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Photo Tips 2 - Hit the Tourist Spots
C.J.'s Insider Photo Tip: Hit the Tourist Spots, (no kidding!)
C.J. Gustafson, Freelance Writer and Photographer

Those of us who embrace the Insider philosophy tend to shy away from the more heavily traveled tourist spots, but I'm reluctant to tell you to skip them all together. In fact, I have returned several times to these places, mainly because they provide some good photo opportunities as well as fun activities all in one location. Here are a few of my favorites that I think are worth the entrance fee.

Punta Sur
Punta Sur Croc
Punta Sur Ecological Park
Punta SurLocated on the southern tip of the island, Punta Sur Park has a number of attractive features for photographers, such as the Celerain Lighthouse, crocodile ponds, small ruins, the Columbia lagoon with nesting areas for birds, and both a rocky, wavy coastline as well as a nice swimming and snorkel beach. I like to get there in the morning and shoot for awhile, hit the beach while the sun is high and hot,and then tour the lagoon before heading back to the main areafor some nicely lit late afternoon shots. A good zoom or a long lens is helpful for close ups of the crocs, birds, and other animals.

In late December and early January, the lagoon becomes the nesting grounds for thousands of birds including spoonbills, egrets, and herons. Next January, I will be leading a week-long Cozumel photo tour that will include a day at Punta Sur Park.
Check out my website, for more information.

San Gervasio Ruin San Gervasio Bamboo
San Gervasio Ruins
These ruins are located east of town, off the main road that leads across the island. In addition to the amazing Mayan structures and other ancient cultural artifacts, San Gervasio is guaranteed to provide some of the best shots of LARGE iguanas. I've been several times and have always seen at least twenty good-sized lizards climbing in the trees or sunning themselves on the walls of the ruins.

San Gervasio IgunaThere is also a variety of plant life and other animals including butterflies and birds. Be sure to check out the growth of huge bamboo near the entrance. If you stand in it when the wind is blowing, it's like being surrounded by enormous wind chimes. The best tip I can give for photographing San Gervasio is to avoid going during the middle of the day. Unless you have filters or are experienced with light metering, the direct sunlight will reflect off the light-colored stones and completely wash out your pictures. Plus, it's really hot walking around the open ruins with the sun beating down on you.

Chankanaab Park
Chankanaab Ruin

This is one of Cozumel's most popular tourist spots, in part because of their Dolphin Discovery program where you Dolphin Discoverycan swim with bottle nosed dolphins. Other photo subjects include reproductions of Mayan ruins scattered along a jungle path, and a botanical garden. Several swimming and snorkeling areas provide spots to cool off. This is another place where youshould plan to spend the whole day to get your money's worth.

Tours to all of these places can be arranged through Cozumel Insider, or they are easily accessible by scooter or rental car. Cozumel visitors really should visit these places at least once, just to experience them first-hand. Just don't let them be the only spots you visit.

Embrace the light!

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 1 - Cozumel is a State of Mind
There's something about a Caribbean island that is just fundamentally different from the rest of the world. This definitely true of Cozumel!
 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 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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