A Travellerspoint blog

Day 12

Playa del Carmen & Tulum

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Lots of photos today. We caught a taxi to the ferry terminal and took the 30 minute ride to Playa del Carmen. As we were leaving Cozumel we saw a Disney cruise ship, one of the many ships in port today. The sea was somewhat bumpy which did not agree with Darlene. Once on dry land we split up. Simone, Bronwyn & Darlene went shopping and Brett, Christine, Graham & I arranged a hire car for the day and drove to Tulum, just over 60 km away. Here we paid 64 pesos to enter the ruins of the Mayan city by the coast. Brett had already seen it so he waited for us whilst we went in. We split up in there and I walked around solo. I took it all in and a bunch of photos. The buildings were much better preserved than the earlier ruins we saw on the island. I saw a number of iguanas again. When I had my fill I headed to the prearranged bar. I had some water and had some lunch whilst waiting for the others. I shared my burrito with a couple of hungry stray cats.

On the way back we stopped at one of the many cenotes along the road. They are a water hole of sorts where an otherwise underground river breaches the surface. The water was clear and cool and full of tiny (and a few larger) fish. Entry fee was 100 pesos each (less than A$10). The water hole was surrounded by jungle and very picturesque. A ledge on one side allowed the more adventurous to jump from around 4 metres up into the refreshing water.

After returning to Playa del Carmen and dropping off the car I tried unsuccessfully to link up with the shoppers. After wi-fi stints at starbucks and then at a bar by the pier I eventually learned they had already returned to the island. When I got back it was dark and the girls were hungry. We met up at a bar and went to another Albertos restaurant for dinner. It clearly had been raining but by chance I didn't see any today. As has been the case all week we had a top temp in the high 20s after a low in the low 20s with high humidity. We returned to our room to take it easy for the evening. I walked 10km and Darlene walked more with all her shopping.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 18:08 Comments (0)

Day 11

Christmas in Cozumel

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We were up and dressed before the girls so we had to wait to wish them a Merry Christmas. We had a restaurant booked for lunch but with both Brett & Bronwyn being unwell we postponed our Christmas Lunch to a Christmas Tea. We left them to sleep it off and the rest of us took a taxi to Pancho's Backyard - a Mexican restaurant and bar near the second cruise ship terminal. We had an outdoor table with a filtered view to the sea and the Carnival Dream cruise ship. The sea was clear and multi-coloured. We spotted a number of large lizards sunning themselves on top if the fence separating the restaurant are from a vacant block. We ate lightly expecting to be going out for dinner. Upon our return we learned that the restaurant we were planning to visit was not open for tea. Oops.

We spent a few hours in and by the pool in the warm afternoon weather. Martin (son of hotel owners) dropped by and helped us choose a snorkeling location for our last day. For dinner we ended up staying in as the kids were still not the best. We heated up our leftovers from last night's meal. I didn't mention that I bought some chocolate ripple biscuits from Australia with a view to having a chocolate ripple cake as is tradition in our family. As it turns out cream is not available to buy here. Oh well. We had vanilla ice cream with crushed biscuits instead. Improvisation. It tasted fine. That was our sweets both last night and tonight. After cleaning up and chatting for a while we retired to our rooms early with plans to take a morning ferry to Playa del Carmen tomorrow for the day.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 17:59 Comments (0)

Day 10

Mayan ruins Christmas eve

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Today is Christmas Eve here in Cozumel. The locals celebrate their Christmas on Christmas Eve so we didn't try to arrange a restaurant for this evening. We bought supplies at the Supermarket and Bronwyn is cooking.

Whilst Darlene slept in this morning I went to see the Mayan ruins here on the island with Brett's folks, Christine & Graham. We used the little red Dodge Alto and found our way there ok. The trick was finding our way onto the road that crosses the island. Once on that we were fine. We paid 80 pesos each to enter the park and then another 52 pesos each to actually walk among the ruins. The term Ruins is appropriate there was only one part of one building you could say was intact. We virtually had the place to ourselves when we arrived. about 40 minutes later when we had to leave there were hundreds there kicking off tours.

One of the first things I saw was a large lizard sunning itself at the first ruins we approached. We didn't have long and covered as much as we could in the time we had. The hire car was supposed to be collected at 10 am. We got back a little late but before they came to collect it. All good.

After freshening up Darlene & I walked into town and had a meal at Jeannie's, a bar on the waterfront opposite the Mega store we planned to shop at. We ate on the balcony overlooking the sea watching what looked like a scuba diving lesson. After shopping we headed back to the hotel and cooled off in the pool then chilled for the afternoon getting in and out of the pool a few times.

Bronwyn & Brett cooked dinner for the 7 of us. We ate it out under the thatched gazebo. Just us and the mosquitoes and a couple of other young guests getting friendly a short distance away in the dark and smoking suspect substances. Several beer and a few wine bottles were emptied during the course of a pleasant evening.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 05:26 Comments (0)

Day 9

Cozumel Island by car

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Last night before dinner Bronwyn & Brett arranged for a pair of jeeps to be delivered to our hotel at 9 am. In true Mexican style they arrived at 9.30.They were old and a bit the worse for wear but if they went ok we figured they would be good enough - wrong. More on that later. One was manual with a shot gearbox that required double de clutching for every gear change. The other was an automatic with a very stiff transmission shifter. We set off for our loop around the island but made a stop for fuel a few miles down the road as one was low. We used our walkie talkies to communicate between cars. Our first stop was Alberto's Beach Bar & Restaurant. A beautiful spot on the protected western side of the island. We spent several hours here.Brett took out a jet ski. Simone took out a kayak. I went for a swim. Brett took Bronwyn out for a spin and also his Mum.
The others enjoyed the drinks in the shade of the coconut palms. The breeze made it very pleasant to sit there and take it all in.

When we decided it was time to move on we got into the jeeps. I took over driving of the green auto one as Bronwyn had consumed a few rum & cokes. The transmission shifter was stiff before but I had managed to tug it into gear. But this time none of us could including reinforcements from the bar and a taxi driver who was waiting for his passengers. So we borrowed a phone at the bar and called the company. They said they would be down with another car in 20 minutes (Mexican time, which was more like 45 minutes). After some haggling on price & rental conditions we set off in the red jeep and a little manual red Dodge Alto.

By this time it was after 3pm and we wanted to get to the Punta Morena surf beach recommended to us by our host. We made one brief photo stop and then made it to our destination. It was my first time driving a manual car on the right side of the road. All previous driving had been in automatics. More than once I started to reach for the gear shifter on my left but otherwise it was all good. Punta Morena is a restaurant and bar and shops and swimming pool on a sandy surf beach. We had a few drinks at a table overlooking the beach.Simone sat in the shallows of the pool. There was a strong cooling breeze coming off the ocean making the warm day feel very pleasant..

There is no electricity up the eastern side of the island and they use solar power and operate in daylight hours only. After an hour or so there basking in the late afternoon sun we headed back to the hotel. After a refreshing swim we sat poolside under the thatched gazebo and our drinks and snacks and good natured banter extended well into the evening.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 08:21 Comments (0)

Day 8

Cozumel

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We have 4 rooms booked at Villas El Encanto. We have one. Simone has one, Bronwyn & Brett have one and Brett's parents have the fourth. The hotel is a small private one with two villas each with 4 rooms. Each villa has a shared kitchen. We are in one villa, the rest of our group are in the other. This is by choice as we snaffled the best room at the hotel and have our own private swimming pool.

We started the day in their communal kitchen. One of the hotel workers kindly dropped by and gave us a run through of the map of the island and what there is to see and do. We planned most of our trip in one session. Today was to check out the downtown area. We set off walking with Simone late morning and headed into town. It is about 1.5 km to the centre. Along the way we paused for photos with the Christmas decorations near the civic centre.

As usual there were multiple cruise ships in town. Four of them today. Simone was tying to hire a bicycle but when the shop owner asked her to get on the back of his scooter to take her to the bike she wisely baulked and gave it a miss. We stopped for lunch and sat at a kerbside table to watch the world go by. I snapped a pic of a sign on the wall.

After lunch we walked back stopping to do some shopping. We were all hot by the time we returned. So we cooled off in the pools and drank some chilled wine. Nearing dinner time Bronwyn & Brett headed off to arrange some jeeps for us tomorrow to tour the island. The road that circumnavigates the island is only 80km long. The rest of us gave them a head start and then caught a cab. With the benefit of Wi-fi we were able to let Bronwyn know the small backstreet authentic Mexican restaurant we found. We linked up and had a great meal. We caught a cab back and called it a night. It was not a busy day but a good relaxing day. It was hot and humid with the occasional shower but we are acclimatising.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 19:37 Comments (0)

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