Archive for the 'Cozumel' Category

Missing the islands…

Every once in a while it hits me.

I miss the islands so much my heart aches.


Today, I spruced things up on FB and updated my twitter avatar to be more island-like. (The header here at The Casual Perfectionist, after all, is Claire holding the sun on Cozumel, so it shall remain as is.)

One of these days we’ll make it back to the islands. (Maui, Kauai, or Cozumel…I won’t be picky). The fact that a trip is not officially on the calendar (yet) makes me antsy, but that’s okay.

One of these days it will be, and my heart will sigh a happy sigh.

An Unexpected Surprise in the Reflection of her Eyes

I like to change the photo on the background of my phone. I do it a lot. I play with favorite pictures and put artistic scenes on there, or I choose pretty views that make me smile. Hawaii and Cozumel are go-to favorites right now, with Santa Fe and San Francisco not far behind.

Last night, I was looking through my pictures and found one I took of Claire in Cozumel, which is one of my favorites:

I love the color of her eyes in this photo, so I decided to play around with it and see if I could make it into an interesting background photo on my phone.  I zoomed in, and I was shocked to discover something that I’d previously missed!

Not only had I captured her beautiful smile, freckles, and sun-kissed locks, I’d inadvertently captured the view of the ocean and coastal buildings in her eyes.

Eye Sea The View!


I see the view, and I love it!

The Magical Sunsets of Cozumel

As you can tell by the Header Changes we made here at The Casual Perfectionist, we’re a big fan of playing with the sun:

Claire holding the sun

My absolute favorite time of day in Cozumel is sunset. For a few moments, we gathered on the beach, bathed in magical light and awe-inspired silence.

Here we are, Sun(set) Bathers gathered for the best show on the island:

Every night provided a spectacular show, each a little different from the night before, but still the same:  Absolutely breath-taking.  (Feel free to click on the photos in this post to see them in more detail.)

One night (about a millisecond after the above photo was taken), we saw the mythical green flash as the sun was swallowed by the sea.

We were so overcome by the magic of the moment that we all gasped out loud, and then without prompting, everyone on the beach gave that particular sunset a standing ovation.

It was the least we could do for witnessing such a magical moment.


Punta Sur, Cozumel: Part 2

Cozumel!  Our trip was in November, but the memories linger.  We had such a great time!  One of our favorite adventures in Cozumel was exploring the park at Punta Sur, on the southern tip of the island.

We’ve already told you about exploring the lighthouse (twice), and it’s time to talk about the rest of the park!

What is that cheesy grin for? Well, it was so I wouldn’t yell (anymore) at the driver. It’s hard to be angry when someone grabs the camera and says, “Say cheese, Momma!”

You see, the roads leading from one end of the park (and back) leave a lot to be desired. This being said, they are a hundred times BETTER than I expected them to be! There were potholes the size of our Tiida. Daddy was expertly dodging them, and everything was going fine…until he forgot to consider the passenger side of the car.

“iESPEJO!” I yelled, because I was so engrossed in the Spanish language at that point. “MIRROR!” I yelled again.  But, it was too late.

Of course, I had my window open and got BLASTED by leaves and white crusty stuff (which we later realized was dried “mud” from the roads) when he miscalculated and smacked the mirror right into a shrub on the side of the road.

In his defense, I’m not sure he could have done anything differently.  Still, we were all so overcome by the Vacation Mode, that we had a good laugh.  After I got all the leaves out of my hair, of course.

(No, the Tiida was not harmed in the making of this documentary.)

If you’d like to see the following photos in more detail, click on them!

After we made it to where they do the Boat Tours of the Lagoon, we parked the car and then figured out the Boat Tour Times. We were just early enough to take a little stroll through the jungle and check out the boat docked at the end.

We had enough time to kill, so we went back to the beach and had a quick snack before strolling back down to the dock for our tour.

This part of Cozumel is known for its mangroves and crocodiles. Can you see this one hiding above?  In honor of the language of our location, we referred to them as “cocodrilos,” because that’s what they are. We were hoping they didn’t refer to us as “lunch.”

Here’s another shot to show the Cocodrilo hiding.

Some of them weren’t hiding at all. These two came right out to our boat to check us out. (Oh, goody!)

This area is also home to tons of nesting birds. The tour guides let us borrow this handy guide.

I know the placement of this picture leads you to believe that we went snorkeling in the lagoon. No, we did NOT.

(Here you can see how the lagoon is divided from the ocean at Punta Sur.)

We made it safely back to the beach and then had lunch. After that, we went snorkeling in the ocean. Claire and I make a great team!

Snorkeling is tons of fun but hard work. We decided to take a siesta in the beach hammocks while Daddy continued his snorkeling adventure without us.

He took some nice photos of the view from that direction as well.  (You can see the beach hammocks from this vantage point.)

We spent nearly the whole day at Punta Sur.  We were completely relaxed and utterly exhausted when we were done.  (But not exhausted enough to forego climbing the lighthouse one more time on the way back to the entrance.)  The guides speak just enough English to make the Boat Tour informative and entertaining, whether you speak Spanish or not.  The park has a great snorkeling area, and the beach hammocks are a nice touch.

Over all, we highly recommend Punta Sur!

Just watch out for the potholes.


Happy Solstice. Here’s the sun!

Check out the new header!

Claire holding the sun

Our friend took this photo in Cozumel, and I just can’t get enough of this picture!

I think it’s very appropriate to give you the sun on the shortest day of the year!

Topes, Motos, and the Direct Translation of Mexican Road Signs Makes Me Giggle


Toh-pays. That’s how you say “topes” in Spanish. I really wanted to get a picture of the topes and their warning sign, but alas, I was either too busy relaxing to think about it or hanging on for dear life when actually experiencing one.

Here is a link that shows it.

What are topes?

Well, just calling them “speed bumps” doesn’t quite do it justice. These are not messing around!   And, they were everywhere on Cozumel.  Everywhere.  Anytime we saw the sign or the tell-tale skid marks on the street, we’d yell, “TOPES!” …just in case the driver hadn’t noticed.  Some of the topes were the equivalent of trying to drive over a beam that has been bolted into the ground…because they were beams that were bolted into the ground.

Regardless of who was driving, the warning shout was much appreciated.  After all, we didn’t want to break our rental car…or our teeth. Driving in Mexico is a team sport, after all.


Moh-tohs. That’s how you say “motos” in Spanish. Motos are little scooters or smallish motorcycles. Nearly everyone in Cozumel has a moto. They are everywhere. They come out of nowhere. You have to pay attention, as a pedestrian, and as the operator of a lager (albeit smaller than normal) vehicle.

We saw whole families on one moto. Yes. For real. Mom, Dad, and two or three kids…all teetering on one moto. Yes. For real. Nearly everyone had on a helmet…except the babies. Yes, the babies. My heart stopped every time I saw a family on a moto.

“MOTO!” was another word we yelled as we were driving along. Between avoiding the motos and the topes, it’s a wonder the driver wasn’t jittery.

The Direct Translation of Mexican Road Signs Makes Me Giggle.

All along the highway were signs.  There was no rhyme or reason to the signs, and they almost all looked alike at first glance.  None of them were in English, but I wouldn’t expect them to be.  Some were informative with mere suggestions (“Don’t forget to dim your lights!”), and some were extremely important. (“One lane road ahead!” or ” Loose gravel!”)

This has to be my favorite:


Literally means, “It does not escape with continuous ray.”

Do you have a continuous ray? Because if so, we’re never getting out of here.

What does it really mean? “No passing with a solid line.”

Gee, that’s not nearly as exciting.

Then again, after dodging darting motos and coming to a screeching halt to hump it over topes, the bar of excitement was set pretty high.  😉

Watching the Sunset

Watching the Sunset, Cozumel

Waves Laughing

This is one of my favorite photos from our Cozumel trip.

First of all, look at that water. It’s ridiculously clear. This photo hasn’t been edited. It’s been cropped per my husband’s Online Photo Contract, but other than that, it’s true-to-life.

One day, we headed out to find some waves to play in.  The water near our condo was relatively calm, and we wanted some action.  We soon discovered a nice stretch of beach that had wonderful waves, soft sand, and no rocks. It was the perfect place to play, so we parked the car, made our way down the embankment, and played.

We handed our friend our water-proof camera so that he could take a “family” portrait of us in the water. The cameraman is being jostled by the waves. The camera subjects are being lifted and rocked by the waves, and we got some fun shots. Then, just as we’re doing another shot…all of a sudden…a wave blasted all of us.

What you see above was the resulting photo.

I love it! The colors are gorgeous. The expressions are funny. (You can’t see the expression on my husband’s face, but it’s totally the essence of him.)  Every time I look at it, I can hear all of us laughing in that moment.

It’s fantastic.

Shadow Portraits Cozumel

It’s no surprise that we love taking shadow portraits. We’ve been doing this for years, in all different kinds of locations. Just check out the Shadow Portrait Category to see what I mean.

I couldn’t wait to play around with this in Cozumel!

Claire and I played with the morning sun on the beach in front of our condo the first morning we were there.


The three of us played with the waves and shadows.

Here comes the wave!

As I was sorting through all the images on the photo card, look what I discovered!

I think this one looks like...

...this one from California!

Granted, that was a couple years ago, and almost half a world away…

Did you know I was a Safe-Cracker?

As we were prepping for our trip to Cozumel, I started to feel a bit like Jason Bourne. In my money-belt, I had two different passports and a whole wad of cash. I even stashed another wad of cash in a separate carry-on item, in a safe but unexpected place. Thrilling!

Granted, the passports were my daughter’s and mine, and the cash was an assortment of American dollars in small denominations so that we didn’t need to get or change money for Pesos while we were down there.  It looked like a lot more money than it was.

Still, it felt oddly exciting.

The people who rented us the condo gave us a wealth of information via email before our trip. One question we’d had was if there was a safe in the unit. There was, but it was relatively small…just big enough for passports and cash, and small valuables.


Ever since our wonderful child locked us out of our own safe in a hotel room in San Francisco (with all of our treasures safely INSIDE IT, with a code only SHE knew and oddly enough, wasn’t able to replicate…), my husband and I are a bit jumpy around hotel safes. In San Francisco, we got to meet the nice gentlemen of the Security Department. They were summoned and quickly arrived in their crisp suits, with their magical handheld safe-cracking devices and curley-que ear-pieces.

Editor’s note: No children were harmed in that situation, but a huge impression was made, and Claire knows to steer clear of hotel safes.

In Cozumel, I was glad to hear there was going to be a safe at all, but this was going to be different. There was a person who might be able to help us if the safe got locked accidentally, but it would be difficult to reach that person quickly (and the email implied “if at all.”). Best bet? Please leave the safe open when you leave, and please, please, please be careful with it.

When we arrived at the condo, and we finished ooohing and ahhhing, I decided to check out the safe.

It was locked. Shut. Not open. As in, exactly what the email had said NOT to do.


Rather than panic, I switched into Jason Bourne mode. I hadn’t traveled for hours with more than one passport strapped to my body for nothing. What would he do? “Let’s see if we can figure this out,” I said. “Let’s try this before we try to reach someone.”

I punched in the security code we’d been given for the front door, hoping someone wouldn’t be so silly as to use the same code twice, all the while mentally crossing my fingers that they had been stupid enough to do just that.

It didn’t work. (I was actually relieved. I mean, that would not be very secure at all!)

Then, a random code popped into my head. It was way too simple. Would someone be stupid enough to use this code?


I’d cracked the safe!

We were extremely excited, despite the fact that we didn’t find any unmarked bills waiting behind the locked door.

We immediately changed the code to something we could all remember and held the safe with utmost respect for the entire week. It may be too soon to put “Safe-Cracker” on my official resume, but I was pretty proud of myself.

Jason Bourne would’ve been impressed.