The moon was still high above the earth when we started our slow move towards the dock at the International Pier at Cozumel, Mexico. I just had to get up and watch. It always amazes me how these large ships glide so easily into the docks.
I was really looking forward to today because it had been several years since we were in Cozumel during the holiday season and I had this wonderful memory of walking down the waterfront and seeing beautiful and colorful artwork of iguanas, birds and other interesting animals along the Waterfront Promenade.
And, today was going to be a beautiful day for a walk around town. The blue sky was clear save a scattering of wispy clouds and the temperature was going to be a comfortable 83.
Once we had our first cup of coffee for the day, we made our way to the dining room for a quick breakfast before preparing to go ashore. We have docked at the International Pier in the past and have walked the 3 ½ miles several times. However, this trip we would be taking a cab or shuttle as I am still plagued with leg problem.
We have visited Cozumel many times over the years and have taken several shore excursions. Without a doubt my favorite will always be the Salsa and Salsa excursion we took with friends Lana and Barry in 2012.
This trip we decided to take a leisurely walk around town and do one of our favorite things; have lunch at a new restaurant. To-date we have never eaten at the same restaurant twice opting instead to discover new places to indulge our love of Mexican food.
The shuttle dropped us off in the middle of San Miguel and we started our slow walk passing many shops filled with jewelry, cigars, souvenirs and many, many restaurants. There were many hawkers standing outside the shops beckoning us to come in and see what the store had to offer. They are always very polite when you respond, “No gracias”. Of course, every once in a while we will meander inside a shop or two looking for little treasure to take home. We have always found the people of San Miguel to be very welcoming and friendly.
I was a little disappointed when I did not see the waterfront adorned with the beautiful artwork that I remembered. I stopped in one storefront and ask a very nice gentleman if they would be on display during the holidays. He smiled at me and said, “It is too early. They put them up during Carnaval”. As soon as he said that I remembered that I saw them on a visit here in the month of February in 2012. I was a little disappointed but knew I would be back sometime in the future during February and would see them again.
We continued our walk and saw beautiful Christmas trees and nativity scenes along our walk.
We finally reached our destination for the day; Pancho’s Backyard. Pancho’s is one of the restaurants listed in the Cruise Compass as a place to visit while in port. To get to Pancho’s you had walk through a building called Los Cinco Soles. This building was once warehouse that has been through several transformations. At one time a hotel then an apartment building until its final transformation a beautiful shop and restaurant.
We were seated and given a menu. According to the information included in the menu, “The new Los Cinco Soles opened in January 1990 and Pancho’s Backyard a few months later”.
We walked through the store admiring the many beautiful handicrafts, jewelry, pottery, food and souvenirs eventually making our way to the entrance to Pancho’s. There was a small section of Pancho’s indoors but the main restaurant is located in a lovely open garden.
The setting was quite lovely as was the furniture and decorations. There were umbrella tables in the open garden, tables inside and a lovely section of overstuffed couches I am sure would be lovely a lovely area for cocktail time.
It was early and we were not quite hungry so we settled on a plate of chicken nachos and, of course, margaritas. I ordered the traditional margarita while Randy chose a mango margarita. Let me tell you about this margarita; it was strong and delicious. I had to sip this drink very slowly.
While we were enjoying our lunch a husband-wife duo set up a xylophone and played a variety of Christmas and traditional music. I just loved everything about Pancho’s Backyard. The setting was lovely, the food was delicious, the margaritas were wonderful and the music pleasant. This was definitely a good way to spend our day in Cozumel.
We were enjoying our afternoon when two couples came into the restaurant. They seemed very familiar with the staff and reminded everyone that they had been coming to Pancho’s Backyard for 20 years and were so glad to be back. We also met a very nice couple from Texas at the next table and enjoyed a conversation of their many visits to Cozumel.
After lunch we walked back to the center of town to catch a cab back to the pier. We stopped at Diamonds International to pick up our free charms. While there we spent a few minutes admiring several watches and then moved on.
While in the jewelry store we received a message from our friends Dennis and Connie. Dennis and Connie were also on a cruise and docked at the International Pier. They were at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at the port and said they would wait for us to come by. We hurried over and had a nice visit before we all had to return to our respective ships.
A took a short rest after we returned to the ship then prepared for the evening. Cocktails and dinner were wonderful again. While enjoying our dinner everyone agreed that we had a great table.
I was a bit hungry tonight so chose the Roasted Peach Soup for an appetizer and the Thai Chicken Breast with mild red curry, edamame and shitake sauce, bok choy and steamed rice. The dinner was filling and delicious.
Our only plan for the evening was to attend the “Dancing with the Superstars” competition. Six members of the crew were paired with six volunteers among the passengers and competed for honors after dancing to several different styles of music.
I laughed so hard when I watched this very interesting, funny competition that my sides hurt. There were truly only two out of the twelve competitors that actually danced to the music. The rest was made up mayhem. There were three judges who narrowed down the competition to three couples. By the time they got to the last two, the audience was given the privilege of choosing the winners. The whole competition was beyond funny to watch. I was glad we stopped to watch.
Tired, we returned to the cabin for a little relaxation before retiring for the evening.
Tomorrow is our last day and we will be at sea.