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Cozumel’s Punta Sur

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The Faro Cerlain Eco Park is the official name of the reserve which extends across the southern point of Cozumel, but most refer to it as the Punta Sur. Here, you’ll find one of the island’s best beaches, a lighthouse offering a tremendous view over the Caribbean, and a natural mangrove lagoon in which crocodiles dwell. We visited toward the end of our week in Cozumel.

The first (and last) thing you’re going to notice about the park is the horrifically pot-holed road which leads in and out. After fifteen minutes of neck-breaking bumps, you’ll find yourself at the Cerlain Lighthouse. Be careful if you decide to climb it… or at least more careful than me. I was jogging up, trying to beat Jürgen to the top, and smashed my head against the ceiling. So despite the bright daylight, the view I enjoyed from the top was full of stars.

After shaking off my concussion, we took a quick look into the small maritime museum on the bottom floor of the lighthouse, and then embarked on a boat ride around the lagoon. Just inland from the coast, a thick mangrove forest is home to a number of interesting birds, including kingfishers and pink spoonbills. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise, but I was more concerned about watching the water, because the lagoon is filled with crocodiles. Just a few minutes after our tour began, we saw one… a huge beast, moving with terrifying agility.

The best part of Punta Sur is the beach found at the very end of the park, with great snorkeling at the nearby reef. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for this, and the water was too rough for swimming anyway. But we still had a great day out. It’s not the easiest place to get to, and that potholed road is no joke, but it’s worth the effort, particularly if you have an entire day to spend there.

Location on our Map

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December 17, 2013 at 12:14 am Comment (1)

Eating in Cozumel, Part 2

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During our stay in Cozumel, we adhered to a strict regimen of breakfast, lunch and dinner, every single day, always at a new place. By the end of the week, our bellies were beginning to squeeze through the buttons of our shirts, and we were happy to be done with all the eating. But the meals we enjoyed in Cozumel were among the highlights of our trip.

Eating in Cozumel, Part 1

El Muellecito

Loud music, rock-n-roll decor, and a young crowd hungry for both food and fun are the highlights of El Muellecito (Little Dock). Even though it was a Monday evening when we showed up, we almost couldn’t find a table. There are frequent drink specials which help bring in the crowds, and great retro-rock blasting from the speakers. Perhaps most importantly, the tuna tacos I ordered were incredible.

“What’s that?!” shouts Jürgen.
“The tuna tacos are really good.”
“The music! I can’t hear you! What?”
“I said that I like my tuna tacos! You know… never mind.”
“Okay!”

“How are your tuna tacos?”

La Cocay

La Cocay serves up the best modern cuisine in Cozumel. Actually, it’s the best modern cuisine I’d had anywhere, in a very long time. The creative dishes are tinged with a Mediterranean influence, and we had difficulty deciding which delicious-sounding meal to try. It was so much fun to read the menu that I called the waiter over to ask if there was a sequel.

In the end, we went with the sesame sashimi tuna and the roasted duck breast. The plates were little works of art which I (almost) felt bad about destroying. La Cocay, which is Mayan for “firefly”, is run by an American expat who’s lived on the island for years.

Rolandi’s

Found just below El Muellecito and actually run by the same family, Rolandi’s is much different in terms of style. No loud rock here, just wonderfully prepared Italian cooking. We weren’t that hungry when we sat down, and politely passed on an appetizer. But our waiter wasn’t having any of that nonsense. He first suggested and then insisted we try the octopus carpaccio. “Well, you can bring it out,” we suggested, “but we might not eat it all.” Minutes later, the carpaccio was gone and we were literally licking the plate clean.

The rest of the food was just as good. I had a colorful and rich pasta dish, and Jürgen went for pizza. Having forgotten all that crap about “not being so hungry”, we ordered dessert: Bananas Flambé. Fun to watch, and even more fun to eat.

Kinta

Since it’s owned by the same people who run Kondesa, the super-cool garden restaurant we had patronized on our first night in the city, we had high hopes for Kinta. The two restaurants are similar, both with excellent food and chic decoration, but Kinta is more subdued. While Kondesa might be better with a group of friends, this was perfect for a quiet date.

Kinta bills itself as a Mexican bistro, and its menu is largely based on regional ingredients. There’s grilled shrimp marinated in achiote, scallops served with tomato-corn salsa and cilantro sauce, roasted pork with chiles, mushrooms, almonds, fig marmalade and potatoes… and now my keyboard is covered in drool. Great.

El Mercado

We did a lot of fine dining during our week in Cozumel, at places which cater to foreigners and the island’s well-off locals. It was excellent and interesting food, but not our normal style. So it was almost a relief to have our final meal at San Miguel’s market. Quick and easy snacks like panuchos and empanadas served by no-nonsense women who aren’t the slightest bit concerned about charming us with their breezy style. Nope. Plop your butt down on a stool in this chaotic market where people are buying yucca root and papayas, and munch down delicious tacos as fast as you can.

One thing we realized here, and have noticed in other street joints as well, is that water isn’t always on the menu. I ordered a water, and the guy asked me what kind. Cola? Lemonade? Hibiscus tea? Orange juice? And when I insisted on normal water, he gave me a “weirdo” look, and then had to go to a different stand to fetch it. We would read later that the Maya, both in the past and their ancestors today, are unaccustomed to drinking straight water, always preferring to flavor it.


Jürgen and I were invited guests at most of these restaurants, but of course are sharing our honest opinions. We can wholeheartedly recommend the places listed above, without qualm. For such a small city, San Miguel has an abundance of excellent restaurants… just another reason to stay for an extended visit!

Great Hotels On Cozumel

More Pics from El Muellecito
More Pics from La Cocay
More Pics from Rolandi’s
Another Pic from Kinta
More Pics from the Cozumel Market
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December 16, 2013 at 12:54 am Comment (1)

El Cedral and Cozumel’s Eastern Coast

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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.

El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast

To most visitors, Cozumel feels small. Its true size is obscured by the fact that almost all the sights and services are concentrated around San Miguel. But once you take the time to venture out of the city, the island reveals itself to be surprisingly large. 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 town, it’s not the only one, nor was it the first. We drove inland to visit El Cedral, where Cozumel’s original inhabitants settled down. Save a beautiful old church and a statue of a traditional dance which somehow involves a pig’s head on a platter, there’s not much there today, but it provides a nice reminder that Cozumel isn’t all cruise ships and scuba divers.

El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast

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 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 Coconuts. Set atop a 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. Maybe after all the sight-seeing, we were ready for some fun. Maybe it was the crocodile they keep in a cage. Maybe it was the games.

When we entered, I saw a guy trying to swing a ring dangling from a string onto a bull’s horn. “I’ve been playing this game all night,” he said. “It’s impossible.” I took the ring from him and said, “Watch, I’ll hit it on my first try”. And I actually did! (Amazing in itself, since I’m terrible at games like this.) The bartender applauded and gave me a free tequila shot, and when I turned to celebrate with my new friend… he was gone. I scoured the restaurant, but the guy had vanished without a trace.

Within five minutes of entering the bar, I’d won a game of skill, drank tequila, made a friend and just as quickly lost him; it was an accurate preview of what would evolve into very boisterous night. By the time we took our leave, I’d done a couple more shots, drank more than a handful of beers, eaten a plate of delicious tacos, and had a long conversation with a death metal singer in perfect Spanish (at least, it sounded perfect to my inebriated ears). A fun evening out on a side of the island most people don’t get to see.

Location of El Cedral | Coconuts Beach Bar

-Best Way To Get Around Cozumel: Rent a Jeep!

El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
El Cedral and Cozumel’s Atlantic Coast
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December 13, 2013 at 1:19 am Comment (1)
Cozumel's Punta Sur The Faro Cerlain Eco Park is the official name of the reserve which extends across the southern point of Cozumel, but most refer to it as the Punta Sur. Here, you'll find one of the island's best beaches, a lighthouse offering a tremendous view over the Caribbean, and a natural mangrove lagoon in which crocodiles dwell. We visited toward the end of our week in Cozumel.
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