Updated: Nov 23, 2018
A couple days in Bacalar and we were on the bus again, but not just any bus... This bus has air conditioning and plush seats! WOW! Seriously though, this made us so excited practically couldn't control ourselves. All the buses we have been on for the last several weeks have been cramped, hot, and have vinyl seats which are basically like sitting on a garbage bag. In thirty degree temperatures and nearly 100% humidity, the vinyl seats have lost their welcome with us. The ADO buses in Mexico run like clockwork, are reasonably priced, and very nice (much nicer than the Greyhounds in Canada). A four hour bus ride to Playa Del Carmen, and we would be walking back into a world in which we hadn't been a part of for some time, and weren't expecting at all. Walking from the bus station to the pier to catch the boat to Cozumel blew our minds. Neither of us realized just how touristy Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel were going to be. Rose was nearly rock'n a Rastafarian do, with hair that resembled something close to dreadlocks. I was looking equally as dishevelled with a couple weeks of *beard growth ("beard" is being used in the loosest possible sense here, as my face refuses to participate in this activity), and neither of us have had properly clean cloths for some time now. It really felt like we were plucked from our travel lifestyle and thrown into a upscale mall somewhere in Canada. There were all the major brand names, even a Rolex store. We were experiencing culture shock for the first time in a long time, and it didn't feel good. We walked back towards the town centro and grabbed some tacos at a stand, where we could decompress and take a moment for the culture adjustment to sink in. Also, the idea of paying $10 CAD for a burger at a major franchise seems like a rip off after paying local prices, so hunting for a taco stand seemed like the best choice.
I know if you're reading this in Canada you're probably thinking that I seem like a cheapskate, but honestly the street food is much better, cheaper, and you get accustomed to paying a certain amount for food - $10 seems inexpensive in Canada but doesn't cut it in this situation. Also, there is something I enjoy about buying from the locals. The last thing I want is for every travel destination I go to, to become just like everywhere else because all these gigantic american corporations have taken over the culinary and hospitality industries.
It was a relief to be on the island of Cozumel, after the scene at the pier in Playa Del Carmen. We threw on our flippers and headed out to snorkel a sunken ship, at a location that was walking distance from our hostel. We never did find the ship, and there was very little to see, but there is something tranquil about floating on the water and observing the marine life. The main strip in Cozumel is crazy touristy, but fun to spend an evening strolling up and down.
Within twelve hours of being in Cozumel, I had some kind of stomach bug. Not sure where I got it, but I was laid out - fever, sweats, and completely exhausted. We had every intention of making the most of Cozumel, but in the end we didn't do a lot. Something I would recommend is renting a scooter (or some kind of mode of transport), and check out the island for yourself. The Eastern side of the island has some incredible beaches for lounging on. There are several spots which cater to the tourist looking for a place to lounge, get food, and have the feeling of being safe... You should skip those spots. Continue around the coastal road until you reach any spot that suits you, where you can throw down a towel and catch some rays. There is so much undeveloped coastline that I can all but guarantee that you will be able to find your own private piece of paradise. Spread out and relax, because beaches don't come much nicer than these ones!
In the three days that we had on Cozumel, we didn't do any diving, which is a huge draw for travellers going to this part of the world, so I can't say that we have seen all that Cozumel has to offer. Our circumstances dictated that we would be spending our time as island dwellers, due to budget and me getting over some kind of bug. That being said, we found an awesome AirBnB, off the main strip, and posted up there for a couple nights. I would far and away suggest an AirBnB over a hostel, in Cozumel. The hostel that we spent our first night in, in Cozumel, had absurdly small rooms; think closets with beds in them, and literally nowhere for you to walk or put your bag. We found AirBnB to be far better value, and had a kitchen, which is a life saver when you don't feel like eating anything that has a flavour profile beyond Corn Flakes.
From here, we will make the short journey to Tulum to celebrate a friends wedding. Our accommodation will be a swanky all inclusive, and we are looking forward to properly washing our clothing, in the bathtub, in hot water - it's the little things in life!