Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cozumel

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

AFTER SAILING Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night, we awoke docked at CozumelSeveral excursions were available through the ship, but we thought they were pricey, so we grabbed a cab and headed for a destination I'd read about before we left home: Chankanaab National Park about 15 minutes away. 

The name Chankanaab comes from the Mayan language: chan (small) kanaab (sea or ocean) making reference to the natural lagoon inside the park. Decreed a national park in 1980, it's a conservation area for fauna and flora. 

We could have paid to swim with dolphins or snorkel at Chankanaab, but we passed on swimming with dolphins because we didn’t want to bother them and on the snorkeling because it was just a few feet off the shore in groups of 10 or more. 

We've snorkeled a few times before and loved it, but we decided to wait until we have more time, like several days, to either snorkel, snuba (scuba diving while tethered to an oxygen line on a boat as opposed to swimming with tanks) or possibly get certified and dive.

This time around we just wanted to hang out on the beach with our feet in the sand, a blue ocean in front of us and a blue sky above, so we trekked to the farthest end of the beach where there were fewest people and chillaxed. And we took a little dip in the sea. Couldn’t not, right?






Chankanaab also has walking trails through a botanical park with more than 60 replicas of pre-hispanic archaeological sculptures from Mayan, Toltec and Aztec cultures. Of course we walked the trails.



Cabeza colosal, meaning giant head.



We met Mr. Iguana on our walk.

Socratea exorrhiza, the Walking Palm or Cashapona.

After the park, we caught a cab into downtown San Miguel where we happened across a fantastic little restaurant called Comidas Caseras Toñita. It just had a beckoning look about it. 



We hadn't been seated long before a distinguished, mature couple came it and sat at the table next to ours. I asked the señor if he and his wife lived in town: affirmative, and then I asked him if we'd selected wisely in choosing this particular restaurant. He was enthusiastic in his praise. He said he and his wife eat there at least twice a week. 

If you find a restaurant local residents like, you know you've got a winner. The guacamole and chips were the absolute best ever!! Both of us had the snapper Veracruz as an entree. So good and at such a reasonable price. I'm not normally a big fan of Mexican food, but I loved the food here.

The plaque above the door which I think is the address.

Aside from Chankanaab and our little gem of a restaurant, overall we were disappointed with Cozumel. We visited Cancun twenty years ago, and really didn't like the hotel-after-hotel-after-hotel nature of the place (I can't even imagine what it's like now) and knew we never wanted to go back, but Cozumel was supposed to be less crowded and more laid back — or so we'd read. Maybe it is on other parts of the island, but the area near the docks reminded us of Tijuanachockablock with open-door stores and aggressive vendors hawking basically all the same stuff. It's not on our list of places to revisit. I'd take a shipment of Comidas Caseras Toñita's food, though, any day.

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