Monday, June 17, 2013

Mexican Beauty

Our favorite shore excursion of our cruise was in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The ship docked on the island of Cozumel, which is just off the coast of Mexico, and it's a place that I'd love to explore sometime, but not that time! We took a high-speed ferry boat to mainland Mexico to go to Xcaret Eco Archaelogical Park. I'm so glad we did this! It was really fun, and it's definitely a place we'd like to return to take a longer vacation.

We were greeted by these colorful birds (I think they're toucans) upon entering the park.

Sam didn't have the best time on our first activity, which was to go for a swim down a river of underground and above-ground caves. We all had to wear life jackets, so it was really easy and fun. But not for Sam. He cried for almost all 40 minutes of the swim. Peter and I switched off holding him as we floated downriver. Despite Sam's ardent dislike of this activity, this was one of our favorite things we did on the whole cruise! (Now three months later when we ask Sam if he wants to go swimming down the river, he still shouts "NO!" which is pretty amusing.) I wish I had pictures of our cave swim, but I was kind of busy swimming/floating and holding Sam, not to mention the fact that bringing a non-waterproof camera wouldn't have been very smart. 

After the swim our very kind tour guides (seriously, they were the nicest men) led us out to the totally stunning coast and we ate an authentic Mexican lunch (obviously) in an outdoor cafe. I got to watch dolphins swimming and jumping from where we sat (you could swim with dolphins there--another reason to return!). It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Not to sound corny or anything, but it was all pretty dreamy and I felt like I should pinch myself.

Have you ever seen spiral staircases to the sea? I hadn't.

The dolphins were swimming over here in this area.

Pinch me!

After lunch we had some time to go to the beach. John had a blast floating around on an inner tube, and Sam enjoyed playing in the sand. Our family stood out among the crowd there, being the (very) fair-skinned blond-haired Americans that we are. 

Here's John floating around on an inner tube.

Sam liked playing with the inner tube but was not at all interested in going out in it. He prefers to stay and play on the sand, thankyouverymuch!

Nice views of a great beach! 

Next we went to see some wild animals, which was pretty cool. Among other things, we saw a puma, a cheetah, and manatees.

We went through a lovely butterfly garden with a rushing waterfall right nearby. 


There were some re-created Mexican ruins and things like that that we didn't have a lot of time to explore because it was starting to get time to get back to the bus and return to the ship. Yet another reason to return. They also put on shows and have other forms of live entertainment. Xcaret really had just about everything!

A few more views of that beautiful ocean...

And then we returned to our ship, first by bus and then by high-speed ferry. 
This is Cozumel--what little we saw of it!

 Even after a great day in a really fun place, it was nice to return "home" to the Disney Fantasy.

We had a wonderful time in Playa del Carmen at Xcaret Park. We'd love to return again for a longer stay!