Another full day of exploring, with a bus trip down the coast to the resort town of Playa del Carmen, and a ferry across to the Isla de Cozumel.

First, another early morning ADO coach trip for about one hour south to the ‘Playa del Carmen Turística’ station. ADO bus from Cancún to Playa del Carmen, around 78 pesos (£3) single each. This station is minutes away from the main ferry terminal at the heart of the resort. Once again, we had booked Ultramar ferry tickets in advance online for our journey. Ultramar ferry from Playa to Cozumel, $20USD (£15) total via PayPal for two singles. After maybe a 35-40 minute journey, we arrived at the main town of San Miguel, with around three hours available to explore before catching our return ferry to the mainland.

Cruise ships dock at Cozumel
Cruise ships dock at Cozumel

We had hoped to visit the Museo de Cozumel a short distance away from the port, to learn about the island’s history and all of the infamous pirates associated with it, but unfortunately it was closed for refurbishment at the time of our visit. So our time was largely spent browsing the souvenir shops, and stopping for occasional refreshments in various local cafés. Our short timescale didn’t really allow us any opportunity to explore the island further. The island is highly thought of for scuba diving and snorkelling, ever since it was first publicised by Jacques Cousteau back in the 1970s. It reminded me of how I used to watch the Jacques Cousteau documentaries way back then, although of course the beautiful colours of the coral reef would have been lost on me, as we only had a black & white telly at the time!

Beware of Pirates!
Beware of Pirates!

Our pre-booked return ferry tickets from  Cozumel to Playa del Carmen mid afternoon meant that we had a couple of hours to explore Playa in more detail before catching our evening return bus to Cancún. In the small town square near to the ferry terminal, we spotted another show by some papantla flyers, and we stayed a while to watch.

Papantla flyers in Playa del Carmen
Papantla flyers in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is often portrayed as a family resort, but to us it seemed a bit brash and over-commercialised in comparison to Cancún. We walked the full two-mile length of Avenida Quinta (5th Avenue) and back. It’s the main pedestrianised thoroughfare in Playa, running parallel to the beach. There’s the expected mix of souvenir shops and restaurants, but also a noticeable presence of many big international brands and designer labels. The locals seemed more pushy than elsewhere, incessantly touting for our business everywhere we passed. Interesting to visit on a day trip, but I’m not sure I could enjoy an entire holiday based there!

At 6pm, having been on our feet for much of the day, we were glad to climb back aboard our ADO bus for the one hour journey back to Cancún.

Great sign outside a bar in Playa's shopping area!
Great sign outside a bar in Playa’s shopping area!

Tomorrow, a chance to relax and unwind a bit, as we stay local and explore a couple of small Mayan sites in the Hotel Zone.