Riviera Maya Vacation
Day 3 - April 8, 2008
Our third day excursion was Paradise Snorkeling. Our shuttle picked us up fairly late in the morning, so there was quite a bit of time to eat a lot of breakfast! We boarded the shuttle bus at about 10:30, and we were driven to the Maroma Paradise Marina. After checking in and getting towels, we boarded the catamaran and sailed out about 5 minutes to the reef. The Palancar Reef is the second largest reef system in the world, stretching from Isla Mujeres, of the coast of Cancun, to the country of Honduras. Once anchored, we all put on our gear and jumped into the ocean to swim along the reef. While this excursion was "fine", there is better snorkeling in other parts of the world. Much of the reef was just gray and sandy due to, according to one traveler, a past hurricane which wiped out much of the reef, but we did see some corals and some beautiful fish. Our guide had a bottle of fish food, and small grioups of fish followed him along the reef as he emptied some out. He also brought up a deep purple colored spiky starfish for us to see.
Upon returning to the catamaran, we were taken back to the beach for free time. About an hour later the lunch buffet was opened and we had until late afternoon at the marina - we had the option of just relaxing on the beach or doing some activities such as parasailing, horseback riding, ATV tours through the jungle part of the area, getting a massage, or riding speedboats or jet skis. The energy-intensive activities were not included in the price of the excursion, and we wanted to relax anyway, so we opted for the "lie on the beach" activity.
Upon returning to the resort we got cleaned up, relaxed more, then went to dinner at La Trattoria, where we ate and ate and ate - first some wood-fired pizza slices for an appetizer, followed by an assortment of bread with Parmesan cheese and olive oil, then the main course of Ribeye Steak and Beef Saltimbocca, rounded out with dessert and espresso.