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

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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.

                                   Lovers

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.