2015 Xcaret, Mexico excursion.

 This one is an oldie from earlier this year. Once again my wife and I went on our yearly anniversary cruise vacation. This time we decided to redo a trip that was previously canceled. A few years back we were to visit Cozumel, Belize, and Cayman Islands but we could not make Belize as it was canceled and destination was changed to Costa Maya. This year we did our research and made sure that Belize was still on the itinerary and there were no problems there. Last time visit to Cozumel we went to visit the Mayan ruins of Tolum. This time around we decided this trip would be about Zenotes and Caves so we decided to visit Xcaret. It was an awesome experience and we recommend you experience at least once.

Our trip was cut short, some times the docking takes much longer than anticipated and that can make your excursion a bit shorter. So as always be ready for any last minute changes.

Pictures of things I like.


We took the Ferry from Cozumel to Playas Del Carmen. The boat ride is only about 30 minutes, but some people not used to boats do and did get sick in this short ride. I recomend that you take your seasickness medicine the night  before and a couple of hours before getting in these kind of boats. Luckily for me I do not suffer from this problem but I know many others do.

Pictures of things I like.

We arrived at Xcaret, our driver gave us a few tips on how to make our experience better since we had such a short time to enjoy the water attractions. We chose the underground river that was natural and partly man made, there are other two that are man made as we were explained.

Pictures of things I like.

Right when we entered the park there was a nice little shopping center were you can get some arts and crafts to take home or simply enjoy a drink of your choice.

Pictures of things I like.

Pass the shopping area we went straight to get our gear and passed by the first entrance of the underwater cave.

      Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

While inside we were surprised by a beautiful pool and waterfall.Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

On we went to the river and started to appreciate our surroundings right away.Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like.   Pictures of things I like.

There were several small Cenotes, some man made and most were natural.Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Some areas are just awesome to stop and appreciate.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

In the ins and out of the rivers there are areas a bit dark but with enough light for you not to get disoriented, then you can see some ropes on the sides where you can hold as it gets a bit deep for you to walk.

     Pictures of things I like.  Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.


Past the darkest and deepest areas you will see the mangrove trees, a nice sign that the trip has ended and clear sign that the ocean is on the other side.

Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

The water are a bit chilli and crystal clear, it’s just an awesome place. I wish we were able to experience the other two rivers, this one left a great impression, we will be back.

Pictures of things I like.

Below are fish therapy tanks, right after turning in our gear you can see these on your right hand side.

Pictures of things I like.

Click on the image below to see a full map of the park.

Pictures of things I like.

Past the Aroma and fish therapy area is the entrance to the beach. It looks awesome.Pictures of things I like.

In case you get lost you’ll know hot to get back to Alaska or anywhere else.Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

I must say, we ate like kings and tasted the best fish and seafood I have had in many, many years.

     Pictures of things I like.  Pictures of things I like.

Past the restaurants there are many other things to see or experience.

Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

Below is a panoramic picture of the dolphin area.

Pictures of things I like.

On the other side of the dolphin area they have a nice beach and lots of tikis to get away from the sun.

Pictures of things I like.

We then found our way to the Coral Reef Aquarium. This place was great, most fish were swimming in what seemed well taken care of system of pools.

Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like.  Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Below are pics of baby turtles that will be released into the oceans. A sign asking you to not touch them so they will not get used to humans is set on rocks by the pools.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Stingrays swimming.

Pictures of things I like.

They have a snorkel are that I wanted to get into but unfortunately was running out of time. from were I was the water was still crystal clear.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Below are pics of the fish tanks, there is a small yet nice area in the shape of a circle with several fish tanks.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.

     Pictures of things I like. Pictures of things I like.Below is a depiction of a Mexican Mayan ruins, an amphitheater, and a depiction of a Mesoamerican ballgame stadium.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.

past the stadium wand it was back to the shopping center where I just had to have one local refreshment before leaving to the boat.

Pictures of things I like.

Pictures of things I like.


Lauderdale By The Sea Reef – Snorkeling/Freediving 6-21-14

After a night of fishing at Anglins Pier in Lauderdale By The Seas, we headed to the beach for some snorkeling on the reef South of the pier. Fishing that night ended with a released mutton snappers, a puffer fish, 3 goggle eyes and a hookup to a sawfish that cut my line off, plus someone caught and released a nice size lemon shark. I fished at Anglins pier for many years and had not gone to explore the reef in the area. This time we made plans to snorkel the reef after a night of fishing. On the pier I asked my friend Tom what were the buoys that light up at night over the reef. He explained these were solar panels for a coral growth project (Bio Rock Project) and under it there is a wire mesh structure with coral growing on it. I wanted to see it my self so in the morning we headed to the beach and as we entered the water we were greeted by schools of sardines and then after a few short minutes we were on top of the reef. I was delighted to see the growth of coral and sea life. I had better luck on this snorkeling trip than I had in some of the Caribbean Islands these past few years.


It took me longer to unravel my float line than getting to the reef, as soon as we we were on top of the reef we saw a diver exploring the sea floor and my son passed right by his trail of bubbles.

.    LauderdaleByTheSeaReef01   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef02

Below are pictures of the reef. We were in water deeper than 15 feet where camera filters are necessary to appreciate the true colors of the reef. I apologize ahead of time as I do not have these filters,  but I can assure you that in person the reef is very colorful and can be highly appreciated.

     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef03   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef04

     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef05   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef06

     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef07   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef08


     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef10    LauderdaleByTheSeaReef11


     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef13   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef15


     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef16    LauderdaleByTheSeaReef17

     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef18   LauderdaleByTheSeaReef20


Here is a picture of the Bio Rock structure.  LauderdaleByTheSeaReef21

Close to the buoy, but not too close.LauderdaleByTheSeaReef22

A picture of Anglins pier from the reef area.LauderdaleByTheSeaReef23



Here is my nephew’s son. He grabbed on to my float and used it as a flotation device to help him see the reef.

     LauderdaleByTheSeaReef26 LauderdaleByTheSeaReef27

At the  edge of the reef on my way out this little fellow decided to model for the camera.LauderdaleByTheSeaReef28

A tarpon waved good bye as we were on our way back to the beach.  LauderdaleByTheSeaReef29

I don’t know why but I just love taking pictures of the sand underwater.LauderdaleByTheSeaReef30




At the end of the day we sat down and ate breakfast at the Pier’s restaurant. LauderdaleByTheSeaReef34


   Here is one last picture of the relaxing day. In the background you can see the buoys marking the Bio Rock Project. LauderdaleByTheSeaReef35

Fishing was not productive but the snorkeling was very rewarding. I left with a satisfied soul and will be glad to comeback and do it over again. If you decide to go snorkeling or diving on this reef, it is located at the end of Commercial Boulevard, when you see the pier just walk towards the South and you can start snorkeling after the buoy marker that signals you are too close to the pier. Remember there are people with fishing lines in the water so stay as far away as possible from the pier.

Here is a short video I took.

I did some searches on the Bio Rock Project and found some videos with information:


John U. Lloyd Beach State Park- Snorkeling the Reef and Erojacks June 2014

My son and I were thinking of a fishing trip for Father’s Day and as we were planning it evolved into a spearfishing trip. We had the plan, now we had to prepare our gear and shop for whatever we needed. We visited a local diving shop and looked for some free diving gear, we got our fins and boots and some other accessories we though needed. I had taken 2 of my spear guns, one to do the maintenance on it, the other just to get the bands for it. Well, on the first one I was told I should put it on a wall since it was over 20 years old, bummer! Oh well at least I got the bands for one of the spear guns. We went home and as I installed the bands I realized that the wishbone (metal part of the rubber bands) was just too wide for the shaft (the spear). Again another 45 minute drive to the dive shop and when I tell them I need a set with a thinner wishbone the guy tells me, “oh man how old is that gun?” Well I turned around and told him it was older than my son and smiled. The store helper just told me “sorry dude, you should put that on a wall somewhere, you will not find a set that old” Dang it, bummer again. Oh well so we said OK we are just going to go to the beach and snorkel at John U Lloyd State Park. After all we could at least explore the area . I told my son about the reef being near to shore and about the submerged erojacks the government placed in the area. These areconcrete Jacks to help avoid erosion and some call them Eurojacks. Myself I just call them Jax. The erojacks help to guide you to the reef but sometimes it is easier to find the reef than the erojacks. As we were driving to get my son his fishing license (he needs one now because he is no longer an active military service member) we were thinking of other places to go and just stuck with going to John U Lloyd beach. Since we were not going to go spear fishing anymore we decided it would be cool to invite the family and ask if they would join us, we were glad they did. All the kids had fun while some of us went snorkeling.

Here are some pictures for those that haven’t seen the area and the reef or the erojacks at John U. Lloyd State Park. We parked at the very first parking lot after the paying booth.

A view from the parking lot and a view form the bridge to the parking lot.


This is one of many trails through the park. It can be accessed right from the parking lot.A WALKING TRAIL TO OTHER AREAS IN THE PARKA walking trail to other areas in the park

In this parking lot you will have to walk through a bridge to the beach.


A look from the bridge towards the North.

FROM THE FOOTBRIDGEFrom the footbridge   RIVER THAT SEPARATES PARKING FROM BEACHRiver that separates parking from beach

   A close up of the view.RIVER THAT SEPARATES PARKING FROM BEACH LOOKING TOWARDS THENORTHRiver that separates parking from beach looking towards theNorth

A close up of the view to the South.RIVER THAT SEPARATES PARKING FROM BEACH LOOKING TOWARDS THE SOUTHRiver that separates parking from beach looking towards the south

A look at the beach entrance from the bridge.   BEACH ENTRANCEBeach entrance

The pictures below are of the beach and reef directly across from the parking lot.

Leaving the beach my wife and grandson wave bye to me and my son.

John U. Lloyd State Park   John U. Lloyd State Park

On the reef at first it looks like just rocks but when you start to get deeper you will start to see life. I Stopped at the first ledge which is about 10 feet deep in low tide and goes to about 15 feet deep during low tide.


On the picture below a trigger fish runs away from me.





An angelfish hides under the coral.


Images below are of the view from on top of the reef.


  Getting out after exploring the reef.Herbert Hans


After the reef we walked to the erojacks marker. On the beach walking toward the South on the beach (on the Dunes line top of the beach) you will see a marker with the  number 2, then one with the number 1,  and the one that shows where the erojacks are submerged. Ths marker has  “Jax –>” written on it.

John U. Lloyd erojacks










 Marine life was present on the reef and on the erojacks (eurojacks as some write it) the water visibility became dull as afternoon storms started approaching. If you want to enjoy the reef and see more marine life you will need to snorkel into the deeper areas of the reef and erojacks early in the morning or a day in which there are no storms. Most of the summer we have a beautiful day in the mornings, a very hot mid day, and the storms are present most days during the afternoons. Hope this post is of some help for someone looking to have a nice snorkeling day at this park. By the way there are restroom facilities, vending machines, and showers between the bridge and the beach.

 Here is a final pic of the family that came to enjoy the beach.


 John U. Lloyd State Park is located at 6503 N Ocean Dr, Dania Beach, FL 33004. From the Florida State Park website:


“Perfect for a day at the beach or a family picnic, this park provides an abundance of recreational activities. Surf fishing, canoeing, swimming, nature study, boating, and picnicking will keep the whole family busy. For those interested in South Florida’s underwater beauty, Lloyd Beach has one of the easiest and most interesting shore dives in the area. The park has two boat ramps with easy access to the ocean through the Port Everglades Inlet, which will please those who prefer to fish in open water. The mangrove-lined waterway is a scenic place to canoe, observe bird life, and take photographs. Located off A1A in the City of Hollywood.”


Killeen Texas to Miami Florida Roadtrip- Stuck in Mardi Gras

The flight to Dallas was one of those winter time bumpy fasten your seat belts at all times kind of ride and as thousands of other flights we got there in one piece just with many passengers shook up in their head. In Dallas I was to run, dash, and skip stairs to get in my seat of a puddle jumper (many of you know the feeling specially when they always seat you in the tail of the first connecting flight). Well, I got there last but I made it and when I got there I had to bend my head in the airplane and still bumped into one of the exit signs . Why was there no mention of the inside roof height on this darn thing? Well when the flight was over I got another bang on my head making some people laugh at me, so yeah, the joke was on me, LOL. My bad this time around! The reason for the flight is that my son just finished his 4 years in the U.S. Army, again making me a very proud parent as my other two daughters have made me proud as well. I have flown to their graduations in Maryland, Boston, Fort Benin, and I have gone with my wife to prepare them to fly back or send their belongings via freight to Miami. This past weekend was to be a quick fly over to Killeen, Texas take my son’s wife’s car to her family in Dallas and start a 2 day road trip to Miami to unite him with his son. I said it before I am a grandfather :).

An aerial view of downtown Dallas as we approach the Airport.

Dallas BW

Our drive to Dallas started Cannon Ball style, we had to check our options quick, plan fast and run for the time we had in our hands. We also had to multitask and started at the same time to clean the rental house (I watched), check what we needed for the run, go to Wally world, get bungee cords, reflective tape, back to the house throw trash away give the neighbors some furniture, load the Jeep and go. UUUUFFFF! just got tired of thinking of all that. By the way I did help on everything except the cleaning 🙂

Ready for the road trip.

Seth and Jeep

On our way to Dallas.

On the highway   by a church

There was a small forest fire on the way, no traffic jam was caused, looking good.

forest fire near highway in Texas   getting close

We arrived at Dallas

Near downtown Dallas

Dallas rural area

In Dallas we were greeted by my daughter in law’s beautiful family, we had some Mexican style sopes (look it up they are great) sopeand after many greetings we were on the way with a nice full belly. Thank you Ssarai and Antonia! Back on the GPS game, I love technology!!! We rode and rode until the tank got to 1/2 empty (the glass analogy does not work in this case) as I have a rule to always drive on road trips with the tank no less than half full (wait the analogy works here or not?). Anyways we stopped at a Texas Petro stop and paid  20 cents less per gallon than I would pay in Miami, happy wallets this time. We got back on the road wishing we would have boarded the made up star ship across the street.

On to the highway we went.

manana road   out of Dallas

The star ship and some worm look a like silos? Interesting.

Spaceship   Worm sylos

Dallas’ roads kept going and going as if it was a battery TV commercial then we finally saw the Welcome to Louisiana sign and the welcome center exit. Boy oh boy was Louisiana to welcome us! It just didn’t feel right fog, tons of woods, dark at night, more fog, almost empty gas tank, you get the feeling. If not, we were wishing we filled the tank some more to have a sense of security. Bathroom was not an issue as we brought toilet paper and paper towels with us, you road trip travelers know the ropes, LOL. Food was not an issue either as we got some protein bars,water, and snacks with us from the last stop. As we drove it felt like days had gone by and then suddenly some signs of civilization came up and a beautiful gas station sign was in sight, but what we do? Ahhh we decided to stop at the next gas station, yeah why not we still had a quarter of a tank. We could make it we thought and so we kept driving listening to barely audible radio stations switching back and forth between old school rock, pop music, and country music. In the end country music was king and funny as hell with double meaning words. You know birds and the bees kind of talk but dirtier than dirt kind of thing and funny at the same time with a broken heart talk in between all of it wishing you went fishing and drinking some hard stuff to forget it all. If I lost you I apologize the songs lost me as well but I understood them later on. We barely made it to a gas station, filled up the tank and on we went thinking we only had 70 miles to New Orleans to make a sleep stop. OOPS! not the case we still had 3 hours left. Crap! After driving along and through many smoke stack factories we finally got to some neighborhood with plenty gas staions and lit streets.

UUUUHHHH Lord! We made it to I10! we were happy, it was nice to see more cars in the road. As we saw the signs to LA PLACE city we felt the Jeep shake and then we heard a weird noise, CLANK! CLANK! SCREEEKKKK! Crap we lost velocity so I pulled over the side of the road. My son gets under the car and asks is that a part of our car? I’m like, I do not think so it looks like a bottle in a bag (it was dark) so I told him to use his cellphone and check it. OUCH! he gets burned, it was the rear drive shaft, it broke off. Well I told him we still have the front wheel drive lets go to the nearest exit and call AAA. There was a waffle restaurant and so we went there and had some food while we waited amongst a few cheerleaders on their way home. We were told it is Mardigras so there weren’t so many tow trucks available and we had to wait a couple of hours.

We met a Muslim

The tow truck came and with it the driver was a nice person ,we though he was a Hispanic, maybe Mexican as his speech suggested. As he loaded the Jeep in the tow truck he told us that most shops would be closed until Monday so he would take us to a major repair shop in Matairie city and so we agreed. As we started to drive he figured one of us was in the Army as we were coming from Killeen and started speaking about the Middle East and the war there. He asked my son if he had been my son said yes he had been to Iraq he replied with a big smile oh I have friends there, my son asks in the Army? he says no they are Sunni (I believe). He started saying that they were always fighting the Shia. He stated stories in some people believing that they would be met by 40 virgins in heaven and that their families would be taken care of when they sacrificed their lives in the cause. He said it was all not true, that the families would just disappear and people believed they were taken to a better place. That many of these people were just forced to do as they were told. He went on to say that their religion was not about that and that if the rich in those areas would give their 2.5% that all Islamic nations would not be poor and there would not be a war. Since he said that I asked “and what is your religion?” He said “I am Muslim, a real Muslim, not the ones that believe in war or blowing themselves up. We believe in peace.”  As I understood it, it was the rich controlling the religion and not giving their percentage as mandated that kept the war going and it was simply for control of power as the rich may have been giving the money to those they wanted in power. Previous to that I had said that is a war that has been going on for thousands of years and so it will continue, he said yes, the USA will have to send their military back again. We all felt a bit uncomfortable speaking the way we did. I for one believe on not talking about religion and politics since these are the biggest makers of wars. As we were dropped off at the repair shop the driver showed us a website that showed the news in the Middle East. He said I am always informed.

We went to the Motel and found it to be a place close to a horror movie crossed with a drug dealer heaven. Cars coming and going in the parking lot talking to a guy in a corner, you get the feeling. We were tired so we decided to stay anyways. The rooms was well, there were two beds and that was enough for us plus they had a TV with the Disney Channel on? LOL. The next morning we left to the repair shop and saw a Major chain hotel that incredibly was only 30 bucks more so we stayed there for the next 2 days. Yes two days because at the shop we were told that only the car dealer would have the part and they also recommended us to go to another shop since they were not so good with 4×4 Jeeps. I am glad they were honest! We called the shop and were told to bring the car at 7 a.m. that they would have us out by noon. Well the parts were not salvageable and we had to wait another day to receive the parts.

As we were walking down to the repair shop.


You might have some of these in your state, we sure don’t where we live in Florida.

Drive through Daiquiris? Computer Gaming Store? Kewl!

drivetrhough daiquiris   computer gaming

No one can say I don’t stop to smell the flowers. Well at least I look at the wild ones.

wild flower

Back to Sunday!

We had to wait anyways so we decided to go and check Mardi Gras in the daytime while it was still PG13 all around 🙂 We wanted to avoid all the drunks and craziness of the night time (a recommendation from the tow truck driver). We asked at the hotel desk how much a Taxi Cab drive to the French Quarter and we were told $30 bucks. They called us cab and so we went and this part is better explained in pictures:

Upon arrival a look at some balconies.

balconies in New Orleans

balconies in New Orleans 2   balconies in New Orleans 4

balconies   building in New Orleans

Burbon Street 2014

Some streets.

balconies in New Orleans 3   Burbon Street

                         NewOrleans   Street in New Orleans 2   

                                                  Street in New Orleans   

tent on a balcony   Mule in New Orleans

We stopped to look at the river and the cruise line and found a lot of fog covering the horizon.


My son


Afterwards it started to rain so we decided to get back in the streets, where for the most part the sidewalks have cover.

Joan of Arc New Orleans  Jazz Band

Liked the colors on this bike.


On the way we stumbled upon the Krewe Of Barkus Parade

woof parade New Orleans 2

woof parade New Orleans   woof parade New Orleans 3

woof parade New Orleans 6   woof parade New Orleans 5

woof parade New Orleans 4

After the Barkus Parade we went to take a look at the main parade but a truck broke down so we decided to just go back to the hotel and relax a bit. Right before we got our cab I found a local beer and had a taste.

                                Abita Beer

The taxi dropped us off at the 4 Corners by Sheraton hotel where we stayed two nights.

Taxi in New Orleans

The next day it was all about waiting, at the hotel they had a beer tasting bar so we tasted both Abita beers and liked them both. The Mardi Gras one had a bit of a kick in it, very good stuff.

Abita Beers

On the last day of waiting for parts it was the same waiting and tasting more Abitas, this time at a New Orleans burger joint.

                       New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co sign   New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co

The sunset was giving us a last good by at the hotel, and we were grateful for that moment.


Well, my point and shoot camera died so it was now just cell phone pics for the remainder of the trip. We went to pick up the jeep at GT Automotive, these guys worked very hard in trying to get us back on the road. We appreciate their hard work so much!

Repair shop

Jeep   us

We got back on the road and said good by to New Orleans.

New Orleans

We said good by and we loaded some quail eggs for extra protein 🙂

    on the road  quail eggs

We entered the Mississippi area and then passed by Alabama’s downtown tunnel along I10.

Mississippi   Alabama

As we drove pass Alabama and entered in to LOOOONG Florida we were getting too sleepy and the road became to hazardous for us to drive as we only had about 30 feet of visibility with the fog. We decided to crash in Tampa where my brother in law and his wife prepared us a bed and gave us a nice breakfast. We are so grateful to Edward and Rose for their hospitality. We kept on driving home after 3 hours of crash and burn sleep, it was more than enough to keep going.

We passed Punta Gorda and Naples Everglade areas.

Punta Gorda   Naples and the Everglades

In the end it was a very nice road trip. I got to spend time with my son and hope to spend even more time with him and my grand son before he heads back to Killeen Texas where he is to continue with his studies.

Seth and Aiden

I have to take a moment to say thanks to all my friends and family that called us or sent us messages offering their help. It is nice to know that we do not need to worry about bad times when we are surrounded by good people.

Cozumel Snorkeling Adventure February 15th 2014

One of our stops on the 4 day Cruise was Cozumel. We had no idea on what to do here. I had been there before but had gone to the mainland to Playas Del Carmen and then we went to visit Tolum. On this trip we were 25 people including my grandson, yes I have a Welcome Centergrandson 🙂 So we decided to wait till we got there and figure out on what to do. To go to Playas Del Carmen it would have been $45.99 per person just to get on the ferry and get dropped off at Playas Del Carmen for some shopping, history, and then go to a resort’s pool and beach access were we could also snorkel for an additional cost. I had read before that Cozumel was a great place to snorkel and I remember small man made beaches where we could go and adventure by our selves but when we got there these little beaches by the Cruise Ship docks were gone. Well, I had to do what us males hate to do, I had to ask for directions to the nearest public beach. The minute we got to the docks I asked some of the local tour guides waiting on their customers. They were very helpful and told me that a Taxi cab to the nearest beach would be about $5 per person and showed me the way to go get them. As we approached the exit out to the Welcome Center of Cozumel we saw drivers dressed in white and with ID tags hanging on their necks. They were from a Taxi company, it seemed to be the only one in the Welcome Center area. We were offered a fare of $25 per person and this included $7.5 to go to a resort, $7.5 to get back, and access to the resort and it’s amenities. When we got there we had access to the pool which looked nice, chairs, beach chairs, hammocks, ladder access to the water, and surprisingly a free Tequila tour in which you are basically obligated by your taste buds to purchase a bottle. We haggled the price to $20/person 🙂 and off we went in two packed fairly new vans.

First things first, got a local beer. Victoria, very refreshing semi dark beer.

Victoria Beer

Below is a panoramic view of the resort.

Cozumel Resort Panoramic 2

The Tequila thought might make you see a second image 🙂

Cozumel Resort Panoramic

From inside the restaurant (they charged in Dollars not Pesos) and the pool.

Panga   Cozumel Resort

The beach area.

Beach in Cozumel

Getting ready to snorkel and in the water we went. By the way we were told that snorkeling was included but they did not tell us we had to rent the equipment. Luckily I brought a few sets of my own for everyone to share.

snorkeling in Cozumel Mexico   Cozumel Mexico

snorkeling in Cozumel Mexico 2

The water was amazingly clear so we were able to enjoy it to the max.

snorkeling Coxumel Mexico   reef in Cozumel Mexico

The corals were healthy but not much variety in this area.

snorkeling Cozumel Mexico

reef in Cozumel Mexico   snorkeling in Cozumel

There were a lot of artificial reefs being populated by corals, seafans, invertebrates, and of course fish 🙂

Cozumel Mexico Sargent Majors and snappers

I just went back to these rocks, had to do a second pass.

Sargent Major Fish in Cozumel Mexico

Can you see the ballyhoo in the pic below? Great camouflage. Click on the picture to make it larger.

Hidden fish

A beer bottle rock?

Sargent Major fish in Cozumel Mexico

After the beach we had no time to pass by Maragritaville, very disappointing on  that but we had a big group so I did not dare to ask the driver for a quick stop and so we went shopping instead. Word of advise, the shops right in front (flea market like) give you free tequila shots when you shop but the prices are a bit high. Just walk a few blocks down and you will get great discounted prices but no free tequila shots. If you are on a budget take my advice if not take the tequila shots, they are included in the price.

shop in Cozumel

All good things must come to an end and so back to the Carnival Victory ship we went. We missed our dinner at the main dinning room but we were surprised with a midnight Mexican buffet (USA Restaurant Style). It was good and the fruit carvings were nice to see.

watermelon Mayan  Watermelon sculpture

                                         ice sculpture

The next morning it was brunch instead of breakfast and for dessert a nice piece of banana cake.

steak and eggs

banana cake

I never had the chocolate melting cake so I ate a piece and it was great. So I brought the recipe with me 🙂

                                        Chocolate Melting Cake

Here is the whole family.

Group Picture 1

I did say you force  yourself to buy the tequila from the “free” Tequila History and Taste Tour. 🙂  And when you go they do sell some $5 a bottle of tequila in the shops by the Welcome Center. Inside the shops they also had some good ones at 2 for $16.50. But “Doña Jose Licor De Membrillo” Tequila Liquor was a winner to my taste buds and the family almost unanimously agreed and bought their own bottles of it. This is not a drink to mix, just a drink to savor each day 1/2 ounce at a time after dinner so we can remember Cozumel Mexico with great taste in our mind.

Doña Jose tequila

Key West February 14th

On this trip I went with family to celebrate my father in law’s 50th wedding anniversary, yep they have been married for 50 years! They were married by church, by law, and now by sea. They say three times is the charm. I wish them many more. On this trip we went to Key West which is normally about 3 to 4 hour car drive from my house in outer Miami. After Key West we were to set sail to Cozumel Mexico where I would go snorkeling. They say that there is nothing to do in Key West except Drink, Fish, Snorkel, Dive, and DRINK, and maybe smoke a cigar. Well in this short visit I just walked, took some pictures with my honey, had one drink, well 2 drinks, and watched others drink some more. The first stop was Sunset Square where it usually it is packed with street entertainers. This day “Valentines Day” it was empty and still looked nice. Too bad we did not stay to watch the famous sunset as we went back to the ship early to get ready for dinner.

Below is Sunset Square Key West, Florida.

Sunset Square Key West

Below are two lovers in Sunset Square.

Lobe Birds

From the docks at Sunset Square.

 Fishing  Birds in Key West

This little fellow just kept walking back and forth.

                               In Key West

The Historical Military Memorial in Sunset Square Key West.

                                       Key West Sunset Square Monument

Lots of birds in the scenery.

In flight

Some of the islands from a far.

                                    In Key West

Below with my valentine sweetheart.


After Sunset Square we walked towards Duval Street, what I call the Bar Mile and in the same street as the bars a nice looking church.

In trolley   Church in Key West

We passed by the original Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville and raised a glass of this adopted Margarita tradition.

Margaritavile   Margaritaville

The next stop was fat Tuesday and also passed next to the Flying Monkey and the Lazy Gecko where the drinks are cheaper but we did not take advantage of.

Fat Tuesday    Flying Monkey

Once we finished we got on the trolley and back to the ship we went. On the right we passed by the quiet area of the town.

In trolley   House in Key west

We got back to the ship and took a panoramic pictures of Key West.

Key West Panoramic

We did buy some fine hand rolled Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars.

Island cigar factory   Herbert Hans and a Nicaraguan Cigar

Then it was back inside the ship where I took one more panoramic picture but this time of the shops “The Promenade”.

Carnival Victory Promenade

Below a pic of the much smaller lobby of the Carnival Victory, smaller than any other I have seen so far. There is no dance floor.

                                  Carnival Victory Lobby

And after dinner the usual towel figure was waiting for us in the room. They always surprise you no matter what cruise company you go in.

                                   Towel art Carnival Cruise Lines

As always we had fun. I never imagined going to Key West on a cruise, this is because I live so close to it but this time I did not go fishing there and actually walked the streets and appreciated the old architecture. I did not go to the usual most famous bars like Hog’s Breath bar and Sloppy Joe’s but intend to visit again with my wife.