THINGS TO DO IN COZUMEL


Cozumel Island is in the Gulf of Mexico, off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. A small limestone island, Cozumel is surrounded by clear aqua waters. It's easy to get around on your own as there are two parallel sealed roads circumventing the island. The new road is used for cars and buses. The old one is used by bicycles and scooters.
The island's centre is a national park, home to racoon, deer, iguana, non- venomous snakes and wild bore. All the offshoot roads towards the ocean are un-sealed and bright white because of the limestone. Along with the white-painted bases of palm trees means you'll need a pair of good polarising sunglasses.
Our island tour began at the Mayan Cacao Company. We saw a typical Mayan wooden house and tasted home-made 'mole', which is a spicy chocolate-based salsa served on a thin tortilla. It's truly finger-licking delicious.
The island's residents are devoutly Catholic. We made our way to El Cedral to visit the oldest Catholic Church on the island. The church was built in 1848. While we were there, preparations in the square were well on the way for a huge religious Fiesta being held the following week.
Our final stop was to a Tequileria to learn about the eight types of agave. Tequila comes from the blue agave, grown in Jalisco on mainland Mexico. Tequila comes from the root of the plant, which is harvested after eight to 10 years. Two further distillations produce 38% proof tequila, silver or clear tequila, used for mixers.
Finally we were off to the east coast for a scenic coastal drive. We stopped at El Mirador to take photos of the unusual rock formations carved by the ocean. More local crafts were on show and we tasted a local mix of coco lotto, an evil brew made out of rum, vodka, tequila and coconut water.
On our way back we passed by San Miguel, the capital of Cozumel and where most of its 100,000 population live. The standard of living is a far cry from the harbour promenade with its duty free shops, international boutiques and quality craft shops as well as a large motor cruiser pointed out in the bay, owned by Julio Englais. It was a fantastic shore excursion with wonderful weather, glorious blue sea and sky. When you add in good shopping and great Mexican hospitality, it’s a recipe that will draw us back to Cozumel again.