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Old 01-14-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
Candy Apple
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 836

Review of Secret River & Playa Del Carmen--Cozumel

This was fantastic! We were on the Magic last week. We met in Buena Vista Theatre at 7:15. They checked that everyone had their release forms (basically saying you can't sue the tour company for anything) and KTTW cards and ID's. They had towels for us, but we didn't really need them as there are towels provided there. Got off the ship at 7:45 and met the tour guides who asked if everyone could swim and do deep knee bends. They gave everyone one last chance to change their minds if they decided they weren't physically fit enough to do the excursion. Then we took a ferry to the mainland of Mexico. Cozumel is an island. They had offered Sea Calm to everyone before we left, with the caveat that it is only appproved for those over age 12. Many kids were crying and getting sick on the ferry. The ferry operators actually passed out plastic bags before we left. The ferry ride was choppy. DH took Meclizine and was fine. Other adults took meds and were fine, too. I never take anything and I used the free wifi to check emails on my phone on the way over.

Once we got to the mainland, we had a short walk uphill to our taxis. They had already split us up into three groups of ten. The drive to the Secret River took about half an hour, the last half of which was over dirt roads--bumpy. Then, we were given keys to a locker as well as water shoes. If you had your own, you could use them. Then, we had to shower. You are only allowed to take in your bathing suit and prescription glasses. Leave any jewelry in the locker or on the ship in your safe. The port adventures desk said one reason for this is to prevent loss. The water is cold and it is easy for a ring to slip off your finger. Then, we were given helmets, life jackets, and wet suits. The wet suits are optional. The water is cold, but you are not in the water all the time and can get hot. You are given the option of a walking stick but no one in our group opted for one.

We took a short walk downhill to the entrance of the river. After some instructions on do's and don'ts, we proceeded. The experience was great! We saw some amazing formations. To get a preview, go to their website: You do need to be careful about where you walk but the guide shows the first person what to do and each person passes the info to the person behind them. There are some steep areas and each person lends a helping hand or shoulder to the person behind them.

When we were done we returned our helmets, life jackets, and wet suits, and we were treated to a shot of tequila or iced tea. Iced tea for me. Then, they showed us the pictures the photographer had taken of us. You could get all the pictures on one CD for US$69, one picture for US$25, the CD plus two shirts and a bottle of tequila for US$99, or the CD plus two shirts and a ball cap for US$99. Credit cards accepted.

Then, we changed into dry clothes and had a very nice lunch. The Disney website says "Afterwards enjoy a snack and beverage." Well, it was more than a snack, but you had to pay for soft drinks. Water and iced tea were free. There was watermelon, soup, salad, taquitos, empanadas, rice, beans, mashed potatoes, salsa, sour cream, and more. Plenty to keep us until we returned to the ship. It was a nice picnic.

Then, we payed for our pictures and took the taxis back to Playa Del Carmen. We had about 30-40 minutes there. You could shop or go to the beach. I recommend going to see the new sculpture on the beach. It was just dedicated on Dec 21, 2012 as a part of the celebration for the end of the Mayan calendar.

We took the 3 PM ferry back to the island. I was hoping to use the wifi again but I couldn't connect. Others were able to connect but some were not, so don't count on it. We had to wait in a long line to get back on the Magic. I think a lot of people waited until the last minute to reboard. We were back on the ship a few minutes after 4.

Hopefully, this helps you decide if this is the right port adventure for you. It definitely was for us!
DH, me, DS 16, DS 14
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