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creativedisco September 14th, 2011 12:00 AM

Photography on Cozumel/Grand Cayman
I'm making some final preparations for my cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman on October 3, and I had a few last minute questions about some of the excursions.

First, I figured out from reading some of the posts that the cab fares on GC are fairly reasonable. $2.50 per trip, right? I'm assuming that the cab drivers would be able to recommend some decent snorkeling locations?

Anyway, my question: Are there some areas with decent photography on Cozumel? I'd prefer if they were more secluded, off-the-beaten-path sort of locations as I'm not particularly fond of random strangers getting in my shots. They'd naturally also need to be safe as I'm also not particularly fond of random strangers walking off with my DSLR camera. I've heard that the Eastern shore is decent for this, but I wanted to check first.

creativedisco September 14th, 2011 12:08 AM

Ideally, I'd like to find some places where I can do some shots similar to this one that I took in Charleston, but if I'm not able to, I won't be all broken up about it.

Donna September 14th, 2011 09:49 AM

Since you want to snorkel and will be in Grand Cayman, look into going to Sting Ray City and snorkel with the rays. You should be able to get some good shots...Heck, pick up a disposable underwater camera, you'd be suprised at the shots you can get....

green_rd September 14th, 2011 02:57 PM

On Cozumel you can go over to the "wild" side of the island. Not much swimming but the surf is amazing and you are away from the crowds.

creativedisco September 15th, 2011 11:39 AM

I've actually done a little poking around myself using Google Maps/Google earth (and google in general). Apparently there are some really photogenic places on the Northeastern shoreline. Unfortunately, they are only accessible by ATV or 4WD (the best places usually are). I've heard horror stories about people renting vehicles (motorcycles and the like) in Cozumel such as them getting screwed by businesses, crooked police officers getting invovled, and things like that. How would you guys recommend I proceed here? Is it really as unsafe as people make it seem to rent vehicles on the island or are some folks just blowing things out of proportion?

green_rd September 15th, 2011 03:26 PM

You could consider a taxi tour. We've not rented in Mexico, but I know their liability laws are different than the US. If you rent a car be sure to get insurance. If you are in an accident you have to pay for damage first and then they worry about fault later.

creativedisco September 15th, 2011 04:13 PM

Would they have something like an off-road taxi or something? That would actually be ideal.

Donna September 15th, 2011 04:18 PM

You can look throught the cruiseline's web-site for their list of excursios and see if there is anything like that. Sometimes, when you get to port, there are independent tour operators waiting to take cruisers to different places, but that would be last minute??

creativedisco September 15th, 2011 04:23 PM

I saw some ATV / Jungle Exploration excursions, but I just assumed it was one of those things where I'd have to stick with the group and not be able to stop off and linger for a while at various places so that I can take pictures.

Donna September 15th, 2011 06:44 PM

I would have to agree, you'd be stuck with a group, but they may have stops just for taking pics along the way??

creativedisco September 19th, 2011 12:19 AM

Well, I spoke to the GF, and she doesn't seem to be particularly keen on doing the ATV/Jeep tours anyway, so it looks like my shots will be around Chankanaab. Not that I'm disappointed, of course. I hear it's actually very pretty there and that the snorkeling is great.

Two more questions, though.

One: As a way of doing my part for Breast Cancer Awareness month, I'm undertaking Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Challenge in October. That means lots of sunshine, lots of walking, a decent amount of heavy weight lifting, and no grains or sugars for the entire month. Alcohol, DARK chocolate, coffee, and dairy products are okay in small quantities, though. How difficult would it be to stick to such a regimen through the duration of my cruise ( The Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge | Mark's Daily Apple )?

Two: How difficult would it be to find real dark chocolate in Cozumel? I'm talking 85% cacao or more.

Donna September 19th, 2011 09:27 AM

Not sure about the real chocolate, but be sure to pick up some vanilla there, you'll see it being sold all over.

LisaK September 20th, 2011 10:42 AM

make your diet challenge known to the Maitre D and the lead waiter on your wait team. You can contact special services in advance or you can go talk to the Maitre D once you board. Mention your diet needs to your lead waiter and he/she will make suggestions from the menu.

colorcrazie September 20th, 2011 02:14 PM

Hi Disco,
If you are on Carnival, they make a desert called "Chocolate Melting Cake" which is made with bakers chocolate. But, on any cruise line, I would contact special services 2 weeks ahead of time to get exactly what you need.
Re. the photo's, I am like you in that I like unique scenic shots. But, I would never rent a vehicle or even hire a driver by myself. With my hubby, yes, but the only trouble I ever had on a cruise was deciding to hire someone on my own. If your GF doesn't want to go, try talking to your fellow passengers once you get on board. Sometimes you will find people who would love to do what you are thinking of, but were just too nervous to consider it. If not, then Chankanaab may give you more good shots than you expected.

creativedisco September 24th, 2011 09:48 AM

Yeah, she and I have decided to play it safe this time around anyway. It's not like we'll never be able to return, right?

Though, it seems like with this cruise, once I get one question answered, more pop up. GF has been cautioning me about drinking the water and eating the food (which is cooked in the water) in Mexico. I assumed that since Cozumel was a tourist destination, it wouldn't be so bad. Is she just freaking out unnecessarily, or might she have a point?

creativedisco September 24th, 2011 09:52 AM

And I'm not terribly concerned about the diet thing, anyway. Just figured I'd raise the question. I plan on invoking the 80/20 rule for at least one piece of melting cake (I hear it's worth it) and for reacquainting myself with the Macho Burrito in my old college town of Valdosta (though this might mean GF requires me to sleep on the floor).

Donna September 24th, 2011 10:38 PM

I think I would still play it safe in Mexico, better safe than sorry...

creativedisco September 25th, 2011 10:04 AM

Duly noted. Thank you.

colorcrazie September 25th, 2011 05:18 PM

Hi Creative,
I am happy that you have decided to play it safe.
Re. the water. Again, better safe than sorry. The big, American owned hotels have sanitized water, but local can be a different story. I have eaten in Cozumel, but keep in mind that only some places cater to tourists. It is possible to get sick from bad water or lack of adequate refridgeration...or ice. People can and do forget that the ice is made from water. LOL
A friend of mine who is a chef for one of the cruise lines says that fish are the safest thing to eat, since it will smell bad if it has gone bad. Next safest are beef and pork, if cooked very well done. Riskiest is chicken or any kind of fowl. It can give you food poisoning while smelling and tasting fine.
I eat a large breakfast on the ship, then wait until I get back on board for a late lunch. I have heard, but don't know first hand, that the food at Chankanaab is safe. But, the big issue for food is the cost of keeping it cold before it is prepared. I don't want to be sick for the rest of the cruise! So, I take bottled water or, better yet, splurge some calories on a Mexican Coke....with no ice, just out of the bottle. They use an old recipe and it is SOOOO good. And I never drink soda at home.
Be safe, stay well and have a wonderful cruise!

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