News Notes . . .
Good news! A vacation is just what the doctor ordered
A study by the American Psychosomatic Society (APS), showed that if you're a workingman you should NOT pass up an annual vacation. Time off is rejuvenating, according to the research presented to APS. A study of 12,338 men ages 35 to 57 found that, with other factors controlled, men who took annual vacations were 21% less likely to die during the 16-year study period than nonvacationersand 32% less likely to die of coronary heat disease. The findings add to evidence showing that cutting stress is good for you.
Cenote hunting in the jungle
Cenotes are commonly found on the mainland and on Cozumel as well. They're often found in the jungle, and are a bit rare to find in Cozumel. We were on a quest to find jungle cenotes recently in Cozumel. No we were not hunting some kind of animal. Cenotes are openings in the ground that are filled with water. Sometimes the openings are very wide, other openings may be very narrow and barely large enough to squeeze your body through. Some cenotes lead to vast caverns or extensive underwater cave systems. The Yucatan area, near Akumal, is famous for its vast network of underwater caves (the largest in the world). Divers come from around the world to experience diving in these waters with their mystical formations and colors. We were scouting out a couple of cenotes that are located in the Mariposa Estates development on Cozumel. One we knew about, and another we learned had recently been discovered by a Mayan crew who working on clearing parts of the jungle with they machetes. We took our divemaster-turtle guide-friend, Ricardo and his friend, German, a specialist in cave diving.
We made our way to the known cenote, and Richardo and German checked it out. The opening of this cenote was large and already there was a man-made ladder to climb down to a ledge large enough to stand beside the water opening. Using a weight fastened to a line, they tossed the weight in to determine depth and whether the openings were large enough for a diver to squeeze through. This one was a possibility, but the waters were too stirred up because of a recent rain.
We moved on to see if we could find the newly discovered cenote. This would have been an impossible task, but we got lucky and met up with the Mayan crew just as they were leaving. They graciously led us back into the jungle to the cenote. This cenote has a much smaller opening, but German indicated that sometimes these can be good finds. He was taught by an expert cave diver to pay attention to these smaller openings. So with some excitement, Richardo lowered himself into the small space, crouching down to drop the weight into the water. Bats circled and landed on his back as he worked. Unfortunately, the water was shallow and didn't offer any hope for a cave dive.
So it goes on a cenote hunt; "you don't know, unless you go," German advised.
Cozumel coastal highway
Slated to be complete in May of 1998, the construction on this new road going south of San Miguel, is a bit off schedule. However, the crew is working at a fast pace in order to finish this new road. Date of completion varies according to who you talk to; anywhere from November of this year to May 2001. We've driven on parts of this new road and it will be a wonderful replacement to the current road that has more pot holes than Minnesota streets. Wide, smooth and without the dangerous curves that exist on the current road, this will be a veritable freeway when complete.
Tidbits on Cozumel Restaurants/Food/Nightlife:
Joe's Lobster House, an island favorite for their lively nightlife, has relocated. The bar/restaurant is now located on 10th across from Island Gourmet and La Choza. Live music by a band featuring Cuban salsa provides the beat for those who like to dance. Time will tell whether this location will be as popular as their former locale. Many are now choosing Hog's Breath, located on 5th Ave., just south of the plaza.
Several readers of our newsletter/website suggested that we try Las Tortugas restaurant. Actually, we had eaten there years ago, but it had been quite some time, so we decided to check it out. As our readers told us, we found it to be good and the prices were reasonable. Las Tortugas is located on 10th, north of the plaza.
The French Quarter is a relatively new restaurant to Cozumel. We've dined there a couple of times and found the food superb, the staff friendly and highly skilled. Again, we were not disappointed. They have the best French onion soup in the world, with a slightly sweet taste; highly recommended. They've also added a stuffed potato as one of their spud choices and it's wonderfully tasty and just a bit spicy. Menu selection is large, and their weekend all-you-can-eat barbecued ribs are popular with expatriates who live on the island.
Nino's remains our favorite pizza on the island. Dine in (don't expect ambiance) or they deliver. Nino's is located on 10th, south of the plaza about 4 blocks. Guido's (formerly Rolandi's), has good pizza, too, but you'll pay for the atmosphere.
Don't overlook the little lonchorias (neighborhood restaurants). Normally open from morning until late afternoon, you'll get a tasty breakfast or lunch at a very reasonable rate. We recently tried Chilango's, located on 10th Ave. just off 13th St. South. This homey restaurant (you are actually in the living room/dining room of someone's home) is open only for lunch; there's a sign on the front, above the door. We paid about $12, including drinks, for 3 people. We had their house soup, tortillas, fried fish, a pork dish and a vegetarian dish. The portions were ample. Try it!
Guests who may have stayed at the Casa Roo may be interested to know that Gato Roo (named by previous guests), had kittens just a few weeks ago. Mama is a beautiful Siamese-looking cat; babies are not quite as pretty but Gato Roo is very proud and devoted to her quartet.
There are public tennis courts located at the sports field in Cozumel (on 11th and 40th). The facility also offers basketball courts, soccer fields, running track, playground and restrooms. The courts are lighted so you can play, night or day. We were glad to see that there were many locals taking advantage of these facilities. Adults, teens and small children were involved in various activities.
If you are a Rotary member you are welcome to drop by for one of the meetings in Cozumel. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. The Rotary building is located on 11th Street South. It's a white building on the right side of the street at about 80th Ave. Just drop by or contact Miguel Sosa in advance if you prefer; phone on the island is 872-0654 or you can e-mail at him at firstname.lastname@example.org
New helicopter service in Cozumel offered by Rio Blanco Heli Tours is available for travelers who'd like a sky-high experience. The helicopter takes you up to give you a bird's eye view of Cozumel's beautiful bay and as far as the eye can see. We had an opportunity to soar along the coast and enjoyed the gentle flight and the spectacular views. The service is operated by an American company; operations manager is Dale Gardner. Before takeoff you'll slip on a pair of earphones equipped with a microphone so you can communicate with the pilot and other passengers (maximum of 5). Phone number on the island is 872-1148.
Akumal Library Fund
The Mayan Riviera is a wonderful area and it is the destination of choice for thousands and thousands of travelers each month. As the area develops it is important that the Mayan culture is preserved and that educational programs available to the local children and adults. We believe that many would agree that this is a worthy cause and would be willing to add a $10 donation to their payment when reserving a villa or condo. This would be a tax deductible donation and would go toward cultural and educational expenses (books, shelves, art supplies, office supplies, newsletters, reading programs and other important needs).