it. He told us that the Mayans would actually conduct human sacrifices in these sinkholes, which were thought to be the passageway to the Gods. People would be covered in jewels and tied to a rope and a rock, and then tossed in. If that was not enough awesome history, we motored over to an underground cave where he explained that the Mayans used these caves for shelters in storms. He also told us that the island is not a typical rock island, that it is a massive coral formation that turned to limestone thousands of years ago.
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