Cozumel was my wife & I's first visit to Mexico. To those first time travelers to Mexico, you will have to get into the port through a large duty free shop. You will be bombarded by sales people trying to sell tequila among other items. This is no fault of Carnival, just something to be prepared for. The only real issue was that the Elation only opened the Forward disembarkation area for the first hour. 2,000 people trying to leave through one gang-way takes a lot of time. They corrected this mistake later that morning and at future ports.
We took a short cab ride of 5 minutes, with two other travelers to Nachi Comon. It costs $16 for 1-4 passengers taking a taxi to Nachi. So try to find someone else to go with you to save on the cost.
Arriving at Nachi the building and area were simple, quaint, and nice. The facility will not win any prizes for its looks. Areas were in need of paint and cleaning. Still the staff were polite and kind. We were quickly shown to our chairs and asked if we would like a drink. The beach has a few dozen chairs and umbrellas over maybe a quarter of a mile. Different activities can be signed up for a price. I brought my snorkeling equipment and spent easily the first hour in the water. The beach is more for people to wade and have fun than snorkeling. Nachi can take you a better spot for a fee. I just swam at the beach and still saw a small but decent amount of tropical fish like Angel & Puffer fish. A curious Barracuda even paid me a visit before swimming away.
Back on land, I sat down to relax. The menu for food is in Peso's so don't let it scare you. You get a starter, main, and dessert with your booking. My wife & I got nacho's. Our neighbors agreed with us that they were great. The salsa has got some kick. I had Mexican BBQ ribs. The sauce was mixed of standard flavors with oranges. Different but still good. Overall we enjoyed our food. The drinks were good. I had a daiquiri that had plenty of rum, and enjoyed my beers.
The facility also had a large pool and deck area. We stayed at the beach, but other patrons enjoyed it. Especially the swim up to bar next to the pool & hot tub.
Most importantly Nachi delivered on its promise of a quieter place to go and relax on the beach. There were children, but never were they screaming and yelling. Everyone was having a good time without getting out of control. A great place to go and relax in the sun. That's what we wanted in our experience and they delivered.
Embarking from the ship in Progreso was easier than Cozumel. The duty free shop was larger and easier to make your way though. When my wife & I exited, we quickly found a representative of the tour company and they directed us to a waiting area with other passengers.
We had to wait 20 minutes until our departure time. Our group was delayed a few minutes because some other passengers had missed their tour to Chichen Itza and were complaining to our & another tour guide. They were finally convinced to join our group to Uxmal. Soon enough we were on the bus to Uxmal. Besides some microphone trouble our tour guide Diego did a good job of providing some insights about the Mayans & Uxmal for the first 30 minutes of the tour. Thanks to our driver Rocky speedy driving skills we arrived after an hour and forty minutes.
Contrary to some of the Carnival information, you will not stop for a bathroom break at some type of shop. You head straight to Uxmal. The bus was comfortable, but the Mexican roads were a bit rough at times. Carnival recommends sun screen and water. They are a MUST!!! Diego our tour guide describes the weather in the Yucatan as HOT & REALLY HOT. He wasn't kidding. We arrived to site and it was 87 degrees and left it being 95. It can easily reach over 100 in the spring and summer, so hydrate, cover up, and use sunscreen. Also eat a big breakfast. The provided lunch is a joke just like all the other reviews describe. No food is allowed in the Uxmal site. As well as large back packs, so I brought my SLR camera around my neck. My wife brought a small hiking back pack that was fine. Generally purses are allowed unless they are very large. You also need to wear a comfortable pair of shoes like sneakers, hiking boots, or cross trainers. Do not wear thin soled shoes. The stairs on the site are large and of rough stone. You need something with a lot of cushion.
The group followed Diego through a guided tour for about an hour & half. Diego did a good job of providing some interesting facts. They were probably were more insightful for others since I have already read a lot about the Mayans. Diego got a really good laugh from a woman who believed the Mayan's were descended from aliens.
After the guided tour ended, we had another hour & half to visit the sight. I quickly ventured up to the Main Pyramid and the Governor's Palace. Both sights Diego didn't have us climb since the sites are difficult to make up. For the adventurous, the Main Pyramid is a must. Still needing heavy restoration, the stairs make it the tallest structure at the sight. It gives anyone a great view of the entire area. There are not many large pyramids that you are allowed to climb anymore.
Uxmal is famous for the detailed carvings on most of the structures. The rain god Chac is found on nearly every building. For those wanting to get up close to Mayan's, I really recommend this tour. Also a big advantage is Uxmal is not nearly as famous as Chichen Itza. There were probably only100 tourists in the entire area when I was there, with ours being the largest group. So if you do not want to contest with crowds, this is a better option for you.
When finished exploring and taking photos, I returned to the entrance with my wife. There are several small shops run by the locals to buy merchandise, drinks, and a restaurant that serves fresh hand made tortillas. My wife & I did not eat them, but those on the bus who did thought it was a great meal.
Overall for any ruins, adventure, or Mayan enthusiasts visiting Uxmal is a must. The only negative was the heat. So you are now fore warned.