Cozumel Accommodations: How We Choose Them

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Cozumel Accommodations: How We Choose the Places We Recommend

#1. Cleanliness

We're real picky about this. Cigarette ash on the corner of the kitchen counter? No rec. Odd smell, dingy sheets, smudged windows and moldy grout send us running not walking to the nearest exit.

#2 Upkeep

This is where you'll see the differences in price more than on anything else. Our bottom of the line, budget rec.s are older structures. Think of a tiled bathroom that hasn't been redone since it was put in in 1962 and electric outlets that weren't even up to code then.

But you get what you pay for and if you don't mind 'old but clean' and with a lot of character this type of place may be just right for you. We've checked to make sure everything functions as it should even in the bottom-of-the-line places. And the accommodations we list at or near the top of the price ranges are all in absolutely immaculate condition.

#3 Staff

Must be friendly and helpful from the minute we walk in the door asking to see a room and able to speak enough English to communicate with guests who have no Spanish. Ideally, they will go out of their way to help you with any questions and problems you have during your stay. Villa Rentals should either offer a service that meets you at the airport or ferry or provides you with detailed, step-by-step directions on how to reach the home on your own. (Something that is not difficult to do as the island is small and people are extremely friendly and helpful.)

#4 Air Conditioning

Gotta Have it and it's gotta work. Some places have excellent designs for wonderful cross ventilation. This feature plus ceiling fans often make it comfortable enough to sleep without AC from November through March. However, all the places we recommend must give you the choice. In other words, bedroom spaces must be air conditioned so you can decide for yourself what's comfortable for you. Air conditioning common areas is a different case. If the lobby and/or sitting areas are designed properly for the tropics with high ceilings, wide door and window openings and proper orientation to catch the cross island breezes, we don't require that these spaces provide air conditioning to make our list.

#5 Eating In Options

With all the good restaurants to sample in El Centro, you'll never have to cook. But sometimes you just don't feel like eating out. That's why we like places with kitchens --even if its just an efficiency set-up. This option is super convenient for early breakfasts and pick up lunches. And it can also save you a bundle. But for some people just having a mini fridge in the room to hold restaurant left overs and cold drinks is all they want. We think a fridge at the very least is a total must and to get on this list accommodations must have this feature at the very least.

#6 Sitting Areas

A room with just a bed gets old fast. So any place we recommend either must have a pleasant sitting area in the room or provide a common area that is comfortable and attractive for hanging out in when you're pooped out from beach-hopping or shopping.

#7 Bed Comfort

Mattresses tend to be hard here. If you have a problem with hard beds, consider bringing a blow up pad to lay on top. Villa Rentals (See Is A Villa Rental Right for You ) generally have more comfortable beds for the simple reason that vacation homes here were all built with the owners own backsides in mind. So they paid attention to comfort. All we can guarantee about the beds we list here is that they aren't lumpy or sagging. We've thrown ourselves down on at least one in every accommodation we recommend in this article.

#8. Location, Location, Location

We have decided prejudices about the best areas of the island for setting up a vacation base. Although out of town beachfront villas and hotels can be lovely (if expensive) options, we, personally, get bored after about two days with staring out at flat, Gulf of Mexico-style water.

We also like a lot going on.

That's why, when we used to come on vacation to Cozumel before we bought land and started to build here, we always stayed downtown. It's safe, lively, interesting. There are some gorgeous and affordable accommodations.

 

ABOVE a tricyclo vendor waits for customers in El Centro's downtown, pedestrian-only plaza. A tricilo is a three-wheeled bicycle with a cart built on the front. The author of this article used to own one which she used for hauling supplies and groceries.

With the money you save by staying in the downtown area, you can easily afford to rent a car to take you to a different beach club or park every day of your vacation! At night leave the car parked and walk to night spots and restaurants. It's not that much fun driving after dark -- especially after you've had a couple of margaritas!

Where you stay downtown makes all the difference, however, in terms of getting the most out of your vacation dollar. Check out these links if you'd like more information on staying downtown:

Is a Vacation Rental Right for You?

Map of San Miguel's El Centro District

Is an El Centro Vacation Right for You?

Downtown Accommodations for Groups

Downtown Accomodations for 1-2 People

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