Even though Cozumel is just a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, we'd postponed visiting since our friend Shelby (whom we met in Belize) was planning to buy my beach cruiser bike. So we waited until the end of our time in Playa so that we could transport the bike at the same time as enjoying a visit to the island.
This map shows where Cozumel is located in relation to Playa del Carmen in Mexico's Quintana Roo state.
There are three competing ferry lines making frequent trips back and forth between Playa and Cozumel, but all leave and return at slightly different times. We ended up on Mexico Water jets in both directions because of the times we wanted to travel.
Since we were heading right into the stiff easterly breeze, the ferry ride over to the island was pretty rolly. So rolly that the ferry staff handed out "barf bags", never a good sign. Fortunately we were both okay, but we were glad that the ride wasn't any longer than it was.
As we got into the lee of the island, the waters calmed, as did everyone's tummies.
There were three large cruise ships visiting Cozumel on this Monday. One of them is shown below. We worried that the island might be very busy with all the cruisers, but it wasn't bad at all.
As we arrived at Cozumel, the sky was overcast, but there was no rain.
Shelby met us on the dock, and the three of us walked over to her house, which took around 15 minutes.
Once there, we got to meet her friendly rescue dog Rufus. Shelby's house is large and airy, and she has a great courtyard. We were chatting too much to take any photos, but she's got a lovely place there, very quiet and private. We were envious!
After getting the bike saddle height adjusted for her, we piled into Shelby's car for a tour around the island. Specifically, she wanted to show us the "wild side", the windward (east) side of the island. And on such a windy day, it was a bit wild! No swimming or surfing was happening today, that's for sure.
We first pulled into Senor Iguana's for a great lunch right on the edge of the Caribbean Sea.
After fortifying ourselves, we hopped back into the car and drove just a short way down the road to our second spot, Coconuts. Although touristy, it wasn't crowded on a Monday, and the setting was awesome -- very jungly!
There's a great lookout spot up on the rocks...reminded me of a rugged coastline in the northern US except for the gorgeous turquoise color of the water.
We each enjoyed a huge and tasty margarita. Wouldn't want to have too many of these, as you have to negotiate these rugged rock stairs afterwards!
From there, Shelby drove us around the south and west sides of the island, past the airport (which we didn't even know was there!) and country club where she plays golf.
There's a small tourist area on the west side of the island, where we bought a Cozumel refrigerator magnet after Shelby dropped us off. By this time, it was late afternoon, so all the cruise ship folks had gone back to their boats, and town was pretty quiet.
We bought our tickets for the return ferry and headed back to Playa. This is one of the other ferry companies' boats at the dock, with Cozumel in the background.
Arriving at the dock in Playa del Carmen, the sea remained very lumpy.
You can see the waves up against the Playa dock in this photo as we approached in the ferry. Docking was a challenge for the crew, and disembarking the boat was a lengthy procedure; they had to let a few people off at a time, between waves.
Despite the less than perfect weather, we had a great time. It was fun to see Shelby again, and a win-win for us all to transfer the bike to a new owner who will, we hope, enjoy it as much as I did.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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