|The island of Cozumel is 28 miles long by 9 miles wide and was discovered in 1518 by Juan de Grijalva from Cuba The name comes from the Mayan word "Ah-Cuzamil-Peten" which translates to "Land of the Swallows". We are anchored among all the action just off San Miguel, the only city on the island.
We can see Playa del Carmen across the water, approx 10 miles to the west. Large, fast turbo driven ferries fly back and forth between here and there continuously, carrying both passengers and vehicles. Cruise ships make port here and empty thousands of passengers onto the streets for the day. Vendors in the busy downtown area welcome us and attempt to separate us from our deniros. At first they cannot distinguish us from the touristas, the ones who spend mucho deniros.
We have no room for souvenirs on the boat and politely explain this in our English-Spanish lingo, "el barco, no walls, no places" I tell the woman who is trying to sell me her beautiful paintings. "Solo estoy mirando - I am only looking". The people are clever and before long, believe it or not, they recognize us on the street and remember us, we are not buying and they know it.
We pass the trendy, touristy restaurants along the main drag and walk back into the town where the people in this city of 50,000 live and eat. Here there are few touristas and we find a little loncheria where the food is less than half the price and more traditional. There is less English spoken here so we are forced to use our Spanish. I point to a woman's meal at the table next to us. "Polzone" the waitress tells me so polzone it is for me. "Polzone rojo pollo", actually - red chicken something, it's a soup and it's delicious served with corn chips without the corn and lots of lime.
The Museo provided refuge for us from the hot afternoon sun and plenty of historical information about the island with numerous Mayan artifacts on display. We found a shady spot in the Plaza del Sol to sit and rest our weary feet and came back to the boat where I had a long siesta. We returned to the island around sunset to enjoy the evening stroll up and down the Malecon and around the Plaza del Sol where dancers and musicians performed and took in some Mexican Rap.