Our first port-of-call is Cozumel, Mexico, famous for sunny-day activities such as beach going, snorkeling, and diving. Unfortunately, the weather today is cool, cloudy, and rainy. But would that make Carnival cancel a shore excursion entitled “Caverns by Jeep and Beach Combo?” Nope!
After disembarking, my fellow cruisers and I board a ferry to transfer from the island of Cozumel to Playa del Carmen on the mainland. It’s a rocking 45-minute ride … literally. I close my eyes and pretend I’m riding a bucking bronco.
After falling on my knees and kissing the Mexican ground (OK, not really), I hop into the backseat of one of the waiting jeeps. The jeeps are manual transmission vehicles, so I decline to drive. Jeeps are also made for driving fast through puddles and luckily the wet weather provides plenty of those for our enjoyment.
At our main destination, we walk down into a cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and tree routes stretching down toward the water. We don life jackets and plunge into a 65-degree underground river. Luckily, we’re already wet and cold, which makes adjusting much easier. Our guide leads us on a swimming tour where we see fossilized brain coral and hear the songs of the hollow stalactites. It’s a unique experience you won’t find in the U.S., where most cavern tours are strictly walking.
Then it’s back in the jeeps for another splash-filled ride to the beach and a much-anticipated lunch. Lunch is a tasty Mexican meal, which we eat under thatched roofs with the rain driving sideways at us. It’s a wet affair, and we don’t spend too much extra time lounging on the sand. On the way back to the pier, our jeep decides to fall apart and I spend the entire ride holding the roof onto the jeep. I kid you not.
What’s the takeaway message here? The Caribbean does not always have perfect weather. You might want to think twice before booking outdoor excursions far in advance like I did. An accurate weather report is a wonderful asset for anyone planning a cruise vacation. But then again, a sense of humor and fun can make the wettest tour truly enjoyable.