Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue February 02 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | February 2, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Escape Cozumel’s Cruise Crowds at Playa Punta Morena

    Escape Cozumel’s Cruise Crowds at Playa Punta Morena

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    Like many cruise ship ports, the first impression of Cozumel can be obscured by masses of people rushing down the dock. If your image of this small Mexican island involves big cruise ships, hordes of tequila-drenched tourists and pushy t-shirt vendors, you're not alone.

    That was exactly my experience the last time I was in Cozumel but that was because I had never reached el otro lado — the undeveloped, east side of Cozumel. It's covered with a 20- mile stretch of coastline boasting huge waves, pale-sand beaches and exposed coral shelves.

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    Palm trees sway and pearly sand beckons you to sink your feet in. Dolphins shoot out cascades of glistening water from their blowholes.

    Every weekend, locals set sail and call to dolphins by tapping the side of the boats. The gentle sea creatures appear and swim playfully along. There are no trained dolphin shows or fenced in areas where they are forced to swim with tourists. They swim freely and roam the area just as openly as the surfers who hunt for waves.

    Playa Punta Morena is one of the most placid and pristine beaches on the island. A cross guards Punta Morena and it seems to spread a tranquil vibe across the entire area. You can go hours without seeing anybody except a few surfers and divers. Cruise ship patrons rarely make it to this side of Cozumel because of the time involved and lack of tourist amenities like resorts, Wi-Fi or a Senor Frog's. Needless, to say, I didn't miss any of that.

    You can rent a cute beach cabana right on the beach. It just provides sleep and private bath basics, which is enough for most surfers and divers.

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    Amenities are simple and unfussy, with a small, thatched-roof, distressed-wood restaurant sporting hammocks that hang over the powdery sands. There’s also a small pool and kids playground, but the ocean is the main draw here. The shore is a little rocky but if you swim out to the small cove, it’s a serene, calm, floating experience.

    Fresh lobster pizza, freshly caught snapper and shrimp fajitas are served at Punta Morena restaurant while Spanish techno music floats in the background. It's a peaceful aura that charms you into relaxation. I sat on the beach and watched the crashing currents for eons, happy to be on the other side.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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