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Travel Tip 1 - Cozumel is a State of Mind
C.J. Gustafson, Freelance Writer and Photographer

There's something about a Caribbean island that is just fundamentally different from the rest of the world. Maybe it's the excitement and isolation of being on a tiny hump of land surrounded by all that water. Maybe it's the sense of community that develops when that many people share the same small piece of earth. Maybe it's the wind in the palm trees, or the surf on the coral, or the impossible blue-green-aqua-turquoise color of the water. I don't know. It's just a completely different way of thinking and being, and you're a lot more likely to have a good time if you prepare yourself mentally.
Take a deep breath, slow your brain, ditch your schedule and lower your expectations about everything from the true meaning of the phrase, "in ten minutes," to the level of health standards in the grocery store, to the quality of wiring found in the luncheria five blocks off the waterfront. Like I said, things are different here. Stress, worry, hurry; they are four-letter words here. People move slower and may not move at all if it's the middle of the day and the sun is hot (which it almost always is). Many local businesses are closed on Sundays. It takes something big, I mean really big, to be considered a crisis. And much of what happens is determined by the weather.

If it's too wavy, the port can be closed and dive and snorkel boats don't go. It doesn't matter that they were scheduled. If the wind turns around and comes from the west instead of the east, things cool down in town and more tourists than usual clog the streets, strolling from shop to shop, looking for treasure. If an offshore storm causes huge waves on the east coast, your dive master could ditch you to go surfing instead. Hey, they hardly ever get great waves on Cozumel in the winter. For me, this is part of the charm of the island, but it also means that you could be in for a few surprises.

The weather affects everyday living conditions too. The temperature rarely falls below 70 degrees and it seldom rains much during the tourist season. So the buildings, even the hotels, are built accordingly. The windows and doors don't need to fit tight, in fact they need to breathe. Roofs aren't made of shingles. Many eating areas are outside.

Typically, you get what you pay for, but I've had things go wrong at a five-star resort just as often as they have at a bargain hotel. If it does happen to rain, your roof could leak, especially if it is thatched instead of tile or concrete. Flies and mosquitoes can land in your food. Heck, you might even end up with bugs or perhaps a small iguana in your room. (Read about my iguana adventure!)

But in the big picture, these things are minor. Don't let them ruin your vacation. Smile, listen to the waves on the beach or breath in the salt air and remind yourself you're lucky enough to be relaxing on a Caribbean island. Things are a bit more primitive, wild, even backward, from what we're used to…and that's the point. Suddenly things take on a different perspective. It's all about your state of mind!

Spicy travels everyone.

C.J.
Other Interesting Perspectives and Tips by CJ you might Enjoy!
 Spicy Travels - Introduction
Romance, adventure, good food, hot dancing, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the island of Cozumel!
 Spicy Travels 1 - The Iguana Adventure
He's little, he's cute, he doesn't bite me, and he eats mosquitoes and other bugs. I'm on a Caribbean island with no worries. Let it go. It is all part of the adventure - but what an experience!
 Spicy Travels 2 - Moonlight Dance Adventure
These are the times in your life where you have to tell yourself that times like these seldom come along in life and you can't let them slip by because you're embarrassed or nervous or afraid.
 Spicy Travels 3 - Language Learning Adventure
My adventure reminded me that there is common ground when it comes to language on Cozumel, with both tourists and locals wanting to learn how to better communicate.
 Spicy Travels 4 - Barracuda Adventure
Suddenly I saw a large shadow move across the ocean floor and I looked over expecting to see another snorkeler swimming alongside.
 Travel Tip 2 - Always Bring Music
I've learned through my travels that music can set the tone and enhance the enjoyment of almost any activity on the island.
 Travel Tip 3 - Learn Spanish
Although many people on the island speak English quite well, there have been numerous instances where I was glad to know some Spanish.
 Travel Tip 4 Ė Explore Cozumelís Underwater World
Donít let fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing Cozumel's beautiful underwater world. This truly is one of the most unforgettable aspects of the island and there is more than one way to experience this!
 Photo Tips - Introduction
The endless supply of subjects, the beautiful lighting, and constant activity make photograhing Cozumel basically effortless
 Photo Tips 1 - Cozumel Sunsets
Cozumel has some of the most beautiful sunsets to be found on earth. Here are some tips on capturing them!
 Photo Tips 2 - Hit the Tourist Spots
Don't avoid the tourist spots completely because they provide some good photo opportunities as well as fun activities - all in one location!
 Photo Tips 3 - Walk Don't Ride (At Least Part of the Way)
It has been my experience that very rarely do you get good Cozumel pictures riding in the back seat of a taxi cab.
 Photo Tips 4 - San Miguel & the West Coast
Taking pictures in town can be a bit of a challenge because there is usually so much activity. But thatís what makes it so interesting!


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