Posted by Tony & Cheri on June 8, 2007
We recently went on the Catamaya catamaran snorkeling cruise.with some good friends. It’s one of our favorite tours in the Playa Del Carmen area.
The Catamaya is a beautiful double-hulled cat which sails out of Puerto Aventuras, about 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. The boat holds a maximum of 100 people, but there were much fewer on the day we went. As guests arrive at the boat, their picture is taken by a professional photographer. The photo is available for sale when the boat returns to port. Everyone was warmly greeted by the crew and instructed to remove their shoes. This is a barefoot cruise.
When we sailed out of the harbor into the Caribbean, the waves were a little rough, as they can sometimes be on a windy morning. However, we know from experience when we’re going to be out on the water to take a Bonine or Dramamine about an hour before we go. It worked perfectly, and we had no problem with a little bit of bouncing the cat did over the waves. Unfortunately, a couple of others weren’t so prepared and had some motion sickness.
We hung out with our friends on the boat as we sailed out into calmer waters and headed down the coast. There is an open bar, but the crew wisely advises people not to drink too much until after the snorkel stop. As we sailed along, people spread out all over the deck. There are lounge areas, seating areas and a big open net out front, where you can lie in the sun above the waves running beneath.
After sailing for a bit, we anchored just offshore and snorkel vests, masks, snorkels and fins were distributed. The crew was very attentive, as always, getting people together, dressed and into the water for the snorkeling. There are two snorkel guides—one in front and one in back—as they take people to the nearby coral reef.
As we had been on this tour many times before, we decided to forego the snorkeling and just jumped into the water with our life jackets and floated around. We jokingly called to the captain that we’d like margaritas delivered to us in the water. He disappeared and in a few minutes was back, leaning over the side of the water with a tray of margaritas. Floating in the warm blue water of the Caribbean and sipping a margarita has got to be one of the best ways to spend a lazy day. Occasionally a big wave would roll in, lifting us and dropping us again. There was much hooting, hollering and teasing of anyone who spilled their drink during the ride.
After about 40 minutes, the snorkeling group returned, and everyone got back on the boat. Lunch was then served. Passengers were offered a choice of steak or lobster tail grilled on a barbeque right out on the deck. This was accompanied by a pasta dish, a green salad, guacamole, chips, & salsa. And of course the bar was now open and the drinks flowed. The crew constantly moved among the passengers with pitchers of rum punch, margaritas, water or beer.
After lunch, we began the leisurely sail back to port. Both on the way out and back, the crew trailed fishing lines. On this day they had a couple of strikes and landed a good-sized dorado. Any passenger who wanted could take the pole and help reel in the fish, which several guys did.
For the rest of the trip the water was pretty calm; they played great music on the stereo, and people lounged in the sun and relaxed. We pulled back into Puerto Aventuras at 2:00 pm. We picked up our shoes, collected our belongings and found our driver waiting to take us back home.
We’ve done a lot of tours and sailed on different catamarans in the Mayan Riviera. The Catamaya is our favorite, because the boat is beautiful and clean, the crew is incredibly friendly and attentive, and best of all, they offer a great lunch. Most catamaran tours only give you chips and salsa, so by the end of the trip, you’re starving and over-beveraged—not a good combination.
The cruise starts at 10:00 am and returns at 2:00 pm. The cost of the cruise is $87.00 per person for adults and includes round-trip transportation from local hotels in the Riviera Maya. Also included in the price is all snorkeling equipment, all you can drink, and a barbeque lunch. You can contact the Catamaya through their website at http://www.catamaya.net. Or, if you can’t reach them, you can always email us at the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden and we can book it for you. Tony & Cheri give it two thumbs up. 🙂