If your cruise travels in the Caribbean carry you to Cozumel, Mexico, here is a brief list of where to go and what to see on a cultural tour.
RELATED: Ultimate list of things to do in Cozumel.
For an immersive live performance of ancient Mayan culture, Kun-che Park is a must see. I would classify this tour as educational interpretive entertainment. Dancers, musicians, cooking, a traditional village, and Maya ‘ball game’ are delightful and magical. This is an appropriate stop for the whole family.
A stop in Cozumel would not be complete without putting your eyes on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichen Itza. Its famed Temple of Kukulcan, Temple of the Warriors, Ball Court, and Nunnery will not disappoint. I highly recommend that you book a tour with a local guide. While we’ve all seen the images on TV, the reality draws you in as your mind races with hundreds of questions about the inhabitants of these sacred spaces. The guide can answer them, and expand your experiences with hieroglyph interpretations and stories of life in this ancient civilization.
Tulum and Tankah Park
A ferry ride will take you to the cliffs where the ancient walled fortress of Tulum (Mayan for ‘wall’) still watches over the Caribbean. Known as the Mayan Riviera, this location was once the port and gateway to the ancient empire. Local guides will share stories of life at this strategic location, and the photo opps are tremendous. If you can get there in early morning, the ruins face east so the rising sunlight is dramatically fantastic on the ancient stones.
Then, if you are the immersive nature type, 20 minutes down the road from Tulum you can find the Tankah Eco-Park. This will be a guided tour through the jungle to arrive at cenotes – clear water swimming holes. You can relax, zipline the canopy, or visit a local contemporary Mayan village where you will be welcome to sit and visit with the folks.
This is usually a long tour, so check schedules carefully.
Wander on your own
I always recommend to anyone, on any trip, going anywhere, to wander on your own. Now this means safely and most likely in a small group – but you get the idea. Stray away from the tour group. Stop in an unlikely looking restaurant. Think small, off the beaten path, and order the ‘special.’ Find the city center (with the main government buildings), sit on a park bench (Cozumel has plenty), and talk to the locals. Finally, wander into the local museums. There are several including art galleries with local pieces and three history museums; the main one is the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel.
Travel is evolving. Those who wander the planet on journeys of discovery want more than simply checking off a location on a list. We now want to fully experience the three-dimensional cultures of our destinations.
So let’s truly immerse ourselves in Cozumel. And, remember to book tours ahead whenever possible.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com