Yucatán Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Cozumel’s Museo de la Isla

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

When preparing to explore Cozumel, a logical place to begin is the Museum of the Island, found near the ferry pier. I know, I know… the weather is great, the water is crystal blue, and the amount of things to do outdoors is overwhelming. Who wants to spend time in a museum? But the overview of Cozumel’s history, geography and ecology is brief and well-presented, and afterwards you can reward yourself with an excellent breakfast in the museum’s restaurant.

Cozumel Museum

The Museo de la Isla is separated into four sections, dedicated to the island, the ocean, Cozumel’s history and contemporary life. Hey, snap snap, stop staring out the window at the shimmering Caribbean Sea, I’m explaining important stuff here. About learning and history and stuff. I promise it’s worth your time.

Within minutes of stepping into the museum, your attention should be wholly absorbed by the fascinating history of Cozumel and its unique ecology. The island has never been a place of heavy settlement; when the Spanish first arrived, only a smattering of Maya farmers remained. And for most of Mexico’s history, it was almost entirely neglected. This was great from an ecological point of view as, today, Cozumel is still home a lot of endemic animal life.

In the museum, you’ll learn about pivotal moments in Cozumel’s history, see pictures from before and after the devastating 2005 Hurricane Wilma, and admire some underwater dioramas introducing the island’s unique sea life and corals. And there are usually a couple temporary exhibitions featuring local artists.

After you’ve met your culture quota for the day, head over to the restaurant on the top floor. The breakfasts here are good, as are the ocean views and the reasonable prices. Really, there’s no excuse not to check this museum out. Even if you’d rather spend your time on Cozumel in the great outdoors, you’ll have a better appreciation for the island after having learned about it.

Location on our Map

Free eBooks

Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
Cozumel Museum
, , , , , , ,
December 15, 2013 at 12:20 am Comment (1)

San Gervasio – Cozumel’s Maya Ruins

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The lack of awe-inspiring temples on Cozumel belies its true importance to the Maya civilization. Home to the goddess Ix’Chel, the island was a sacred place of pilgrimage and a major center of commerce. We took a tour of Cozumel’s main cluster of ruins at San Gervasio, in the center of the island, and learned more about the beliefs of this fascinating people.

San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel

Though disappointing to modern tourists, the absence of towering Maya pyramids on Cozumel is actually proof of their practical wisdom. The Maya knew that Cozumel was a regular victim of hurricanes, and thus constructed their buildings low to the ground. During our horseback tour through Cozumel’s jungle, we had even seen an ingenious Maya hurricane detection system: a round hut with conch shells molded into the ceiling. When strong winds would sweep in, the air circulating within the hut would be forced through the shells, emitting a noise loud enough to be heard across the island.

Accompanying us on our tour of San Gervasio was Elizabeth Palm, an anthropologist based in San Miguel. As we walked between the site’s various structures, she filled us in on colorful details about life during the era. Cozumel was known to the Maya as “Tantún” and was believed to be the sacred realm of Ix’Chel, the goddess of fertility. Couples who were having trouble conceiving, or women who hoped to birth great warriors, would travel hundreds of kilometers and cross the channel to pray at the sacred temples.

Battling against the fog of mosquitoes which had descended upon San Gervasio, we encountered vestiges of these temples and some of the roads, or sacbeob, along which the pilgrims would arrive. We saw the Arch, which the faithful would pass under on their way to worship. And farther away, we found the Ka’na Na Pyramid, where oracles would deliver their prophecies. Elizabeth explained that, just like modern-day politicians, Maya rulers weren’t above manipulation to keep their people under control. Thanks to their advanced understanding of astronomical cycles, Maya scientists were able to predict celestial events such as eclipses. To the normal Maya farmer, such revelations must have seemed like magic.

To be sure, San Gervasio isn’t the most memorable collection of ruins on the peninsula, but its history as a center of pilgrimage is fascinating. The site takes around an hour to see, and makes for a great cultural excursion on the island.

Location on our Map

If you’d like to learn more about the Maya, and can read Spanish, check out Elizabeth’s blog: Portal Maya, where she clarifies some of the most common misconceptions about this ancient people.

Budget Accommodation On Cozumel

San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel
, , , , ,
December 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm Comments (3)

El Cedral and Cozumel’s Eastern Coast

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

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
, , , , , , , ,
December 13, 2013 at 1:19 am Comment (1)

Rancho Buenavista – On Horseback Through Cozumel

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Cozumel is most famous for its crystalline waters and amazing coral formations, but after about an hour of bouncing on horseback through a thick, humid forest and exploring forgotten Maya ruins, I began to take seriously the island’s true diversity.

Horse Back Riding Cozumel

We were guests at Rancho Buenavista, a horse ranch on the eastern side of the island. The ranch occupies a significant portion of Cozumel’s entire area, and has been in the same family for generations. Among archaeology buffs, Buenavista is appreciated for its Maya ruins, the most important on the island after those at nearby San Gervasio.

After a short safety demonstration, we met our horses for the day. I would be atop Máscara (which, for the sake of Máscara’s manly pride, I should clarify is Spanish for “Mask”, not the eyelash-darkening cosmetic). These were full-sized North American horses, nothing like the pint-sized fellows we’d ridden in Iceland, and I felt a little nervous while mounting. But I kept my fears to myself. I had to, since the four-year-old daughter of the proprietors was riding with us, and was the confident master of her own steed.

Soon enough we were bouncing through the jungle. A playful pack of Xoloitzcuintles, Mexican Hairless Dogs, had decided to follow us, jumping at our feet as we dismounted to explore the first set of Maya ruins. Here, deep in the jungle, the Maya had excavated a cave out of the limestone, which they used for rituals to the goddess Ix’Chel. All along the path, we encountered statues which had been discovered around the grounds of the ranch.

Riding through the jungle, swatting away mosquitoes, and following our guide to ancient ruins… at Buenavista, we truly felt the thrill of adventure and discovery. Our tour lasted for around 90 minutes. Afterwards, back at the ranch, we relaxed with sore butts and a couple beers enjoyed “Chelada” style, with lime and pepper. It was a wonderful day out; if you’re looking for an exciting and absolutely non-standard experience in Cozumel, consider an excursion to Rancho Buenavista.

Location on our Map

Rent a Car From Sixt! No hidden taxes or fees!

Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
Horse Back Riding Cozumel
, , , , , ,
December 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm Comments (4)

An Underwater Paradise Off Cozumel

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

With iridescent waters and one of Earth’s best reefs just offshore, it was no coincidence that we choose to spend a week on Cozumel immediately after obtaining our scuba certifications. The Caribbean island has long been regarded as one of the world’s premiere diving destinations.

There’s an almost unlimited variety of diving possibilities at Cozumel, with spots along the reef that are suitable for any skill level. Although we had been invited to join an advanced dive, descending to 30 meters with the goal of watching a migrating group of spotted eagle rays, we decided on a much more shallow excursion. This would be our first real dive, and we wanted to take it easy. And besides, this easier dive was to a place called “Paradise Reef”. With a name like that, it’s hard to go wrong.

Stretching from the tip of the Yucatán all the way to Honduras, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the world’s second-longest reef system, behind only the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. And Cozumel is home to a great section of it, protected since 1996 as the “Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park”. The number of possible dives around the island is amazing; just take a look at Reefs of Cozumel, an excellent online resource which describes 38 of the most popular sites.

After a short boat ride, we dropped into the water and sank to the ocean floor. Jürgen and I were the only newbies among a large group of lifelong divers, and I had been worried that they’d be bored at this “beginners” section of the reef. But the minute I saw the coral formations, those fears vanished. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been there; something as beautiful as this reef simply can’t get old.

How many fish did we see? Hard to say… hundreds? Thousands? There were large, colorful fish that seemed content to float along with us, a school of snappers performing a synchronized dance, moray eels and big black groupers. And what’s that whiskered beast hiding under a rock? A splendid toadfish! Totally endemic to Cozumel, I had never even heard of it before. And there… hovering comfortably in the distance with a school of smaller fish swimming around him, a barracuda, at least a couple meters long and terrifying to behold.

We stayed down for about 45 minutes before our tanks ran low. Not bad for our first real dive, though I was shocked to learn how much air the experienced divers still had left in their tanks. We’ve still got some learning to do. But it was a memorable day out; and we didn’t have to wait long before the decision to become certified divers paid off.

Video and pictures taken with this underwater camera!

, , , , , , , , ,
December 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm Comments (2)

The Cozumel Pearl Farm

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

It was as though we’d left reality and entered an advertisement for Bacardi. A group of friends taking a leisurely boat trip across the turquoise water of the Caribbean. Anchoring and carrying a cooler full of drinks onto a private beach. Snorkeling out into the water, lounging on the sand, drinking and eating pineapple burgers. This was our excursion to the Cozumel Pearl Farm… just another day in paradise.

Cozumel Pearl Farm

The only pearl farm operating in the Caribbean is found on the little-visited northern end of Cozumel. It’s a small enterprise for now, focused on sustainable and eco-friendly growth, with an eye toward tourism. Caught between the ocean and a mangrove forest, the farm is completely inaccessible by car.

Once we had arrived and enjoyed a cold beer with a stunning Caribbean view, we visited the small museum, housed in a palapa. The pearl farm was established in 2004… unlucky, since it was just a year later that Hurricane Wilma struck. The storm devastated Cozumel and utterly destroyed the small company. The winds were powerful enough to pick up the one-ton anchors which they’d moored deep in the water and throw them back onto shore, where they still sit today.

We toured the laboratory where the pearl implantation takes place. Until now, I’d never given pearl farming much thought. I had just assumed that the process involved cracking open a bunch of oysters until you find a pearl. But there’s a lot more to it than that. At just the right moment in an oyster’s life, you have to plant a round “seed” in its membrane, in order to grow a pearl which can be harvested years later. A naturally-occurring pearl is exceedingly rare, let alone a perfectly round one. Even with the implants, only a small percentage actually succeed.

Cozumel Pearl Farm

We snorkeled out to the underwater farm, and saw the vertical cages in which the oysters are kept, protected by a life-sized underwater statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Next to her, there’s an artificial reef which after just a couple years is already home to a surprising amount of life. The brother and sister team who run the Cozumel Pearl Farm are clearly environmentally conscious; in fact, he’s an engineer by trade, and has designed a new style of anchor fitting which is far less damaging to coral than the industry standard. It’s an invention which is being deployed throughout Mexico.

This was one of the best days we’ve had in ages. The day-long tour costs $110 USD per person, which might seem expensive at first, but considering the beautiful boat rides there and back, the snorkeling, the lunch, the beer on the beach, the tour of the farm, and the chance to see an almost entirely unknown side of Cozumel, it’s a bargain. And besides, the farm itself is so small, with such incredible owners… you’ll know immediately that this is a project worth supporting.

Location our our Map
Cozumel Pearl Farm – Website

Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
Cozumel Pearl Farm
, , , , , , , ,
December 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm Comment (1)

Cozumel – Island of Swallows, Scuba and Cruise Ships

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Almost ten years ago, we took a cruise leaving from Miami. Turns out, and we might have suspected as much, Jürgen and I are not cruise-people. We found it to be a week-long exercise in boredom, and even the scheduled stops were agonizing. Pushy vendors in Jamaica, Margaritaville in the Caymans, Bingo on-deck. Luckily, there was one bright spot on the itinerary: Cozumel. We had a fantastic time during our day on the Mexican island, and vowed to return one day. A decade later, we made good on the promise.

Found just a few kilometers off Mexico’s Caribbean coast, straight across from Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is home to 90,000 people. But the population swells to twice this number almost every day, thanks to the cruise ships which call into port. While arriving on the hour-long ferry from Playa, we counted six gargantuan boats lining the island’s shore.

The name “Cozumel” comes from the Mayan Kùutsmil, which means Island of Swallows. Associated with the fertility goddess Ix’Chel, the island was famous across the Maya world as a place of pilgrimage and worship. But by the time of the Spanish Conquest, the culture had already fallen into ruin and there remained but a handful of indigenous people to greet the newcomers.

Today, Cozumel has been invaded by a different kind of conquistador: pleasure-seeking cruise-shippers, tens of thousands of whom arrive every morning, then leave as the sun goes down. The crass commercialism which goes hand-in-hand with this kind of tourism dominates the ocean-side streets of San Miguel, the island’s main city, but we had very little to do with it during our week on the island. Cozumel revealed itself to be much larger and more diverse than we had reason to expect.

The island is perhaps most famous for its scuba diving. With healthy coral reefs and crystal-clear water lining its shores, the diving at Cozumel is some of the best and most accessible in the world. We would take advantage of this, and also be introduced to some of the island’s other, lesser-known sights, including lagoons, horseback riding, jungles, Maya ruins, incredible restaurants, and even a working pearl farm.

We spent seven days on Cozumel as the guests of the island’s tourism commission, who were eager to show off how rewarding an extended stay on the island can be. Cozumel gets plenty of tourists, but not many stick around for more than a day. And that’s a mistake.

Cozumel Hotels! Book Now!!

, , , , , , ,
December 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm Comments (0)

Where to Eat in Puerto Morelos

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

For such a small town, Puerto Morelos has a number of great places to grab a bite. There were a few we loved so much, we returned to them over and over again. Here are our favorites, and one that we would urge you to stay away from.

Our unofficial office for the week was at Restaurante La Pirata. When we’re traveling, it’s always difficult to find a comfortable place in which to work, so we were thrilled to discover La Pirata. Speedy internet, friendly service, and a pleasant and relatively quiet atmosphere. Great food, as well. Apart from our hotel and Wet Set, this is where we spent most of our time during the week. [Location]

To eat like a local, head to Mimi’s, where the tables are packed, decor is kept to a bare minimum, and the tostadas are delicious. Outrageously so. Seriously, outrageous. After biting into one of Mimi’s tostadas (which cost next to nothing, by the way), I was outraged. How dare they make something so good?! I was furious. Those incredible tostadas covered with insanely delicious beans and perfectly seasoned meat… damn you Mimi, where do you get off?! I’ll have three more. [Location]

For great value set lunches on weekdays, our favorite was Al Chile. For about $5 USD, you get an appetizer, main dish and drink. The place is cute and the food is great. And if you get sleepy after such a big lunch, grab a cup of the best coffee in town at nearby Cafe de Amancia, on the corner of the main plaza. [Location]

If you’re in the mood for amazing fish tacos, search out Caribe’s, a small and speedy cafe near the water. When we ate there, a group of kids was playing around our table and teasing us, but the fish tacos I was scarfing down were so good, I likely wouldn’t have noticed if they’d been smacking my head with baseball bats. [Location]

With so many good restaurants to choose from, you have no excuse to waste your time at Olé, on the “other side” of town away from the beach. Our hotel warned us that they have a reputation for ripping off foreigners, but we went anyway. It looked like such a cool little place! The food was alright, but unspectacular and, as warned, our bill was more than double what it should have been.

Great Place To Stay In Puerto Morelos

, , , , , ,
December 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm Comment (1)

Learning How to Scuba Dive

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

One reason Jürgen and I chose the Yucatán Peninsula as our home for 91 days was our desire to learn how to scuba dive. This is one of the best places in the world to do so. After some research, we decided on the four-day certification course offered by Wet Set, a scuba-diving shop found in Puerto Morelos.

We were introduced to scuba diving almost ten years ago, when we participated in a two-hour beginners-level course offered on a cruise ship. Being able to breathe underwater was an exhilarating experience; the course gave us a tantalizing sample of scuba diving, and we immediately wanted more. But the years passed by, and we never found ourselves in a position to properly learn.

Until now. Puerto Morelos was the perfect spot to complete our certification. Just offshore is the world’s second-longest reef, and the town itself is peaceful and quiet, ideal for studying. Most importantly, the pros at Wet Set couldn’t have been more helpful. This small shop near the Ojo de Agua Hotel, run by an American/Scottish husband and wife team, boasts a tremendously friendly and qualified staff.

Under the watchful, critical supervision of our instructor, Lisa, we went from clueless scuba newbies to certified divers in four days. Scuba is a lot more knowledge-based than I realized. There are a lot of facts and skills with which to become familiar. Now that I’m certified, I can tell you what nitrogen narcosis is and, without any problems, could calculate your post-dive pressure group. I can confidently assemble your diving equipment and communicate potentially important phrases like “I’m out of air, give me yours”, using my hands.

Of course, the classroom was just part of it. A huge chunk of our time was spent in the water, practicing and demonstrating necessary skills. Things like taking our masks off underwater, recovering our regulators, providing air to our buddies, ascending to the surface in one breath, and hovering mid-water without moving a limb. These skill checks were not just important, but kind of fun. Upon completing each, I felt a little less anxious about diving. It’s a relief when you know that you can now deal with a situation as serious as running out of air.

We made four dives as part of our course, visiting various spots along the reef. These initial underwater forays were split between fun and work; we had to practice specific tasks, but also had time to sight-see. We swam past a giant sea turtle, trumpet fish, and even found a moray eel staring at us from his cave. And with each dive, our confidence grew.

After four exhausting days, we received our Open Water Certifications with a feeling of accomplishment. If you’re looking for a great place to learn how to scuba dive, make your way to Puerto Morelos and find Wet Set. If you’re already certified, they offer good-value dives in various spots along the reef and, for those not into scuba, they do snorkeling, as well as something called “snuba” diving: a hybrid between scuba and snorkel.

Location of Wet Set on our Map
Wet Set – Website

Great Place To Stay In Puerto Morelos

, , , , , , , , , ,
December 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm Comments (7)

Puerto Morelos: Chilling in the Shadow of Cancún

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

After a week in Mérida, we took our first road trip, venturing east to the neighboring state of Quintana Roo. But unlike the majority of visitors to Mexico’s Caribbean coast, our destination wasn’t the party mecca of Cancún. Instead, we hopped a bus headed for the quiet village of Puerto Morelos, about a half hour south.

Puerto Morelos Yucatan
The Leaning Lighthouse is Puerto Morelos’ most well-known sight

With an agreeable blend of locals, expats and tourists, the small town of Puerto Morelos is found directly between Cancún and Playa del Carmen. But in spirit, it’s worlds away from either. No clubs in Puerto Morelos will blast their speakers until dawn, and there’s not a theme bar in sight. And since we were hoping to complete a scuba certification course, a task requiring a lot of study, work and rest, the relaxed vibe was exactly what we wanted.

Puerto Morelos is split cleanly in half by the highway which runs north-south along the coast. The side closer to the beach is the tourism zone, with restaurants, souvenir shops and a large population of American and Canadian expats who have moved in for good. The other half, referred to as La Colonia, is where the majority of locals live. We were usually on the beach-side of town, but spent our nights in La Colonia, in the Casitas Kinsol. The division between the two sides of town is real; moving between them requires a trip of two kilometers through a swampy marsh, but a taxi only costs about 25 pesos ($2 USD) each way.

Although we eschewed our characteristic program of sightseeing in favor of learning how to dive, we became very familiar with Puerto Morelos during our week there. It’s not a town which will appeal to those looking to dance the night away, enjoy a luxurious weekend at a high-end hotel, or mack on sexy bikini bunnies. But if you want a quiet vacation on a gorgeous beach, delicious and affordable food, friendly locals and excellent diving, you could hardly do better.

Location on our Yucatán Map

Great and affordable place to stay in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Casitas Kinsol
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
, , , , , ,
December 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm Comments (4)

Newer Posts »

Cozumel's Museo de la Isla When preparing to explore Cozumel, a logical place to begin is the Museum of the Island, found near the ferry pier. I know, I know... the weather is great, the water is crystal blue, and the amount of things to do outdoors is overwhelming. Who wants to spend time in a museum? But the overview of Cozumel's history, geography and ecology is brief and well-presented, and afterwards you can reward yourself with an excellent breakfast in the museum's restaurant.
For 91 Days