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.

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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.

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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.

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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