Since we both work full time during the week, we really try to plot out our weekends efficiently. While sticking around in one location for an extended period of time (versus trying to fit everything into just 5 days) allows us a much appreciated ability to explore at a snail's pace, we also know that there are many full-day trips that are limited to two days a week. Spencer is typically the planner of our excursions, which means I am always in for a great surprise. But last weekend I decided that I would commit us to an anti-plan (no plans!) for a trip over to the island of Cozumel. Spencer was nervous about this.
Saying we had "no plans" was not entirely true. I figured out the ferry schedule, where to rent a scooter, and found out the #1 rated attraction on TripAdvisor. What more do you need to do than that? We couldn't have guessed that the rental agency wouldn't allow an uninsured person who has never sat on a scooter before to take it off the lot. This is Mexico - since when are there rules!? So we rented a car instead, not the end of the world. I also didn't realize that the #1 attraction (Palancar Reef) was way off shore and required a pricey boat ride out to actually access it. After a spirited debate as to if it was worth spending $35/person to take the boat out to the reef I convinced Spencer to talk the boat driver into charging us just $25/person (now that's the Mexico I know!) and we were off.
Snorkeling across the reef for an hour was more beautiful than any pictures could really capture. At one point some one in our group yelled out that they saw a shark. I pretended that they were kidding (the meanest joke in the ocean), but they were not. Although it was supposedly a small one, I didn't feel let down at having missed it.
After our adventures swimming across the reef we headed down the road to find a spot for lunch. My cousin, Jason had mentioned that he loves to eat at Coconuts in Cozumel, so we pulled over as soon as we saw the sign. This is a place where you can walk up the steps and into the restaurant wearing a tank top over your bathing suit - (pants optional) which was perfect since my pants were dry and I wanted to keep them that way for the ferry ride (pants required). We ate fries and nachos for lunch, drank beer, laughed at the parrot on the bar, and squealed when the waiter dropped off a book filled with images of topless ladies who had their pictures taken at the restaurant. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. And that was only Saturday!
Sunday was one of my favorite days ever. We started at Coba - walking through the ruins of an ancient Mayan city that was immersed completely in the jungle, one of the most beautiful and tranquil places I've ever been. I don't know why, but it felt super to be there - very quiet and harmonious. The picture above is me acting out the "Y" part of YMCA. On top of the Mayan ruins in Mexico! Who are we?! Lucky, we are very lucky.
This structure is 42 meters tall - the highest of all buildings in the Yucatan, and they estimate it wasn't even completed by the fall of the empire. It was a bit of a huff to climb that sucker. And completely worth it for the view.
Once again, we arrived as the park opened and had the entire lost city to ourselves. We walked around for two entire hours without spotting another human being. Then, as we were exiting, the tour buses arrived and the masses started pushing through the gates, lining up to see who would get the first bike-carriage ride through the park. Seeing all of those people who had traveled here to be driven around made me feel incredibly grateful for my legs, and the fact that I enjoy using them as a mode of transportation. And then, as if the weekend wasn't already incredible, we stopped at the Choo-Ha and Tamach-Ha cenotes. Cenotes are basically underground caves that you can swim in. There is this entire other world below the ground, and holy moly was it insanely...I don't have words.