After another day at sea, we disembarked in Cozumel to warm sunny weather. Since the primary part of the city is about 3 miles from the international piers, Sandy and I took a taxi, which we wound up sharing with 4 sisters who were on our ship. We had a great taxi driver who turned into a tour guide by offering to take us on a tour of the island, lasting some 4.5 hours. All of us agreed, and it turned out to be a very good decision.
Antonio, our driver/guide, was a very pleasant fellow, who was quite knowledgeable with the history of the island and its topography. We saw a memorial to the planes and military personnel Mexico sent to the Philippines to fight along side American units against the Japanese in WW II. For me, this historical factoid was totally new, as I did not know Mexico actively participated in offensive operations in that war.
Nearby, we saw a column depicting the Mayan calendar that was roughly a vague 365-day semblance of a solar year, consisting of 18 months of 20 days and one 5 day period at the end of the year. The latter was thought to be a period of possible evil time, and Mayans followed certain rituals and practices to keep these evil entities at bay, such as avoiding leaving their houses and not washing or combing their hair.
In the same seaside area was a monument to the first integrated family in Cozumel. Several Spaniards survived a ship wreck on Cozumel in 1511. One of them married a Mayan woman, and they became the first Mexican mixed race family. The husband had the opportunity to join Hernan Cortes in 1519, but instead decided to remain with his family. I think it was great that Cozumel's citizens recognized such a small, but significant, part of their history. There is a picture of this monument in this update.
Our next adventure took us to a tequila factory, Tres Tonos, that is a family owned and run business. Several pictures included show the front of the factory, some tequila tasting by the 4 sisters with whom we shared the tour, its restaurant, and some colorful Mexican hats. I must say that the two top grade tequilas were delicious, especially their top brand, but at $120.00 per bottle, I took a pass.
We next visited something more up Sandy's alley, a chocolate factory. This is also a family run business, and like the tequila factory, has been so for several generations. Our guide, Eduardo, was very knowledgeable about the process for growing, harvesting, processing, and finally making chocolate, as one would expect. However, he took the time to explain not only differences in types of chocolates, but why they tasted either sweeter, more edgy, etc. I've included a picture of Sandy raptly listening, and later tasting, some of Eduardo's samples. For those visiting Cozumel, I would recommend both tours, and I commend the people in both factories for not "putting the squeeze on" their visitors to buy anything. That decision is truly the visitor's.
Off we went to the Caribbean Sea side of the island. This side has very little electricity, and is therefore less developed. However, its seashore vistas are extremely beautiful and well worth visiting. You will see pictures of Sandy holding a rather large iguana, who I jokingly said would be her next pet (no way), and then she braved climbing atop a REAL bull, and that is truly no bull! We concluded this part of the excursion by having lunch at the Puntacana Restaurant, which has thatched roof covering its dining area and is immediately adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. What a lovely spot in which a relax, perhaps have a Margarita (or more), and enjoy a nice lunch. Do stop by if you get the chance.
All in all, We were quite pleased with the Cozumel visit, especially since this was the first time for me (Bill) to visit the island.
We have another sea day tomorrow (2 March) before docking early the morning of 3 March. There will only be a short update for those two days.
Thanks for reading.