Third Time in Cozumel, April 2017
We have cruised into Cozumel a number of times. Truthfully, it’s not one of my favorite places to cruise to. I have a hard time at marketplaces when people are pushy when they are trying to sell me their merchandise. I’m not really fond of people in my space. And I’m not good at haggling. But, I want to see more of the world, and Cozumel is part of that world, and interesting in it’s own way. So, below is my honest view of a few of the things that I’ve done in Cozumel.
Twice we’ve taken a taxi into San Miguel from Puerta Maya, Carnival’s cruise port. It’s easy to take a taxi, and easy to find the taxi stand at the port. It cost us $8 for the both of us to be taken to downtown San Miguel. There are signs displaying the cost right at the taxi stand. The taxi driver’s are very polite and you can understand them, and they you. Can I say again, it’s very easy to take a taxi in Cozumel. Don’t let it intimidate you. San Miguel seemed like a very safe place. It’s very picturesque with the shops on one side of the street, and the ocean on the other. You can also catch a water taxi over to Playa Del Carmen from there. And it’s very hot in Cozumel, dress comfortably and wear comfortable shoes.
You’ll find a big variety of restaurants, souvenir stands, and the prerequisite jewelry stores. I’m not very comfortable venturing off of the main thoroughfare, but I hear that there are better bargains back off of the main street. We followed a Mexican guy back there once to look at his shop because he would not leave us alone, and I did not feel comfortable at all, but that’s just me. There were too many people coming at me there. We found a nice market square back one block on our own, that was nice. There was a big stage and a lot of shops. In the end of San Miguel closest to the port, there is a “mall area” that has clean restrooms and newer shops. All along the main road the shopkeepers will try to lure you into their store. One of them kept telling me to come in, that he had a free charm for me. I kept telling him that I was not going to buy anything. He kept bugging me to the point where I went in, took the charm, and left. Then he got upset. I just told him that I had told him I would not buy anything and he would not listen. Then I ended up losing the charm anyway. lol One of my favorite things to buy in Cozumel is real Vanilla. The prices are pretty good. T-shirts are inexpensive souvenirs also. Most of the shops have the same merchandise. I’d love to have seen more local goods. You can haggle over the price in Cozumel, and they expect it. I’ve found the easiest way is to ask how much something is, then put it down and walk away. They will very possibly follow you and give you a better price. I’m not particularly comfortable haggling, but I’m getting better at it. We didn’t eat anywhere in San Miguel, so I can’t comment on that.
Finding a taxi back to Port is easy. You’ll see the taxi stand along the waterway right on the main street. Just go up to one, confirm the price with them, and you’re on your way. I believe that the prices are regulated, so it should be the same price that you paid to come from the port.
Excursion to the Mayan Ruins and the Chocolate Factory
When we went to Cozumel on the Freedom of the Seas a couple of years ago, we took the ship’s excursion. I enjoyed this much more than going into town. I would definitely recommend it. We got on a large comfortable air conditioned bus, and drove around the island. First we went to the San Gervasio Mayan ruins. It wasn’t what I expected, it’s not like the large Mayan ruins in Belize that we went to. The buildings are all small, but it was still interesting. We had a guided tour of the ruins, the tour guide was very knowledgable. There are iguana’s everywhere, I’ll never tire of seeing iguanas, we had some time to explore on our own, and then we had time to get a drink or snack at the restaurant there, use the restroom, or go through some of the gift shops. One thing to know is that if you want to videotape anything you have to pay a small fee to the Mexican government. I think it was around $4.00. You can take pictures with your camera though. After we saw the Mayan ruins, we went to a small, nice, beach on the other side of the island. It had a restroom, some seats, and a gift shop. We had time to walk around there, look at the ocean, and shop a bit before we had to get back on our bus. And then we went to the Kakoa (Chocolate) Factory Tour. I really enjoyed that. They take you through a picturesque area that looks like a small village, they give you a tortilla sample, you learn about the history of chocolate, then you get samples of the unsweetened chocolate drink. I actually liked it that way. Then you can go through their very nice gift shop. I ended up getting my daughters a small Mayan pitcher for chocolate. This excursion was a much more enjoyable way for me to see Cozumel than going to San Miguel. I’d love to go over to Playa Del Carmen some day and go to the Chichen Itza ruins, but that is a very long day, usually it’s around an 8 hour excursion. I will definately take a ship excursion for that one, I would not want to miss the ship. When you take a ship excursion they guarantee that they will wait for you.