June 7

The flight to Cozumel is short and pretty uneventful. We are a full plane with 4 souls aboard and tons of baggage. To give you some idea, I would estimate I had 120 pounds of luggage, and had packed lighter than others for the same trip duration.

Here's our intrepid passengers Bob and Rich in the back of the Navajo. By this time we've just left the silver heat reflectors in the windows on the right. The seats over there are still piled high with baggage. The big guy is seated forward for CG reasons, and we have our headsets on and connected to an intercom box so we can hear what's going on in the front office.



As you can see from our GPS, we're approaching the island from the South (direction of Belize), and we'll be landing a little South of the Northernmost tip. You can also see here that we are not incredibly high at this stage of the game (3100 feet), that the plane is banking left, and that we are descending at a little less than 1000 fpm. Airspeed is up near the yellow, so we've come in fast and high and are rolling downhill pretty fast.

At about the same time you can see from the passenger windows that we are flying past a huge cruise ship laying at anchor at the larger of the island's two cruise ship terminals. This is where we went in the last time we visited Cozumel on a cruise.

Here we are on final to Cozumel. We're on glideslope exactly, as you can tell from the PAPI lights--two white, two red. Nonpilots, scan right from the middle of the wiper, across the center bar and you'll see these lights just left of the runway. You can also catch a glimpse of the pretty Caribbean waters and see the verdant green of this lush island.
Needless to say, we made it.

Customs showed up immediatley, of course, and shortly afterward a fuel truck and a baggage handler.

Steve, I am NOT going to hide that in my shorts, just declare it, okay?

Those guys have MACHINE GUNS!

How many more bags go on top of here?

Our bags are waiting for us to finish all the customs and immigration paperwork before we can enter the country. I must say that Cozumel had a fairly pleasant and professional bunch of folks operating in this capacity. We met lots of Texans and other Southerners here, so I guess they're used to tourists. At Bahia de Huatalco I think Privado Aeroplanos are pretty rare.

Once free of the terminal, we ride the shuttle bus to the hotel. Some guy's cousin owns the shuttle and has made sure no cabs can depart with passengers from the terminal. Just to make it annoying, they make us sit in the hot sun with no AC until the Suburban is completely jammed full of people. Fortunately, our hotel, the Presidente Intercontinental is the first stop.

There are a couple guys playing the vibraphone by the pool, the bar is in a nearby palapas right on the water, and the pool is cool and wet. Now this is what I'm talking about!

We sampled an excellent lunch of guacamole and smoked turkey nachos. Out of this world!

We then went off to the best snorkelling of the trip, which is right off the beach at the hotel. In short order I was able to see sea urchins, a southern stingray (looks like a skate), a peacock halibut, and tons of other fish. This is one of two places where I can say the snorkelling is just as good as scuba, the other being Kealikakua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii.

If you're willing to kick out a little more offshore, there is a wreck that's also a lot of fun. You can find lobster in the engine blocks they use to anchor the bouys as well.

There's a lot of other watersports available, but it can be quite expensive. I think the Jet Skis were as much as $80 per hour, for example.


Sunsets in Cozumel are beautiful, and you can sit out right on the water and drink a daiquiri while watching them.

Cozumel Dining & Town

Map of Cozumel


All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.