We have been to Cozumel many times and have always enjoyed it. The wonderfully clear water and friendly inhabitants always make visiting Cozumel a pleasure.
I need both hands to count how many times we’ve been to Cozumel. We’ve been many times via cruise ship and B and I also took a dive trip here several years ago. I think we’ve been to every part of the island–the wild east coast, the sandy Palancar beaches, the ruins, all via taxi and rental car. I think the only place we haven’t visited is the north end where you need four-wheel-drive. But we always relish the thought of coming back. The main draw for us is the crystal-clear water where it is easy to see coral and schools of fish. Cozumel is a big enough place that it hasn’t been “ruined” by cruise ships. If you take time to get away from the cruise ship piers, you’ll find Mexican families and locals going about their business with their usual relaxed friendliness.
Deciding Where to Go This Time
As I said earlier, we’ve done all the bucket list items in Cozumel. We knew that we didn’t want to take the ferry over to the mainland, and we didn’t want to spend all day at one of the beach clubs, which we’ve done before when we’ve cruised with our own kids. We wanted a simple beach day where we could leave after 15 minutes or two hours, depending on when the kids got tired. The wild east side of Cozumel is beautiful, but it not a good swimming beach. The whole west side is calm and makes for great snorkeling and swimming. The only “problem” is the most of the western shoreline is fossilized coral with just a few areas of patchy sand. You can get around this problem by wearing water shoes. There are many places that you can access the water. After doing a LOT of online research, we decided to go to Palapita “Beach” where there is good scuba and snorkeling access. It is directly across from Papa Hog’s Dive Shop on the main road to town. There are two piers and easy access to the water via stairs. There is a cute restaurant/bar there that provides chairs and loungers for customers. To the south of the restaurant is a large palm tree and stone wall, where you can sit in the shade. There is a small rocky beach with some sand where you can relax and also enter the water. This was our staging area.
The Puerto Maya Dock and Cozumel Taxis
There are three (yes, three!) cruise ship docks in Cozumel. The most northern one is Punta Langosta. From here you can get off the ship and walk right into town. A few miles south is the International Pier, and just south of that is the newest pier Puerta Maya, which is where the Fantasy docked. Taxi rates to anywhere on the island are set, and you’ll see the rates when you come to the taxi stands. It cost us $8 to get to Palapita but it would have been the same price to go into town. We paid in pesos (MX 160) because we had a bunch left over from our Copper Canyon trip. You can pay in dollars in the tourist shops and for taxis, but it’s nice to have pesos for smaller shops.
We all loved Palapita. B and I took turns snorkeling and the boys amused themselves by building things with rocks and then throwing them in the water. We stayed at Palapita for about an hour. We disagreed on whether or not we should return to the ship (me) or walk into town (B), but in the end we agreed to make the half-hour walk towards town. Binko fell asleep in the stroller, but by the time we got into town Boppo was pretty tired. We all got some ice cream (where the pesos came in handy) and then returned to the ship. It was a very pleasant low-stress day plus we got some exercise.
Back on the Carnival Fantasy, and Guy’s Burgers!
Binko hadn’t had any ice cream and by the time we got back to Puerta Maya he was hungry. Boppo was intrigued with all the activity at the port area so he and B looked around all the touristy displays while Binko and I got back on the ship. We headed straight up to the Lido deck and got a burger and some fries at Guy’s Burgers. It was the first time I’d had one of these and they are great! We then went back to the stateroom for a little rest. B. and Boppo came back on board and went up to the water slides. We all met up back at the stateroom about 5:30.
Another Unsuccessful Try at Camp Carnival
Camp Carnival had a little buffet set up for the kids up at the Lido Buffet. After dinner they lead them back down to Camp Carnival where you could pick them up before 10:00 pm. We thought that Binko might be distracted by the food and we could sneak off for dinner and show. He was pouting and not crying when we left him and Boppo at the supervised buffet. B. and I returned to the stateroom for a preprandial glass of wine. As we were finishing our first glass we got the call, “He’s not happy, can you come pick him up?” Darn!
We let Boppo stay with the other kids for another hour, but we picked up Binko and took him with us to the buffet for supper. When we had both boys we just walked around the ship. The boys love throwing the bean bags that are used in the ridiculously sounding game called Corn Hole. We returned to the room about 9:00 pm and watched TV for a bit before turning in.
By the way, you may notice that there is no image in this blog post. I take pictures with my smart phone, but I found a smart phone and a two-year-old too much to handle simultaneously. The Iphone stayed in the stateroom safe during our whole cruise!