Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, also known as Island of the Swallows, is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  It is about 30 miles long and just under 10 miles wide.  The majority of the population lives in the town of San Miguel which is on the island's western shore.  Mayans were believed to have first settled the area by the 1st millennium A.D. and the first Spanish expedition arrived in 1518. 

Today the island is a major cruise ship destination.  The Puerta Maya pier is frequented by most major cruise lines and numerous shops line the pier area with assorted goods to attract visitors.  Colorful and imaginative restaurants also line the pier.

Cozumel Tour Excursions:

  • Passion Island Beach Break/Lunch & Scenic Cruise:  Board your motorized boat at the pier and enjoy a relaxing 40 minute transfer to Passion Island located just off the northwestern coast of Cozumel.  On arrival notice the iridescent greenish-blue waters.  You will receive a brief orientation about the island's amenities and sip a refreshing welcome drink.  Enjoy ample time to relax on the white sand beach, swing in a hammock, swim, sunbathe or explore the natural sanctuary.  Complimentary beach chairs, fresh water showers, volleyball, water trampoline, kayaks and pedal boats are available.  The complimentary open bar serves both nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages.  Lunch features a Mexican-style buffet with guacamole, barbecue chicken and grilled mahi-mahi, fresh fruit and more.
  • Twister Speed Boat to Passion Island/Beach/Lunch:  Board the "Twister" at the dock.  After a safety briefing, hold on tight as the captain blasts off in an incredible acceleration and then performs exciting maneuvers including 360 degree turns on the way to Passion Island.  Enjoy around three hours relaxing on the beach in a complimentary beach chair, swing in a hammock or swim in the sea.  Drinks are complimentary and lunch is also included.  Then embark the Twister for the exciting cruise back to the ship.

We opted to take the first Passion Island excursion listed above and it would have been a fantastic day except the weather wasn't cooperating.  The day was overcast and cold breezes pierced the air which you wouldn't think would occur in such a tropical climate such as Cozumel.

  • Tulum Mayan Ruins/Playa del Carmen/Shopping:  Begin with a 40 minute ride to Play del Carmen on mainland Mexico aboard one of Ultramar's modern ferries.  Take an informative, narrated one-hour ride to Tulum, via bus followed by a 40 minute restroom/shopping stop.  Once at Tulum you will be escorted by your English speaking guide through a 45 minute tour of the walled Mayan city.  Visit the famous castle ruins, situated on a 40 foot bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  Admire the Temple of the Frescoes known for its detailed carved figures and frescoes, depicting original Mayan paintings and writings, the Temple of the Descending God, the House of Chultun and the House of Columns.  View the breathtaking scenes from the towering cliff.  After the guided tour you will have 90 minutes of free time to explore the ruins on you own.  You will be offered a snack and water/soda.  Upon arrival back at Playa del Carmen, you will have some free time to visit this coastal town and its beaches.  Then you will board the ferry that will return you to the ship.
  • Tulum Mayan Ruins/Beach Break/Lunch:  The same tour as above but after the guided tour of Tulum you will be taken to a private beach club for 90 minutes.  Enjoy a light Mexican-style snack and the white sand beach adjacent to ruins.  Upon departing the beach for Playa del Carmen, you will enjoy a 30 minute shopping stop.  Once you arrive at Playa del Carmen, you board the ferry that will return you to the ship.
  • Folkloric Show/Tequila Tasting/Scenic Drive:  This tour will give you an insider's view of Cozumel.  The tour begins as you board your bus for a scenic, narrated drive around the island.  You'll witness white-sand beaches, tropical vegetation and the waters of the Caribbean Sea.  You'll travel to Hacienda Antigua to sample a variety of Mexico's tequilas and then make your way to downtown San Miguel where you'll witness a traditional Mexican folkloric show.  When the show ends you have time to shop at the Forum Mall.  The tour concludes with a drive back to the pier.
  • Coba Mayan Ruins/Scenic Drive/Shopping:  Discover the lost city of Coba.  The excursion begins with a 40 minute drive to Playa del Carmen aboard a modern ferry.  Travel on an informative 90 minute narrated ride to Coba via bus.  Once at Coba, immerse yourself in this huge site within the depths of the Yucatan jungle, which covers nearly four square miles and is surrounded by lakes.  Follow your English-speaking guide for a two-hour narrated tour along paths carved through the rainforest.  Explore newly restored structures that have only recently been uncovered.  See the ball court where the deadly game Pok Ta Pok was played.  Marvel at Nohoch Mul, climb the highest pyramid in the Yucatan.  Upon departing Coba for Playa del Carmen you will stop for a 30 minute shopping/restroom break then meet the ferry for the return to the ship in Cozumel.
  • Scenic Coast Cruise/El Cedral/Museum/Shopping:  See Cozumel from both the land and sea.  Take a scenic boat ride through the water and enjoy and expertly narrated tour conducted by a bilingual guide.  Then travel around the island aboard a bus, visit El Cedral and see the first town established by the Spaniards in the 15th century.  Take pictures of the church and the small Mayan ruin.  The drive continues along the east coast road where you can admire the miles of deserted white sand beaches.  A stop is made at El Mirador for the breath-taking view.  After a beverage break, continue to the Cozumel Museum to see important moments in Cozumel history.  Enjoy free time to explore and shop in town.  Return transportation is offered or you can stay and return later at your own expense.
  • X-Caret Eco-Archeological Park:  Visit X-Caret, one of the world's most fascinating eco-parks.  The tour begins with a ferry ride to Playa del Carmen.  Board your bus for a short drive to X-Caret.  You'll have about five hours to explore this majestic park by the sea.  Choose from the museum, bird sanctuary, stables, botanical gardens, coral reef aquarium, restored Mayan ruins, a replicated Mayan village, beautiful beaches and natural pools.  Attend a Mexican cultural show or get up-close and personal with cougars, turtles, and alligators.  Even take a swim in an underground river.  For additional cost, you can enjoy an optional guided tour, SNUBA diving, sea treks and dolphin swim tours.  Lunch is on your own with a choice of restaurants and shopping is also available.
  • Atlantis Submarine Expedition/Marine Park:  Enjoy a real U.S. Coast Guard-certified submarine as you cruise the ocean floor at the island's famous attraction Chankanaab Reef.  See parrot-fish, grunts and groupers as your captain expertly navigates through 30-foot coral heads and then descends to deeper waters reaching 100 feet.  Throughout the voyage an informative live narration is provided by the co-pilot.
  • Dolphin and Manatee Swim/Sea Lion Show:  Swim with a dolphin and manatees and sea lions.  This half-day tour takes you to Chankanaab National Park where marine mammals perform and get playful with visitors.  You'll make friends with a playful dolphin who greets you with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek.  You'll pick up speed as you hold onto one of their fins and take a ride through the sea.  Next, you'll interact with a manatee on a submerged platform for 10 minutes and witness a 20-minute show with exciting stunts and other performances featuring the talents of sea lions.  Before your return drive to the pier, you'll have free time to explore the park and shop.
  • Mexican Cooking Preparation/Lunch/Beach:  this half-day tour teaches you to prepare authentic Mexican cuisine.  The tour begins with a drive to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, one of the largest and most popular beaches in Cozumel.  Upon arriving, a prestigious chef will lead you into the art of cooking fine Mexican traditional cuisine.  You'll be assigned a workstation with all the ingredients and utensils needed to prepare and serve some of the most delicious recipes.  Enjoy your very own dish creations accompanied by Mexican wines and National Open Bar.  After lunch, you'll relax on a private beach and take advantage of Playa Mia's facilities with over 20 attractions and services including kayaks, paddle boats, a water trampoline and floating mats.
  • Salsa and Margarita Making/Salsa Dance Class:  Enjoy this half-day eating, drinking and dancing excursion while learning how to make a wide array of salsas and two different kinds of margaritas.  Later, move your feet to the beat of salsa music.  You'll travel by bus to a nearby beach resort and meet your master salsa chefs who will lead you though an interactive cooking experience.  You'll make seven different salsas and and an authentic margarita and a frozen strawberry margarita.  Once you've mastered your cooking skills your chefs will get you moving to the swinging sounds of salsa music.  After class, relax by the beach or swim in one of the hotel's pools.  Then board the bus to return to the pier.
  • Playa Mia Beach Break/Lunch:  Spend a day on the white sandy beach of Playa Mia.  From transportation to water sports, a self-service buffet and an open bar.  Take a dip in the swimming pool or take a walk on the white-sand beach.  Enjoy kayaks, sailboats, paddle boats, a water trampoline, ping-pong tables and much more.  Motorized water toys and snorkeling equipment is also available for a nominal fee.  The fun continues with an outdoor massage, hair braiding and temporary tattoos at additional cost.  Before your return drive to the pier make a stop at souvenir shops.
  • Adventure Park/Zip-line/Snorkel/Beach:  Spend the day enjoying the excitement of zip lines and high ropes course bridges at the beach-side Adventure Park.  You can fly through the air on a series of zip lines, cross between the man-made towers on 3 levels of suspension bridges, try a climbing route and rappel off the the highest climbing tower in Mexico.  Next you will be given state of the art snorkel gear and guided into the aquamarine water.  This is one of the island's premier snorkeling areas with thousands of colorful fish and underwater views accessible right off the beach.  Afterwards savor a cold beverage or snack from the beach-side bar and restaurant or simply lounge by the pool in the sun.  
  • Scoot Coupe Scenic Circle Island Drive:  One of a kind adventure where yo drive a Scoot Coupe 2-person, 3-wheel scooter that looks like a miniature convertible car.  Your English-speaking guide will give driving instructions and helmets before you head out on the road.  Join the caravan and discover the island of Cozumel on a scenic ride like no other.  You'll drive to the northern side of the island, making a stop at the Mestizaje Monument right in front of the beach, a great photo opportunity.  After that you'll head out of town and into the northern more scenic side of the hotel district.  Then stop at a beautiful beach club where you'll have free time to relax in the sun or go for a swim.  This Beach Club is famous for the blue waters and friendly typical Cozumel feel.  Play a game of beach volley ball, take a stroll, snorkel form the beach, or just bask in the sun.  The next stop is downtown where you'll have time to shop before your guide takes you back to the ship.
  • ATV Adventure/Playa Mia Beach Break/Lunch:  Board the bus for the drive to base camp where the guide will provide an orientation.  Get your one-person ATV and gear (helmet, goggles and a bandana).  Drive through the jungle paths full of tropical vegetation.  You will visit Mayan vestiges, a Chiciero base camp and a Mayan planting field. After a short ride to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park you will spend approx. 90 minutes enjoying a tasty buffet-style lunch with refreshments.  There is time to swim and play with the non-motorized toys at the beach. You have the option of returning on your bus or remaining and returning at your own expense.
  • Stingray Encounter/Snorkeling/Beach Club:  You are taken to Stingray Beach where you'll be greeted by expert guides who will teach you how to safely use the snorkeling gear and about how to interact with the stingrays.  You'll meet and handle lots of friendly rays, their barbs have been removed.  Then you can go snorkeling with the stingrays.  Later, head over to the beach club and relax under an umbrella, use the facilities to take a shower and change clothes or iguana pose for pictures.  You can return to the ship or go downtown and visit Cozumel's shops etc.
  • Open-Water Sport Fishing:  Cozumel waters attract some of the best sport fishing in the Caribbean.  On this outing you'll troll for tuna, sierra, dorado, wahoo and barracuda while enjoying snacks and beverages.  You board a 31-foot "Island Hopper" boat, ideal for Caribbean-style fishing.  The boats are outfitted with a down-rigger and outriggers and lines are rotated among passengers through the tour.  You'll travel to the fishing area, drop your lines and begin trolling.  Fish cannot be brought back on-board the ship but your crew will be happy to direct you to a restaurant that will cook your fish for you.  All bill-fish are released.  Equipment and bait are provided.
  • America's Cup 12-Metre Yacht Race:  The Connoisseur Choice "American's Cup" 12 Metre Challenge offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race aboard Dennis Connor's Cup-winning "Stars and Stripes" and contender "True North IV".  You'll receive a safety briefing and training en-route to the racecourse.  After pre-start maneuvers, you'll compete in an actual race around a shortened America's Cup course and be invited to "work the boat".  Your experienced crew will provide all the guidance you'll need to grind a winch, trim a sail or punch a stopwatch.   If you prefer, you can sit back, relax and witness the the sporting event.  You'll enjoy beer, sodas and water on board and a rum punch trophy presentation party and shopping upon your return.
  • Deluxe Catamaran Sail/Snorkel/Beach:  Snorkel, swim and relax.  You board a 65-foot catamaran for a scenic cruise to a snorkeling site in Cozumel's waters.  Upon arriving at the site, embark on a 45 minute guided snorkeling tour.  Next on your itinerary is a cruise along the coast to Fury's pristine private beach.  For nearly an hour you'll enjoy Fury's Aqua Park, featuring kayaks, water trampoline, water mats, paddle surf boards, Jungle Joe, Rock it and the Platinum Aqua Glide Slide.  If you prefer, you can relax on a beach chair or swing in a hammock under a coconut tree while enjoying beer and margaritas.  Complimentary beverages are served on the return voyage as the crew has you dancing on deck to classic beach party tunes.
  • Palancar Reef Snorkel/Sail/Beach:  Sail through crystal waters aboard a catamaran and snorkel at Cozumel's National Marine Park.  Cat off this half day tour with free time at the beach.  Your PADI-certifed dive master will guide you as you drift snorkel over coral-covered walls and witness the marine life and coral formations of the famous Palancar Caves and Palancar Garden.  After snorkeling you'll sail to Playa Mia, one of the larges beaches in Cozumel.  Once at Playa Mia you will be taken to the main restaurant where you will have a snack lunch.  Swimming pool, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, water trampolines and a full open bar is provided.  Motorized water toys and other services are available for a nominal fee.
  • Helmet Diving at Jeannie's Beach:  Experience an underwater tour on a guided walk of the ocean floor around fish habitats with a dry helmet.  Meet the staff at Jeannie's Beach for a brief lesson and safety orientation.  You'll walk on the ocean floor aided only by a special dry helmet that allows you to breathe unencumbered with a constant supply of air.  The air supply stays on the surface allowing you to enjoy the underwater landscape without any heavy air tanks.  Food and beverage service is available at Jeannie's at your own expense.  You have the option to stay longer and enjoy the beach and gift shops before returning to the ship.
  • Certified Scuba Diving (Two Sites):  This half-day excursion out of Cozumel invites you to explore.  The first dive is usually a spectacular wall dive of around 70 feet, promising a myriad of diverse corals, sponges and marine life.  You'll surface for an hour, then make your way to the second dive, usually Paradise Reef.  Look closely under ledges and in holes and you may spy the reclusive "Splendid Toad Fish" reputed to live nowhere in the world other than Cozumel.  Scuba equipment, professional supervision and beverages are provided.  Certified divers must present their Open Water certification card to participate. 

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