Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cozumel 2012 - The diving & dining edition

Earlier this month, Cynthia and I went to Cozumel, Mexico, for the second time, to explore the beautiful underwater offerings of this diving destination while tasting the simple and delicious cuisine of the island.  The week went by quickly (as usual) but we had a great time visiting some restaurants we enjoyed the previous year and trying some new ones.  We were able to do eleven dives, visiting some of the amazing sites, including an unforgettable night dive.  The dining and diving adventures continue!  Best shrimp dish (both "al mojo de ajo" and empanizado) goes to Camaron Dorado, while best whole fried fish and pescado "al mojo de ajo" to San Carlos Pescaderia.  The ceviches were both excellent and rated a tie.  The tacos awards are split between the al pastor at Los Sera's and the "gringas" at Los Otates.
The garlic shrimp at El Camaron Dorado are not to be missed.  We went three times for lunch?

It is a little ways out of town on the main road but so worth the trip.

There tacos and tostadas being prepared for the happy lunch crowd.

Ceviche mixto was clean and refreshing.  The slices of avocado were a nice touch.

The camarones, al mojo de ajo, a.k.a. the garlic shrimp (with extra garlic!).

Tostada camaron empanizado (Fried shrimp tostada).  Man was it good.

On the second trip, Cynthia opted for the garlic shrimp torta.

We were referred to Chilangos to try their famous huaraches. 

This was a promising mural for the possibilities.

I believe this was a steak and a chicken huarache.  They were okay.

During one of dives we came upon a sleeping, white tip shark.

and a barracuda.  They are usually the only fish that make divers nervous. 

The underwater caverns at Cozumel are so beautiful.  I need a better underwater camera.

Nice window view, eh?

A very large green moray eel.  He was a thick fella.  Maybe he eats at Chilangos?

The grouper are evidently becoming more endangered.  I guess their "dive sign", rubbing one's belly doesn't help.

Ok, and now our favorite place on the island for fresh fish, San Carlos Pescaderia!  You pick your fish...

and they fry it to perfection.

Before that though, their tasty ceviche and crisp tortilla chips is a must.

Ceviche food porn meets...

fried shrimp porn.

We went here three times as well.  This whole fried fish was split on one occasion.

Nice, right?

I'm going in.
It was crispy, light, clean and satisfying to the last bite!

While diving through the week, we were sometimes accompanied by an underwater photog names Cinthia.  Here are some of the pics she took during our dives.  The Spanish dancer is always a treasure to witness.
Close up of an eel.

A spiny box puffer fish.  We saw a couple of these guys throughout the week.  Great eyes.

Neutrally buoyant and cruising around.

Cynthia checking out some coral.

We got close to some beautiful turtles during the dives.

Cynthia (behind tail) and I checking out this HUGE parrot fish!

Nothing quite like seeing large schools of fish on a dive.

Cinthia's (the photog) shot of the same eel from above.  We discussed his red dotted acne/rash under his eye.

Another ray.

We made some friends with a couple from Victoria, Canada, Doug and Bev.  Doug took some great shots as well.

Resting on the boat, on the way to a dive.

Getting ready to get wet!
My shot of a turtle eating some loose coral.  He was using his fins like arms to hold it down at times!

While we were there, Mexico elected a new president.  As the week went on, the street signs were covered by "Gracias Cozumel".  We shared that sentiment after our second trip to this laid back diving and dining paradise.

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