Hello! I hope your weekends are off to a great start! Today’s post is the first in my series titled “Travel Diary.” As I visit various places throughout the world I will share my personal thoughts and experiences with you. I hope you enjoy!
A few weeks ago it dawned on me: it was almost August and I had not stepped foot on a beach all summer! I had to rectify this immediately so I looked around for last minute trips to a tropical destination. After spending some time searching, I found a good deal through United Vacations for 4 days/3 nights in Cozumel, an island off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. I had only been to Cozumel once during a cruise stop, so I thought it would be nice to try something different so I booked the trip!
August 11, 2016
My flight was scheduled to depart at 10:15 AM CST, so I planned to wake up early enough to get myself and my dog, Shelby, ready to head out so I’d be on time. Of course, I overslept (probably due to the fact I was up to the wee hours getting ready for my trip) so the morning ended up being a mad scramble. Eventually I got everything together and headed out. First, I dropped Shelby off at her kennel, then I headed off to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. By the time I parked, went through the security check-point, and located my gate they had already started boarding. So much for getting there on time!
I have Premiere Silver status with United Airlines, so I’m eligible for complimentary upgrades on all my flights. Normally, I don’t receive an upgrade because of all the lovely fine print United applies (more on that in another post), but I I got lucky this time around! So after rushing through the airport, it was nice to sit in my comfy business class seat and relax. The flight took off without incident and we were on our way to Cozumel! I read through the Rhapsody magazine, which featured a nice cover story on Common, until it was time for lunch (one of the many perks of business class). In all my rushing I didn’t have time to grab breakfast, so I was beyond grateful for the meal! Out of the choices of Chicken Tikka or Lobster Mac and Cheese, I selected the latter. It might just have been my hunger talking, but the meal was really good!
After lunch I napped for a bit (all that running around finally caught up with me). As we got closer to Cozumel the flight attendants came back around and served us warm chocolate chip cookies. I thought this was a sweet was to kick-off my vacation (get it, hehe).
Shortly after 12:30 PM CST we landed at Cozumel International Airport. The airport is fairly small, so you get off onto the tarmac and walk inside to the Immigration area. We were the only arriving flight there, so I made it through Immigration and Customs within 10 minutes.
Taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, so I made my way to the shared shuttle window and purchased a ticket (alternatively you can walk off the airport property and catch a taxi if you prefer a direct trip). Once the van was filled they headed into town and dropped everyone off at their destinations. My hotel, Iberostar Cozumel, is toward the southern end of the island so I was the last stop.
When I got the front desk I was told my room would not be ready for another hour. Technically I was there before the official check-in time, but I was still a bit bummed because it was SO hot and humid (the entire hotel was open concept, so the rooms were the only areas with central A/C). I made the best of the extra time and did a little exploration around the hotel (I’ll have another post soon with a more comprehensive review of the hotel).
About an hour later, I headed back to the hotel lobby. By this point I was about to melt into the lobby floor because it was so hot! Thankfully my room was ready so I grabbed my key and headed to my room. After getting settled, I rested for a bit and then made my way out to the beach. I found a chair under a grouping of palm trees, and finally eased into my vacation.
After spending a few hours on the beach, I headed back to my room to freshen up for dinner. Iberostar Cozumel is an all-inclusive hotel, so I had dinner in the main dining area. After eating my fill, I headed back down to the beach for the nightly entertainment. Typically their evening shows are held in the theater area, but the fire show is held on the beach for obvious reasons. This show was amazing!! I was very impressed by the level of skill they had. Pictures don’t do the show justice, so check out my Instagram page for some video footage!
August 12 – 13, 2016
Before arriving in Cozumel I knew it was one of the best diving destinations in the world, due to the numerous reefs there, but I’m no diver. So my plan was to do some exploration during my trip to learn more about the island. Unfortunately, I was hypnotized by the sound of the waves so I stayed on the beach all weekend! LOL. The water in Cozumel is beautiful and I just couldn’t pull myself away. I’d sit and read, play in the water a bit, then read some more. It was so nice to do nothing all weekend! The only productive thing I did was to launch this blog (yay!).
Mother Nature cut into my beach time Saturday afternoon. Rain was in the forecast, but I was hoping it would hold off until the evening. Instead, it came in the early afternoon and continued all day and night. I made the most of it by watching the few English speaking movies on TV before heading over for dinner and the evening show (a comedy type show featuring couples from the hotel).
August 14, 2016
My flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until the afternoon, so I hoped to get in a little more beach time before it was time to check-out. Sadly it rained all morning so I used the time to grab breakfast and finish packing.
Once I was ready I checked out and took a taxi back to the airport. When I arrived at the check-in counter they told me the flight had been delayed. Womp womp! Apparently the system that brought rain to Cozumel was also wrecking havoc in Houston and Baton Rouge, so our plane had not left Houston yet. With no other option, all I could do was sit and wait for the flight. Our plane finally arrived and we started boarding around 3:00 PM CST (original departure was 1:35 PM CST). It was still drizzling a little, but we got up in the air with no problem and had a smooth flight.
The Journey Home
As we approached Houston, things started to get interesting! After we started our descent the pilot announced we could not land at George Bush Intercontinental Airport due to bad weather. We had to make a U-turn over the Gulf of Mexico in order to stall. The storm system still hadn’t move off, so we made another U-turn. That’s when the pilot made my favorite announcement: we only had enough fuel to last us 20 to 30 minutes. Always a comforting thing to hear when thousands of feet in the air…
Before 20 minutes were even up the pilot announced we’d be making an emergency landing at William P. Hobby airport, located in south Houston, to refuel. By this time it was almost 6:30 PM CST and since I skipped lunch, I was starving!! I asked the flight attendant if they had any spare snacks and he said he’d see what he could find. About 30 minutes later he came back with a pack of Biscoff cookies. I was beyond grateful!! The pack only had two cookies, but it helped sustain me for the rest of the journey. After fueling up, and waiting for the storm to pass, we took off at 7:55 PM CST to head to our intended airport.
We landed about 20 minutes later, and then made our way to Immigration and Customs. A lot of flights were delayed due to the weather, so it was jam packed. 45 minutes later, I was on my way to my car and heading home!