Traveling around Cozumel by Jeep and especially on the east side of the island where time has no calling, is the best way to see the Island of Swallows. Thanks to Ernesto’s Jeep Rentals, we did just that.
We started the days adventure on the south end of San Miguel at around 10 o’clock in the morning. We picked up our red jeep and headed ourselves in a southerly direction. The day has begun!
We made our way out of town, and veered right onto The Old Ocean-side road. It is a one way – southbound for motor vehicles. Here is where we came upon our first stop. The Money Bar Beach Club offers food, beverage and a place to snorkel.
Like most cantinas along our route, they provide a place to enjoy the water, food and libations. We ordered a couple of beverages and then did our first morning’s snorkel. Most of the bar & grills offer steps down through the sometimes jagged shoreline and out to the open water. The water is so clear and full of exotic and colorful marine life.
The little Stella Maris church is an extension of the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Sullivan Island, SC. Its large white concrete archway stands in front of a four post open air palapa. The planked floor is lined with wooden benches that bow to a hand built alter that displays a beautiful arrangement of flowers below, and a large conch shell resting above.
We took a few moments in prayer and then moved on. As quickly as we found the church, the Tequila Bar wasn’t a real challenge, considering that it was right next door. It sits just at the steps of the Sky Reef Bar & Grill, which we stopped at on our way back – more to come.
The attentive audience was learning all about tequila. Mexico’s most popular drink of choice! The host was explaining how it was made, the aging process and most of all, how it tasted. I listened for few minutes, dropped off a card and moved on down the road.
There are bar & grills (pictured right) that sporadically dot the glistening shoreline. Most of them are larger wooden palapas. However, there are a few made of brick and plaster with low cut walls so the outside scenery can be viewed at 180 degrees.
After enjoying the wind in our hair and sun on our faces, our next stop was the Bob Marley Reggae Bar & Grill. This colorful oasis on the beach pays tribute to the late great Bob Marley. We ordered a few cold beverages and a seafood quesadilla. We then took a refreshing dip in the perfectly tempered water. The bar had a rustic charm which exudes a sense of life in paradise – no needs, no worries, no problems!
We grooved to the reggae music playing in the background while enjoying our food and drinks. As I glanced to the north, I noticed a glass-topped dome standing tall in the distance. If you have followed any of my past articles, you would know that I love lighthouses. The 127 step Celarain Lighthouse turned museum, is part of the Punta Sur Eco-Park on the southern most tip of Cozumel. I am sure that I will personally visit this site in the near future.
We cruised at a steady pace down the two lane road until we came upon Playa San Martin. Here is where we made another stop. It has a concrete block building where the lifeguard station it housed on the bottom, and an open air palapa lounge area on top.
This white sandy beach was filled with lots of activity. There were people playing volleyball, enjoying the water, and others just relaxing on the beach.
Coming from the Reggae bar, we are now on the east side of the island. The waters are so clear and warm, but yet refreshing. The sand is a flawless white that squeezes between your toes. We waded in the water for awhile not wanting to get away from the magical hold it had on us. But again, we needed to keep moving forward as the day was still young.
We picked up our beach bag filled with our necessities and said a sorrowful goodbye to another beautiful spot. A place like this can easily erase any worries you might have. We followed the turquoise shoreline closely while taking in every piece of passing scenery. This is where nature excels in beauty. How can you not feel rejuvenated when seeing and feeling its majestic influence.
Our next stop is a place we happened upon fifteen years ago. Coconuts Bar & Grill (“Bar & Grill” was added after our first visit) at the time was a rustic, and I do mean rustic palapa bar. We were lucky to even manage a stool that would be trusted to sit on when leaning on the dilapidated bar.
Now they have become somewhat of a must visit attraction on the southeast end of the island. They are even “pin pointed” on various maps distributed on Cozumel. We climbed the carved out steps that led to the now popular cliff top bar. License plates, signed shirts & hats, and various denomination’s of money with names and dates on them are posted everywhere.
There are tables that hug the sheer cliffs and provide a 180 degree panoramic view of the water and its blending horizon. The jagged rocks below create a perfect stage for the waters acrobatic motions and thunderous sounds. We enjoyed all this while snacking on some guacamole & chips. We took in the stunning view and cool ocean breeze for quite sometime.
It was getting past midday and our jeep was due back by five o’clock. We had one more place to stop before calling it a day. We doubled back to a beach bar & grill we found earlier today. The Sky Reef Bar & Grill was right next to the Tequila Tasting bar (notice the tequila barrels to the right in the photo). This place was easy to remember from our morning’s passing.
They too are an establishment that offers a place to snorkel. The short pier provides easy access to the shallow water and out to a reef. Most all the bar & grills rope off a designated area warning boats that there are people in the water.
We strapped on our mask and fins and explored the water for various types of fish that rely on the neighboring reef for survival. Afterwards, we enjoy a beverage and a snack to hold us over until dinner. The couple sitting just above us in the open air dining area were discussing their choices for their afternoon meal.
The couple selected a fish that was light in color and looked to be approximately a foot long and weighed around 2 lbs. I am not sure what kind of fish it was. But it does somewhat resemble a Hogfish which is native to this part of the Gulf waters.
All good things must come to an end and today is no exception. We took a moment to dry off and then made our way back to San Miguel where our adventure began. We couldn’t ask for a better day. The weather threatened rain, but it never came. The ocean breeze kept us comfortable. The cool Gulf waters refreshed us at every stop, and the snorkeling was a success. Can you really ask for anymore than that!
“A special thanks to Ernesto’s Rentals for the Jeep and island maps!”