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After we departed the Mississippi River Port of New Orleans on our cruise ship, the Norwegian Dawn, we cruised 160 kms down the river into the Gulf Of Mexico. Following a night and a full day of cruising we arrived at our first port of call, Cozumel.
It is a popular cruise ship port of call famed for its scuba diving. At Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, divers can explore a section of the Mesoamerican Reef and Museo Subacuático de Arte’s submerged sculptures. Chankanaab is an eco park surrounding a lagoon with underwater caverns, home to dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
Interesting fact: The Name Cozumel was given to it by the Spaniards; however its origin is derived from the words Cuzam (meaning Swallow) and Lumil (meaning land of). This is why the combination of the words “Cuzamil” is translated from the Mayan language as “Land of the Swallows”.
We hired our own taxi driver and tour guide and embarked on a sightseeing tour of the island. Mexico’s largest island, Cozumel is considered sacred by the Maya Indians who lived here for over 2,000 years.
Our first stop was at a Mayan village where we learnt the antiquated ways of preparing food – freshly ground corn made into tortillas and chocolate made from cocoa beans by the Maya people. We also witnessed a traditional fire dancing ceremony performed by a Maya Indian.
As many as 10,000 Maya lived on the island in the early 1500s, but in 1520, an expedition brought the smallpox contagion to the island and by 1570 only 186 men and 172 women were left alive on Cozumel.
Stop two was at the Mayan Archaeological Site of San Gervasio, the largest remaining Mayan Ruins dating back as far as 600-1000 AD, located in the centre of the island. The site consists of ancient temples, a plaza, residences and an archway which was at the main entrance to the central plaza of the village.
Our trek through the Mayan Ruins left us parched and overheated, so it was off to a Beach Club for some cool refreshments, an authentic Mexican Quesadilla for lunch and a swim in the sea. Naturally we were entertained by a Mexican Mariachi Band!
Unlike our public beaches here in Australia, beaches in Cozumel are privately owned and you have to pay to swim and hire a sun lounge at one of their Beach Clubs. However the Beach Clubs do come with some fringe benefits such as table service, a clean changeroom, showers and toilets and your own sun lounge and umbrella.
At the cruise ship docks at San Miguel there are several square blocks of stores selling Cuban cigars, jewellery, T-shirts, tequila, and a large variety of inexpensive souvenirs. There are also many restaurants in San Miguel that have a huge variety of different cuisines.
Cozumel was my very first foray into Central America and Mexico and one that I found to be educational and engaging. A small taste of Mexico gave me a longing for more of what it has to offer. Stay tuned for Port of Call #2 – Belize.
Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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