Not too long ago, I cruised on Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas with my three kids (ages 15, 13, and 12 years old) into the Caribbean. We stopped in Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico, and Belize City in Belize. We ended up very pleasantly surprised by the shore excursions that we did in Mexico. In particular, we loved our Cozumel electric bike tour in Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel.
Cozumel Electric Bike Tour
We booked our Cozumel electric bike tour through a local operator Pedego Electric Bikes Cozumel . This tour was not offered by Royal Caribbean. Most of the time, I prefer to book our own shore excursions with local tour operators than take a cruise sponsored shore excursion. They are normally a lot less expensive and the local tour companies offer more selection than those offered by the cruise line. If you are curious about what your options are when you reach a port on your cruise, please see my article Shore Excursions: 5 Ways To Escape The Cruise Ship Experience.
Meeting For The Tour
The Port of Cozumel where Royal Caribbean docked was a large complex filled with Western-style restaurants, shops and activities. I felt like I was dropped into a massive luxury all inclusive hotel compound where everything Mexican had been sanitized to make a tourist feel like they had barely left home. My initial thought was “Good grief, what have they done to this place?”
However, my fears were unfounded. It took a bit of time, but once we walked through the Port we found ourselves on a busy street filled with more normal type of restaurants, shopping and tour shops one would expect at a busy port welcoming thousands of tourists a day. This is not to say that we had found the authentic side to Cozumel. Not at all! However, I felt like we had taken our first step in seeing the “real” Cozumel.
Our instructions were to leave the port, turn left and walk for around 20 minutes. We did and sure enough we easily found the Pedego Electric Bike Shop for the start of our Cozumel electric bike tour.
What is an Electric Bike?
An electric or e-bike is an environmentally friendly form of transportation which provides all the advantages of a regular bicycle, but with the ability to pedal up the hills as comfortably as riding down. They are a conventional bike, but with a battery and a motor. You decide when and how hard you would like to pedal. When you are tired or need some extra help, the motor kicks in and next thing you know, you find yourself at the top of a hill, having barely broken a sweat.
I have to say that I LOVED this bike. Bicycles seem to bring back happy memories of childhood. I remember hopping on my bike and riding all over town at an early age and loving the freedom it gave me. Fast forward 25 years and this bike creates the same feeling. It was fantastic being on this bicycle and not fretting about any hill or the heat and wondering if me or my kids will be able to cope. It allowed us to focus on the beautiful scenery and our time in the park.
Punta Sur Eco Beach Park
They drove us around 25 minutes from the shop to the entrance of Punta Sur Eco Beach Park. There, we met our guides with our bikes.
Punta Sur is spectacularly beautiful and fundamentally untouched. It sits on the southern point of Cozumel and is part of a 247-acre (1.00 km2) ecological park that covers the reefs, beaches, lagoons, and low forest of the surrounding area. It is home to wide open sandy beaches, large crashing waves onto the shore, and wildlife such as sea turtles, iguanas and crocodiles.
There is very little development in the park. There is a dirt road accessible to off road vehicles, which is nestled against the shoreline. In a couple of places along the road, there are observation towers that you can climb to watch wildlife or to look out to sea. We saw a lighthouse and small museum, a couple of modest beach side restaurants, and a couple of shopping stands selling Mexican crafts, but that was basically it.
Punta Sur Eco Beach Park was so completely different from the built up Port and the busy streets around it that I had to constantly remind myself that we were still in Cozumel. I felt like I had somehow been transported to a completely different country. The cruise ship and the crowds felt hours away.
The Itinerary For the Cozumel Electric Bike Tour
The total length of the tour was around 5 hours, including transportation to and from the Port.
We started our bike tour gliding along the dirt road following the beach and the surf. The road was basically flat with small hills here and there. About 30 minutes into our tour, we stopped at an observation tour. Here we walked up about 3 stories to look out from an observation deck. On one side, we had a phenomenal view of the pristine beach, the waves and the Caribbean Sea. On the other side, we had a huge swampy pond, and lots of grasses and plants. In and around the swamp, we spotted crocodiles and many species of birds. It was beautiful up there.
We continued for another 30 minutes and ended up at a lighthouse (which you could enter and climb to the top) next to a small building. Inside, there was a museum about the area and some Tequila tasting. We were still next to the beach and the Sea, and iguanas scurried all around us.
Lunch and Beach Time
We pedalled (or glided…) another 15 minutes along the road and ended up at El Cielo Beach Cub and Restaurant. This place was a modest hippy outside restaurant right on the beach. Here we had a delicious lunch and cocktails. We spent about 1 1/2 hours hanging out there, swimming and snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Apart from the handful of people at the Beach Club, there was barely another person, boat or building as far as the eye could see. It was extraordinary.
After this, we hopped back on our bikes and returned to the entrance to the park. Ultimately, we were dropped off at the Port well before the scheduled departure time of the cruise.
Our Cozumel electric bike tour was fantastic. I loved getting away from the cruise ship, the crowds and the Western-style restaurants, shops and activities found at the Port. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park and its beaches were truly beautiful. It was totally unexpected that we were able to spot so many animals in their natural surrounds. I highly recommend this tour whether you arrive in Cozumel by cruise ship or otherwise!
We also did a fantastic shore excursion in Costa Maya on the same cruise. We did a private snorkelling and fishing trip from Mahahual Beach, near the port. For more information about that excursion, please refer to my article Mahahual Beach: The Best Half Day Costa Maya Excursion.
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