Travelogue: Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Travelogue: Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico

“Holy shit, babe,” I told my boyfriend as we slowly sailed away from port, “we’re on a boat!” He chuckled, pulled me in front of him, and wrapped his arms around me. For the next 7 days, we’d be disconnected from the world as we knew it – both physically and digitally – to embark on a much needed adventure.

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We sailed aboard the Norweigan Jade departing from Houston, TX. Plenty of memories were made, photos taken, beer (and sooooo much rum) drank, and in these next couple of posts, I want to share some of those experiences with you in hopes that you’ll want to make some memories of your own.

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Tip: We booked an inside cabin room, figuring that we didn’t need to spring the extra cash for a balcony  rom or a room with a porthole window. We thought that the money that we saved by not booking an upgraded room could be used at port instead. Now that I know better, this is likely the most common first-time cruiser faux pas. Although we definitely spent a lot of time outside of our cabin at an array of on-board activities, waking up at a decent time proved to be nearly impossible. Those inside cabin rooms are absolutely pitch black. Next time, I’m definitely booking a balcony room; there’s nothing quite as magical as having the sound of crashing waves lull you to sleep, and the warm Carribean sun gently wake you in the morning.  

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The first stop on our cruise was at the port of Cozumel, Mexico. That morning, we decided to eat breakfast outside on the aft deck. For the first time in my life, I felt true humidity. Having grown up in El Paso, Texas all my life, I’m used to dry heat. My body relented at the intense humidity at first, but as we finished our last sips of coffee, my skin cells drew in the moisture of the air as if Cozumel was a newly-discovered canteen of water after a lifetime of drought.

We chose to book an excursion at XPLOR Park during our time at port. To get there, we needed to take a ‘tender’ boat over to Playa Del Carmen, which was about 30 minutes away from Cozumel. Aboard the tender boat, I got pretty seasick, but not to the point of actually making a mess.

Tip: To avoid seasickness, you’ve got to have something in your stomach. Whether that ‘something’ is food, water, beer or rum, that’s solely up to you. Aaron chose to drink a margarita; I opted for a Tequila Sunset. It fixed me up good.

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Playa Del Carmen was exactly what I had envisioned. Turquoise waters, white beaches, beautifully built villas and condos on the coast. We admired the view for a bit and then headed to the bus, which would take us to XPLOR Park.

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XPLOR Park sits in the middle of a lush jungle that extends as far as the eye could see. We got a truly unforgettable view as we zip-lined on a series of 7 lines for about an hour. After that rush, Aaron got to drive an ‘amphibious’ vehicle through the forest. When I saw ‘amphibious’, I figured it would look like a hybrid-submarine for some reason. It’s not.

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We went paddle rafting in an underground river (this took a lot of teamwork), went swimming in a cave lined with stalactites, then finally ended the excursion with a ‘light’ lunch. Time flew by quick while at the park. Before we knew it, we were back on the tender and heading to the cruise ship.

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Random Afterthoughts:

  • I realize now that the food in the United States is incredibly heavy. I ate so much overseas, and barely gained any weight. Also, I felt full, but never ridiculously so. In the US, I’ll eat one meal, gain two pounds and feel like I’ve eaten an entire Thanksgiving dinner on my own. Keeping an eye on this.
  • Although I absolutely LOVED the excursion, I wish we could have spent the day exploring Playa Del Carmen instead because as we drove back to the beach, I saw over a dozen little shops, restaurants and bars that I would have liked to try out. Depending on your personality, you may prefer to explore the port on your own.