Gnomeversation: Small Talk with a Cozumel Expert
Gnome’s Note: Hello chaps, it’s the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Even though I have a rather impressive list of travels under my belt, globetrotters like me still fancy a few new travel tidbits now and again. That’s why I’m interviewing Travelocity’s very own destination experts. Meet me here every Wednesday to learn about a smashing new place.
Oh my! Chatting with Lucy Gazdik, Travelocity’s expert on Cozumel, has sent me into a daydream of pina coladas and sandy beaches. I must say, I’m rather envious that Lucy gets to live in Mexico. What a life! Lucy tells me that the first time her feet ever touched the sands of Cozumel was when she was just a wee little thing, and she has had a love affair with Mexico ever since.
It’s always good to put a face to a name…so here she is with a really big fish in Cozumel. Deep sea fishing, anyone? She says they ate a lot of ceviche that day…and I’d bet my pointy red hat on it!
Lucy Gazdik, Travelocity’s Cozumel Expert
I sat down with Lucy to ask her a few questions about Cozumel. (Well, she sat down; I can’t sit, you know.) Here’s what she told me:
Roaming Gnome: So what’s the latest and greatest thing happening in Cozumel?
Lucy: There is a lot going on! Downtown has been completely remodeled. Av. Rafael Melgar, the island’s main street, looks brand new. The local government has put up some great statues along this road that runs across the whole island from north to south, not to mention all of the great stores and restaurants that are found there as well. The Municipal Palace is also brand new and a highway that goes around the whole island is being finished.
Roaming Gnome: Tell me something about Cozumel that most people wouldn’t know. Anything particularly surprising about it?
Lucy: There is a temple on the island in the area known as El Cedral that was built in honor of the Mayan Goddess Ixchel, Goddess of Fertility. In ancient times, every Mayan woman had to go visit this temple at least once in her life.
Also, only 10 percent of the island has been developed. The other 90 percent is a natural reserve protected by the Mexican government.
Roaming Gnome: As I’m sure you know, I love getting a little bit of the local flavor when I visit a destination. What are some of your favorite hangouts?
Lucy: You have to go to Carlos and Charlie’s! It’s a must. Kiwi is the magician, and he is pretty amazing. Money Bar has a pretty happening happy hour with live music from 5 p.m. to 7 pm, and I LOVE to hang out at the reggae bar on the south side of the island….hard to miss!
Lucy says the locals in Cozumel are warm, welcoming and always willing to help!
Roaming Gnome: I’m often hungry. What’s the best thing to eat in Cozumel?
Lucy: Wow! Pescadillas or camaronsillas – fish or shrimp quesadillas. Conch is the local specialty and La Conchita del Caribe is the best local seafood joint. Tikin-xic fish is also a Mayan specialty. Be careful…any greens sauce here is made of Habanero chilis and sure to be SUPER spicy! For a wonderful Italian dinner be sure to go to Sorrissi, where you will find stone oven pizza and incredible salads as well. Poncho’s Backyard also offers a local specialty….seeded fish filet, which is a fish filet covered in amaranto seeds and served with pineapple salsa.
Roaming Gnome: I love taking pictures when I’m on vacation. Where’s the best place for a smashing photo op?
Lucy: I love Chankanaab Park…spectacular view. Of course, if your camera can take it, take pictures at El Cielo, a snorkeling site at Punta Sur. This area is called El Cielo or the sky because the floor of the ocean is full of starfish….so many, it looks like a starry, starry night!
Roaming Gnome: Any more secrets you an tell me about Cozumel?
Lucy: There is! On the south side of the Island, there is a small restaurant called Coco’s. It’s a great place to have ceviche and micheladas. They also have in interesting set of photo albums….of guests that have decided to show some skin in exchange for a shot of Tequila! Also, the BEST margarita mix ever is available at the Hacienda Tequilera.
Roaming Gnome: Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, you can tell me: what’s the one thing you wouldn’t do in Cozumel?
Lucy: Go out without sunblock! Remember, this is an island and even though it seems like the sun isn’t too strong, you’d be surprised how easy it is to burn!
Roaming Gnome: Ok, now on to some more practical advice. Is Cozumel best for families, couples or people traveling alone?
Lucy: Tough question. I think Cozumel has a side that can appeal to every type of traveler that is looking to relax and enjoy. The destination appeals to families because it is extremely safe and clean, and couples enjoy Cozumel because they get a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and enjoy long walks or a fun drive around the island. The destination is especially fabulous for any person of any age that is into diving. The water is very clear, there are reefs and walls for all levels of divers and there are plenty of local experts that help make any dive experience and unforgettable one.
Roaming Gnome: Say I want to go to Cozumel. When’s the best time to do it?
Lucy: Weather is perfect all year round. The rainy season is August thru October, but even then it’s rare for it to rain all day long. The hottest months are probably May thru August. If you are looking for great deals and few people, May and June or September October are ideal times to visit the island. If you are looking to get away from a cold winter, December thru March is the best time to come and enjoy clear sunny skies, no rain and weather that is usually between 75 and 85 degrees….in other words, is perfect!
Roaming Gnome: Anything else you want to add about Cozumel while you have a captive audience?
Lucy: Even though many people identify Cozumel as a cruise destination, it has wonderful hotels and dining for all budgets. Even if you decide to stay at an all inclusive hotel, venture out to town at least once for photo ops, great local fare and on Sunday’s only…free live music in the town square. Just be careful, most tourists are often asked to dance!
All-inclusive resorts are a rather brilliant choice. This one is called El Cozumeleno. Stunning!
My name: The Travelocity Roaming Gnome
How I earn my keep: I roam the world finding great deals, upholding the Travelocity Guarantee, and looking rather handsome while doing it.
What kind of traveler I am: A small and perfectly-formed one.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Just because you can climb into the overhead baggage compartment and stay there for the rest of the flight, doesn’t mean you should.
Travel ambition: To never again miss my plane because I’ve stopped to take a photo with a fellow traveler who’s spotted me. Ah, it’s tough work being a charmingly lovable travel mascot, I’ll tell you that.
First thing I do in a new place: Make friends.
When I’m not traveling: I’m browsing the SkyMall catalogue, toasting crumpets, testing beard conditioners, and planning my next trip.