Home to rickety rented golf carts, mystery concoctions at suspect establishments, and borderline concussions, welcome to Costa Maya, Mexico! It’s just like the brochure!
A trio of peeps in full celebration mode, we set off on our cruise to Mexico together to ring in the milestone birthday of our attending guest of honor. Through juggled frozen cocktails, new acquaintances, and spontaneous naps, the three of us managed to collectively hit the ground running in our various ports of call. Costa Maya being the final one we were extra ready to explore and make it count.
We’d opted not to book any excursions in our various destinations as we chose to explore on our own and, well, because we were mostly broke. Unscheduled and unescorted adventure offered both a smaller price tag and more flexibility while in each day’s destination, a mutually agreed upon win/win strategy.
With no game plan and a sense of adventure we moo’d our way off of the gangway in the passenger cattle herd, excited & eager for whatever the day chose to yield. We made our way through the mandatory shopping area of that day’s port without too much distraction knowing we’d return on our way back to the ship for any last minute “must have” tchotchkes that we previously never knew we had to have. Upon exiting the obligatory labyrinth of shops we were somewhat surprised to discover that we were, essentially, in the middle of nowhere. Vast “nothingness” blanketed the landscape as far as the eye could see though there was a large and beckoning convoy of rickety golf carts lined up with enthusiastic local representatives giving the “hard sell” to all who happened to pass by. Lucky for them, these now “fish out of water” were ready and eager for transport based on this barren location and this looked like just the ticket, especially since the 4 wheeled, rusty contraptions gave us complete navigation and freedom to the destination(s) of our choice. After the requisite bartering we had keys in hand, me behind the wheel for first shift. Peeling out at whatever pathetic top speed it would allow without falling apart, we guffawed and squealed in unison down the dusty and unknown road.
With a spontaneous photo stop along the way, the turquoise ocean and a large, brightly colored fish sculpture as our backdrop, we eventually encountered our first sign of additional life, a small, beachside, campground that was mostly occupied by low brow RV’s next to a tiki hut. Intrigued as we were, we decided to keep going while filing it away as a potential pit stop upon our return. There was more to explore!
Over the next 15 or so minutes we passed large swaths of “nothingness” that were briefly and sporadically interrupted by small pods of occupancy that served as a reality check due to their abject poverty. We continued on until we, literally, came to the end of the road at a modest tourist “village” that was comprised of independent, rustic, low rise hotels, no name convenience stores, and a sketchy looking watering hole or two. All of these establishments were clustered along more of the stunning, picturesque, beachfront where music could be heard beckoning over the sound of the waves hitting the shoreline beyond the buildings. With no choice but to U-turn our eyes all fell upon the same neon beacon in the window, our limited gringa knowledge of Spanish unanimously comprehending the word “Cervesa”.
***Rattle, rattle, rattle – Rickety-rick-ricket***, we brought the cart to an abrupt halt on the side of the road (the only manner in which I think it was able to come to a stop) and hopped out. Into the tiny street side store we went, yelling the magic word to the cashier as we entered, “CERVESA!”, likely the only word he heard daily from the cruise ship passengers that bothered to venture this far out.
Individually selected and blessedly cold bottles of beer in hand, we beelined around the corner and on to the beach where we were greeted with a delightfully casual & funky ambiance. The music louder now yet not overpowering and in rhythm with the waves, there were a smattering of palapas and people. Though immediately clear that this was primarily a “local’s joint”, exceptions being ex-pats vs. one day tourists, we were not made to feel unwelcome. All of us instantly charmed, my own sights immediately fell upon an inviting hammock perfectly draped between two palm trees. Never one to contain my enthusiasm, I indulged my intrigue with abandon as I let out a delighted cry of appreciation for this postcard perfect opportunity. I ran to the hammock, fresh cervesa in hand, and plunged into the inviting, woven, rope, back first.
(Universe hits fast forward button)
Though I (clearly) love hammocks suffice it to say that one did NOT love me as, upon contact, it IMMEDIATELY spun into a full, rocket launch, 360 spin before spitting me out like a swig of bad milk onto the sand below. The HARD sand below. Like, have you ever hit the ground – or had a friend hit the ground – with an audible *thunk*? If you have yourself then you know that when you hit the ground hard enough for your connecting body part to make a noise (in this case, my HEAD) it takes a moment to recover and realize what happened. If you’ve been on the spectator’s end of such an encounter then you know that the natural, human response of good friends goes like this:
Step One: Spontaneous, sincere, huge concern
Which, upon determining friend in question is not hurt enough to call an ambulance, proceed to…
Step Two: Hysterical and prolonged laughter
It should be noted that there were two, older, Mexican women that were sitting in chairs at the edge of the hammock that joined heartily in on my friend’s laughter. To this day I’m convinced that was not the first time they’d encountered such a situation and that they are still there, dedicating their free time to waiting for more tourists like me. Hell, they may have even rigged the thing…and props to them if they did. Gotta’ create your own fun when you live in a one-horse town!
All that said, despite a 360 spin with a “full steam ahead”, involuntary dismount and a borderline concussion, I did not spill ONE DAMN DROP of that cervesa! Rock star point in pocket, thank you, don’t try this at home.
Without the beer in hand I’d have no choice but to give this a score of Hammock: 1, Me: 0. Under the circumstances though I firmly stand that it cannot be debated as anything less than a solid tie.
(Immediate aftermath – still smiling. Viva Mexico!)