My number one favorite port? Cozumel, Mexico...hands down the winner. We have been there three times and I still look forward to my next visit. I have a to-do list for Cozumel that just goes on and on. The plus is that practically every Western Caribbean cruise includes a port call on this wonderful little island, so if you cruise very often, you are likely to find yourself visiting this little slice of Mexico.
The trip on Rhapsody was our first Western Caribbean cruise and therefore our first visit to Cozumel. My DDIL (Dear Daughter-in-law) was especially excited as this was her first visit to Mexico as well, though she is 100% Mexican heritage. She said her dad always said she couldn't visit Mexico because they would try to keep her! So needless to say, this was the port she had been waiting for!
We had planned a relaxing beach day in Cozumel. After much internet research I chose a beach that had no entrance fee, and was somewhat popular with the locals. However, our first job at hand was actually getting to the taxi's!
We anchored at the International Pier, there are two large piers in Cozumel, and it is large and busy. It took us quite awhile just to meander through the area. We discovered shopping in Mexico was quite enjoyable! While definitely eager, the vendors are not overly pushy, and they are willing to bargain, big time! Especially when it comes to jewelry! What starts at $350 will make it's way down to $80 if you are patient and have cash.
Once we arrived on the street, taxi's were lined up waiting. All taxi's in Cozumel have set fares and they are quite reasonable. Most drivers have enough knowledge of the English language to get you where you are going, but I enjoyed learning enough Spanish to at least look like I was making an effort. My DDIL knew enough to have a small conversation with a vendor and it made her day.
Our destination was Mr. Sancho's Beach Club. Again, no fee to get in...but something to know about Cozumel...all beaches are public. You are paying for the access to the beach. So if you want, you can walk along the beach and try many different places without paying their entrance fees.
Mr. Sancho's is wonderful, just enough tourism to make it fun, but not as well known as the more busy beach clubs. They have a variety of activities available, so everyone can usually find something that fits their style. There is small area of shops at the entrance, horseback riding, ATV rental, parasailing, banana boats, jet ski's, pools, massages, a restaurant and bar, and of course plenty of lounge chairs and palapa's.
I spent the day in the water snorkeling, my favorite cruise pastime! DH spent his reading in the shade, with a beautiful view of the water. DD enjoyed a wonderful massage and shopping, while DS & DDIL went parasailing for the first time. The food was delicious and inexpensive and the water was fabulous! It was just a wonderful experience in every way! We fell in love with that little beach that day...and with Cozumel as well.
Dragging ourselves back to ship was difficult...but the prospect of visiting the pier again made it less painful. The kids hit Senor Frogs while DH and I shopped a little and made our way back onto the ship. Side note...if you are a fan of Kahlua, it is an incredible bargain in Mexico...stock up.
Our kids made it back to the ship with about 15 minutes left to board, dragging DDIL along behind them as she wept over leaving her "homeland" and wearing her new pink sombrero, which became a fixture of sorts for the rest of the cruise! She was now officially in love with Mexico.
Next: More great Rhapsody memories!
Bon Voyage! ~Marla