Bob Marley Bars Cozumel Rasta and Freedom in Paradise Restaurant

Take a swing through Jamaica at Cozumel’s southern tip Sooner or later visitors to Cozumel discover there’s so much more to explore about the island: Top of the list are places like the Bob Marley Bars <

In reality, there are actually two establishments which make up the Bob Marley Bars: Rastas and the Freedom in Paradise Restaurant. <>

The latter is owned and operated by William Carillo and Sylvia Kuhnemman and is the more popular spot because its on the waterfront while the other side of the road they’ve set up a souvenir stand and a place to catch the overflow of hungry and thirsty patrons.
There’s also a familial connection to Shaka’s, a reggae infused bar on stilts overlooking the bay in the northern end of San Miguel where the sunsets are spectacular and Ohana’s,<> a lovely dining establishment on Avenida 5 between 6th y 8th Norte.

The Bob Marley bars are right at Punta Sur,Cozumel’s southern tip, where the placid western shores looking across at the Mayan Riviera give way to the frothing surf of the eastern side as the wind whips in from the vast open expanse of the southern Atlantic ocean.
The bars are right next to Punta Sur Eco Beach Park  where for about US$15 a person you can go to the wide sand beach and snorkel and explore the 247-acre reserve with the ruins of the Mayan temple which is often thought of as a lighthouse. There’s bird watching and you can check out some of the local saltwater crocodiles.
You’ll know you’ve found the right place because the first thing you’ll see are the bold red, green and gold of Jamaica along with a statue of the legend, Bob Marley out front along with a rather busty lady. Don’t forget to get your picture taken, it’s a classic pose.

Oh, and you’ll hear the reggae music thumping away. You literally can’t miss it.

They’re on either side of the old beach road so you’ll have to exit off the highway but there are lots of signs pointing the way and if you overshoot, you’ll get a glimpse of the location behind you and it’s easy enough to turn around and go back.

The ambience is something else. Aside from great food and service, you’re welcome to grab a hammock or palapa and sit and watch the surging sea slam into the coral, sending spouts of foamy surf skyward. It’s a never ending show.
Don’t pass up a chance to check out the conch ceviche. Every Latino country from Mexico to Peru has their version of ceviche and Rasta’s ranks among the best.

For the uninitiated, ceviche is raw seafood “cooked” by the natural citric acid from lime juice and mixed with chopped tomato, cilantro, onion, and hot peppers for a little bite – not to much though. Some recipes call for avocados.

In addition to conch, the menu offers shrimp and a mixed seafood ceviche. You’ll also find conch in garlic, coconut jumbo shrimp, fresh fish fillets, fajitas, nachos, quesadillas, tacos and the usual burgers and fries.

The best way to experience it all, though, is to go with a group of people and make sure you have plenty of time.

To get there you’ll have to get a taxi for the day or rent a car, the latter being a great way to drive yourself around the island at your own pace, though a decent taxi driver may show you some secret sites.
If you’re staying at Villa Deja Blue with Dennis Anderson and his lovely wife Silvia, ask about where to rent a car or how to negotiate for a taxi for the day. Depending on how many people are in your group and how many cruise ships are in town, it can actually be cheaper to get a taxi van for the day.
Remember also that Sunday is generally the locals’ day at the beach so it can get busy but the upside is there’s lots going on. Also, there aren’t any cruise ships docked so that actually cuts down on traffic and competition for cabs and rental cars. Dennis and Silvia can help you out with the best insider’s advice and when there are more than usual cruise ships docked so you can avoid the crowds.
Even if you’re not staying at Villa Deja Blue, swing by Cocina de Silvia, the restaurant there, for the best breakfast in town. You can usually find Dennis hanging around there and see if he’s got a moment to offer some insight, he’s a really approachable guy, originally from the U.S. who fell in love with Cozumel and moved there, then met and fell in love with Silvia.

If you opt to drive yourself, don’t worry, you can’t get lost. There are only really two roads, the main highway which circles the island and the traverse road which cuts east-west and back into the town of San Miguel.

However, do plan on a designated driver since you’ll want to stop at the bars and restaurants and enjoy some cold beers or margaritas.

The highway is well constructed though not lit at night so you’ll want to be headed back to San Miguel before 6 p.m. when the sun starts to set.

It’s about 30 minutes south of San Miguel and it will take another 45 minutes to complete the loop coming back up the western side.

It’s best to make a day trip out of it, starting around 11 a.m. in the morning and hitting a couple of beaches <>on the way down, like Playa San Francisco and Playa Palencar, just to have a look though some of them are now charging for parking and access. It’s waived if you buy a round of drinks.
Pack water, sunscreen, hats and cover ups, there’s often a lot of sun and shade is at a premium on the open beaches though obviously the restaurants are covered.

You’ll hit the Bob Marley Bars around lunchtime which is perfect. Spend an hour relaxing in the shade or soak up some sun, enjoy the music and food and then swing up the western side and check out some of the sights and beaches along the way such as XXXXX new place, Chen Rio and Punta Morena.<>

You’ll be struck how desolate and natural the eastern side is and that’s for a couple of good reasons. One, aside from the road and a couple of restaurants, there’s no infrastructure there because the sensitive environment – Cozumel is a land mass based on coral – can’t handle it. There’s no electricity, no running water and no sewage treatment.
The power the restaurants have is from batteries or small wind generators and they bring everything in fresh every morning and pack up and shut down at sunset.
Also, because of the current, strong undertow and winds, it’s not safe to swim off the eastern beaches, though there are exceptions such as NEWPlace where it’s quite shallow and the waves rolling in are fun to play in.

To get back to San Miguel, just keep heading north until you hit the Tranverse
Road which cuts west. Just follow that and you’ll be back in town in about 25 minutes.

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