Buggy's to Jade Caverns
Staying on the island for 11 days and this day we decided we wanted to go to Jade Caverns
So I looked up the pricing online and found the tour offered by a company called "Wild Tours". It stated that they did the tours for $120 TOTAL for a buggy (which is really a side-by-side and both my older kids have one of them so we are really familiar with how to operate them). That was an AWESOME deal because all the other websites you had to pay per person and it was around $65-85/each. So, I booked online and got my $120 was happy with my choice.
Our booking was for 1:30pm (see we were given the option for a later tour) and we had plenty of time to get our things together, relax and of course more Spanish lessons.
When we received our booking notification, the notification said:
Guests staying in hotel in Cozumel:
Take a short taxi ride to Royal Village Shopping Center right in front of the International Cruise Chip Pier. Wild Tours booth is located right in Rafael E. Melgar avenue, at the mall's main entrance.
So we left the house around 12:30 pm because I don't like to be late for anything, even though the Royal Village Shopping Center was right down the road from us.
When we arrived, we had to park out back, walk down the side road and into the mall area, which of course was closed down due to no cruise ships in port. I think there was a pharmacy open and I think a gift shop with a guy outside trying to lure you in to buy some leather from him. But it looked abandoned here. :(
We took this opportunity to take some pictures and look for this booth we were meeting them at. I had messaged them on facebook and they said to go to the Playa Mia booth. So, here we are trying to find that booth.
When we finally found the Playa Mia store front, it was closed! Um, ok. I even confirmed with them on fb where to go and they said to follow the directions on the email booking.
So, I tried to get in touch with them again via fb. and I told them we were at the mall per instructions and they said Playa Mia Beach club. Well, that would have been nice to know. I told them we were following what the instructions said. I sent them a screen shot of my email and told them they should probably change their instructions then and they responded with "There is a mistake with our website, and we are fixing it in this moment. We apologise for this inconvenient. We appreciate your comprehension and the feedback" Alrighty then, we were on our way...but we might be late.
We arrived at Playa Mia to find that it was closed too. But not the tours being operated out of there, which I guess is Wild Tours. There is also a Chocolate Factory there as well that is open. We were greeted in the parking lot and they knew who we were. I guess this is because we were the only people there to do a tour! They had us sit at the tables outside and fill out paperwork and were told to use the bano's if we needed to because there would not be any place to use them once we left and there were none at the caverns. They took our temps and we used sanitizer, then went to watch a video in the building, of the do's and don'ts during the tour, which one said NO CAMERAS! Are you serious??? I'm taking my camera anyhow and I'm taking pictures!!! I will hide it if I have to.
It looked so weird to see Playa Mia like this with their pointed Circus looking tents down and the walkway uncovered.
Hubby went over to the store by the Chocolate Factory tour and bought us some pop. No Coca Light for me. Ugh! At the factory, they had some birds. We could hear them talking.
We sat around and talked to several of the guides and told them we were learning Spanish and doing our apps. Hubby would look up how to say something on his google translator and then he was rewarded with a weird look. They would tell him that's not how it's said and correct him. This was turned into a Spanish lesson while we sat at the table. He even wrote down some things for us. But the NUMERO UNO thing that I took away from that lesson was HIJA! That means daughter but you say it like "EEEEEE HAAAAAA. Kinda like Yea Haw! Like you riding a horse" he said. Now this was the funniest thing I have ever heard on an explanation and it stuck with us! Sakari was now Hija from here on out and I was loving every minute of it! (Yes, to this day, she's answering to that name).
We were told that another couple was coming with us to ride a 4 wheeler on the trip and we were waiting on them. I had no issue with that and they finally arrived and while they were filling out their paperwork, we were given our bandana's to wear on the trip. We were informed that it does get dusty but there wasn't any water right now because it's all dried up. So, no getting muddy. DARNIT! We had such an amazing time getting all muddy when we did a tour like this in Dominican Republic and I was hoping for a repeat!
One last trip to el bano and we were ready to roll.
We headed to our "buggy" and got in. They showed us the seat belts, the side nets, told us to turn it on and....it wouldn't start. Oh just great! They tried and tried and the battery seemed to be dead. They had another guy come over with tools and did something under the seat in the back and it started right up. I really hoped that the cables just needed tightened and we wouldn't get stranded at the caverns.
They lined us up. The leader, then us, then the couple on the 4 wheeler. I thought this was weird. I thought they would have them second and us last since we were a big vehicle and would probably be throwing up more dust and rocks than them.
One of them ask if we wanted our picture taken and ask me did I have a camera. Was this a trick? Man I really wanted a picture. Ok, I confessed that I had a camera and handed to him hoping that I would get it back. I let Sakari sit up front because I knew she enjoyed it so much the last time when we had switched places. I work better as a back-seat driver anyhow...ask the hubby. :)
Off we went on our adventure, following the guide on his 4 wheeler. We headed down the street and passed many beach clubs we had been to before. They all looked familiar to us and I smiled as we went by because of the fond memories we've had at these place. Before long we were crossing the street into something called "El Cedral". There was a big welcoming entrance for us and we knew this was going to be interesting.
We were riding along in what seemed to be a little town of it's own. I have to say, there were some pretty nice places back there and even had their own inground pools.
Then it was about to get fun. The roads turned into dirt and got a little more narrow. The greenery and brush was more prominent and our excitement was building. The hubby was having a bit of fun, espcially around corners. We'd hear a squeal here and there out of Sakari and he knew he was doing something right.
This area reminded us of the time we did this in Dominican Republic. The hubby said remember when we were going down the dirt road and all the brush along the side of it and all of a sudden those cows or bulls or ox or whatever they were came running across the road a split second after we passed and almost hit us? (They did end up running in front of Kendra and she had to stop). Well this is was this area felt like.
Then all of a sudden he yells "LOOK....THEY'RE HERE!!!"
Well they were behind a fence, so no running in front of this time. There was an entire field of them. I totally missed it and couldn't get situated to turn around in time to take a good picture. (I had hoped to get some on the way back, but we ended up going a different way.)
We were having so much fun twisting and turning and spinning around the corners. HIJA was laughing and screaming. At one point there was a huge tree hanging out and down toward the road. The hubby ended up hitting part of the branches and it broke off and yep...the people behind us ended up running it over. We had to stop and help them out. They had the large branch twisted up in the undercarriage of their 4 wheeler and leaves and branches wrapped around the tires. Oops! The tour guide went back to try to pull it all out and the hubby hung his head in shame. The other couple spoke Spanish and they were a bit away from us but we did see them point to us and I waited for the guide to come back and scold us for hitting the tree branch. But, he just came back, told us what happened, and said everything is good and they were not hurt or anything. I mean we didn't do it on purpose, it's just we were so big and it was hanging out in the road. See, this is why the people behind us should have been in front of us. At the very end of the video, you see the tree for a split second and then Sakari turns the camera toward her dad and you hear us hit it and me say something like "geeze", but you can see him swerve to try to not hit it.
A few pictures Sakari took while we were waiting for the guide to pull tree branches out of the other 4 wheeler.
Then we were off again...and finally arrived at our destination
Now I knew there was going to be a lot of walking involved and I had mentally prepared myself and took my walking medications so hopefully I would be good to go. I can go up perfectly fine, other than getting out of breath because of my added weight these days, but going down is such a challenge for me since I can't bend my foot forward. But, I can go sideways. Sideways seems to be the "in thing" for me over the last 1 1/2 years so it now has become a way of life for me if I want to be mobile and do the things I used to do. The hubby gets so worried about me and thinks I push myself too much and I'm going to get hurt, but I attempt to prove him wrong each time. If I'm aware of my surroundings, I do good. It's those dumb little things I do like not paying attention just standing there and I'll take a step backwards and step off something and hurt myself.
So down the stairs we went and seen the beautiful water below awaiting us.
It was definitely beautiful down there. But the smell...I had smelled this smell before! Oh yes, St Lucia! You could smell the sulfur...and bat poop. I'm sure that was part of the smell my nose was encountering and it was in overdrive.
The water is a greenish blue color. We were told that it's the sulfur at the bottom of it causing that. However, he told us that despite the appearance of the color we were seeing, the water was actually clear as can be. On our walk down to the water, I noticed the guide had dug a water bottle out of the trash can and was walking with it. He now showed us why. He reached down and dipped some of the water into the bottle and showed us just how crystal clear the water actually was. Now I have read reviews in the past that stated that they arrived and the water was murky and brown. Maybe it depends on the season or if it has rained? I'm not sure.
The caves are filled with a lot of stalactites and there is a wooden pathway that takes you along the side of it and down to where the bats hang out at. They were pretty active the day we were there and would fly from spot to spot within the cave area but never coming out. Harmless. The guide told us to watch the water. You could see it gently move back and forth. He said all the caverns in Cozumel flowed together underground and that is what caused the gentle movement of the water. It is all natural water and what is used in the black tanks you see around the island.