Isla de Cozumel, México

Mrs. ItchyFeet in front of Playa del Carmen sign

Yet another magical island close to Playa del Carmen that I have been trying to visit since moving here five months ago; Isla de Cozumel! It’s so close to PDC. Just a quick ferry ride away and you are there. However, I really needed company to motivate me out of my comfort zone and onto that boat. Thanks, In-Laws!

Getting there

Okay, so I promised many people that I would not kill my mother-in-law in the hot-hot that is tropical México. I needed to take it easy on both the in-laws to not cause any unwanted heat related issues or heart-attacks. That’s a real risk down here for someone not acclimated to this excessive amount of combined heat and humidity. So the plan was to walk to the ferry in the cool morning but take a taxi once we got on the island. Best laid plans and all that!

Statue for Todas Somos Catrinas festival in PDC
In celebration of Todas Somos Catrinas on 5th Ave. They haven’t even added the bony hands yet!

The walk to the ferry terminal was really pleasant. All the amazing decorations were going up along 5th Ave. for Todas Somos Catrinas. Not too crowded that early in the morning. We were slightly worried about finding the ticket booth, as we had heard there are fake ones about. We found one that we hoped was real, bought tickets, and went to get in line. Still feeling good!

Tickets were legit, thank goodness! Unfortunately, this ferry didn’t have an upper deck, so we had to sit inside with windows that were all opaque from sea-spray. No views at all the entire 40 minute boat ride. Bummer! Everyone successfully got off the ferry (I didn’t get seasick, which is really lucky!) and we started discussing options.

Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel
This is one of the ferries from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. The other company has a rooftop deck!

We should have gotten a taxi

I showed everyone the walk to the snorkeling spot on one of their phone map apps. About 3.4 kilometers along the ocean-front with no hills whatsoever. My mother-in-law is feeling good. Let’s go for it! We can always jump in a taxi if anything goes wrong. We start walking. No worries. After a bit, we stop for a break so my MIL can sit down and rest her back.

Again, we can take a taxi at anytime. I don’t know how much they cost. Could be $2? Could be $50? All you have to do is ask. Nobody wants to ask and barter with a taxi driver. We keep going. Now we are stopping for a rest on almost every block. I’m getting worried. Lots of questions of “how much further?”. Um, sorry, not too far, but still a way to go.

Mrs. ItchyFeet and Mum-in-Law under shark statue
Taking a much needed rest on the long walk from the ferry terminal to the snorkeling spot. Sorry, In-Laws!

We can soon see where we need to be as the location is right before one of the cruise ship docking terminals so you can see two massive city-size cruise ships in the distance (spewing out crazy amounts of smog into the air, gross). Five more blocks? We almost made it, but my poor mother-in-law started having some kind of serious health issue. We sat her on a bench in some shade, gave her water, fanned her, and waited. Some super nice people in the hotel we were in front of let her come sit inside with the A/C to cool off.

Should we call an ambulance!?!

After almost an hour of trying to cool her down and debating calling an ambulance (the peeps in the hotel were also debating calling an ambulance), I ran down the street to go get some cold, sugary, electrolyte beverage. That did the trick! Within ten minutes of downing that, she was ready to walk the rest of the way. Go sugar! Or electrolytes! Or A/C!

Street art of an underwater scuba diver
Check out this amazing painting outside the hotel that helped out my mother-in-law!

We finally made it to the snorkel spot. The plan was to do a bit of snorkeling in the morning, have a bit of lunch, and then do some more snorkeling. Nope. It was now noon, and we were all hungry. The restaurant (Paprika) is right across the street from the snorkeling at Tikila. If you buy food and/or drinks, the snorkeling is free! Unless you need to rent gear, of course. They also have scuba diving for not too much.

The food was so good! Like so, so good. I really think that it was the best steak fajitas I have ever had. The chicken fajitas were superb, as well. We shared two orders, all family style, and it was the perfect amount of food. Not too expensive either, especially for an island. Food can cost more on islands because it all has to be shipped in. Plus, this is Cozumel, so I figured it’d be a lot more. Go us!

Snerkel Snerkel 

Time to snorkel! My mother-in-law and I brought our own gear and my father-in-law offered to watch our dry stuff like he did when we went to Isla Mujeres. He’s so nice! Tikila is also a bar, so he could chill with a beer while we went into the ocean. The park is pretty cool because they have coral restoration going on. They also have a bunch of underwater statues (including a bust of Jacques Cousteau!).

The snorkeling was really wonderful. Lots of fishes. Some fun coral. So many tiny jellyfish! I even saw an eel! It’s cool to see peeps actively working on generating new coral. We watched scuba divers learning to dive and just exploring. It is a really lovely place and I’m very glad we went. It was also fun to swim around with my mother-in-law, pointing and slapping the water to show each other something fun or unusual. I’m glad I didn’t damage her too badly on the walk there!

Snorkel spot in Cozumel
This was our amazing snorkel spot in Cozumel! Look at that gorgeous water!

After snorkeling for more than an hour, I knew it was time to head in. I could tell my forehead was getting all sunburned and my mother-in-law was having a few muscle cramps. She floats like nobody’s business, but still. It was time to pack it in. We swam back and rediscovered gravity getting out of the water. I wear a full rash-guard so I skip the sunblock, but it’s heavy getting out.

Time for a drink!

After showering, drying off, and changing, we ordered some drinks and watched the scuba-divers. There were shore-divers and peeps being dropped off of boats. One boat was even completely see through. That was cool. Everyone was so nice and talking excitedly about all the things they saw on their various adventures in the water. One group even had those crazy mermaid swim fins!

Iguana chilling at the scuba gear cleaning station
A fun picture of an iguana chilling at the scuba gear cleaning station via my MIL! They’re hard to spot.

While chilling and enjoying the views, we spotted an iguana hanging out by the gear-cleaning stations. Picture time! I swear my MIL got more pictures of iguanas this trip than anything else! We stayed for a bit longer and decided it was time to head home. Should we walk it? No! We flagged down the first taxi we saw and asked how much to get to the ferry terminal. 100 pesos ($5). Done!

There are two ferry companies that operate the trips from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel and each runs every other hour, so one of them is leaving every hour on the hour. One is cheaper than the other, but doesn’t have that amazing rooftop deck. We wanted that deck! We got lucky in that the next ferry to depart happened to be the more expensive one with the deck. Sweet! Time to buy tickets.

Mother-in-law sitting next to statue of man in sombrero
Took this picture during the long walk back to the apartment. We will sleep good tonight!

Take all the pictures

I love the rooftop deck on the ferry. The views are amazing. I don’t get seasick because I can see the horizon. And they have live entertainment. They have a band that plays for tips. So much fun and such a great way to get across the water. I highly recommend it.

Once we got to 5th Ave, it was a crazy town with so many people walking, shopping, taking pictures, full on partying. I rarely head out to the strip in the evening. It’s just too much. But it was fun to show the in-laws the enormous difference between morning and evening. So festive! I asked again if they wanted a taxi, but we walked it.

We made it home. I think they walked like six miles or something. It was a lot, even with that one cab ride. Luckily we had some hummus made up (with fresh red bell peppers and jicama!) and all was forgiven. It was a really great day and I’m really glad we went. Great company and great memories. Here’s to adventures and not dying!

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1 Comment

  1. Mr. Itchy didn’t go and take a dive, or at least snorkel?

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