CHANKANAAB (for the second time) Website:
We were in Cozumel 6 months ago and went to Chankanaab and it was by far our favorite port of the cruise. We knew when we booked the next cruise; we would like to include Cozumel again. As always, it did not disappoint.
We were also supposed to be in port from 10-6pm, but somehow they changed it to 11 to all aboard being 6:30, which was fine with me.
We walked the LONG port/shopping area and finally made it out to the cabs. Quickly caught a cab for the 5 of us (cost $15 total for a party of 5) and we were a Chankanaab in no time. When we pulled up there was a huge iguana sitting right alongside the van and my husband rushed out with our little one to show her. I paid the driver and he quickly pulled away. We got up to pay to get into the park and wait….where was our bag??? My husband had left it in the taxi van in the trunk. YIKES!!!
When we had got out of the van and was walking up to the entrance a man ask which van we had got out of and I looked back and the van was already pulled around the rest of the taxis and gone (he keeps track of every taxi that pulls up, the van number and the amount of people in each van). Well somehow this driver managed to get out of there before he wrote it down. I had taken a picture when we first got out that had the van that was in front of us in the picture. When checking his list, every van after this one in the picture had 7 people get out of it. We spent the next hour to hour and a half trying to locate a driver that they had no record of. I was about in tears at certain points not knowing what was going to happen at this point. Our money was in the bags, our cruise cards, our ID’s…everything of any importance was in that bag. Of course, I had the bag with just the towels. (rolling eyes). My oldest daughter and her boyfriend went ahead and went in to the park because they had a dolphin swim to get to (they had no idea what was going on at the time because they went to check in and of course didn’t have to buy tickets to enter the park like we did).
The man at the port tried forever to locate the driver with our bag and I went to the entrance to try to see if my other daughter was in site to let her know what was going on. When I returned, the bag had showed up. They had located the driver and another driver bringing passengers had brought it with him. WHEW!! We tipped the guy with the walkie talkie good for all the hard work he had done for locating the bag. Whew, we were finally in to the beach.
After getting in we were off to the beach. There were 7 ships in port that day and after waiting so long to enter the park, all of the chairs in the area we wanted to sit at were already taken. So, we just sat our things by the snorkeling wall and off we went into the water. As always, there were some amazing snorkeling, coral, and fish. The water was just like it was the last time we were there (not too calm, but not wavy enough to have any concern). We witnessed tons of people going out on a snorkeling “tour” with people there at Chank and all we could wonder is why??? Why would you pay to see the same thing I’m seeing on my own??? It just didn’t make sense to me. There were in the same water as me, swimming right alongside of me. The parrot fish there are some of the biggest I’ve ever seen. They are huge. I did find that if you took the time to explore and look under the huge rocks in all the nooks and crannies located all over the place you would find plenty of coral and anenomes right under your feet. There are tons of holes everywhere and I would see people coming up out of them. Sometimes I wish I had the guts to go in one of them with a flash light to see what might be in there. I did manage to explore a little more in the water than I did last time along the walls. It is just beautiful there and the water so clear. Also, there was a platform out in the water this time that you could snorkel up to and get on to rest and then snorkel or dive down some more. It wasn’t there last time we were at Chankanaab.
Get your $2.00 off admission coupon here
A few hours later people started to leave (I assume their ships left earlier than ours, which wasn’t until 7:30pm I think since all aboard was 6:30pm) and there were plenty of chairs available. We grabbed one and ordered a few drinks. Like always they were good. My husband ordered some type of drink that was inside an actual pineapple and he said it was yummy. We decided to order something to eat. The last time we were there we had not tried their food. It was a hard decision, so the waiter told us about a sample plate that you could order with some of everything that had. We decided to go with that. It was only $12 and it had a lot on it. I have to say it was GREAT and very filling! Makes me sad I missed out on it last time. My daughter and her boyfriend returned from the dolphin swim and they had grabbed a bite at the restaurant over by the dolphins and said they had paid $10 for just a burrito over there.A few hours later people started to leave (I assume their ships left earlier than ours, which wasn’t until 7:30pm I think since all aboard was 6:30pm) and there were plenty of chairs available. We grabbed one and ordered a few drinks. Like always they were good. My husband ordered some type of drink that was inside an actual pineapple and he said it was yummy. We decided to order something to eat. The last time we were there we had not tried their food. It was a hard decision, so the waiter told us about a sample plate that you could order with some of everything that had. We decided to go with that. It was only $12 and it had a lot on it. I have to say it was GREAT and very filling! Makes me sad I missed out on it last time. My daughter and her boyfriend returned from the dolphin swim and they had grabbed a bite at the restaurant over by the dolphins and said they had paid $10 for just a burrito over there.
My oldest daughter decided to have a braided string put in her hair and I decided to have my hair braided on the top. They had cute little flowers that went in your hair and I opted for that. While I was sitting under the hut having my hair braided (which is right beside the cove area for swimming) we watched a pelican diving in and out of the water getting his meal for the day. It was entertaining and of course the site was breath taking. I could stay here and never leave and be perfectly happy.
Once we were done, we decided to do a little more snorkeling, this time with my oldest daughter too.
After snorkeling, we headed over to the lagoon for awhile for pictures and iguana hunting.
Like always, there were plenty there to be seen, both black and orange ones.
By the end of the day, the place was nearly empty and it was so peaceful. Not having to be back at the port so early like before really felt like a big difference/experience. Even though we didn’t arrive until later in the day (11am), it felt like we were there forever (and I loved that). We slowly walked back to the entrance, not wanting to leave at all, and ask the man at the front if he could call us a cab. He pointed over to the parking lot on the side and said there are plenty here. If you are ready to leave, I will call one over. It was a quick ride back to the port and we stopped and did a little shopping and taking pictures before boarding again.
This was our second visit to Chankanaab and like the first time, it did not disappoint. We had an amazing day there with the family, amazing snorkeling, amazing food and drinks, and it is just beautiful there. It is definitely one of my favorite places in Cozumel...and probably the caribbean, but I'm a snorkel junkie.
Will we ever go back? Yes, I'm pretty sure we will...especially once the kids get old enough to swim with the dolphins again and not just do the encounter. However, there's so much to do and see in Cozumel that we will keep coming back and go somewhere else next time for the experience. But one day we'll be back for sure.
(Just a little copy and paste from my other Chankanaab review):
Even though people complain about the admission price (which I completely understand, especially if you are a large family), I personally would splurge and pay it myself. You have to remember, it's not just a beach or snorkeling place, it is a National Park. It's a huge place and there's so much to do there that we couldn't fit everything in.
The reef was amazing and the lagoon is beautiful. For those with younger children, you also have the small inlet swimming area that is shallow and easy entry. They have a botanical garden and eco-arquelogical self-guided tour with a mayan house.
They also have a sea lion show which is FREE!!
You can rent your snorkle equipment and also do the scuba dives. I believe I have read they also have clear bottom kayaks and snuba as well.
They do have lockers in several locations, showers, the palapas/chairs are free to use, snack bars and souvenir shops. You can also get your hair braided there too. There's plenty of places to eat in the various area's or you can just sit at the palapa and have the waiter serve you.
Since we were there, they have also added a crocodile exhibit and a zip line as well.