Recently, my wife and I went on our first cruise! We found a great deal on a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise, paying about $440 per person booking with Cruise One. I finally talked myself out of all my reservations about taking a cruise that stem from going on my dad’s navy ship in a storm. Our cruise started out of Galveston and took us to three ports; Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.
We arrived in Cozumel in the morning and were able to get off the ship by 8:00. After eating our breakfast onboard we made our way to our meeting point, The Hard Rock Cafe, located just outside of the shopping area at the international port. If you book with the cruise line it is easier to find where you need to be, but booking with an outside group is going to save you money. We booked an ATV and Snorkeling tour through This is Cozumel and had no idea how much fun driving an ATV would be.
ATV Tour in Cozumel
We took a taxi to get where the ATVs were waiting for us. After some instructions on how to safely maneuver our ATVs, we followed the leader along the trail to start our bumpy road.
We quickly picked up speed, zooming through the jungle on a rocky dirt trail and loved every moment of it. Sunglasses and a bandana were a necessity in order to keep the dust out of our eyes and nostrils. After getting used to driving, I satisfied my need for speed by slowing down to let the person in front of me get far enough away and then hit the gas! Interestingly enough, I found the ride to feel a lot smoother when I went a little faster over the bumps and rocks. Standing up a bit and letting your knees act as shock absorbers helps as well.
Swimming at Jade Cavern
After about 30 minutes of driving, we arrived at Jade Cavern. Our guide shared a bit of history about the cave and its connection to the Mayan people before we walked down to the cavern. We saw the jade colored water, noticing the stalagmites handing down and fruit bats flying around. The water smells like sulfur which may stand as a deterrent to getting in, but for any adrenaline junky, there is a 25-foot cliff above that provides an amazing thrill that should not be passed up. (You can do it!)
After a short visit to the cavern and enough time for two jumps, we made our way back to where we started. It felt like the drive back was half the time as the ride to the cavern, likely because we were used to the trail.
One stop along the way lead us to another cave. A steep entrance took us down and we found our back up after about 50 feet.
Once we got off our ATVs we were offered a Tequila tasting. Within minutes there was a taxi waiting for us to go to the beach where we had arranged to go snorkeling.
Snorkeling in Cozumel
We lathered up the sunscreen and made our way into the ocean. To be honest, I have been spoiled by amazing snorkeling in Puerto Rico so it was not the most colorful or exciting snorkeling experience, but it was still fun and there are plenty of fish to be seen.
To cap the day off, we were invited to use the pool at the small resort where we met to go snorkeling. We were the only ones there and ordered food served to us poolside. We enjoyed our time goofing off and swimming until it was time to make our way back to the ship. One advantage to booking with a tour company is they are great at keeping you on time and making sure you are back to the port with time to spare.
We ended up making it to the port in time to do some last-minute shopping. Being a chef, I couldn’t imagine visiting Mexico without returning with some Mexican vanilla extract. Big bottles were a fraction of the price you would find in the states. After looking at some souvenirs and shops, we made our way back on board a little sad that it was our last port stop before headed home.
I learned on our cruise how short port days are. We did a great job jamming as much into our stops as possible but would have loved to stay longer to just relax on the beach, eat more ceviche and see what the night had to offer. We will have to save that for next time. Looking back on our cruise, our stop in Cozumel made for our favorite port day full of adventure and highly recommend booking an ATV tour.