A couple of weeks ago we reviewed the first half of our 11-hour excursion in the Playa del Carmen area with Local Quickies. We’ll pick up here after our visit to Tulum and our swim in a cenote.
Swimming with Sea Turtles
Next up on our tour was a snorkeling trip to see sea turtles. The tour description promised “no cages or pens, here they are in their natural environment” and they delivered above our wildest expectations. We love seeing animals in their natural environments (see our safari posts), but understand that nature has a knack for being unpredictable.
We arrived on the pristine beach with high hopes, reasonable expectations and snorkeling gear provided by Local Quickies. We walked down into the gorgeous blue-green water and paused to slip on our flippers, masks, snorkels and life jackets (required). Our guide gave us a little instruction to stay behind him, stay parallel to the water’s surface so we didn’t kick up the sand and ruin the view, and to resist the urge to reach out and touch the turtles.
We only swam for a few minutes before finding two sea turtles munching on grasses below us. Thinking back, we had only seen sea turtles’ heads before (at least in person), and that doesn’t give you any real sense of their size. Amanda kept saying “they’re huge!” around her snorkel.
The sea turtles were completely unphased by our presence. They snacked on the sea floor, swam up for air, then returned to snacking. They had no qualms about swimming to the surface right in the middle of our group; two turtles nearly ran into us on at least two occasions. Our guide seemed a little disappointed there weren’t more turtles in the area, but we were thrilled. We were enjoying the experience far too much to keep an accurate count, but estimate we saw about 10 turtles during our excursion.
To wrap up our day we hopped on board a luxury catamaran, Cata Maya, and sailed out into the Caribbean Sea. Our friendly bartender kept the margaritas and cerveza flowing (among other beverage selections) and the party music pumping as we relaxed and enjoyed the late afternoon sun.
The catamaran crew had two fishing lines trailing the catamaran and they alerted us when we had a fish tugging on the line. One of our fellow travelers did at least 75% of the work, but Amanda came on in relief and brought the tuna aboard. It was her first experience fishing, and it was quickly turned into fresh ceviche by our hosts. Later in the cruise, Zeke was invited to reel in another catch. He worked, reeling in and letting out some slack, then reeling again, for more than 10 minutes. The crew gathered to see what could possibly be on the end of the line, pulling and dragging as Zeke reeled. When he finally brought his catch aboard, we discovered it was an impressively sized piece of driftwood.
After a beautiful and fun sail, the crew brought the catamaran to a stop in the deep blue-purple water and Amanda was first to ask if we could go for another swim. Soon our entire group was back in the water (most of us wearing life jackets so we wouldn’t have to tread water) and someone called up to the boat asking for beer. Our crew obliged, tossing cans of Corona into the water (they float!) so we could enjoy a few ocean beers. We drank and swam for about an hour until we were called back aboard for the trip home.
After careful consideration, we can’t rate this experience any less than a 10 out of 10. The tour was excellent and our guides were amazing – just like Local Quickies’ slogan: “not a tour, just hanging out with friends [who] happen to be locals”.
If you’re planning a trip anywhere near Playa del Carmen, be sure to book a day with Captain Quickie (and thank us later!).
**As usual, no disclaimers are necessary. We were paying customers just like everyone else on this trip and didn’t mention our blog until we were leaving.