By Ted Alan Stedman
Embrace uncertainty and avoid the predictable is a tenet of travel I usually abide by. Usually, that is, because each year I willfully veer off-course for Cozumel, where tourmaline-colored waters, paper-white beaches, superlative diving and spicy Mexican culture reliably satiate my Caribbean affliction.
In many ways it’s all about the water in "Coz," and you can take it from an authority. In 1962 Jacques Cousteau declared this Mexico jewel one of the world’s top diving areas because of its nearly unlimited visibility and brilliant coral. Diving’s since become the island’s soul. More than 20 miles of coral reefs, over 40 dive sites, around 500 fish species and bath-like water temperatures lure some 80,000 divers annually.
Impulsive types like me love that diving logistics are no problema in Cozumel. Most resorts have their own dive shop or arrange dives. Since my ’01 diving introduction here, I hang my flippers at the Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa. The best dive sites take all of 5 minutes to reach from the resort’s dive shop and pier.
But dive-centric as it is, Cozumel isn’t a one-trick pony. I might carouse the island’s sole town, bustling San Miguel, searching for the best fish tacos and margaritas. Or stroll Chankanaab National Park, the world’s only inland coral reef.
My favorite terra firma adventure? Revving up a rental scooter and cruising the remote windswept eastern beaches, then making the rounds to renew my seasonal acquaintances at the handful of cheery shoreside cantinas where everybody knows my name.
Come to think of it, predictability is not all that bad.
Here are a few of my photos:
Related Orbitz resources:
By ski, bike, kayak, safari vehicle and on foot, Ted Alan Stedman has journeyed in six continents and hopes to soon close in on number seven: Antarctica. The Denver-based writer is a former ski journalist for the Rocky Mountain News, and these days is a regular contributor to Sport Diver, Islands, Sunset, Outside and Outdoor Photographer magazines.