Hola from Cozumel, Mexico

Alright, it’s been a few days. Classes have started up again and I am slowly getting back into the rhythm of the real world. If only my vacation could have been longer!

After spending a full day at sea, we docked in beautiful Cozumel, Mexico ready to go. In November we decided to book a Mayan Ruins & Beach excursion. Sounds like fun, right? Well, apparently only we thought it sounded fun, and the company cancelled the trip because there was not enough participants. It sucked, and it was the second time Carnival had cancelled an excursion on us. (once on a prior cruise). We hadn’t researched the area thoroughly because we had assumed we would be on the excursion.

We decided to venture out on our own and hail down a taxi. After leaving the ship and walking around, we realized that none of us had brought along our credit cards. We had only a small sum in cash and we waved down a taxi driver. After finding two other families to split the cost ( it was an 11-seater van) we hopped aboard and were whisked away into the unknown.

San Gervasio

Nohoch Nah

Our taxi driver, Marco, from Cozumel Adventour,  dropped off the two other families at the beach, then drove us about fifteen miles to San Gervasio, an ancient Mayan ruins site. It is in the middle of the island, so it was interesting to see the local neighborhoods and towns most tourists do not see. Marco was very knowledgable of the area and answered any questions we had.

mexicoUpon entering the site, each guest must pay $9.50, but the cost is split between two areas. The first $5.00 goes to charities around the area and is a donation. The $4.50 goes to the actual ruins and the maintenance of the site. There are only dirt/ gravel paths, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Bringing bug spray as a precaution is a good idea too. Some sites are 300-400 meters from each other and you walk along trees to get to the sites. It’s absolutely stunning and tranquil. You can hear the birds flying through the trees and an occasional iguana walking down the path.

Some say this isn’t the most extravagant site, but I think its what makes San Gervasio so unique. The buildings do not tower above you, but are still beautiful and hold a great deal of history, some which dates back to 1000 A.D.. Maya Travel services states:

San Gervasio was a site dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel (“She of the Rainbows”), deity of midwifery, fertility, medicine and weaving. Many women from the mainland Mayan settlements made the pilgrimage here to Ixchel´s shrine at some point in their lifetime (http://www.mayasites.com/gervasio.html)

El Arco

El Arco

The entire self-guided tour amongst the ruins took us about an hour and a half. There are tour guides available, but with our budget, and our usual freestyle exploring choice, we resorting to reading signs and researching the sites when we got home.  If you read this before your trip you’ll know what you are looking at, right?

Moving right along, we visited Club Cozumel Caribe, a beach resort where we frolicked and played in the Caribbean Sea. This now beach area was originally a large hotel and resort but was destroyed in 2005 by hurricane Wilma.

Club Cozumel Caribe

Upon arriving, our taxi/ tour guide handed us a band which we needed to wear to validate our admission. A small fee and you get access to a free tequila tasting, snorkeling, lounge chairs and hammocks, a sandy beach area, and a large pool. It is absolutely breath taking how beautiful this place is. My father and I decided to snorkel so we grabbed our fins and walked about 1000 feet to a snorkel area where you entered by climbing down a ladder. The coral was beautiful and there was an abundance of tropical fish. Our GoPro decided to fail and we didn’t take any pictures which was a bummer. The current is gentle, and takes you back to the beach. The snorkel took about twenty minutes and was very relaxing. It’s so quiet underneath the water.

After lounging around we decided to take the free tequila tasting tour. A knowledgable tequila maker explained to us the importance of aging tequila and the different tastes each aging process possessed. My favorite was a tequila passion fruit mix; it was beyond smooth. I’ve had cheap tequila before– you know the salt, lime, shot kind? It’s sharp, strong, and unenjoyable. This tequila was smooth and delicious. It was dangerously good.

Club Cozumel Caribe

The sun was starting to set, as was our time on the island. We said our goodbyes to Marco as he dropped us off at the ship.

If you are planning at trip to Cozumel, be sure to research the hidden wonders and hide-aways. We enjoyed our day because it was relaxed, and we were not on a “strict” time schedule. Well, we had a time we needed to be back on the ship, but going on our own allowed us more time to explore rather than seeing the sites with a tour. Which ever you prefer, the island is beautiful and Cozumel is a great place to visit.

Happy Exploring 

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I’m on a Boat // Carnival Sunshine Review

Happy New Year!

It’s a new beginning to a fantastic year, filled with new adventures and travels. I spend the first week of 2015 on a ship sailing the ocean blue.

Now I don’t know about you, but I love finding out all the information about a new vacation spot. I scoured the internet, checked out countless library books, and even asked a few friends if they knew any where to go. Our family decided to hop aboard the Carnival Sunshine for a 7 day cruise of Central America.

Carnival Sunshine This ship is large, 893 feet long to be precise. Originally launched in 1995 as the Carnival Destiny, The Carnival Sunshine was given a face lift in 2013, hence the name change. This multi-million dollar renovation added decks, a fun sky-course and water slide, various restaurants, and overall newer decor. I found the ship to be easy to navigate, but at times I found myself stuck behind the Punchliner Comedy Club or in-between the floors of the galley and the dining room.

We arrived at Cape Canaveral around noon and parked at the cruise parking lots. We were debating whether to bring it to a lot, but it was very simple to park at the port and walk into the check-in area. Check in was hassle free and quick. The port authority was extremely organized and got us on the ship in less than an hour. Make sure you check-in a day before you disembark and add your credit card to your ship and sail account– these steps will make your check-in even faster.

The Ship

I have been on a couple of Carnival cruises in the past, but this was the biggest Carnival ship I have traveled on. I was very excited to explore every inch of the ship and indulge in many of the great amenities. My family booked interior adjoining rooms and were upset that the rooms, although next door to each other, were missing a door. We called our Carnival Sunshine travel agent and she apologized for thinking adjoining rooms meant rooms that were next to each other, not rooms which have a door in between them. We went up to guest services, but since the ship was fully booked, we were unable to change rooms. We also had requested a room in the middle of the ship, to prevent the rockiness of the boat. We ended up on the aft of the ship (back) right above the propellors. (How this happened, I don’t know. We booked this cruise 5 months in advance.) That night I tried to sleep on the bunk bed but got woken up every few minutes by the vibrating of the entire bed. Groggy from the lack of sleep, I threw my pillows and blanket over the rail and ended up sleeping on the floor; somehow the vibrations only effected my bed on the wall. Back down at guest services we get told that a roll-away bed could be brought into the room at night. Thankfully there is always a solution to every problem.

Although there are 14 decks on the ship, the main areas plan to get extremely crowded when thCarnival Sunshine e ship is at sea. The pool area, piano bar, casino, and comedy club are the main areas of interest. Lining up 30 minutes before a comedy show was a must.

On the top deck opposite of the big screen was an area called “Serenity” a deck specifically for guests 21 and up. There were couches and lounges, but my favorite part was the hammocks which allowed you to swing in the shade. There was a small pool for adults only, but it seems more like a large bath tub than a pool. Nevertheless it was more relaxing up here than on the pool deck with the kiddos. Just make sure to snag a seat up here early in the day if you are planning on reading a book or soaking up the sun. It’s a popular hide away!

Since I did not want this to be a 10 page post, I plan on breaking up the posts according to subject. Click on the link to go to each article title. If the link is not highlighted, I have not written the article yet.

Entertainment on the Carnival Sunshine

Food served on the Carnival Sunshine

Port: Cozumel, Mexico

Port: Isla Roatan, Honduras

Port: Belize City, Belize

Port: Costa Maya, Mexico

Happy Cruising!