This Time I Really Saw Cozumel

Cruise Specials

I have visited the island of Cozumel by ship many times, but really never saw it. I, along with millions of cruise ship passengers, made a beeline from the port to the downtown San Miguel shopping area. Dozens of shops, many with clerks standing at the entrance stores, invited me in to their world of diamonds, precious stones, local craft items and touristy t-shirts.

And somehow, when the day was done and the ship pulled out to sea, all that I had seen of Cozumel were the myriad of stores in the downtown area and perhaps enjoyed a drink at a local pub.

Park Royal Cozumel

But not this time! I booked a room at the Park Royal Cozumel, a lovely all-inclusive hotel with a view of the cruise ships and a five minute cab ride to the downtown shopping area. Here, I sipped margaritas, enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine, magnicient sunsets and beautiful beaches.

This was the first time I noticed the ocean with its many shades of blue and green. The hotel had a beach overlooking the port and a hot tub where I could sip a cocktail and view the ships in port.

Hot tub

I also enjoyed the many flavors of the Caribbean at the Park Royal. The Resort's La Veranda Restaurant served up the taste of Mexican and international cuisine while the El Mirador restaurant was a tempting taste of the Caribbean facing the ocean. Still more, there was an Italian restaurant and a buffet restaurant where the breakfast buffets served Mexican as well as American offerings and an assortment of fresh fruit and an omelet station where your eggs were cooked to order.

Omelet station

I didn't need to pull out my credit car every time I wanted a drink, either, The all-inclusive program included domestic and imported drinks in several bars located throughout the resort.

After, I enjoyed my first day at the resort and lounging pool side, I decided to take a tour of the city and there were several available. I opted for the island jeep tour and driver's license in hand, took to the wheel.

Jeep Tour

You don't have to have a road map. A line of jeeps follows a tour around the island with experienced guides who point out all of the beautiful scenery and tourist attractions. They stop periodically and let tourists take photos. Cozumel is home to many nature preserves. I got up close and personal with an alligator at the Punta Sur Ecological Reserve, a picturesque stop on the jeep city tour where native birds, turtles and fish flourish.


Along the way our jeep tour guide stopped at a beach and many of the tour participants went snorkeling. Cozumel has one of the world's largest reef networks and people on my tour said they saw spectacular reefs and were in arms reach of many species of colorful fish.

The botanical gardens at the Chankanaab Park and Lagoon are not to be missed. The botanical gardens showcase 350 types of tropical plants from more than 20 countries. Another attraction is Dolphin Discovery, which treats visitors to a close encounter with playful dolphins.


The island has more than 90 restaurants and cafes, offering a wide variety of cuisine and fresh seafood. Most people know about the Hard Rock Caf, Carlos' n' Charlies and Sr. Frogs. However, I found an eatery that had delicious seafood and pizza cooked to order on a wood burning oven. It's called Guido's and it is in the downtown area. The restaurant manager said Guido's has been there for 20 years, but I guess I was too busy shopping for bargains in this tropical paradise to notice.