My first time in Cozumel was on my very first cruise several years back and I loved it. At then end of that trip I told my now husband that he should have never taken me on a cruise, on the Allure of the seas with a balcony none the less, because I was hooked and I was going to cost him a lot of money wanting to cruise all the time. Luckily we were on the same page. We rented a Jeep, drove around, ate some tacos, drank some cerveza and explored some neat ruins. On our second time back in 2018 we went racing on 1980’s Americas cup sailing yachts, which unfortunately are now in St. Maarten since theirs needed replacing from Hurricane Irma.
We always have a great time when we go to Cozumel and the one thing we don’t want to do is get stuck with a big group on an excursion, be confined to one place and not have the freedom to explore. If you are like us then here are some ways to experience the island on your own.
Rent a car or scooter
Don’t go with the first company you see, search around a bit and compare pricing. There are several rental companies which gives you a good bargaining position. It comes down to your bargaining skills how much you will pay for the rental. Try to have some pesos with you instead of paying in USD. And if you could, negotiate in Spanish. If you locate a rental company that is not the few set up right when you get off the ship, then it may serve you better to exclude that you are from a cruise ship and you are staying at a local hotel to get a better price.
If the 49cc scooters are to slow for you, there is an Eagle Rider a short walk up the street from the port.
Eat at Coconuts and you might see some coconuts
It may not be the most kid friendly place on the island so beware but it was a fun little spot with a nice view. Coconuts is nicely decorated with funny t-shirts and there is a special chair where women show their coconuts. We’ve seen it…
Every time I visit a new place I am always in search of the best authentic food. It is a little difficult to do this when the whole island is touristy, however we really did enjoy the tacos, friendly staff and the views…
Have some fajitas and cerveza with a view
On our second trip to Cozumel, a local recommended a nice place to grab a bite after we went sailing. To our surprise, halfway through our meal we spotted them at the bar ordering. They weren’t wrong for recommending it. The view was beautiful and the food was very tasty. It was a little bit of a walk back to our ship but it was a nice and peaceful meal with a gorgeous view of the sailboats we just raced as well as our ship.
After every sip of his cervesa, Rob sang he was just gonna sit right here and have another beer in Mexico.
Soak up the sights and take a dip in the beaches
When we rented the Jeep on our first visit to Cozumel, the gentleman gave us a map an marked places to go, beaches to avoid and where to eat.
So we hopped in the Jeep and just drove all the way around making as many stops as possible. The beaches are not white and sandy so keep that in mind for when you’re packing. Think about getting a good pair of water shoes for all the rocks.
After stopping at all the beaches, other smaller archaeological sites and checking out a few shops, we spent the remainder of the day walking around San Gervasio.
Explore the ruins all over the island
The ruins around the island may not be the famous Chichen Itza but Tulum is a 2 1/2 hour drive and ferry ride if you’re feeling risky. San Gervasio is an archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, the largest of all the sites in Cozumel and can be found in the northern third of the island. The ruins were once a hub of worship of the goddess Ix Chel, an aged deity of childbirth, fertility, medicine, and weaving.
The best part of exploring the ruins were all the stories we made up about what could have happened on the very paths we walked. The admission is $9.50 which wasn’t bad for walking around and experiencing a bit of history.
I really really want to share the amazing experience we had sailing the Americas Cup sailing yachts. However True North and Stars and Stripes are no longer in Cozumel since they replaced the sailing yachts from St. Maartin after hurricane Irma. But the company should get the credit they deserve. There are many other experiences you can do similar to this one. This excursion can be booked through the cruise lines but we actually found them online and booked directly. If your itinerary takes you to St. Maartin and it is something you like to do, here is their website https://www.12metre.com/.
The experience is two sailing yachts from past America’s Cups race each other and we are the crew. The existing crew places you in a task, depending on your preference and physical ability (or you could just sit and watch), and the captain pumps you up and after your bit of training and practice, the first mate goes over the strategy with us.
Rob and I are sailors and have a small sailboat so to sail on something that goes a lot faster than the 5 knots our baby does, was very exciting!
We sailed on True north and lost to Stars and Stripes by 1 foot!! It was still a wonderful experience and they had cocktails waiting for us when we returned to shore as well as pictures for sale that they took from the tender.
I don’t have to tell you Google is your friend, but it is, especially when your exploring on your own. Most cellphone carriers let you use data for free in Mexico so make sure to give them a call before your cruise and double check all the places you will be visiting.
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