Travel Reflections: Cozumel

Cozumel

Our third stop on our recent cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. We arrived there on Cinco de Mayo, so we thought we might see a little bit of extra fanfare, but we didn’t. The port known as Puerto Maya was the nicest of the three on this cruise. It’s a long walk along the pier to get to the shops, and then the first shop you enter seems to extend forever. I found the port clean and colorful.

We were barely into the shopping area when we encountered some fire-dance performers.

Fire dancers
Fire dancers
Cozumel
Cozumel

Janet got an excellent massage, and then we walked around the shopping area for a while, and then ventured beyond out into the town. This was the only day we didn’t book a cruise excursion, so we didn’t have any agenda. The shopping wasn’t that great out in the town, so we headed back toward the port shops. On the way we saw a taxi stand with a sign indicating some nearby destinations, including a snorkel area. It was close to noon, and we had to be on the ship by 5:30pm, so we decided to shop a little more in the port, then go back to our cabin and change into swim clothes, and catch a taxi out to Sky Reef.

Sky Reef
Sky Reef

The snorkeling was good here, plenty of fish to see, and the water was clear and warm. After swimming, Jan relaxed in a lounge chair while I snapped pictures with my camera. If Grand Cayman was the land of the iguana, Cozumel had the most chameleons. One little guy was particularly photogenic.

Chameleon
Chameleon

We casually packed up our gear and caught the taxi back to port, made the long walk through the port shops and down the pier, and got back to our cabin at about 4:30pm, in plenty of time. About then, I realized I left my tennis shoes back at the Sky Reef, having changed into water shoes. Now I was in a quandary… do I try to go back after them and risk – literally – missing the boat, or do I abandon them as a casualty of vacation? Jan and I debated the options, which cost us at least ten minutes. We didn’t want to be “that couple” that the other cruisers make fun of for not getting back to the boat in time and holding things up, or getting left behind. We decided we were going to make a run for it. So, we jog back to the gangway, going against the flood of people getting back on the ship. We sprint down the long pier, through the now interminable port shops, grab another can explaining our predicament. The cabbie zips down the road to Sky Reef, aware of our panic. We pull into Sky Reef, which actually closes at 5pm, so I have about 5 minutes to even find my stuff. I sprint toward the beach, and a nice Mexican woman grabs me to ask if I can take her family’s picture on their smart phone. This is not what I need right now! I stop and snap a few pictures (I instinctively yet senselessly try to get them to smile by saying, “Queso! Queso!”), and then run to the lounge chair where I left my shoes. They were still there. I sprint back to the cab, give the cabbie a Thumbs Up sign, and off we go back to port. We race back through all the shops, including that now maddeningly long final shop, charge down the endless pier to the boat, and get back on the ship, all with 20 minutes to spare. That ended up being more drama than we needed, and it cost a bit more in cab fare than it was probably worth. But all’s well that ends well, right?

Next stop, New Orleans!

Colorful Cozumel Port
Colorful Cozumel Port
Puerta Maya
Puerta Maya
The Endless Pier
The Endless Pier

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