“Buenos dias,” my AirBnb host’s voice echoed through the corridor beside the lagoon, “Smoothie?” he asked, handing each of us a bright pink cup. I took a sip and the flavor of fresh coconut exploded on my tastebuds, “So what are you up to today?
“We actually didn’t plan anything for our first morning here in case we wanted to sleep in. So, I think our tour today isn’t until around 3PM,” I responded, as I was the only one who actually knew the itinerary for our trip. We had booked these flights just two days before departing, not leaving much time to dawdle about plans.
“Maybe you want to go boating?” Ricardo asked.
“Oh, absolutely. Yes, please,” we responded almost in synchrony while feeling like we hit the AirBnb jackpot.
“All right, I’m making my fresh ceviche for lunch. I just caught the fish this morning and baked it with lemon juice in the sun. You’re gonna looOOoove it. I still have to add the habanero and cilantro, so give me maybe an hour and then we go. Okay?”
“Perfect,” I replied, taking another big sip of my exotic smoothie. We took our cups and walked down to the edge of the lagoon, being followed by Rosa, our host’s well-trained dog and certified iguana hunter. Climbing the steps of the tree overlooking the water, a rustling sound came from the bushes. Looking over my shoulder, I spotted two massive iguanas barreling their way into the jungle before Rosa got too close. We settled back into the cozy bench at the top and looked out over the sparkling lagoon. When we first checked in, Dodi, his house helper, informed us that there were crocodiles in here and sometimes they like to come up and wade on the boat landing, so they had to fence it off to keep Rosa safe. I’m disappointed to report that through the entirety of us finishing our breakfast, we didn’t see any cocodrilo. Maybe later.
“Ready?” Ricardo called out, hauling life jackets and a cooler down to the boat as if he was a dad getting his kids ready for school. Walking over to his backyard boat landing, we all stepped in one by one, with Rosa being the first to go. And just like that, we were off.
“So, I was checking to see how close Isla Mujeres was today because sometimes it can just take forever to get there and I think it is okay today, so we can try to go there first,” Ricardo informed us as, “Yesssssssssss,” secretly rejoiced in our heads.
We swerved left and right through the mangrove trees, ogling at the massive estates lining the banks. Crossing under a bridge and into the open ocean, Ricardo pointed his finger out ahead of us.
“Do you see the turquoise color out there? That’s where we’re headed,” he said, squinting out in the distance. My jaw dropped like an anchor.
“How is this real!” I shouted, my eyes sparkling back at the waves, “It honestly looks like a pool,” The water was crystal clear and you could see the white sand lining the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.
“Here, put these on,” Ricardo said, throwing his Ray-Bans onto my lap.
“Okay?” I said, confused as to why he wanted me to wear his sunglasses when we were already beneath the shade of the boat cover. I slid the polarized lenses over my eyes and looked ahead. The sea was now colored so dramatically that I could trace the blotches of dark blue and sapphire as easily as tracing the spots of a cow.
Ricardo slowed the boat, tossing the anchor overboard, “Well, what are you waiting for?” he questioned, diving off the back of the boat. Soon enough, we both followed until Rosa was the only one left aboard. The salt water transformed us into buoys, as if we were the sprinkles on top of the blue moon ice cream sea. Not a plant, nor a fish was in sight. I felt like this water, this sand, this Earth, had never been touched. It was empty: Just us, the sky, and the sea. I had no other way to describe the sensation other than euphoric.
To me, this is a big word. Calling a moment euphoric can be categorized in the same circumstantial case as a newborn saying it’s first word. Calling a moment euphoric is also in the same wavelength as someone saying, “I Love You,” for the first time. Calling a moment euphoric, to me, is when you realize you’ll never forget the exact moment that you’re in during present time. You feel so many emotions that you know–you just know–that you’ll remember that feeling, that sky, those words, that second…forever.
To me, Isla Mujeres was euphoric.