Our Crown Princess cruise through the Western Caribbean continues to Cozumel, Mexico.
On this shore excursion we’re off on a safari to explore Cozumel….on a Harley Davidson!
After we met our guide and biker dude, Willi, we hopped on a taxi to where our Harley Sportsters were waiting for us. After some formalities and familiarization session with the new bikes, we began our Harley safari south to the town of Cedral.
Being outdoors in warm climate makes it necessary to stay hydrated, and to make sure we do, our guides Willy and Juan brought a cooler stocked with cold water and soft drinks at our disposal. And with Juan on his Harley in the front, and Willy in his pick-up following everyone, I felt we were in real good hands! Not only did it ease my concerns of what would happen in case a bike breaks down and we need to get back to port on time, but I was happy to have a place to keep my backpack!
Motorcycle tips: Some important tips to keep in mind if going on a motorcycle tour: make sure you have a motorcycle license, which is required, and enough experience riding on different types of terrain because you never know what you’ll be riding on. Not all roads are concrete. Also, be sure you wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Muffler burns due to wearing shorts are not the types of souvenirs you want to remember your adventure by.
Our first stop was at a small but interesting Mayan ruin El Cedral, a temple dedicated to a Mayan fertility goddess, and major ceremonies are said to have taken place here.
Cozumel the 3rd largest island of Mexico with a long history dating back to the Mayan civilization that used to inhabit this island which was known as Cuzamil, or the Island of the Swallows. Cozumel was sacred to the Maya Moon Goddess, Ix Chel, (Isht Shel) or She of the Rainbow, and temples like this were places of pilgrimage, especially by women seeking divine assistance in fertility and child birth. This temple is the oldest Mayan structure on the island, but little evidence of its former glory is left, thanks to the Conquistadors.
In early 1500′s Hernan Cortes and his Spaniard Conquistadors arrived in Cozumel, the starting point for the conquest of Mexico, and in the process destroyed not only many Mayan temples, but eventually the Mayan population when smallpox devastated it’s population of 40,000 with only a few hundred remaining….and eventually they all perished completely leaving the once vibrant island in ruins and eventually a haven for pirates who used it as a hideout.
It wasn’t until mid 1800′s that Cozumel was once again repopulated after the Caste War of Yucatan.
What’s most unique about this ancient temple dedicated to the goddess of fertility is a Catholic Church built next to it, about the same size. There’s a story behind this. During Spanish colonial times a legal caste system placed European descendants above native Mayans and this resulted in a revolution that drove most of the Europeans off the peninsula, and many escaped to Cozumel.
Story has it Casimiro Cardenas, a member of a group of fugitives from Saban, a town on the main land, survived a brutal attack that killed many of the villagers by holding on to a wooden cross. In honor of the power of the crucifix, he was inspired to start the annual festival, the Holy Cross Festival, that takes place here each year in at the end of April. For 5 days, the festival includes traditional feasts, bullfights, various competitions, and live music.
This little church is Cozumel’s first Catholic Church. It’s also said that was here in Cozumel where the first mass in Mexico too place when the first Spanish visitor arrived here in early 1500′s.
And off we ride again…..heading to Punta Sur for an amazing view of the island from the top of a historic lighthouse! And the ride there is absolutely fantastic, surrounded by so much natural beauty.
Gotta tell you, there’s nothing more exhilarating than riding on a Harley through a paradise Island like Cozumel, nothing standing between you and everything around you….the fresh air on your skin — ok, so maybe after a half hour your face feels looks you’ve just had a mini lift….and that’s never a bad thing!
Punta Sur is at the southern point of the island and part of the an ecological park that covers reefs, beaches, lagoons, and forests in the surrounding area. The lighthouse or El Faro in Spanish, was built in 1901, and since it’s no longer a light house keeper’s house, it was transformed into a small nautical museum including information about ancient Mayan navigators. The best part of this lighthouse is the spectacular view from the top, one of the most photographed views in Cozumel. And you can see why!
Meeting with MaxIn the video you will see an interesting local we went to pay a visit to…and hope he didn’t make any sudden moves!
By now it’s lunchtime, and we arrived at Coconuts Restaurant for tapas…and, we’re not having aligator bites!! This beach bar restaurant was just perfect for us bikers. Laid back with a very colorful decor….. finding a table available outdoors on the sand would’ve really topped the experience, but we didn’t get so lucky as they were all taken. What’s real cool is that behind the tables is a clif! Whoa! Don’t go near here after a few too many cervezas. I ordered a chicken quesadilla for lunch to go with their absolutely delicious guacamole. I didn’t want to think about exactly WHERE the chicken in the quesadilla came from at this point….not sure if this is a local resident or… future lunch?
After lunch it was time to head back to the ship, but not before we stopped for some souvenirs, and the obligatory bottle of kahlua!! Here’s a shopping tip from our tour guide: no matter what you want to buy, just walk away….because the 2nd or 3rd price is the real price! Ok, so this doesn’t apply to most legitimate souvenir or retail shops, but always be prepared to negotiate.This video was made possible via Twitter Press cruise sponsored by Princess Cruises. The content of this show represented the real experience of the participants and content was created without any influence or compensation by Princess or its representatives.