We were out the door by about 9 am. We headed down to the port and caught the 10 am ferry to Cozumel. The plan for the day was to get to the Island and then figure out how to get to the ruins. This would be our last chance to check them out since yesterday was a bust.
Cozumel is not too different from Playa del Carmen or Cancun. It is designed for tourism. It lacks that Spanish influence that you find all over Latin America. I heard someone mention that the city itself is only 50 years old and tourism is their only industry.
We we got off of the ferry, we were greeted by the typical hustle bustle of Latin America. You can not walk more than 20 feet without being offered a service or something to eat. I mentioned to Caleb and Malachi that I would be interested in renting bikes for the day and checking out the island. It was hot, but if we had gotten enough water, we would have been fine. Malachi did not like that plan. We found a small Chinese restaurante to eat at while we opened up a map and came up with a plan.
I was not too interested in renting a car because there are a lot of other things that come with it such as insurance, worrying about damages, etc… Caleb said that he would be willing to chip in for the rental, so I decided that it would not hurt to just check it out. We entered the rental business and there was a family of about 5 people in total waiting to talk to the employees. When I say rental company, I imagine that you picture something like Hertz or Budget. Perhaps you picture something at an airport? This was not that. Imagine a dirty auto mechanic shop from about 30 years ago but the mechanic shop is about the size of a small bedroom. The employees were just two guys who looked like they were more likely to be hanging out on their day off rather than working at a rental agency. That is the best way I can describe it. I asked the “agent” how much for a small buggy. He told me that they wanted about 1300 pesos to rent the vehicle for the day. I asked him if he could check his stock, and it turned out that all of the buggies were rented. Then I noticed what looked like a very small European type car that looked like it came straight from the 80s. I asked him for the price of that one, and he said that it would cost about 1100 pesos. I offered 900 and he said yes. While we waited for the car, he ran through all the other upgrades that were available and made several calls. I can only imagine that he was calling to have someone bring the car over because in the area we were at, there was not a lot.
We sat around chatting for some time while we filled out the paperwork. Once we were finished, he told me that the car was ready. We headed out and I could not find the car. Then he pointed to it; to say I was shocked would be a little bit of an understatement. What we were given was something that I could only describe as a half convertible geo metro from the early 2000s.
I took out my camera and decided to document any scratched or dents so that they would not try to charge us at a later date. Where to start? The car was covered in scratches and dents. The insulation was coming off of the doors. The inside was rusted. The car had not been vacuumed since who knows when. The gear shifter was also rusted and barley had the handle, the blinkers and lights did not work. I tried my best to document everything wrong with the vehicle, but we were only gonna be in town for a day, so we decided to just head out. The gear shifter was pretty crazy to use as it drive like no other car. To say it was unique, is an understatement. Despite all of these problems, the little car had a lot of power. With that, we were off!
I had the boys map us to the Ruins and we got on the highway and headed straight there. It was a great drive and a great day to do it. I realized that renting the car was a good idea because it ended up being about a half an hour drive at about 80km and hour. We arrived at the ruins and womp womp womp! It was closed. We sat at the entrance for sometime trying to figure out what was going on when an older gentlemen appeared and told us that the park was closed and it would be that way for at least a month. That was another set of ruins that we would miss. We decided to head continue cruising the island and just make some pitstops along the way at anything that would interest us. As we sat in the drive way, I realized that I could not get the car to reverse. There was not a reverse gear on the car. I had Malachi get out and push the car to get it out of the drive way, but of course he is too weak! As we sat there, the same old man appeared and said that these old Mexican cars are odd. He gave me a tutorial on how to get it into the reverse gear, and honestly, I would not have figured it out on my own.
A horse…a pale horse: As we moved on from the ruin entrance, Malachi spotted a ranch that had a few horses hanging around. He wanted to know if they would let him ride one of the horses. I turned the car around and we pulled up to the entrance of the ranch. There were about 3 horses and a donkey tied to the front fence. I can only imagine that the donkey was there to let the owner know that someone had arrived because it started screaming. We did not see anyone, so we sat there for a few minutes trying to find a way to get Malachi on a horse. After a few minutes, someone appeared at the side of our car and asked if we needed anything. I told him that for some odd reason that Malachi wants to ride a horse, and we were looking for a place to do it so he could stop crying about it (I was joking of course). The man laughed and said that if he really wanted to ride a horse, he could arrange it for 10 us dollars. Malachi could not get out of the car fast enough. The gentleman saddled up the horse and gave Malachi some tips. He got on the horse and was very happy. The guy just walked Malachi around the pin several times while telling us about the horse. It turns out that the horse he put Malachi on is old and they typically use it for kids and old people! LoL! Caleb and I were laughing! All jokes aside, he picked that horse because there was very little risk of it kicking Malachi off and I would have hated to see him get hurt and ruin our vacation. We took some pictures and chatted with the guy for a bit. He started getting a little weird, so we left quickly. It was honestly a lot of fun.
We spent the rest of the afternoon Cruzing around the island and stopping at small beaches to just stop and take in the sights. We also stopped at several small beach shops along the way where the boys bought some gifts for their families. It was at that one beach shop where the owner saw our ride and said “I see you guys are driving the Mexican Ferrari”, and that became it’s name from that point on. We got to talk to several locals and one had a Parrot that Malachi and Caleb got to carry while I took some photos. After Cruzing around most of the island, Caleb mentioned visiting a Catholic Church that was on the map. We pulled over and walked about 3/4 of a mile through the city. It was amazing. It still had that colonial style but was modern in every sense. I think that I like the older churches better, but it was amazing to see a modern interpretation.
We had a few hours to spare so we drove to another part of the island that we had yet to visit. We passed by a Mexican air force base and several monuments that Malachi wanted to stop at. We stopped at a mayan monument that was odd because it was a representation of the top of a mayan pyramid along with a priest and a Spaniard on the opposite end. The plaques were to faded to read so we just took in the beauty of it. When we were about to leave, a young man who was sitting outside of a jewelry store asked us if we know what monument represented. He told us the whole story about the island and how it was discovered. It was probably the best tour we had taken up to this point, and it was free
We were able to catch a ferry back to the mainland rather quickly where we got a chance to sit right in front of the ship so we could see the island coming towards us. It was probably the best ride. When we got back to our apartment, we had dinner…street tacos!