Cancun and Groupon Catamarans

          A few years ago, I had the idea of renting a sailboat and setting out for a couple of days’ cruise; this worked because one of our pilots was also an experienced sailor. The plan was for a few couples to rent the sailboat and have Mark captain the ship. Toni wasn’t down with this plan for a couple of reasons, the main one being a fear of the open seas on a sailboat.

Fast forward a year…she found a deal on Groupon for a catamaran cruise out of Cancun and since it’s a deal, she’s in. We partnered up with another couple and headed to Cancun for a few days at the resort before boarding our chartered catamaran, the “Who Knew“, for three days of sailing around Cancun.

This was an amazing trip with a captain and a cook to take care of everything. After stocking the boat with food and liquor (the cost of the food and drink was included in the charter and the crew checked with everyone about what kind of food we liked, food allergies, etc.), we embarked on a journey to some remote areas where we took the Zodiac (that’s a rigid hull inflatable boat [RHIB] ala Navy SEAL style) into an estuary where we trekked through jungle paths to check out an abandoned mission church.

Got to see some amazing sea creatures, including a massive school of eagle rays gliding right underneath our Zodiac, and church ruins so old, it felt like we were in a Clive Cussler novel. The best thing about the catamaran was the snorkeling since the catamaran could go to the best shallow reefs and let us explore as long as we wanted.

What Toni didn’t like was that the air conditioner on the catamaran broke after one day on the water. The only time it was uncomfortable was at night but it breaking led us to what I thought was even better which was sleeping outside on the net between the hulls of the catamaran. Waking up on the water like that was awesome.

Then, a hurricane came along…we used the catamaran’s satellite phone to make contact with family back home in the States to get updates and asked them to change our flight plans so we could get out of Cancun before the hurricane hit and shut everything down. All in all, it was an unbelievable trip and I’d definitely be up for one of these catamaran outings again since you can check out remote areas, linger where you want for snorkeling, fish, and have some great food cooked right there on the boat for you.

It was also the first time I had the opportunity to take advantage of a satellite phone and I’m exploring adding that to our travel checklist.


What She Said about Tombstone


She Said: This trip was DEFINITELY not on my list but a Travelzoo Top 20 deal and a husband’s fascination with the movie convinced me to book it.  I am SOOOO glad I did!  A few reasons why:

  1. I got to hang out with the coolest guy ever…Arizona Bill. He works the gun range at the Tombstone Monument Ranch by day and does Ghost Tours in Tombstone by night.
  2. I found a marshal badge (the kid kind) that had my name…this is rare.
  3. I bought the coolest poncho ever made
  4. Stop by Doc Holliday’s and ask for Suzanne! Not only is she GORGEOUS she makes some mean drinks that you won’t regret…until the next day.
  5. I got to karaoke at the ranch in the evening. It was horrible but so much fun! I love George Strait and it was as bad as you can imagine (yes, there is video…)
  6. We stopped by the Tombstone Brewing Company, had some great IPA’s and bought a round for a Vietnam vet and Border Patrol agent who ended up giving us a ride in his bad ass Mustang and having dinner with us at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.
  7. We rode horses, shot guns, ate great food, met great people, bought lots of cool tank tops and drank more than our share of beer and whiskey.
  8. The BEST find is a little restaurant called the Horseshoe Café we stumbled upon on our drive from Tucson to Tombstone. It is definitely “home cooking.” I had the hot roast beef sandwich. Open faced, brown gravy and it was so good we not only stopped on the way to Tombstone……we stopped on the way back!!
  9. The downfall of the trip was the nightmare with American Airlines (I won’t include her name but she was a real bitch)


His Thoughts on Tombstone

Toni found us a sweetheart deal for a trip somewhere she knew I wanted to go and she had zero interest in. Once we got there, I think she may have enjoyed it even more than I did. A fan of the Western genre and, in particular, the Tombstone movie with Kurt Russell, I’d wanted to visit Tombstone for years and Toni’s Travel Zoo Top 20 deal was just what we needed to saddle up with some friends and kick for Arizona.

The Tombstone Monument Ranch is situated just outside the main town of Tombstone and is set up like the set of a Western movie town with each room having a different theme and a dusty strip dividing the hotel’s buildings with boardwalks connecting them. Check in is in the main building where you’ll eat your meals (the fare is hearty and excellent) and find a saloon for evening entertainment. We even ended up with an impromptu session of Texas Hold’em and got to play with some folks from the United Kingdom who wanted to visit an authentic Western venue.

There’s no shortage of activities to partake in at the Ranch, including archery and trail rides on horses matched to each rider’s needs. What I suggest though is going to do some shooting with Arizona Bill. Arizona Bill offers the chance to go shoot some authentic Western hardware including a Henry .22LR lever action rifle and because it’s a .22, it is fun to shoot for just about anyone since the recoil is negligible. Bill will walk you a short distance through the scrub brush, give you some earplugs, and let you plink away with the lever action. After hours, you can find Arizona Bill in downtown where he’ll take you on a haunted tour of Tombstone; I doubt you can find anyone more knowledgeable about Tombstone than Arizona Bill.

Some places I’d suggest hitting include Doc Holliday’s Saloon where Suzanne will provide you with the beer and whiskey you need to fuel your Tombstone tour, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, and the Tombstone Brewing Company where you’ll find many local brews to help quench the thirst you’ll get living that pew-pew life in Tombstone.

Make sure you visit the Tombstone Mustachery where Kevin will help you find some of the finest smelling shave soaps and traditional shave gear that will remind you of your trip to Tombstone for many years to come. I picked up a shave brush with a handle reportedly made from wood harvested from Jack Daniels casks and besides a reminder of my time in Tombstone, it’s holding up better than any brush from Wal-Mart or Walgreens I’ve ever owned. Most of the time, you can get an authentic straight razor shave but when I was visiting, the gentleman who usually shaves there was out of town so I missed out on what would have been one of the quintessential Tombstone experiences.

The coffee is ready plenty early at the ranch so you’re not burning daylight during your stay in Tombstone and there is plenty to do both in the town and at the ranch. This is one trip both of us really enjoyed and I definitely want to repeat.

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