You already read about what I did while I was on my first cruise on the Norwegian Getaway (and that I did it ALL ALONE), but today I’m sharing something I did off the ship.
Thanks again to Norwegian for hosting me on this complimentary cruise. I paid for my excursion to Tulum out of my own pocket.
First things first, though. Before you set sail on a Norwegian cruise, you’re able to log into a pre-cruise portal and plan ahead. You can purchase a beverage package, which I highly recommend, as well as book tours and excursions for the cruise ports.
There’s something for everyone when it comes to port excursions: wildlife encounters, beach days, adventurous activities like kayaking or paddleboarding. But what interested me the most was seeing some of the history of my destination, so for my Cozumel, Mexico port day I chose to book a tour of the ruins at Tulum.
Getting to Tulum is an adventure in itself! The port of Cozumel where the ship docks is on an island but Tulum is on mainland Mexico, so you have to take a ferry ride and a bus ride to get there.
It was very windy the day I went, so I’m glad I brought some Dramamine with me — if you are known to get seasick, you’ll definitely need to take something or wear SeaBands to prevent nausea on the ferry ride.
The ferry (~45 minutes) takes you to Playa del Carmen, and from there a bus (~1 hour) brings you to Tulum. Although the bus ride is long, a tour guide tells you all about the area while you ride so it’s not at all boring.
When you arrive at Tulum you must purchase a photography permit if you plan to take photos. If you want the tour guide to handle the permit purchase for you, you’ll need cash. I believe it was $5. But if you speak some Spanish like I do, you can use your credit card at a Spanish-language kiosk to purchase your own permit for $2 and some change. Just a little money saving tip for savvy travelers. 🙂
The cute little creature above is a coati we saw before we got to the ruins. Even though it is friendly enough to approach tourists, the tour guide warned us not to pet it and he was right: someone tried to and almost got bitten!
To enter the ruins, we walked through this little corridor through the stone wall. It would have been cool if Hogwarts was on the other side, just sayin’.
And here’s the view that greeted us on the other side of the wall. Beautiful, right? I guess I’m not that upset it didn’t turn out to be Hogwarts after all.
Our tour guide told us a few interesting things about the ruins and surrounding area. As you can see in my photo below, the ground is sandy and rocky, which means crops don’t grow well there. The indigenous people — Mayans — were fishermen instead, and the area has an abundance of delicious, fresh seafood.
Once our tour guide had finished speaking to us, we had some time to wander around by ourselves. We were so lucky to have a beautiful, clear day (although it was VERY hot). South of the equator, ya know.
Beyond the ruins, you can see the clear, blue ocean.
And on top of the ruins, you can see cute little iguanas chillin’ in the sun. Can you spot him?
Here’s a better look at one:
I wandered over to the beach beyond the ruins and stood in the cool ocean breeze for a little while. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was! Truly stunning.
And once I’d gotten a few nice, deep lungfuls of ocean air, I wandered back to the shopping plaza at the entrance to the ruins to get something to eat. My tour guide had pointed out a restaurant that he said had the best fish tacos in town, so that’s where I decided to stop.
The restaurant was called Frosty’s and as someone who has a lot of faith in the power of word-of-mouth, I ordered the fish tacos. I was not disappointed!
I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of the tacos themselves, but here’s a snap of my Coca-Cola Light (aka Mexican Diet Coke), chips and EXTRA spicy salsa. Seriously, don’t have the salsa if you don’t like spicy food!
After my belly was full, it was about time to get back on the bus, head back to Playa del Carmen, then board the ferry back to the ship docked at Cozumel.
Although I was tired by the end of the day, I am SO GLAD I decided to book this excursion and that I have these pictures to remember it by.