Trip Report – February 20 – 27, 2010
This is our 5th trip to Cozumel in the last 2 years. We've been there in December, February (twice), June and October. I've enjoyed Cozumel in each of those months. December and February were cooler (we didn't use the air conditioning any of the times we were there, just the ceiling fans). June and October – different story – very warm and humid but I loved that too. We flew Detroit to Cozumel on Delta. Good flight, no baggage fees for checked bags this time but I understand that is about to change. We had some issues with customs this time since we brought in a complicated piece of fishing gear for a friend. The customs forms say that fishing accessories are duty-free but the lady at the customs desk would not accept that. She went someplace and came back with a pricetag of $1500 for the fishing gear. Luckily we had a group of 3 travelling with us and were able to put together our gift allowance. We had to pay $100 duty on it. This delayed us a little but not much. My son and I left the luggage and the ladies at the airport and walked out to the road to catch a cab to get the rental car. I've done this before but the "airport transportation" people were a lot more aggressive this time. We waved down a cab on the airport road and it turned down Avenue 65 to pick us up. A "police-like" car came over right away and pulled in front of the taxi and had some words. He finally left and the taxi took us to ISIS car rental down by the plaza. Margarita told us that the airport area is patrolled now for two blocks in every direction so anyone who wants to avoid the high-priced airport van should plan to walk a little farther than before to get a regular taxi. The fare to the plaza was 25 pesos for the two of us. Margarita had a great little chevy for us for the week. Manual transmission and no power steering, but it did have air.
We like to stay in an in-town villa. This time we stayed at a 6-unit condo complex called Casa Martillo. They have 4 2-bedroom and 2 1-bedroom units. They have a shared courtyard with a pool and BBQ area. They are just a few blocks south and inland from Chedraui. Great little place, great staff.
We went off to Mega to do our food shopping and then went to meet Susan Bonnet at Kelly’s for a drink and snacks. The CMC website introduced us to Susan’s efforts to provide some Christmas gifts for the kids in the neighborhoods and we brought down some gently used tennis shoes for her last October. It was great meeting her in person and seeing some friends from earlier trips. After the drinks we walked over to the plaza for the music and dancing, and also to meet up with our friend Pancho who would be leading our dive trips this week. We have dove with Pancho all the times we have visited. He just recently bought the Makumba (a dive boat) from the former owner and is launching his own dive operation. Good luck to him! We discussed the dives we wanted to do. Chris, my son’s girlfriend, was doing a ‘resort course’ intro to diving with Pancho and so we scheduled the dives and the training.
Sunday morning we started off at mass at Corpus Christi church and then started the day of driving around the island. Chris had never been to the island before so we wandered a bit to show her things. We made sure to stop by the recently burned palapa awning at Sr Frogs. The youtube video was quite entertaining. Then we drove all the way up to the north end of the island by Passion Island. We had never been there before. We were surprised by how long the drive was once the payment ended and dirt road started. There were a couple a kite surfers setting up on the sand bar. We were enchanted by the graceful raccoon-like animals that were walking around.
We drove back thru town and out the cross-island road to the east side. We stopped at Coconuts for lunch and had some great fish tacos, cevice, faijitas, and margaritas. Greg thought they were the best faijitas he had ever tasted (he got the mixed). That's Greg by the way in the evil, Cuban hat.
It started sprinkling a bit so we moved to the upstairs balcony in back. Great view of the jungle on one side and over the top of the bar on the other.
The rain stopped almost as soon as we got to the balcony. We could have stayed near the cliffs if we waited just a few more minutes.
We continued south along the east side and stopped at the protected swimming bay at Chen Rio. Lots of kids out there with their families on a Sunday afternoon. There were also some kite surfers here and a bunch of really cool kites.
We finished the circle drive and ended up at the Money Bar on the west side. Greg and Chris snorkled for a while.
Then back home for dinner. Went back to the plaza at 8 for the Sunday night fiesta.
(continues in part 2)
February 2010 - Part 1
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