It's a quick and easy hop, skip and jump to Cozumel from Tulum via Playa Del Carmen and Justin, Cori, Gina and I made the trip without any difficulties after returning the rental car to Thrifty in Playa.
We found our way to our new digs, Casa Las Anclas, and met the new owner, Jim, who turned out to be from way 'Up-North' Wisconsin of all places. He gave us some recommendations for our time on the island and we wasted no time heading out to explore. We got some very ho-hum margheritas from Casa Denis while watching some embarrassingly drunk middle-agers from Jersey murder the lyrics to several songs being strummed by a local guitarist who was playing for tips. The ring-leader tried to pawn the guitar man off on us at one point, but, smartly, the guitar man quickly realized he was better off with the drunk Jersey guys as they were steady chucking him $5 bills.
We had dinner at a great Mexican spot around the corner along with a way more legit margherita that, for the record, was as big as our heads. Our waiter gave us a few more tips on spots to check out and we headed to one of those recommendations for a night cap.
We were minding our own biz when a grumpy local came and sat next to us. We ended up striking up conversation with Francisco. He gave us the sob story: he just got off the phone with his 'girlfriend' who he's been dating and sending money to for a few years. Allegedly she is the CEO of a company and lives in Sausalito, but still has had some financial hardships over the last few years which is why Francisco, who works as a tour guide on the island, had just sent her $900 in hard earned tips.
Riiigghht...we didn't have the heart to tell him straight up that he was being played like a fool, so we advised him strongly against sending any more money and told him to plan an unannounced trip up to see her. We then wished him luck and made our escape.
The next day was a perfect lazy day in Paradise. We spent the morning and early afternoon wandering the island. Pandering to how ridiculous the main tourist strip is in Cozzy, Gina felt it necessary to get a 'yard' from Carlos and Charlie's which is the 2nd worst bar on Cozy, after Señor Frog's.
Continuing our day's journey. We eventually found the shop, Blue Angels, which we decided we would be diving with in the coming days. While there we jumped in the beautifully refreshing water and choked down the last remains of the aforementioned "yard".
That afternoon we found our way to the Fish Collective Cantina where you're served all sorts of delicious (and free) seafood goodies along with the purchase of a few cold beers. Love this arrangment!
In the morning, Justin took it upon himself to rent a badass bright red VW bug convertible for a day of cruising the island. G and I took the breezy backseat, and of course feft the need to take turns standing up, head out of the convertible as we charged down the coastal highway. Always wanted to do that!
We made a few nice stops along the way including one where we got some local goodness: Conch Ceviche. Another clutch stop was for ice cold fresh coconut waters straight outta the coconut. That's when you know you're in a tropical paradise. I will also mention, that a bit of fun was had launching said coconuts at high speed from the back of the bug into the forest!
That afternoon we made our way to an infamous Cozumel establishment; Wet Wendy's for a couple of their world famous margaritas. The highlights were definitely the fresh Cilantro and Cucumber Margaritas. If you want to get wild, you can add some Jalapeño... You know we did. Yup, well deserved of the hype. If you ever find yourself in Cozumel, do yourself a favor and get involved.
That night we got tacos and 'gringas' (meat filled, corn tortilla quesadilla goodness) from a local taqueria and then hit the hay early in anticipation of a big day scuba diving in the morning.
We were up bright and early and made our way to Blue Angel dive shop to head out and see what Cozumel looks like underwater. We did 2 dives that morning and they were absolutely fantastic. The water was ridiculously clear, it felt like you could see forever...couldn't have been any different to our last dive in East Timor where we had almost zero visibility. The coral was beautiful and we scored on wildlife: several sea turtles, a nurse shark, a few rays and some big Grouper were the highlights.
We finished our two dives that morning and headed back to our hood for some lunch and then to rest a bit that afternoon as we were due back at Blue Angel that evening for our night dive.
A night dive is something I've always wanted to do and I'm really glad we did because it was awesome. It's a little eery dropping into dark water with only a few flash lights illuminating the moonscape looking scene, but as soon as our eyes adjusted and we got a little used to it we all had a great time. The freaks certainly come out at night at 40 feet deep; we saw countless octopi, crabs, lobsters, shrimp and all sorts of weird looking fish. Some of the stuff was startlingly big too. Leste and I sat for about a minute watching the biggest damn lobster you'll ever see; this thing had to weigh 60-70 pounds, it was freaking HUGE.
The dive lasted about an hour and was definitely a highlight of the stay on Cozumel. We got back to the house and had a quick bite before crashing out; dead tired after a long day of diving.
In the morning we went for a quick jog before it got too hot, then packed our bags and hit the ferry back to Playa Del Carmen.
We had a hot date with yet another sliver of Caribbean paradise. Isla Mujeres; here we come!