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.
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.
Upon 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)
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.
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.
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.