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Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com

After climbing a waterfall and exploring a cave system in Jamaica, and snorkeling in the clear blue waters off Grand Cayman, Landon and I were ready to relax when we reached our last port of call on our Western Caribbean cruise: Cozumel, Mexico.

Since we had an entire day ahead of us at the port with nothing to do but wander, we decided to just get off of the ship and see where we ended up. The area between the cruise pier and the downtown area is safe for visitors, so Landon and I laced up our walking shoes and headed out into the sunshine.

We'd been told conflicting information about the distance between the pier and the downtown area: one map said it was 1.5 miles, while another said it was 3. We figured that we were young and healthy and would be able to make the trek regardless of whether it was 1.5 or 3 miles. Plus, we're really cheap, and we didn't want to spend the $8-$10 on a taxi ride (one-way) when there were sights to see on foot. If you choose to walk, know that the distance is just over 2.5 miles. There are nicely constructed sidewalks on both sides, but there are parts of the walk that aren't covered at all. Take plenty of water!

On the way to the downtown area, we were stunned by the gorgeous blue water that hugged the left side of the Avenida General Rafael Melgar--and were extremely pleased that we'd skipped the taxi ride. There was plenty to see along the way: hotels, beach bars, scuba centers, and even an iguana or two.

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com


By the time we spotted the SeƱor Frog's (not our destination, as that's not really my scene), I was getting hot and sweaty, as the temperatures were quickly climbing into the lower 90s and the last bit of the walk hadn't been covered with trees. Landon and I ducked into the Plaza Punta Langosta and grabbed some water from the small farmacia there.

After we'd cooled down for a bit, we decided to wander through the shops--and we began to learn what shopping in Cozumel was like. The vendors weren't pushy, exactly (I've been harassed far more in other places on my travels), but they wanted to make sure that you knew they were there.

It's not uncommon to have the shop attendants or owners sit outside their place of business and call to you as you walk past: "Great sale today!" or "Can I show you _________?" A firm "no, thank you"or "no, gracias" given without breaking stride ends the conversation (though you're sure to have been spotted by another shop owner just down the way!). My favorite call was after we'd come out of one store: another shop keeper was sure to call to us, "My turn now!" as if it were a game and we were breaking the rules.

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com


We also discovered that haggling is alive and well in Cozumel, even in the brick-and-mortar shops. We went into one place to look at an embroidered dress for our toddler, and the shop assistant quoted us $25 for one. We weren't looking to spend that much, so we offered her $15, and she countered with $45 for two of them. That was still too much for us, and we left the shop. She must have told the owner that we were serious about buying the dress, so she called out to us as we were leaving the alleyway. We decided to go back and Landon haggled (in Spanish! I was super proud of him) the owner down to $30 for two hand embroidered dresses. When you're haggling, be firm in what you want and be prepared to walk away if you're not getting the price you want. If the seller is serious, he or she will work with you.

We browsed all over the downtown area, collecting a few other souvenirs along the way. By 2 p.m., we were both tired and hot (as the temperatures had settled in the mid-90s and the sky was cloudless), so we began the trek home.

I need to learn my limits, as I was hungry, overheated, and tired--but I kept pushing onward even after Landon asked if I wanted to stop and rest or get a taxi. I ended up completely shutting down and sitting in the shade for several minutes before I was able to get back up and walk.

Landon, being the awesome husband that he is, knows that a hangry/tired/overheated Natalie is a grumpy Natalie began looking for a place for us to grab a bite to eat. He settled on La Hach, which is this cute little place just off the Avenida.

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com


We settled into a few chairs out on the porch overlooking the perfect blue waters of the Caribbean. Our waiter immediately helped us log into the free Wifi (so we could see our adorable daughter!) and brought us some huge frosty cocktails. Those helped me cool down a little, so I was able to then dive into the best guacamole I've had in a long time. It was so good we ordered a second platter!

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com

La Hach has an extensive drink menu in addition to its full food menu. We were so full after two plates of guacamole that we didn't make it to the lunch menu, but everything we saw coming out of the kitchen looked delicious. It's not too far from the cruise pier (we could see our ship as we dined), so if you want to jump off the ship for a quick meal and cocktails, this would be a great destination.

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com


After I'd eaten, I discovered that I'd gotten a heat rash (how attractive) that was now itching. Since I didn't want to make it worse, we headed right back to the ship after we were done eating.

Cozumel was a lively spot to wander around, and I'd recommend taking the walk from the ship to the downtown area (just drink more water and take more breaks that I did!).

Cozumel, Mexico: Paradise, Shopping, and Some Crazy Good Guacamole | CosmosMariners.com


Have you visited Cozumel? Would you be up for the challenge of haggling?
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