Since Cozumel is a pretty large island, I decided that I needed to rent a car to see what it had to offer. A huge percentage of the island is protected, meaning that nothing can be built on it. I think the livable land is under 10% of the island, which is incredible since it is in a spectacular part of the Caribbean. Considering that the Yucatan coast is getting visited by more and more people from countries all over the world, you’d think they’d want to capitalize on that. I’m glad they’re not…and so are the residents of the island.
I was pleasantly surprised by Cozumel. For some reason I thought it would be more junky and crowded, but it really wasn’t. It’s clean and relatively quiet. I think some of that is due to the fact that they don’t have golf carts there to contribute to the noise and traffic congestion. I think that’s a good idea. Since it’s a larger island, it doesn’t seem as crowded, so people can spread out more. Since I was there right at New Year’s, I would think it would be a very crowded time of year, but it didn’t seem that bad. Playa del Carmen seemed much worse.
Anyway, back to the car rental. I asked the staff person at Villas El Encanto to see if she could find a car for me for New Year’s Day. She wasn’t sure anything would be available, but she came through for me. As I posted on Facebook, the rental company was ISIS (pronounced “ee-sus”), and I could go pick it up. Yay! It’s a family-run company and they’ll do you right. I would highly recommend them…unless you want a Lexus or BMW. Then you might need to go somewhere else. Here’s my car.
And it’s not the horse and buggy.
This was no luxury car, that’s for sure, so if you want to rent a cheap car on Cozumel, be prepared for this. It’s bare-bones, a stick shift, no suspension, no power steering, and no A/C. If you drive a stick shift, it might take you awhile to get used to the clutch. It cost me $45 for 24 hours and I paid cash. After I got used to it, I thought it was kind of fun.
So I headed south on the island to see what was there. There are a couple more docks for the cruise ships down that way. I don’t know whether the bigger cruise ships dock here, or if that’s just the way it was when I was there, but some of these things are HUGE! This picture doesn’t do it justice because it looked like a small city. I would love to have gone aboard one because I’ve never been on one before, but they probably wouldn’t let me just go on and look around.
So once you get past those other docks, things really start to thin out and there isn’t much to see. The sea is to your right and jungle area is to your left. There are occasional restaurants along the way, one of which I stopped at for lunch. I got a picture, but I didn’t get the name.
Here’s the view. There were snorkelers along the shore.
And a couple of parasailers in the distance.
And here are the fish tacos I had.
I saw a sign for a park and botanical gardens, so I thought I’d stop. I’m a big plant lover, so I thought it might be worth seeing. It was called Chankanaab Park.
The botanical gardens were just a lot of lush plants that grow in the area, and it was dressed up with replicas of various Mexican ruins and historical Mayan artifacts.
Hardly anyone was looking at this part of the park…everyone was interested in the beach, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, the buffet and Starbuck’s. It cost me $21 to get in the place, which was pretty much a waste since I didn’t use any of the water features. It’s geared more toward families and children.
As you drive along the edge of the island, you see an occasional restaurant or bar…like the one below…every few miles. They usually have the typical souvenir shops alongside, but that’s about it. There are no homes or any other kinds of businesses.
There was an area called Punta Sur, which I didn’t check out. According to the signage, it was supposed to have beautiful beaches, but it cost about $20, as well. After wasting $20 on the park, I didn’t want to spend another $20 on this. Maybe it would have been worth it…I don’t know.
For the most part, the coast is very rocky.
I walked up on that rocky bar that juts out on the upper right of the picture above, and it’s extremely rough and hard to walk on. I wasn’t going to go up there, but a family wanted me to take a picture of all of them so they helped me up, and then deserted me after I took the picture! If you fell on this stuff, it would not be a pretty picture.
Anyway, I got down safe and sound. Here’s another one that has the Mexican flag on it.
I wish I had more pictures to share of Cozumel, but I was only there for two full days, so I could only cover so much.
Here’s the ferry getting ready to take us back to Playa del Carmen. I’m just praying that it will be a better trip than the one to Cozumel.
Here are some pictures as I’m waiting to board.
Looking towards the Yucatan Peninsula…
Some views of the Cozumel shoreline…I wish I would have thought to drive the other way along the cost to check out the other hotels, but I just didn’t think about it.
So I discover that I DO have the option of sitting on top of this ferry and I’m very grateful because it’s a beautiful day. Instead of sitting on the benches under the roof, I opt for the open-air benches at the back of the boat.
I was able to stick my feet out under the rail and felt somewhat like Rose in “Titanic” as she’s leaning over the railing at the front of the ship. (Well, not really, and I’m at the back of the boat so it’s really completely different….besides the fact that Leonard DiCaprio wasn’t there.) But it was WAY better than the hot ferry ride over and I will take this any day.
And adios, Cozumel!
On to a one-night stay at Puerto Morelos next!