On our recent cruise, we chose to explore Mexico with the Cozumel Highlights, Ruins, and Discover Mexico Cultural Park cruise excursion on the Disney Cruise Line. This excursion included stops to the Cozumel Ruins and the Discover Mexico Cultural Park. Read about our experience.
For some reason, up until this month, I’d never been to Mexico. I had several trips in the works over the years that never worked out, but I’ve always wanted to go. I’m fascinated with Mexican culture, and its proximity to the US makes it so easy to travel there. I knew that I’d finally get my chance to visit when I booked a Western Caribbean itinerary on the Disney Fantasy.
I specifically chose this itinerary for the opportunity to see places I’d never been to – Cozumel, St. Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands. While I sometimes stay on the ship during some stops, I knew we’d want to explore during each of these.
The island of Cozumel, Mexico in the Caribbean was our first port of call on the cruise. I actually wanted to see the city rather than explore nature, so I choose to book the Cozumel Highlights, Ruins, and Discover Mexico Cultural Park excursion for the day.
There were lots of Cozumel excursions offered including beach trips and ziplining, but that one seemed best to get a good cultural overview of the island. That was important to me, especially since we hadn’t visited Mexico, or the Cozumel ruins yet.
Starting Our Cozumel Cruise Excursion
Our excursion started at 9am, when we gathered in the Walt Disney Theater on board the ship. After everyone was check in and ready, we were guided off the ship and introduced to our two local guides, Mimi and Fanny, as well as our driver, Davide. Mimi and Fanny loaded everyone on to the air-conditioned motor coach, and we started the ride past downtown to San Gervasio.
Cozumel Ruins at San Gervasio
As we traveled, our guides gave us an overview of the area and some history of the ruins. It was recommended that we wear bug repellent, and there was some available on the bus for those who hadn’t brought any. Definitely use the bug repellent – my daughter was bit a few times even though we’d applied bug spray. I’d recommend bringing your own, because then you can re-apply throughout the day.
As you’d imagine, August in Mexico is quite hot, and but there is some shade available as you walk through the ruins. I’d definitely recommend traveling with able-bodied older children.
My kids, aged 9 and 10 at the time, had no problem at all, but this trip may not appeal to younger kids. You’ll want the kids to be old enough to appreciate the narration and to be able to walk through the Cozumel ruins.
Fanny and Mimi guided us through part of the ruins (our busy schedule meant that we needed to miss some of them during the tour) telling stories about how the Mayan people lived, and the kids found it all very interesting.
The Cozumel ruins are definitely fascinating, and having a guide with us was great because we were provided with context and stories for what we were seeing. It was better than just visiting without a guide.
If you’ve visited other Mayan ruins, like in Tulum or in Chichen Itza, you’ll find that the Cozumel ruins are a bit smaller. They are still fascinating, however, and you won’t need to travel to the mainland.
Discover Mexico Cultural Park
As we boarded the bus again after our trip to the ruins, we were offered water and soda before heading out to Discover Mexico Cultural Park, a fun museum filled with exhibits and displays focused on Mexican culture and history. First, we saw a brief movie, then went through an indoor section of the museum filled with Mexican art. Mimi choose a few pieces to explain in depth, and then we moved outside.
The outdoor section features a variety of Mexican monuments, buildings, and structures – all in miniature form. Again, Mimi and Fanny provided us with some overview of several of the exhibits, before we headed over to a festive pavilion for lunch.
We were guided through a buffet line for lunch, with options including cheese quesadillas, and beef and pork tacos. Alcohol wasn’t included in our excursion, but I couldn’t leave Mexico without having a margarita. These were available at an additional cost, and you could also choose to add on a take-home margarita glass. After our delicious lunch, the kids lined up to have a turn at the piñata.
Mayan Cacao Company
Our final stop was to the Mayan Cacao company for a brief demonstration about cacao and the history of chocolate. We had a few chocolate and cacao samples, and had a chance to make any purchases at the store. Then, we loaded back in the bus to return to the port.
We all loved the excursion – it was such a great way to experience some of the things to do in Cozumel. The tour guides were fabulous, and were so great at explaining things to all of us, including the kids. I’d recommend it as a way to learn more about the city and country.
If you aren’t looking to book this specific excursion, or are staying on the island, these locations may be available to tour individually.