Our 3rd and final port was Cozumel. It was also the third day in a row that we had an excursion. I don’t recommend this schedule. We were exhausted. Cozumel was hot. And Matty had his first (and only) meltdown of the trip (and by meltdown I mean he cried for 6.3 seconds until we got in the shade and put him down to play in the grass).
We did the San Gervasio Ruins and Beach Break excursion. I figured you can’t go to Mexico without checking out some Mayan Ruins, but I also wanted to hit the beach again, so this excursion seemed perfect. However, the description of the tour and the tour itself were a little different. The tour was described as a “brief stop” at the ruins before heading to the beach. In actuality, it was a day at the Ruins with a “brief stop” at the beach. I knew Matty would hold it together for a “brief stop” at the Ruins, but after 30-40 minutes there, he’d had enough, understandably.
(I think the look on Matty’s face says it all…even his hat looks hot and frumpy.)
Many say that Jamaica is the worst place to travel in terms of getting hassled by merchants; I think Cozumel was the worst. The pier was lined with shops, with dealers calling out and asking you to buy; the Ruins were set up with shops; the beach was lined with merchants. I broke down and bought Matty a maraca…and it broke the minute we pulled out of the parking lot. Cheap Mexican crapt. I also felt nickel and dimed—you could take pictures of the Ruins, but if you wanted to take video, you had to $45. Wow. The tour guide also mentioned numerous times that we were obliged to tip both himself and the driver, and there was a sign stating the same thing. I have a thing about people thinking they are “owed” a tip—no, you earn a tip for service above and beyond. Just sayin’…That being said, the tour guide, Jorge, did do a good job. We learned a lot about the island and the history of Cozumel.
When the Spanish first landed on Cozumel almost 40,000 Maya lived there; after introducing smallpox and other Spanish diseases, only 30 Mayan people were left. The island stay uninhabited for many years (except for pirates and such), and Abraham Lincoln considered buying it as a place to send freed slaves.
San Gervasio is the largest remaining ruins on the island; others were ruined (pun!) during WWII to make way for landing strips and army bunkers. These ruins are the fertility ruins—women would trek to the ruins each year to pray for healthy children, fertile soil, and a good rain. Most of the island is now a National Park, so the only industry is tourism and a bit of fishing.
After the Ruins, we had a bus ride to Playa Mia, one of the more popular beaches on Cozumel. While crowded, it was an awesome place for kids, with water trampolines, boat rides, playgrounds, and a variety of other activities. Our tour included only access to the beach and drinks. I had rum punch, hold the rum, Eric had a couple of beers, and Matty had a nap.