Las Floras de Cozumel – 8

Mas floras bonitas de Isla de Cozumel or more beautiful flowers from Cozumel. !Desfruits or enjoy.

Life In Cozumel

Life in Cozumel is what you might expect, once you get past all the hustle and bustle of the tourism. It is a pretty quiet, sleepy place, where people do what they do in their own way. They are on island time, in the Caribbean, so they do what needs to get done in their own time. Nothing is rushed or hurried. For the most part, life on Isla de Cozumel is carried out pretty much the same way it has been for eons and eons.

The sea is a way of life for most of the people, since after all, it is an island. Boats are are big part of people’s lives too, particularly diving or fishing boats.

There is even a boat dedicated to the art and voices of the locals.

Making and drinking tequila is also a way of life that has been around for centuries. As you can imagine, tequila is very popular and comes in many different varieties. Tequila is known as America’s Native Spirit. The Aztecs prized a fermented drink known as pulque, which used the sap of the agave plant (this technique was also likely used by the Olmecs, an even older civilization dating back to 1000 B.C. that was based in the lowlands of Mexico). During the 1400’s and 1500’s, the Spanish couldn’t be without their brandy for too long, so when supplies began to run low, they improvised with mud and agave, essentially creating what we know today as mezcal. (Remember: All tequilas are technically mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.) In the mid-1500s, the Spanish government opened a trade route between Manila and Mexico, and in the early 1600s, the Marquis of Altamira built the first large-scale distillery in what is now Tequila, Jalisco.

Mexico is very proud of its tequila industry, and like France with its wine, has protected it as intellectual property. In a move to take ownership of the term “tequila,” the Mexican government declared the term as its intellectual property in 1974. This made it necessary for tequila to be made and aged in certain areas of Mexico, and it also made it illegal for other countries to produce or sell their own “tequila.” The Tequila Regulatory Council was additionally created to ensure quality and promote the culture surrounding the spirit. This was done in 1974.

Horses have been a part of the Mexican culture for centuries as well. Since their arrival aboard Spanish ships in the 1500s, horses have been part of the story of the New World. In Mexico, there is perhaps no better representative of the country’s combined cultures and history than the horse trained for “charreria,” the Mexican version of a rodeo.

Mexico Charro Horses Photo Gallery

Horses have also been a means of transportation for centuries as well, though now, it is more part of the tourist industry, at least in the heavy tourist destinations.

Most of the work is still done by hand, and most people, regardless of the tasks being done, are considered to be artisans at their trade. It was fun to capture this man painting the logo on this building, doing it all by hand.

The finished result.

Music too is and always has been a large part of the culture. The guitar is synonymous to Mexico, it’s culture and its music. Everyone knows how to play.

Sometimes, the best things in life really are the simple things. Often, we forget that. Simple often equates to happiness, much more so than we realize.

Stay safe, stay well, and keep it simple. ‘Til next time.

Mas Comidas de Cozumel – 3

There are so many good restaurants all over Cozumel. Some offer foods that appeal to the tourists’ palettes, while others offer foods that are more representative of the indigenous cultures, and others offer a little something for everyone.

One of our favorite restaurants for this trip was in the heart of San Miguel. It is family owned restaurant that specializes in a lot of foods from the Yucatan area. It is called Colores y Sabores or Colors and Flavors. As with many of our discoveries, we stumbled upon it by accident, but what a delicious accident it was.

As we were looking at the menu, deciding on where to go, there were two lovely ladies dining outside who helped us make our decision. They both gave glowing reviews of the food which was all the convincing we needed.

A tequila sunrise, or a variation thereof, was the first thing to try, as well as chips and salsa of the Yucatan nature.

Once again, we all ordered a variety of delicious foods to feast upon.

For starters there was a nopales salad. Nopales are cactus leaves that have been grilled and peeled to reveal the tender “fruit” of the pedals. I have been eating nopales most of my life, having been introduced to them at an early age from friends who were of Mayan descent.

We also shared a plate of shrimp nachos, that again were loaded with shrimp.

We could have easily stopped there, but did we? Of course not. We are adventurous eaters and love to try all kinds of foods.

There were barbacoa pork tacos with pickled onions,

the fresh catch of the day,

and mole enchiladas. I love mole, but I do not fix it that often because Larry is not a big fan of mole. Mole is delicious blend of chocolate and spices and peppers. The term “mole” stems from the Nahuatl world “molli,” which means “sauce” or “concoction.” Mole comes from a family of sauces prepared throughout the Oaxaca and Puebla regions of Mexico and is characterized by a complex, layered flavor derived from intricate blends of dried chiles, spices, fruits, and seasonings. 

Once more, las comidas esta muy delicioso! !Muchas gracias!

We definitely wanted to go back to Colores y Sabores, but we ran out of time. Next time for sure though. I was once told always leave something for next time to ensure going back. Wise words indeed.

A Culture Blend

Mexico is an interesting blend of many cultures. It is influenced by the Native American cultures of both the Mayans and the Aztecs, along with many other native peoples who inhabited the lands. It is also heavily influenced by the Spanish who originally colonized Mexico, as well as many other European nations who have come since the Spanish. All of these influences are represented in the art, the statues, the culture and life in general of the Mexican people. They are found on Isla de Cozumel too.

I have been sharing our adventures of Cozumel with you since our return home. And I am not done yet. Today, I am sharing some of the art that tells the stories of how Mexico transformed into what it is today. These tributes are all found in the city area of San Miguel.

Cozumel is the land of the swallows, though ironically, I did not see as many swallows as I did other birds.

The Mayans. The Maya developed their first civilization in the Preclassic period. … The northern lowlands of Yucatán were widely settled by the Middle Preclassic. The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900. The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant Indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest).

Just like any culture though, the Mayans had their dark side too. There are many scenes of wars, massacres, and human sacrifices carved into stone and left behind on public buildings. The Ancient Mayans were fierce warriors. The warfare between city-states got so bad that many believe that it had much to do with the eventual ​decline and fall of the Maya civilization.

In the 16th century, the Spanish came to Mexico and brought many cultural changes to the land, including the Spanish language, the religion of Catholicism and many Spanish and European customs. The simple life in Mexico and Cozumel had been forever changed from this time on.

These reminders of bygone days are found all over Cozumel. But there are also signs of what Cozumel is today. Today, it is a major tourist destination and a Mecca to divers from around the world. This too is represented in their art.

Life happens and so does change. Changes can be good and they can be bad, but they are going to happen no matter what course we take. The only constant is change. We adapt and move on. That’s all we can do.

Mas Comidas de Cozumel – 2

I love going out to different restaurants and experiencing all their fun and delicious foods. We don’t go out to eat very often while at home, but I sure do take advantage of it when we are on vacation. In fact, I flat our refuse to cook while on vacation. I cook enough at home, and even I like to take a break from the kitchen sometimes too.

While in Cozumel, we tried some very good restaurants, and all had their own unique flavors and styles. We only had the banana bug for one day, so we took advantage of that and dined in the City of San Miguel while we still had the car. We had spotted one restaurant we were going to try, but could not find parking near by so we ended up going to another little restaurant instead. It was all good though. Our second choice was a little seafood restaurant called William. It offered the fresh catch of the day, though ironically, we all ordered something with shrimp. Shrimp is very popular all over the island, which is a good thing. We love shrimp.

William is a cute, tiny little family owned restaurant with good food and big portions.

Pictures of the sea and the local fish were on the walls all around.

Of course we started things off right with a cool and refreshing margarita. Little did I know it would be a mega margarita though.

Nancy started things off with a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer that was loaded with shrimp too. She let us all sample it. It was muy delicioso!

Larry ordered shrimp fajitas.

The rest of us ordered some breaded and fried shrimp they called empanizados. These were good, but definitely not my favorite meal on the island.

After a very full day and very full tummies, we called it a day, and headed back “home” to the hotel. We had a big day of of diving ahead of us and we all needed our beauty sleep.

!Desfruitas! Everyday is a gift. Enjoy them while you can. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Touring Around the Island

On one of 2-tank dive days, we decided to tour around the island. Larry and I go to Cozumel all the time and know the island pretty well, but our friends Rich and Nancy don’t know the island as well. So when we rented our banana bug for the day, we drove them around the entire island to show it of. Statues on the Streets. We lovingly refer to Cozumel as “out island” since we go so often.

We headed down south, towards Punta Sur or South Point. That is where most of the good beaches are and Mr. Sancho’s, where we stopped for lunch. Mas Comidas de Cozumel.

We made quite a few stops and took pictures, as tourists do. That was, after all, the point of the trip. As we experienced while diving all week, the currents were ripping, even on top of the water’s surface. They are beautiful to look at.

The beach pictures.

I caught Rich in action.

Nancy and I have been captured in a rare dry moment, something very unusual for mermaids.

We even found a little chapel right on the beach.

After we hit the beach, the drive continued as we followed the road northwest.

The Cozumel Airport from the road.

And up at the northern point or Punta Norte, we came across another marina. In case you hadn’t noticed, I love boats and the water. This marina was more for the private boats and yachts. The marina or caleta we did our diving from was south and was more for the fishing boats and dive boats. Most of the good diving is down south, though Larry and I have dived up north as well.

One of the beautiful views capturing the old and the new.

There is only one main road that goes around the island. We followed it all around, back towards the south, and going into the city. The city was busy and we didn’t stop for much, though as I have said, Larry and I have been there many times. Somethings change a lot and some things don’t change much at all.

Cozumel is very colorful and is rich with history. It is also a diverse little island that is filled with an abundant zest for life. it is definitely worth visiting, whether for the day or for some of the best diving in the world.

Mas Comidas de Cozumel

We sampled many delicious meals while in Cozumel. We tried to go to a different restaurant everyday, although we did go back to the same ones a couple of times, more out of convenience (either after a night dive or for breakfast) a couple of times.

One day after a short 2-tank day of diving, we rented a fun vehicle and went cruising around the island. I won’t exactly call it a car, but it was fun. We nicknamed it our banana bug.

During the busy travel times (pre-COVID), there would be up to 10 cruise ships docking in Cozumel daily. This time we saw about 10 total. This was our view from our hotel window.

One of the stops we made was at Mr. Sancho’s, a fun little day beach club that is a frequent stop for cruise ships. They offered a little bit of everything from shopping to horseback riding to beach activities, and of course a lot of good food and drinks.

Follow the footsteps to the beach and to the food.

I just love all this attention to detail. This beautiful tiled piece of art was on the floor at Mr. Sancho’s.

The aqua playground. We would pass this daily from the other side, on the boats taking us to some of our dive destinations.

And now the food.

Rich ordered ceviche everywhere we went. He became quite the ceviche connoisseur.

The rest of us ordered different kinds of tacos and nachos. We had chicken and shrimp tacos that were just loaded with meat. !Delicioso!

Our tableside view. I could easily get used to this.

Relax and enjoy the simple life. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.