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Cheap/clean/safe lodging? Need reservations or not?


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#1 Lauren P

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 10:14 PM

This site has been so helpful for me thus far! I love it. I am planning a rather last-minute trip later this month (~Feb 19th.) My partner and I will be flying into Cozumel, eventually heading towards Tulum and Valladolid. I've heard that we could find places to stay even without reservations - I guess we aren't looking for anything too fancy, though I am having difficulty ascertaining exactly where/what the simpler digs are. Are there hostels? Cabanas? Can anyone point me to a more specific place, and confirm if staying at such places is indeed easy to do without reservations?

Many thanks,
Lauren
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#2 Charles

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:07 AM

There are a number of places in the downtown area in the $40 dollar a night range. There's others for around $25. You get a lot more for $40 than $25. There is a hostel and that will run around $20 I believe, but that might be person. Beach front is all premium if your cabana question was about primitive. Places for around $40 would include pool (probably too cold to swim) cable TV and air conditioning (you might have wanted it today). Occupancy rate is low so no reservation required. What did you want and for how long might make for more specific recommendations.

I'm checking places for friends that are considering Suites Vima, Casona Real and Isla Esmeralda. You can cut the price in half if you only want a bed and a fan, but those are spartan.
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#3 chicana

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:51 AM

If you are staying in Cozumel, I can recommend Hotel Isla Esmarelda which is located on N.25 Calle and 20 calle. It is very reasonable (33USD per night) and clean. It is about a 1/2 mile to the main plaza. The employees I met do not speak English and the parking is difficult. All in all, very affordable and clean. You get what you pay for.. My sister found a hostel in Playa Del Carmen about 5 blocks from the beach for 25USD a night. NO reservation necessary. There are cheap accomadations available without reservations. Have fun!!!
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#4 Lauren P

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:14 AM

¡Gracias!
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#5 Richard W

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:55 AM

Mari Stell about 8 and 20 (?) Big Rooms, small fridge, pool someone at the desk 24/7 Spartan , but clean..
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#6 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:04 AM

Why no reservation? We like it very much at Alicia's Bed and Breakfast. A/C, fantastic breakfast, very clean and kind owners. $35. a night. No pool. www.aliciasbedandbreakfast.com
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#7 DanB

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 07:18 AM

Regarding "Mari Stell" - I 'walked' around that area using google map street view and couldn't find this place. Can you describe it more? Does it have a sign out front? Could'nt find any reference to it thru google either. Is this the full name of the place?
Also, the Isla Esmerelda referred to is (I believe) on Calle 2 (not 20), between Ave 20 and 25 (about middle of block on the south side). From the street, it looks like a very nice place. I can't find an email for them though. (I've been emailing several of the smaller, less costly places thru using google translate. Appears to be working well.
Regarding the "do I need reservations" - I am finding that these smaller places do not have a 'formal' reservations system. We arrive at a verbal type of agreement though the emails. (I am bring printed copies of these emails with me just in case). Also, this website (CMC) has a 'recommendations for 1-3 people' section. One o the hotels listed there quoted me a higher rate when I contacted them. I pointed out that this website had indicated a lower rate and he agreed to that rate - Yeh Carey! Since I am coming down in May (not high season) I am less concerned about showing up with 'verbal/email reservations' and finding there is no room. Also, I have enough possible places that even if that happens I'm confident that I can go to one of the other places and find a room at the expected rate.
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#8 Richard W

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:26 AM

DanB aka (Free Spirit) : ) I agree you have no need for advanced reservations on Cozumel anymore. Maybe if you want a certain Condo etc.
Not Hotels rooms though..
Location of the Mari Stell (sea and star)
I haven't been there in Years but I still "hear / read" the same reports year after year . Clean large rooms safe nice rather large pool. Its on the corner , my #s may be wrong, but still close..IIRC but its been awhile. Its was an East street 8th east.. and a North street?? Wooo maybe 25 not 20.... 25 is a north st. isn't it? 5 10 and 15 have changed so many times they should use Velcro on the signs .. But not so that far out..
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#9 Charles

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:50 AM

The Maristell is on avenue 25 at the corner of 10th. http://maps.google.c...=12,289.49,,0,5 this should take you there.

It has been over ten years since I have been inside. For years it seemed that 90% of the limited number of guests were missionaries associated with the Presbyterian church around the corner. Business has been so bad for years in the smaller hotels, long before Wilma or any economic downturn, I can't imagine any more than a skeletal staff and minimum amount of maintenance performed. The most action this hotel saw was when a car crashed into the lobby a few years back. I didn't mention the no-tell-motel on 15 at the corner of 15 that pretends to be in business. Their pool has been empty for years and whomever staffs the place does their laundry and has put clothes lines in the pool area.

There's four or five other small hotels that would be way more spartan and their minimal occupancy might come from an occasional Mexican salesmen or someone with a problem at home. There are five downtown hotels either inside or on the fringe of the pedestrian area that are closed that used to have loyal clientele. Needing reservations in May? Most of these places are lucky to have rates as high as 20-25% on busy weekends and holidays. My opinion, you'll want/need AC in May especially in the older motels built of solid concrete. A newer, non-Legionnaires' Disease AC would be a preferred choice. The places I might suggest are the places that do have steady business however weak and offer convenient locations.

Cozumel desperately needs to reinvent itself and the cost of the ferry crossing and zero air connections domestically has eliminated the domestic tourism market. The big resorts that discount room blocks to brokers are often sold in air/lodging packages at prices even below cheap. My first trip to the area, I took a package of Mexicana and included three nights at the downtown Cancun Holiday Inn which cost $18 more than airfare alone. At $6 dollars a night, "normal posted rates on the door" were $125 to $175 for high season. That served me well being two blocks from the bus station and from the largest grocery store. The package deals here that are dirt cheap, cheaper than downtown economical are distant and taxi fares back and forth will off set any discount pricing.

In the old daze, too long ago to remember, when guide books were sold of "How to Live, Travel on $20 Dollars a Day", I could do that on $10 dollars. In Chiapas the posada I preferred because of their clientele and strictness of security, used to cost $5 pesos a night, about $1.50 USD. When I had a business and travel was deductible, I went more upscale and stayed in swank, more classy places in the $7 to $9 dollar range. Super economy existence doesn't exist anymore that doesn't involve an element of risk. Be selective what you choose on the mainland, I'd regard most anyplace here as being safe, not true in many areas of the country.
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#10 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:31 AM

Did you look at Alicia's website? It's so great there.
Nobody has mentioned the Hotel Aguilar.
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#11 DanB

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:06 AM

Charles, Thanks for the location of the 'mari stell'. I found it on google steet view. Its public name is Hotel al Marestel and there are a couple (not recent) reviews on it on TA (but no photos). Looks very neat and clean from the street. Pecos girl, yes I have been in contact with the people at Aquilar on calle 3. Their rates were 460 pesos for a one person room and 500 for 2 in the room. Some of the reviews of the management have not been great - rude, changed rates on someone 1/2 way thru their stay. I asked a friend/dive master of mine to stop by and look it over for me last week and they wouldn't let him see the rooms, or photograph the grounds - they are not currently in the top section of my maybe list. And Alicia's has a great rep but for May I'm gonna need a pool.
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#12 Charles

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:34 AM

I'd still suggest Suites Vima, Casona Real and Isla Esmeralda and maybe in that order, they're clean, decent and with pools. Suites Vima is close to downtown plaza and the ferry. Numerous restaurants within close walking distance, a few blocks and very quiet. Even though it is 10th avenue, about 90% of the traffic never makes it past calle 4. Isla Esmeralda and Casona Real are both close to avenue 30, might be a little more street noise, but close to restaurants and grocery stores and only a few more blocks from the plaza and ferry. Rates are all going to be about the same, I think I was quoted about $450 at all three, for two people with AC, cable TV & with pools. Of course I am asking about Carnaval week, we're in the highest point of high season now. Rates might come down some for May, but the AC you will want to run in May will limit their range to discount. I'd figure their cost for electricity might run close to $15 dollars a day, not less than $10 per room. Hotel Aguilar might squeak in at the bottom of my top ten list, but used to be in the top three.
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#13 DanB

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:58 PM

Charles, Suites Vima looks like a nice place. The only travelor review I found mentioned that when they were there there was no water in the pool. It did mention that they provide a shared microwave for the guests. I also can't find any photos of the place, nor an email address from them. 1. Do you know anything about their pool and the email? 2. ARE YOU NUTS - you are in Cozumel and have been sitting at your computer making posts for the last 2 hrs. GO DIVE! (joking of course - I do appreciate your advice!)
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#14 Richard W

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 02:18 PM

Dan. Just a suggestion.. Go down get a room for a couple days. go diving.. ask around..
Dive masters will tell you were its cheap to drink , but by in large won't have a clue about hotels, that said the owner or the manager sure will . Hey.. dive a day or two at the shop out of El Cozumeleno (SP) Is Antonio still a manager there? Guys Like Antonio can help you a lot..

Dive Gear? Unless your Tech diving...IMHO dont bother shleping it all down.. Mask for sure and your regs the rest can be rented cheap..
In Fact ..Screw that... Just Your Mask and Your Mouth Piece and a couple dozen Ty-raps .. If they wont rent you the rest for $10 or $15 a DAY? Walk out, kick the sand from your sandals, there are 100 dive shops on the island..
The more I think about it IMHO your best off getting a room within about 1 to 4 blocks of the clock tower..
Puts you close to both worlds .. for cheap seat prices.. J- IMHO.. Have a great trip..
Richard
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#15 Charles

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 04:32 PM

suitesvima@hotmail.com English may be very limited and cash only as far as I know. You may just have to come down, toss a dart and choose one and go look at the others. My fourth choice might be the Villa Caribe or whatever the old Days Inn is called on calle 11 and avenue 25. That is in the same price range, same value, but I'd prefer the other locations more. Major negative about Villa Caribe is that it is on calle 11 and in between the two hospitals. You have to be careful walking on the sidewalks at night as some of the worst are in this area. Before walking at night, become very familiar with all the dangers during day light, things to bang your head on, lots of places to trip and fall and too much traffic to walk safely in the street. I'd expect a few ambulance and police sirens per night and a lot more traffic noise.

I don't know if there is still a website for Suitesvima that exists. One of their guests built one a few years ago for a class project. Just someone who stayed there a few weeks, liked the people and location. She's probably the one that set up the hotmail address. This is a small family run operation, small, simple, not a real sophisticated operation in terms of the Internet era.

I don't dive, in fact I rarely go in the water. My wife got certified in the old days just to prove she could, long before we met. Most all ex-pats were divers then. After her certification, she made one dive down to 100 feet because no one thought she would. That shut people up and she was done. Like a vampire, I prefer to go out at night or when the temperatures are below 75. The Cozumel people and what is left of the functional town is my attraction here. Water temperature is reported to be 78, I don't want to test that to confirm, about four degrees below my limit.

BTW Richard, Antonio is working at the Presidente, still with Scuba-du
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#16 DanB

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 05:38 PM

Thanks, guys! When I get back from my trip I'll file a trip report with pictures. Maybe I'll check several of these places out and see if I can get some photos that may help some others who are in the 'cheap lodgings' category.
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#17 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 06:22 PM

Many good suggestions. You just can't beat Alicia's for $35. per night with A/C and the best breakfast ever. And she has phone service to the U.S. for a dollar. It's like being welcomed into a home away from home.
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#18 eaton53

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:58 AM

Hotel Costa Brava is pretty cheap and clean.
It's also in a good location... it's right by Mega and across the street from Hotel Barracuda.
That means you can walk right over to their beach club.
Breakfast at Jeannies or Rock n Java are right down the street too. And it's close enough to town to walk to dinner.
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#19 ccannon707

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:52 AM

I don't know if there is still a website for Suites Vima that exists. One of their guests built one a few years ago for a class project. Just someone who stayed there a few weeks, liked the people and location. She's probably the one that set up the hotmail address. This is a small family run operation, small, simple, not a real sophisticated operation in terms of the Internet era.


It was me with the SV site, and it's still on the college server, sigh... I guess I'll have to come visit again to get that straightened out... oh darn :D

The very nice family that runs it are not computer/e-mail savvy. You can e-mail a reservation request in English - a young relative has the account and relays the info, but on the phone and when you get there it's all Spanish... good practice for you! Cash only, no credit cards. The pool is small but has been full when I've been there. It's a small hotel and has some avid fans - don't count on getting a room in high season walking in off the street. Off season you have a shot.

Suites Vima:
http://student.santa...nnon/index.html

My other favorite in-town place is Amigos B&B. Has a pool, AC, frig (kitchenette!) in a lovely garden setting. An even smaller place - 3 rooms. Run by expats Bob & Kathy - great people and very good with e-mail communication. No credit card there either, but if you reserve in advance Kathy will give you the account info in the US to send payment.

Amigos:
http://www.cozumelbedandbreakfast.net/

Both places are located very centrally and make walking around town a fun part of the trip. I don't like renting/driving cars there, so this is a key requirement for me.

BTW, I've never stayed at the Aguilar but took a look last year. What I noticed was I'd have to keep the curtains in the room closed all the time or I'd feel like I was on display. It has a pool as well as TV, AC and a little frig in the rooms.
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#20 MiCasaCozumelVacationRentals

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:03 PM

You Can check out my website.

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