Ports of Call: Progreso & Cozumel, Mexico
Justin and I started dating in college in December. A few short months into our relationship, we faced a critical juncture and the catalyst of our first adventure together: Spring Break! A group of Justin’s friends had invited him on a cruise and he in turn invited me and one of my friends to join in the fun.
With pay day another week away and faced with paying both the deposit for the cruise and rent for the month, I did the only thing a sensible college kid could do: took out a loan from the bank of Mom and Dad! Why they agreed to temporarily fund a last spring break hurrah outside of the United States with 7 other people I barely knew, I will eventually have to ask them…
Progreso, a beach day at its core (alas, we did not venture to see any Mayan ruins), was where we had our first “We’re not in America anymore” experience. Was it a language barrier? Was it a currency exchange issue? No. It was a bit more mundane.*warning: potty humor!* Fun fact: you can’t flush toilet paper here because the pipes are too small! Or at least that’s what the sign said next to a trash bin. And to make sure any silly Americans who might not heed that sign did not clog or destroy any plumbing during their single day stay, there was a bathroom attendant dutifully handing out single… squares… of toilet paper. Ok, I might be exaggerating. I think I was given at least three squares of tissue paper – I mean, toilet paper. Luckily, there is no adventure story to share about running out!
I don’t have a lot else to share about this port. The beach was walk-able from where the pier buses dropped off tourists. There was a small market of souvenir shops we passed along the way. Some of them had some interesting, if graphic art for purchase. The beach was white and wide. It was a bit windy and wavy so although we had seen a gorgeous teal-colored ocean on the drive up the pier, on the actual beach, the color was less-than-inspiring. While laying out a guitarist came by and serenaded us – for a tip, of course. I should warn that our experience here was made slightly less pleasant by numerous locals coming up asking us if we wanted to buy something – a song, jewelry, boot-legged movies. Overall, should we return on another cruise, I think we would opt for an excursion; this has been one of my least favorite of the ports we’ve visited.
Alas, Cozumel was a much better experience, evidenced by our planned return for a third visit this year. Here, we opted for a cruise-arranged excursion to a nearby resort for a zip-lining, repelling, and climbing obstacle course followed by snorkeling. Not very ‘authentic,’ but with this being our first trip out of the US of A and with a group of arguably rowdy spring breakers, this excursion seemed the likeliest to ensure a day of fun and getting everyone back to the boat. My lasting memory here was when one of the guides gave me the ok to zipline across to another tower, then yelled 'Wait Wait Wait!’ ...after I had already jumped. Banshee screaming the entire way across, I did not realize until I had safely landed that he and all the other guides were laughing at my not-so-near-death experience. A short time later, while preparing to snorkel, the guide made sure to show us how to wave our arms above our head to signal the group if we saw a shark. A bunch of comedians, these tour guides…
To experienced travelers, particularly those who are no longer of college age, this trip might not sound like the height of adventure, luxury, or meaningful experiences. But for us, it was 5 days of awesomeness that gave us a taste of so much to come – and was quite possibly the first indication that our brief romance might just turn out to be something more. Since that fateful week, we have had seven more years of adventures and several more ‘trips of a lifetime’ and, well, if you’re reading this blog, the rest, as they say, is history!
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Our Favorite Photos From The Trip:
Top Tips & Notes For Next Time: