In August 2015 we took a family cruise on the Navigator of the Seas from Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. I wrote earlier about the cruise overall, and this post is to discuss the stop in Cozumel. Specifically, we spent most of the day at Chankanaab Park via an excursion we booked on our own rather than through the cruise ship.
The cruise pier itself is set up very well. The only challenge is that the pier is very long, and that presents a challenge for those with mobility limits. However, the pier is also very well staffed and has folks around with wheelchairs to assist those who need it. Do make sure your children stick with you, though, rather than risk them running off and jumping into the water before you get where you are going!
You must, of course, exit through the gift shop. Happily, the prices were mostly pretty reasonable and there was a wide range of any souvenir trinket you can imagine. There were also the requisite duty free stores, places to eat, places to drink, and convenience stores. The convenience stores had pretty much was you would expect from a corner 7-11 in the United States with the possible exception of a lot more sunscreen. That makes it easy to buy bottles of water or whatever you need to get through your day. Once you get through the shopping plaza, you wind up at the cab stand. Conveniently, my wife and I used to live in Mexico City and speak Spanish. However, most of what I heard around me at the cab stand was English with no notable communication barriers. Prices were clearly posted, and you could pay in either dollars or pesos. We hired our cab, and off we went on the short drive to Chankanaab.
The park is beautiful, and this was my third visit. The view as you arrive:
The view very quickly after the entrance:
Once inside, you have a number of options– jungle laser tag (dubbed Mayan Laser Tag Adventure, which was our experience), zip lines, swimming with dolphins, and just hanging out on the beach. As you walk around the park, you can see some of the cruise ships in the distance to the North:
Our routine was to play laser tag, then go snorkeling, and then eat lunch. The water for snorkeling is a bit choppy, although fine for advanced swimmers. We saw a giant orange lobster. While the lunch wasn’t fantastic it was pretty good. A beer or two helped it go down nicely, and the palapa hut in which we dined was very nice:
After lunch we headed back to the pier for a bit more shopping and to get cleaned up before dinner. There is a line of taxis waiting as soon as you exit the park, so no worries there. You do need to negotiate your price, but we had no problems with “here’s what we paid to get here.” Do be sure to get a cab from the official cab stand at the exit to the park rather than something you hail off the streets. The experience that way is both safer and more pleasant. All told, however, this was an excellent excursion which was easy to book on our own. We will be back next Summer.