Isla de Cozumel

Isla de Cozumel
By sv Prairie SeaShell on 31 Oct, 2012 10:38 PM

Shannon drove us to the airport bright and early, but our take off was delayed by about half an hour while the plane was de-iced.

October 31, 2012 – Happy Halloween !

Shannon drove us to the airport bright and early, but our take off was delayed by about half an hour while the plane was de-iced, We had a good smooth flight and clear skies within half an hour of take off. We must have had a good tail wind, as we arrived in Cancun as scheduled.

Took the ADO bus to the ferry terminal at Playa de Carmen, had about a 10 minute wait, even though the taxi drivers were trying to tell us that the next bus wasn’t for an hour, Caught the ferry, also with only about a 10 minute wait, and when we got off the 45 minute ferry ride, we grabbed our bags and walked down the malecon for about 15 minutes to the Costa Brava Hotel, the same hotel we stayed at over 25 years ago, and it is still run by the niece of the original owner. However, the price is now about $50 per night as compared to the $12 we paid back then, but it now has A/C and TV. We got settled in, then walked over to the Costa Brava Restaurant which used to be about two doors away, have now moved about two blocks away, but again, same owners and same great food. I was tempted to pull out my credit card to see if they would let me use it to pay the bill. When I tried to pay by credit card 26 years ago, they had to get Don’s approval before I could use my card. On our way back to the hotel, we did see a few kids in costumes trick or treating at the shops that were still open – most of them seemed to close up by 7:00 pm. We cranked up the A/C (it’s about 25C and humid tonight) watched a few minutes of English TV and crashed by 9:30…cruisers midnight, even though we are not actually cruisers right now…old habits die hard! Good news is that there is no longer a Pemex Station right behind the hotel, so no diesel trucks to wake up up early in the morning.

November 1st – All Saint’s Day - Had a leisurely coffee at the hotel and visited with a few of the other residents. Then went walking towards the Dive shop and the El Cid resort where we will be staying in a few days. The road south from town used to be nothing but a dirt road . It is now a double lane road with big wide sidewalks on both sides. Unfortunately there is no local bus, all tourists are expected to use taxi’s . horse drawn carriages, or at least rent a motorcycle. At $7.00 each way for a taxi, $10 for a horse, and $40 per day for a motorcycle, none of these options appealed to us, so we hiked…about a 5 mile return trip. That should help us shed a few pounds!

We continued on to PapaHogs Dive Shop – don’t know where it got it’s name, but it’s Canadian owned, and the prices are right, so we’ll start with a beach dive tomorrow.

Started the trek back to town, but had to stop along the way for a drink. It’s much hotter here in November than it is on the pacific side and we are not quite acclimatized yet. Walked into town in the late afternoon and went for supper at a new restaurant run by a family from Acapulco. Milanesa and enchiladas with a jug of Jamaica for $12.00…very similar to our favorite place in Guaymas. Big difference in price when you get away from the places that cater to the cruise ship passengers…and there were 5 cruise ships in town today, dumping off several thousand people!

Had breakfast in our room the next day, then headed to the Dive Shop. Got suited up for our shore dive…equipment was good,but our underwater navigation wasn’t. Went way too far the wrong way, and when we surfaced, had a ferry and two sailboats heading at us. The pilot boat for sail boats came over and offered us a ride back to shore which we gratefully accepted. Weren’t as many fish as we remembered, and not much coral in this area, but we did see a small school of little squid with big pearly eyes, something that you generally only see on a night dive.

Saturday morning, went back to La Lindo Acapulco for brunch and visited with the family again. Then checked out of the Costa Brava and took a cab to El Cid. The taxi driver tells us there are 700 cabs on the island with a population of about 90,000,which is up from about 60,000 when we first visited here. We were greeted at El Cid with a drink before we even got checked in. They gave us a gift of a small ceramic Mayan calendar and talked us into a “free breakfast” to do a tour --- of what we are not sure.

Our suite is huge, way bigger than our suite at home, BR with king size bed, 2 TV’s , 2 bathrooms with marble tubs, 2 balconies, and a huge Murphy Bed in the front room for our sleep over company ! Almost need roller blades to get around !

Got unpacked and headed down to the beach for a swim. In this bay, there are some coral heads and more and bigger fish. The plane wreck that I did my check out dive on 26 years ago is still here, however,some of the pieces have been washed away by two different hurricanes. We saw a couple of good sized parrot fish, a couple of sea cucumbers and lots of very small aquarium sized fish.

Monday morning, Papa Hog’s Dive Boat picked us up on the dock at El Cid at 8:15 am. We did have to go back to their dock to pick up a few more divers, one of them from the cruise ship. Our first dive was at Palancar Gardens, maximum 68ft. Our surface interval was held on the boat, rafted up to several other dive boats, at a deserted beach. It used to be a relaxing 2 hour stop at San Francisco beach where there was one palapa style beach restaurant that provided the divers a great Mexican buffet lunch. Now this same beach has a host of restaurants, gift shops and even a swimming pool. Second dive was at Deliah Reef, and the diving was just like it used to be…fantastic !

Fluffy white clouds all in a row
First glimpse of Isla Cozumel from the air
Ferry terminal at Playa de Carmen
Courtyard gardens at Costa Brava Hotel
Notice the two satellite dishes on the thatched roofs
Webmaster, this one is for you!  Oasis of the Sea in port in Cozumel
Horse drawn carriages transfer cruise ship passengers from  port to town, along side taxi traffic and lots and lots of scooters
And a more local style of transport complete with child seat
When the maids found out we spent our honeymoon here years ago, they decorated our bed with fresh hibiscus & bouganvilla




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