Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2014 Mendel Vacation: Cozumel

I'm finally getting back to recapping my amazing vacation last year! Get caught up here and here.

Our next stop was Cozumel, Mexico! I was so excited to get there and adventure out into all that Cozumel held.







My sister and I went on an excursion to the famous 5th Avenue shopping and Underground River while the remaining 24 family members hit up Mr. Sanchos beach resort.

Lucky for us (not), our excursion was scheduled to be one of the first ones off of the cruise ship, so we had to meet super early (like 7am) in order to be escorted off the ship. I was so anxious and excited at that point. I was tired, too, of course, but being my first cruise and first excursion on said cruise, I was so ready. And to have this adventure with my sister by my side was just icing on the cake!

We made it off the ship with no problems and headed for some fun. Little did we know that our particular excursion wasn't actually happening in Cozumel. Instead, we were ushered to a water taxi that sent us over to Playa del Carmen. I wasn't mad about it - it was gorgeous! I just wasn't too keen on the small boat for 45 minutes and getting a bit seasick. Luckily, it was nothing major, and we were finally all set to explore the underground river! But first: the famous 5th Avenue shopping, aka the part my sister and I were least excited about. We were all given about an hour or so to shop around 5th Avenue, so we decided to stick to the authentic Mexican shopping center and perused it for some souvenirs. She found some Pepsi, and we hung around waiting for the next stop on our excursion.












After shopping was all said and done, we were taken to a bus that drove us to the underground river! This river is a cave system underneath Playa del Carmen and has a few entrances you can go to without diving gear. It gets deep. We did a small section of it at first and were able to get in the water (finally!). It was COLD, like 65 degrees cold. I was in heaven! We got to swim around for a few minutes and explore the small cave - there were even bats! It was an amazing experience that I'll never forget!

After the first cave, we all toweled off and were led to another, bigger cave. There were some low ceilings and deeper waters, so we were all fitted with life jackets and hard hats - a sexy bunch, let me tell ya! There were some prayers and chanting done at the entrance before our group headed inside, and then we just took it all in. The cave network was seriously impressive! Stalagmites and stalactites everywhere! Pools of water and cool, damp air - it was great. The only downside to it all was that it made for some pretty terrible lighting as far as pictures are concerned! Ha. I did my best, but ultimately just enjoyed the experience with my sister. At the end of the walk, we came to a bigger section of the cave where we were all able to jump in again and swim around! They took some pictures and we investigated more of the inner workings of the cave - up to the point we could until diving gear was required. So.Much.Fun.












Once everyone had enough, we gathered our belongings, dried off, and were totally ready for lunch! Much to our surprise, we were served an authentic Mexican lunch in a cave. Holy wow, was I impressed! From tamales and beans and so many other things I didn't really know what they were, we chowed down. Everything was delicious!







After lunch, we all headed back to the bus and were shuttled back to the mainland of Playa del Carmen. This was about a 30 minute bus ride (with air conditioning thank goodness!), and the entire time, my sister and I were a bit stressed about the time. You see, the cruise ship was set to leave port at a specific time, and if we weren't on board, then it was definitely our loss. I didn't even want to think about that happening! What really made us anxious was that we had to still take the water taxi back over to Cozumel...all of which was totally and completely out of our control. But we thought surely they wouldn't leave us - our entire excursion was through Carnival and had people from our ship. Thinking that seemed to steady our nerves to an extent, but we weren't completely satisfied until we made it back to port and saw our ship still sitting there. We sprinted back on board and finally relaxed.






Let's just say that wondering if you're going to be left in Cozumel while on a cruise with two more stops and many more days was not the best feeling in the world... But, we made it back in time and enjoyed the evening on board. Our next destination: Grand Cayman!


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