So like, a year ago, the leadership team at Sixthman told us we needed to do some research about popular shore excursions so we could be more informed when describing them to our guests.
Um, chyeah. Count us in! Nadine and I did all of you (and us) a favor by checking out the Chankanaab Beach Park & Snorkel excursion in Cozumel, Mexico. I know what you’re thinking. “But Sixthman Jayne, how do I know if this is the excursion for me?”
Let me break it down for you.
Price: $59.00 for Adults, $39.00 for kids
Duration: About 4 hours – but you can stretch it out if you take your own transportation back to the ship
Family Friendly: Absolutely. We had to get up pretty early in the morning, which means we were basically just like a couple of tired 8-year-olds, and we had a great time.
Opportunity to get kissed by a sea lion: Yes. More on that later.
Step One: Get Your Tix
Once you have your Norwegian reservation number, you can log in to NCL.com to research and book a shore excursion. We didn’t have that kind of foresight, so instead, we purchased our tickets on board the ship.
It was the CoverGirl of ticket buying experiences: easy, breezy, beautiful. (Duh). I went to the shore excursions desk (Atrium, Deck 7, MID), told the NCL team which excursion I wanted to purchase, handed over my keycard – one swipe later, and I had my tickets in hand.
Step Two: Meet at the Rendezvous Point
We were told to meet at the end of the pier at 8:45am. We gave ourselves a little extra time because, well, we’re not morning people. We were greeted by our tour leader, Jorge who was super nice – but he had to deliver some disappointing news. It was a windy day and the water was too dangerous, so they had to cancel the snorkeling portion of our excursion.
Not a problem for us. New plan: find the fruity drinks!
Step Three: Follow the Leader
Jorge showed us to our shuttle and it was a quick 20 minute ride from the port to Chankanaab. Once we arrived, Jorge gave us our wristbands and led us inside to show us all of the fun stuff we could do instead of snorkeling. There were replicas of prehispanic ruins, a Mayan house, a lagoon, a winding path through the property’s beautiful gardens, a couple of restaurants and bars, and THE BEACH.
It was still pretty early in the morning at this point, so we figured we probably needed to earn our adult beverages. We took a stroll around the lagoon, snapped photos with some of our favorite statues, and pretended not to be afraid of the giant alligators sunbathing in their garden cage.
Step Four: Frozen Drinks!
After escaping an inevitable gator attack, we needed a piña colada to settle our nerves. We bellied up to the bar underneath a tropical thatched roof and enjoyed the cool ocean breeze. Who needs snorkels when there’s a perfectly delightful drink menu and sociable bartenders at the ready?
Step Five: Guacamole (and no, it doesn’t cost extra)
The only thing that could have made our beach hut bar experience better was SNACKS. Jorge did not disappoint. He pulled out a tray of avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro, and lime: all of the ingredients for a giant batch of guacamole! He walked us through the steps of making this Mexican favorite. We laughed, we cried (um, onions!), and we snacked.
Step Six: More Frozen Drinks + Beach Hangs
With a couple of satisfied tummies, the only logical next step was a nap on the beach. We found a sunny spot and started soaking in the rays. Oh, and did you know there are bartenders roaming the beach who are ready to bring you more piña coladas whenever you want?! True story.
We attempted a brief swim in one of the smaller coves. The water felt great – but it was still a bit choppy due to the high winds. We swam long enough to get that good salt water treatment in our hair, made friends with some fellow swimmers, and then spent a few minutes drying off in the sand.
Step Seven: Tequila
A tequila tasting was included in the price of the excursion, and we were determined to get the most bang for our buck. We met up with Jorge in a little building with a big table and five types of tequila for us to sample. If you’re worried about our consumption at this point, don’t fret. We just had teeny tiny sips of each one. We tried strange flavors like coffee and blueberry, toasted each other en español, and learned all about the differences between tequila and mezcal (tequila is produced in the Jalisco region of Mexico and comes from the blue agave plant, mezcal is made from green agave), and I’m pretty sure we would do it all over again if we could.
Step Eight: Sea Lions!
Your chances of getting some serious facetime with live animals at Chankanaab are like, 99.9%. (See also: Nadine with parrots). After our tequila tasting, we walked across the street to an outdoor pool – and thus began the greatest part of our day: THE SEA LION SHOW! We met three happy sea lions who waved, flipped, jumped, dived, and splashed their way into our hearts. At the end of the show when the sea lion trainers offered to take our photo with a sea lion, we jumped at the opportunity. And check it out – we got to first base! **smooch**
Step Nine: Hit the Road
Apparently, the sea lions had to leave us because it was their “nap time”. (We’re pretty sure they were just tired of listening to us make all of those “awwww!” sounds). And with that, we began making our way back to the shuttle.
On our way out of the park, we made note of all the other fun stuff available at Chankanaab that didn’t fit into our schedule that day including a zip line course, swimming with dolphins, scuba diving, glass bottom kayaking, and more!
Another quick shuttle ride back to the port, a couple of high fives for Jorge, and our Chankanaab excursion came to an end.
Step Ten: Tell All Your Friends
In case anyone at the Sixthman office was curious about how much fun we had at Chankanaab, we posted our sea lion pics on the wall for all to enjoy. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face or stop telling stories about guac and tequila and ocean breezes for at least 48 hours. Plus, that salt water treatment made my hair look fab.
Two enthusiastic thumbs up. Fun for the whole family. We’ll be back!