Holiday in paradise: Catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Mele Kalikimaka from Cancun. The family was back on the water with a catamaran trip scheduled for Isla Mujeres. Our trip included snorkeling in the MUSA, a buffet lunch, and free time on the beach before departing back in the afternoon showers that rolled through. We had an amazing day despite the rain, but then the reality of traveling tomorrow hits us as we have to pack up and be ready to head to the airport to head home.

The catamaran to Isla Mujeres was departing at 10:00 am from Playa Langosta and check-in started at 9:15 am. We left with plenty of time and found parking nearby and patiently waited for our departure (to the blaring disco-techa music at 9:30 in the morning).

I booked the tour with Cancun Snorkeling and the entire family was onboard the boat and snorkeling in the water for $260 (US). This included lunch and an open bar. More details on that soon. This was a group tour, so there were probably about 30 people in total sailing with us. Just like we’ve experienced before on excursions like this, the groups are usually really diverse, which I think makes the day and the adventure more fun.

The sun was glistening off the water as we got our snorkel gear ready. After a trip to Puerto Rico, we started traveling with our own snorkel gear. The strange thing about this snorkeling session is that we weren’t allowed to use our swim fins. That was the case for everyone getting in the water. The tour guide told us that the reef was really shallow here and they want to help protect and preserve the reef. To be honest, I didn’t think the water was that shallow (I think it was for the inexperienced folks, but anyway).

Turns out, we didn’t really need our fins at all. The current kept us clipping along at a good pace and the life jackets we were wearing didn’t allow us to dive down (which we weren’t supposed to do anyway).

There were two highlights from the snorkeling trip. First, we got to see the Underwater Art Museum (MUSA), which is home to sunken art sculptures that really stand out from the sea floor. And second, Merri Beth spotted a sea turtle drifting along with our group for a short while. Zander and I spotted a school of Barracudas again.

The catamaran actually dropped us off on one part of the reef and picked us up at another. We drifted along, watching the underwater screensaver come to life and the artwalk emerge and disappear as schools of bright tropical fish swam around us.

Back on the boat, we continued the trip to Isla Mujeres. The boat docked and it was a short walk on a pier to the beach club where we had lunch. The buffet lunch included salad, pastas, tacos, desserts, and an open bar. Our server, Chris, took care of us and started us off with margaritas. We only stayed for about an hour of the scheduled 90-minute time allotted for lunch, because we were off to the beach before the rain moved in.

A few steps from the restaurant is the beach club area with umbrellas and chairs available for rent. The kids had explored a little bit already and found a spot further up the beach, a short walk along a crowded strip of sand. We quickly settled in and the kids were in the water having fun. The sun was shining and bright, the wind was picking up and you could see some rain showers starting to pop-up all around us.

I was stoked to be outside, on a beautiful beach, on vacation with my family, enjoying Christmas day on a tropical island.

The rain made its way to us and everyone scattered off the beach. I was walking around and exploring the surf on the north east side of the island when the sky opened up. I was just laughing at the rain and some of the drops would sting a little when they hit my skin. By the time I got back to camp, MB didn’t look too thrilled. The kids checked in, then went back in the water, and the sun came back out.

Lucky for us, people had bolted because of the rain. Now we had the first choice for where we wanted to set-up. We picked a spot, but we didn’t stay long. Our time was expiring and more rain was moving in. We wanted to be close to the dock and not miss the return trip on the boat.

To be honest, even though the weather went a little shitty, I was stoked to be outside, on a beautiful beach, on vacation with my family, enjoying Christmas day on a tropical island. The rain was refreshing. But it was coming down in squalls now, so we ended up back in the dining area, seeking shelter until the catamaran arrived.

We were lined up on the dock in the light rain. At some point, we just said fuck it. We stashed our bags in the cabin of the catamaran that was overflowing with people who didn’t want to get pelted. We opted to sit on the front of the boat in the rain. There was one point where we couldn’t see Isla Mujeres or Cancun. Yeah, the weather went bad, fast–and cleared up just as fast. Instead of a beautiful, sunny ride home, we let the rain cleanse our souls and arrived to sunny skies and no rain by the time we docked back in Playa Langosta.

Back at our AirBnB, we started laundry, got dinner going (clean out the fridge y’all), and started packing things up. Then we made sure everyone was on the same page about our departure plan, time, travel buddies, etc. We made sure to pay our exit tax online so that was already done.

We got everything we could packed up and ready near the door. We had breakfast items at the ready and had scoped out a gas station to fill up on our way to the airport in the morning. Despite the rough start with the rental company, our vacation turned out to be pretty rad. I’m so glad we got to go Daytrippin in Mexico.