In early August of 2015, all our big family - and by saying 'big' I mean 'my husband Chris and I, our two little boys Liam and Max, and my husband's entire extended family' - packed our newly bought stylish suitases and boarded the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.
I was excited beyond belief - so excited that I once again failed to remember how exhausting it is to travel with a 6 and 2-year-old in tow. By Day 5 of our cruising adventure we were point-blank tired. Liam started the morning with sincere and indignant, "I don't want to go to the beach!", and Chris and I exchanged glances and shrugged our shoulders. What do you do in Cozumel with two little, already sunburnt boys? We contemplated staying on the ship (fun!), booking a swim-with-dolphins excursion offered by Royal Caribbean at the whopping price of 119 USD a person or just sticking our heads into the white sand in an ostrich-like way and hanging out there for a while without having to make any adult decisions. But thankfully, there is the Internet - and thanks to its unsurpassed powers, we had the best day of our cruise in Cozumel, Mexico.
Do you have one day in Cozumel and are wondering what to get up to? The answer is simple - Chankanaab Adventure Park. Just follow the steps below, and a fun, stress-free day for your entire family is guaraneed! And you won't go broke. Which is a plus.
1. Get a Taxi!
They will look exactly like that. Getting a taxi is as easy as ABC - just walk off the ship and follow the 'Taxi' signs that will lead you to the person who will inquire where you are heading, give you the quote and introduce you to your driver. It cost us $12 each way - for all four of us. The drive only took about 10 minutes, the vehicle was air-conditioned, and Liam and Max were super-excited about the absence of car seats. Taxis do take US dollars, but when we got to the park our driver first told us he did not have any change for our twenty. When we suggested that we buy the tickets and give him the exact amount, he suddenly came up with a bunch of five-dollar bills - voila, like a rabbit out of a hat (by the way, our driver has no relation to the driver in the picture!!). Speaking of the hat - I did forgive him when he had to drive back and find me in the park to give me my hat back. Given all the commotion, I had left it in the taxi. Thank you, dear taxi driver. I absolutely adore this hat!
2. Pay the park admission fee
It will cost you $21 for an adult and $14 a child to enter the park. And it's free for kids under 3. The ticket office accepts major credit cards and cash (including US dollars), and offers various packages. We purchased the basic package, but if you are in the mood for something more extreme, you could opt for a zip-line package or swim-with-dolphins (or sea lions!) package. By the way, swimming with dolphins was only $35 a person, which is the lowest price I have ever heard of! Our boys don't swim well enough for this activity, but I wish they did. If we are ever back in Cozumel in the future, I am signing us up to swim with these beautiful creatures. :)
3. Check out Mayan artefacts
There is a separate archeological area of the park that is full of various Mayan artefacts brought from all over Mexico. Perfect for families craving to learn more about this rich and mysterious culture, but finding it impossible to travel to Chichen Itza or Tulum.
Liam and Max found it quite entertaining as well - I believe they were playing Indiana Jones and looking for treasure. We did have to pull them off some less unfortunate exponats. We also saw a lot of quite fascinating iguanas and other reptilian creatures that we were not able to identify.
If you are feeling truely adventurous, you can even play laser tag amidst the Mayan ruins or zip-line above the lagoon!
4. Soak in the view of the magnificent blue lagoon!
5. Check out some crocs!
6. Get a massage!
This is seriously one of the best massages I have ever had! Imagine Caribbean breeze caressing your hair, an aroma of sweet massage oil in the air, and when you are done and open your eyes - this gorgeous turquoise lagoon glistening in the sun. Yes, this is paradise. A 30-minute paradise for just 35 bucks! Natural Spa in Chankanaab is the way to go :).
Cozumel was a quiet fishing village until 1960s when Jacques Cousteau christened it the best snorkeling location in the world. I am not that great at snorkeling - but all you have to do is just lower your face into the crystal clear water and enjoy the beauty of the underwater life.
There are a few snorkeling locations. The larger one is on the main beach, but it does have quite strong currents - especially if you are planning to snorkel with kids. Look out for a smaller snorkeling location by the beach-front restaurant - it's a bit more appropriate for little swimmers.
The two pictures above show the underwater statue of Jesus Chris in Chankanaab. It is truly one of the most amazing sights you will ever see!
8. Check out the Sea Lion show!
This show was a true delight! The hosts were super entertaining and very nice, and the sea lions clapped, danced and sang. Our boys loved it! And we did, too :).
9. Swim and drink!
Heck yeah!!! Swim in the pool and sip on your margarita in this in-pool bar! There are also plenty of various restaurants on the property. We had lunch right on the beach and tried various Mexican appetizers, and they were to die for!
This was definitely the best day of our 7-day cruise. We loved every minute of it, nobody was stressed-out, and everybody had fun! And what else can you wish for when you travel with your family? if you are ever in Cozumel for just one day, go for Chankanaab Park!