At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day trip to the island of Cozumel

Up bright and early yesterday morning at 5:30am in order to catch the 8:00am ferry to the island of Cozumel. We had to walk to the bus station, then take the bus to Playa del Carmen, then take the ferry to Cozumel.

It didn't go as smoothly as we planned!

First of all, let's have a look at the map...

Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the island of Cozumel.

It's about 65 kms (40 miles) from where we are staying in Cancun, to Playa del Carmen. That's where the ferry dock is to take you to Cozumel. First, we had to walk the 2.2 kms (1.4 miles) to the bus station. Most tourists take the ADO bus which runs every 15 minutes or so and costs 58 pesos ($5.00) per person each way. But Carmen had told us that the colectivo taxi vans right across the road from the bus station is the one all of the locals take, and it only costs 30 pesos ($2.60) per person each way.

And those vans run when they are full, which at that hour only takes about 5 minutes.

Now, we were a little late leaving the house. But we still figured we had enough time. We got to the colectivo and and got a seat. Nobody stands on these buses...everybody gets a seat. 

It only stopped five or six times, and each time it was very quick. But still, we didn't arrive in Playa del Carmen until about 7:50am, and we still had to walk the short distance to the ferry dock. We had been speaking with a guy on the bus, and when we got off he pointed us in the right direction and told us we had better run.

So we did.

And we got to the ticket booth just as the girl with the radio told them to shut the gates. We could see the people still boarding the ferry and we easily could have made it had they issued us tickets. But this girl was adamant that we were not getting on the ferry. We begged and pleaded, but she wasn't going to budge.

So we sat there and watched the ferry leave without us.

Totally frustrated, because there wasn't another ferry until 10:00am. And, it's a 45 minute ride.

You might remember our friends Kent and Lynn from our visit to Denver, Colorado last April. Kent had invited us for a stay while we were passing through with the little blue car. Unfortunately, Lynn's father had just passed away and she was out of town while we were there.

So, fast forward a year and they have bought a renovation property on Cozumel. They've been here on and off since September restoring an old house and they invited us over for a visit and a tour of the island.

So, now two hours late, we found an internet cafe and sent Kent an email to explain the situation. Then, we took advantage of the extra time to walk around Playa del Carmen. 

Playa del Carmen

We had been to Playa del Carmen in 2003 for a one week all inclusive. At the time, it was listed as one of the fastest growing community in the world. Then, there were about 75,000 people living there. Now, it is 150,000!

We went for a walk on the beach.

Neat statue.

Ruth, with one of the locals!

And we walked along the very touristy 5th Avenue.

Far too touristy for our liking. Every few feet there's someone trying to sell you something or offer you a tour of some kind. A little annoying. We were looking for something to eat though, and of course this street wasn't the best place to find something reasonably priced.

But we had seen some taco stands nearby!

No tourists eating here. Funny.

Yep, this was what we were looking for!

We had five chicken tacos. Two for Ruth, and three for me! Only 10 pesos (85 cents) each. You know you're living like the locals when you're having spicy chicken tacos at 9:30 in the morning!

With stomachs full, we went to the ferry dock. Huge lineup of people, but we bought our return trip tickets. Total cost for the two of us return was 648 pesos ($55.00).

The boat was packed, but we did get on. No seats with a view, so no pictures!

This was when we arrived. That's the boat we took, sitting at the dock in Cozumel.

The town itself is busy and packed with tourists. You can see why!

Kent was there to meet us. Great seeing him again, and we hopped in his truck, bought some beer, wine, and sangria and went back to his place to pick up Lynn. Showed us around the house (which is still a work in process) and then took off to the other side of the island!

Yup. 

Very rustic beach they brought us to. And, they rent "buggy" boards! For those who don't know, it's supposed to be spelled "boogie". They are little surfboards to use when body surfing the waves.

Kent and Lynn.

Notice that the sky was cloudy and overcast. The sun did peak out every now and again, and it was hot. Kent and I went in the water a couple of times, but the girls stayed on shore. We wasted away a couple of hours, then drove back to their place for a BBQ.

Ruth likes their fancy corkscrew!

Chef Kent at work!

Ruth, Kevin, Kent, and Lynn.

What a fun day we had. Made it on to the 7:00pm return ferry to Playa del Carmen and fell asleep on the ride back. Woke up and we were the last ones off the boat! Quick walk to the colectivo and then back to Cancun. The bus driver even dropped us off close to Carmen's place. Nice!


14 comments:

  1. I might be poor as a mouse but I'm rich in travels...thank for taking me virtually along :-)

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  2. Even when things don't go as planned, you guys always make the best of things. And the day in the sun sure turned out really nice.

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  3. With some modification necessities you sure had a nice day. Kent and Lynn appear to be really fun company and it looks like they have lots of fun 'accessories' around (wine bottle openers, iPod speaker system, etc.). Are they planning to live there full time?
    I wonder if those buggy boards ride differently than a boogie board?!

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  4. That cruise ships sister was here in Mazatlan on Wednesday.

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  5. If everything always went smooth, they wouldn't be called adventures!
    i love Cozumel, great little island.

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  6. Well, at least there was a second ferry. Would have really been unfortunate if you had missed that one too. Quite the adventure.

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  7. Boy have things changed a lot in Playa de Carmen since I was there in the 90s. And the ferry boat was much smaller then too. I really liked Cozumel. Looks like a good time.

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    1. Absolutely great day and we will cross paths again! If you all ever have a chance try to host these two - they are good fun people!

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  9. That local guy is a lucky "stiff" having Ruth snuggled up along side him! :cD

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  10. Too bad you did not have time to visit the overpriced tourist junk stores on the main drag. You would have been even more disgusted than I was. Everything priced in US dollars and three or four times higher than anywhere else in Mexico. I tried to speak Spanish and negotiate a price in Pesos. They were not interested! English only! Cozumel is not Mexico!

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    1. Lumping all of Cozumel into one pile based on "main street" is like saying all of the US is like Detroit. Smart people wander beyond downtown. I have travelled all over Mexico - there is plenty here on Cozumel.

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  11. We were in Playa del Carmen in 1997 for a day. We were on a cruise and did the Tulun excursion which started there. I got very sick on the tender boat. At that time there were many soldiers with machine guns around the city as we walked from the dock to our bus. Looks like a lot has changed for the better.

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