A good friend of ours who is a comedian with the Carnival cruises was coming in on the Horizon just after Christmas and we decided to meet up with him and join him for lunch. We had not made it to Cozumel yet and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Turned out to be a fun day!
The Ferry Ride Over
We caught the Collectivo bus (local bus service) in Puerto Morelos to Playa Del Carmen and then caught the ferry from there. You have your choice of two ferries to take you between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel – the Winjet and Ultramar with Winjet being the less expensive of the two. We chose the Winjet and the crossing took us about 35 minutes and was a fairly smooth ride. We prepaid and booked online at a cost of $44 round trip for two which turned out to be a very smart thing to do. The line-ups were long and people were rushing to buy tickets.
The ferry is large and can handle up to approximately 400 hundred passengers. Bar and snack services are available. The schedule is very good, arriving and leaving almost on the hour. We felt it was safe and reliable.
If you decide to take the kids you will be pleased to know that if they are between the ages of 5 and 12, they are charged 50% of the adult fare.
Docking of the Ships
Cozumel is the leading cruise ship arrival destination in the country of Mexico. As our ferry was pulling in, we saw 3 cruise ships with the Carnival line. Our friend was coming in on the Horizon, one of Carnival’s newest ships, and was docking a bit further down from us at another pier. It is hard to believe how huge these ships are when you see them in the distance but up close and personal, they are very impressive.
I later checked out a few facts about the Horizon since this was the cruise ship our friend was on:
- It debuted in the spring of 2018
- Its capacity is 5,000 passengers
- Has three pools and an adult only Serenity Retreat
- A host of activities which include Water Works park, a Sky-Ride, mini golf, Dive-in-Movies at the Beach Pool, a piano bar, sports bar, free games, karaoke, deck parties
- And of course, the Punchliner Comedy Club
- Lots of food (drinks are extra except for lemonade, iced tea and water)
- Craft beer is brewed on board
Cozumel is the largest inhabited island in Mexico and municipality in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and opposite Playa del Carmen. The municipality is part of the state of Quintana Roo (source Wikipedia).
Tourism drives the economy of Cozumel with visitors enjoying scuba diving and snorkeling. In fact, it has a reputation of being one of the best places in the world for these two activities. Cozumel is located on the second longest barrier reef in the world (known as the Belize Barrier Reef) and is home to marine species such as rays, turtles and multicolored fish.
The main town, San Miguel de Cozumel, is a bustling place. In fact, as we were trying to make our way to the meeting point with our friends, we were constantly accosted by business staff trying to entice us into their stores. They actually succeeded on one occasion and my husband thought I had disappeared on him!
One particular young fellow stopped me and said “what do you use for your skin care” and proceeded to literally pull me into his shop to give me a ‘free’ eye treatment (to remove my signs of aging, I guess). Five minutes later, I had beautifully tightened skin under one eye with a promise of looking like this every time I used the product. It also came with a price tag of almost $300 Canadian but he assured me I would pay much more than that in Canada (turns out he was right).
After assuring him I would think about it, we escaped only to be accosted a few doors down by another young fellow who asked the same question! When I told him I just had a ‘treatment’ he said, ‘Why didn’t he do both eyes? Come, I will do the other one for you!” At the risk of looking silly with one eye done and the other not, we bade him a hasty goodbye, telling him we had to meet someone.
Chalo’s at Villablanca Hotel
Our lunch destination, Chalos Antojitos Mexicanos at the Villablanca Hotel, was a 10-minute taxi ride away. When we arrived, we found our friend waiting for us at a table near the pool.
He regaled us with hilarious stories of his time on board the ships where he has been entertaining passengers for 8 years and is considered one of the top comedians on the Carnival cruises. He certainly kept us in stitches.
Our friend, Jason, is the one in the front on the left and that’s my husband and I directly behind him.
Eventually, his other friends arrived – in total there were ten of us, including 5 other comedians. They were completely relaxed and there was much laughter and drinks during lunch. My husband, who is also a comedian, really enjoyed spending time with these guys!
The service was amazing – the comedians are well known there and are treated royally. I had this amazing chicken dish with a creamy sauce. Yum! Before we left, we had two rounds of tequila shots sent over to our tables by the staff. Sweet! It’s not hard to see why they consistently get 5-Star reviews. If you like authentic Mexican food and are in the area, it is definitely worth eating there.
Time to Leave
All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Our friend and new friends had to get back to their ships as a few of them were performing that night and we had a ferry to catch back to Puerto Morelos where we are staying.
It was an amazing day and a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to get back to Cozumel and check it out properly. There are so many shops to go to, as long as I remember to stay away from the beauty salons (!) as well as an organic coffee place, Coz Coffee, I want to visit. Even though I have given up coffee for now, there is always a strong possibility I may start again; I think organic is the way to go.
And I definitely want to have lunch again at the Charos restaurant!!
Have you ever been to Cozumel? What was your favourite experience?