El Cedral and Cozumel’s Eastern Coast
The eastern coast of Cozumel is completely different to the west. It has none of the calm, crystal blue water, nor anywhere near the tourism. After stopping in at Cozumel’s original town, El Cedral, we took a short drive up the coast and ended at a rollicking bar named Coconuts.
To most visitors, Cozumel feels small. Its true size is obscured by the fact that almost all the sights and services are concentrated in and around San Miguel. But once you take the time to venture out of the city, Cozumel reveals itself to be a surprisingly large island. The vast majority is uninhabited, and much of it is protected from further development by law.
Although ocean-front San Miguel has become the island’s biggest settlement, it’s not the only one, nor was it the first. We drove inland to visit El Cedral, where Cozumel’s original inhabitants set up shop. Save a beautiful old church and a statue featuring a couple dancing around with a pig’s head on a platter, there’s not much there today, but it’s a relaxed place with a very local vibe, and a nice reminder that Cozumel isn’t all cruise ships and scuba divers.
Past El Cedral, we came to the island’s eastern edge. The waters are rougher here, with craggy rocks lining the coast, and it’s not as favorable for snorkeling or swimming. We stopped at a few of the beaches, including one which was packed full of families sitting around coolers. This, it seems, is where Cozumeleños come to escape the crowds.
We ended our day on the eastern coast at a beach bar named Coconuts: set atop a beautiful cliff overlooking the sea, this is the kind of place where the music is loud, the customers are foreign, and the atmosphere is drunk. Or the music is foreign, the atmosphere is loud and the customers are drunk. Idont’membrph. We had a blast here. As beach bars go, Coconuts is a great one. Maybe we were just ready for some fun. Maybe it was the crocodile they keep in a cage. Maybe it was the games.
When I came in, I saw a guy trying to swing a ring dangling from a string onto a bull’s horn. “I’ve been playing this game for years”, he said. “It’s impossible.” I took the ring from him and said, “Watch, I’ll hit it on my first try”. And then, I actually did! (Amazing in itself, because I’m terrible at games like this.) The bar gave me a free tequila shot, and when I turned to celebrate with my new friend… he was gone. I scoured the restaurant, and even asked the bartender, but the guy had vanished without a trace.
Somehow, the mystery fit perfectly with the boisterous spirit we had fallen into. By the end of the night, I’d done a couple shots, drank more than a couple beers, eaten a few delicious tacos, and had a long conversation with a heavy metal singer in perfect Spanish (at least, it sounded perfect to my inebriated ears). A great evening out on a side of the island most people don’t get to see.
-Best Way To Get Around Cozumel: Rent a Jeep!
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December 13, 2013 at 1:19 am