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Portside – Cozumel

We have visited Cozumel several times now and there is still so much to see and do, but I wanted to review a few excursions we have taken.

Clear Kayak and Snorkel

Our first excursion was perhaps not as good as it could have been due to strong winds and currents, but it wasn’t cancelled and we enjoyed it nonetheless. A taxi took us to a small resort just a few minutes away from the port. We were given our kayaking equipment and some guidance before being guided along the coast. The kayaks are a clear Perspex-type material but quite scratched so you can’t really see much beneath you. This may also have been because the seas were a bit rough and not as clear as usual. Due to the strong current, some people struggled to get back to shore but the guides were able to tow them back without any trouble.

We were then issued our snorkel equipment and followed the guide along the shoreline. He dived for starfish and pointed out several interesting sights. It wasn’t the best snorkeling we have done but not bad for getting your feet wet (excuse the pun).

The resort was nice and there was time to spend on the beach afterwards before catching the taxi back to the port.

Xcaret

Underground River

Underground River

We were looking for an excursion where my dad would be able to see some Mayan ruins but we would also enjoy some different activities, having visited the ruins on our previous trip to Mexico. The visit to Xcaret was perfect. It was a long day; a 6 ½ hr excursion including 45 mins each way on the ferry and another 30 mins each way on a bus, leaving only about 4 hours to enjoy the park. There is a lot to see and do so you will need to plan your route and activities carefully. Xcaret has some ruins, marine wildlife, parrots, entertainers, cultural exhibits and a fabulous underground river, just to name a few activities.

Mayan Ruins at Xcaret

Mayan Ruins at Xcaret

If you plan to swim the underground river, you should do it first. You can pack your belongings into waterproof sacks to be delivered to the end of the river, to pick up after your swim. You can then plan what you would like to see on your walk back through the park. The river was very cold but once you were in, it was so much fun. It takes about 40 mins just to float or gently swim, but my husband managed it in 20. He was a little disconcerted when he looked over to see a small snake swimming alongside him but I’m sure it was harmless! You could take snorkel gear if you have it as there was plenty to see throughout.

Mexican Acrobats

Mexican Acrobats

We saw a variety of animals during our walk back, took a look at the sharks and dolphins (you can pay extra to swim with either), saw some ‘gators and giant turtles. Some Mexican acrobats were putting on a show and it was quite impressive, especially the wheel of bikes! We visited the ruins and historical village, on our way to the parrot exhibition. They breed parrots in the park and so you can see them in their incubators at various ages. We didn’t get any lunch while we were in the park. I had taken some light snacks and we decided to wait for the buffet back on the ship rather than waste any of our four precious hours in a restaurant.

We stopped in the gift shop for a soda and there were more incubators containing tiny hatching birds; I think they may have been quail.

Overall this was a great excursion and everyone enjoyed it, but the highlight was definitely the underground river.

Fantastic Stand-Up Paddle-Board and Snorkel

I’ve wanted to try stand-up paddle-boarding for some time now, although I notice that some excursions, like in Nassau, offered boards for two people. Having tried this now, I don’t see how you could get two people on a board and stay standing!

SUP Girl

SUP Girl

I thought perhaps they were exaggerating when they called this excursion “Fantastic” but it really was! And we all had our own board… which was a good job since my husband kept falling off his. Somehow I managed to paddle down the coast and back without even getting wet, and I attribute that to good balance learned practicing yoga. We were all given a quick briefing on the equipment and how to get onto and stand up on the board. If you don’t want to stand, you can also kneel or sit just like a kayak.

Fish Frenzy

Fish Frenzy

Once the paddle-boarding was finished, we got our snorkel equipment for a guided snorkel. This was probably the best snorkeling we have done. The guide had some food for the fish so they were swarming around us and following us as we drifted down the coast in the current. There was no need for swimming; we just floated for the most part. Other than the many fish, we saw barracuda, a baby yellow stingray, a bat fish and even got to hold a sea cucumber.

The resort was beautiful and the facilities including a pool and restaurant were available for use after the activities were over. You could just get the taxi back to the ship when you were ready or if you wanted to do some shopping downtown, you could request to be dropped off but would need to pay your own taxi from there back to the ship.

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