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Is Cozumel safe to visit?


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#1 Conn101

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:22 PM

I don't know if this is the right place to put this but maybe somebody can help me. I booked a cruise for my family last week and one of the stops is Cozumel. I was really excited but now I'm woried because a friend just told me Cozumel is sort of dangerous. She took a cruise last month I guess it was and they told everybody on the ship to be real careful getting off in Cozumel and to stay close to the pier where it was safe. She said a lot of passengers ended up not even getting off the boat. My friend got off but she was kind of spooked and just shopped right at the pier. Didn't see very much of Mexico!

Help! That's not the kind of vacation I want. You people seem to know a lot about Cozumel. Do you think I should change my plans and go somewhere else? Is there some problem there right now that's making it so dangerous? The cruise isn't until July so I think I can still back out.
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#2 cookielady

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:38 PM

I have been visiting Cozumel for the last 15 years and I feel safer there than places at home. My best friend and I took a two week girls trip last May and we walked from the square to Hotel Cozumel several times after dark and the most danger we saw were wolf whistles. The only dangerous thing I have seen in Cozumel are the mopeds. The people of Cozumel are fabulous and I can't imagine a cruise ship telling it's passengers Cozumel is dangerous. I say go and have a fabulous time. I will warn you that you will be in danger of not being able to wait to go back after you have been there.
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#3 TRAVELER89

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:54 PM

[size="4"]I have lived here for over 20 years, I have known the island for over 25 years, I have a 15 year old son who was born here and goes to school here..., I have been traveling Mexico for 40 years, driving and by bus and plane. If it wasn't safe my mother, bless her soul, wouldn't have let me come here, before she died, she wanted me to find a place for her in "My Mexico and My Cozumel".

We need to know the name of the ship and the cruise line, it needs to be given to the Sec. of Tourism!

Come and enjoy, just don't rent a moped...., I even buy you a coffee at my office if you don't sail too early.

Traveler
[/size]
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#4 jic811

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:56 PM

I have to reply to this!!! My wife and I have been coming to COZ and about a year ago rented our full time apt and furnished it. We are here as much as we can and HAVE to go back to USA next week but coming back soon. We are downtown and walk or bike all over day and night. We are here at Carnaval and there is NO problems even then. This is a very family oriented place, the locals are very nice and helpful. A recent article said the crime rate is 2 and Cancun 60 whatever that means. Most of USA is much higher such as Memphis where we spend time and I would not walk most streets at night. The Carnival ships tell you that to keep you in the ports they own and on the ships to keep you money. Come to COZ and get off Melger (main strip), go back in the real COZ. Check out this site and Coz4you and check out the interesting shops and places to eat and stay away from the cruise recommened places where they get a kick back. Enought said, just come and enjoy COZ as we will be here full time as soon as we can!!!!
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#5 lsr3

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:08 PM

Conn101

Cozumel is one of the safest places, with the friendliest and most helpful people, I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.
I have stayed on the island 8 times, and visited on cruise ships 4 times.

When traveling in any country, especially my home country USA, it is important to use common sense.
But Cozumel is fantastic. The people are great, the food is great, I have never felt any threat or danger.
My wife and I are comfortable walking any where on the island day and night.

I can only guess, but I suspect that the cruise line wanted the passengers shopping at the stores around the pier.
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#6 austinacoustic

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:12 PM

Conn101

You need to know that the cruise ships have a stake in the shops that are adjacent to the peirs that your docking at. The cruise lines know that the passingers have an alotted amount of money they allow themselves to spend per stop. On these stops, or port of calls, they are not going to take you to places that are dangerous. Just use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings, just like in the states! My problem with not leaving the designated shopping areaís is that your not experiencing the full potential of your vacation, and your just going to a mall in Mexico!! Go out meet the people, have a coffee with traveler89, experience the beauty that is Cozumel, just donít rent a moped!!

Danny in Austin
:D
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#7 Kandy

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:13 PM

Conn101, I doubt you're going to hear anything different from what others have posted here so far. I've been traveling to Cozumel for many years, and I too just got my own place on the island. My husband and I are there as much as possible. We can't always be there together, and I must say that I really enjoy my "alone time." I walk all over the place, day and night, and have never feared for my safety. I'm not careless, but I'm not paranoid either.

The people of Cozumel are the most wonderful people I've been blessed to meet. We have many friends who are locals as well as many ex-pats. If there is anything to fear, other than becoming addicted to Cozumel, it's the misinformation fed to you by the cruise lines. Venture out and learn for yourself. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
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#8 2islandbums

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:25 PM

I agree one of the safest places I have ever lived. Not perfect no place is but tourist are the main stay of this island and are treated very well.
Don't fall for the ship and their bold face lies. They want to get the money first.

This is just one more reason why I am not a fan of the cruise ships. The island has put too many eggs in one basket.
Now the greed of the cruise ships is showing how much they DON'T care about the island. Sad
Please enjoy the island your time here will be safe and fun, just take care if you rent a scooter.

Just for the record I don't have any stake in where the money goes I just love the island and the people that live here.
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#9 divadiver

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:51 PM

This "Cozumel is not safe, stay near the pier" business is getting very old. In fact, the director of Tourism has filed a complaint with the cruise association (FCCA). There is one ship now giving passengers a brochure telling them it's not safe in Cozumel.

My question is this: you are taking a cruise to see different places, so why would the cruise line bring you to an unsafe place? You go from port to port, do they tell you the other ports are unsafe?

Cozumel has been rated the #1 safest place in all of Mexico and the lowest crime rate in the whole state of Q. Roo that includes Cancun, Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen), Majahual.

I've heard feedback from passengers that have stopped in Jamaica and/or Honduras. They've told me the like and feel safest in Cozumel, it's cleaner and more friendly than the any of the other ports.

Being an island, it's safer because it's difficult to escape the island if you commit a crime.

One of the many reasons I live here is as a single woman alone I feel safe.

The cruise industry has a vested interested to keep you on the ship or in their restricted shopping area. The sell their trips at a low price, as they make much of their money from shipboard sales and those exorbatant prices for drinks. In there shopping area at the pier or the "approved" stores in town they send you to, the own them or demand shop owners pay commissions. They've tried the destroy the excursion business by restrict business to cruise passengers. They no longer allow tour operators to take cruise passengers on any excursions that's not booked thru the ship. If any operator does so, they will no longer be have their excursions promoted thru the ship.
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#10 Charles

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:31 AM

It was the P&O ship Oceana that recently gave passengers a handout that warned of dangers of disorder and of getting mugged downtown, like on the plaza in the middle of the afternoon. I honestly wonder since many of the port brochures are printed on board ship to include recent, last minute changes, if someone had somehow mixed up some of their word processing and had mistakenly included a warning that was intended for Honduras or Belize. The ships have long misled people that it would be best to stick to their recommended stores on the waterfront.....and they could not assure them of their safety if they ventured off on their own. This was apparently so outrageous in their statement that it sounded like passengers worried about going downtown to all the recommended shops they had been told to go buy, buy buy.

It was apparently way beyond the normal propaganda. A complaint has been filed with the FCCA, but it sounds like someone's mistake that could cost them their jobs. I know the cruise ship recommended stores that pay millions in advertising fees to the ship must have been furious. I really wonder if the facts will disclose that this was all a word processing, copy and paste mistake on the part of the person handling the printing.

The ships would stop coming here if they gave that information out. If they didn't have paid store advertising, they'd have to raise their fares and the ships would sail empty. Now if it were actually dangerous, but not a soul got mugged until after their purchases, that would not interfere with the ship revenue.

I have long thought that if the ships could buy their own island and fill it with honest thieves, pick pockets and con artists, who would fairly pay the ships their normal 65% commission share, they would be telling all their passengers to carry cash and to write their pin numbers on the outside of their credit cards. The ships may know no shame, but this one was self defeating for their revenue.
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#11 Carey

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 07:31 AM

Conn101. I join the list of people responding to your query. As you can see, everyone who has replied so far is either a very frequent vacationer or lives here full or part time. I'm a woman who has lived downtown in the Centro district, 3 blocks back from the ocean, for 10 years. One of the things I prize most about living on Cozumel is the feeling of freedom I have for my personal safety. I like city life and that's why I choose to live downtown. But every other city I've lived in -- including Manhattan and San Francisco--had a definite fear element involved.

Here on the island I don't think twice about waltzing out my door solo at 9 PM at night to walk downtown and meet friends for a drink or check out what's happening in the nearby square.

Very safe place -- although, as anywhere--it's good to keep aware as there are going to be a few rotten apples in any barrel unless you live on a desert island.

It is shameful what some of the cruiseship companies are doing. And it has been documented time and time again that they are doing it -- using scare tactics to keep passengers from roaming anywhere where they might purchase a product or service from which the cruiseline doesn't get a sizeable kickback. I know. It's just business and it's a dog eat dog world and all that. But that doesn't make it right or fair. And you don't have to listen to them.

Come with your family and have fun. Hop a taxi at the pier and check out the downtown area -- especially back from the waterfront -- where there are often more interesting shops and better prices. Plus you'll get a real taste of Yucatecan life instead of the commercialized version being spoon fed you by the cruise lines. Or hop a taxi in the other direction and take in beautiful Chankannab National Park. I could go on and if you have questions about things to do while you're here, there's a forum especially for that. You'll also find some ideas if you click the Things to Do navigation link at the very top of this page.

Oh, if you find out the name of the ship your friend was on, let us know. That would be interesting. They're all doing this on one level or another, apparently. But some are worse than others.
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#12 beachbum53

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:54 AM

I don't know what more I can add that has not already been said except for this; our family (of 4) has been going to Coz every year for the past 7 years. When we first started going my daughters were 3 and 7 years old. We have stayed all over town and have walked anywhere we wanted, daytime or nighttime. We have never felt anything but safe. The worst thing that ever happened to us did happen at night. We were walking to a restaurant we had never been to before and got turned around and lost. I finally decided to ask for help and the first people we came across was a group of teenagers. When I asked for directions they teased me and laughed at my bad Spanish, smartazz teenagers :o ... and then they walked us to the restaurant. :D

We live in a small town in western WI and we feel as safe in Cozumel as we do at home.
Get out and explore the town. I suspect that at the end of the day, the only regret you will have, will be that you have to get back on the boat.
Have a great time!
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#13 ez_stop1

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:00 AM

It's a shame that the cruise industry tries to scare their passengers with bad information. The few cruises I've been on have done this very same thing. That's why I stopped going on them as I prefer to stay in one place and get to know the culture, town and people. You will never feel anything but relaxed and safe on Cozumel no matter where you go. Even when you get down in the poorer neighborhoods, they smile and wave at you. Don't believe a word about Cozumel being "scary or unsafe". It just ain't so!!!
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#14 Conn101

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:14 AM

Thanks so much all you nice people. I am feeling a lot better about this trip. It's a relief let me tell you. I was really starting to feel like I made a mistake but fortunately I didn't say anything about my worries to my husband or in-laws yet. And now I'll just say nothing and we'll go!

It seems very strange to me that the cruise people would be so greedy and lie about what sounds like a really nice place. But I guess everyone has to try to make money in these hard times. Lucky I found this website so they won't get us, anyway.

Now I have to figure out what we're going to do when we're in port. Any ideas or suggestions? This is a great group. You really helped me out
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#15 LoKawal

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

Hola!
I have only been to the island 4 times, but feel confident and very safe there. In fact, I am planning a trip solo and have no concerns. I am aware of my surroundings and use common-sense, same as I would anywhere. The people here are friendly and considerate and I love it.
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#16 lsr3

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:06 PM

Conn101

This site is full of posts explaining great things to do, but I'll add my own.

Rent a jeep, drive south on the main road and circle around to the east side of the island.
Great beaches, though the surf can be high, and a few places to stop for food and beverages.
Always carry cash, as many of these places do not take plastic.

Take a taxi from the ship to the main plaza.
Walk at least 1 block off of the water front, then just wander around shop, eat drink, meet locals.

Take a taxi from the ship to Chankanaab park.
There is an entry fee for the park, but they have great snorkeling and lots of fun things to do.



Just my 2 cents, I'm sure others will offer opinions.
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#17 shayners

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:40 PM

@Conn101

I usually just read all the posts on this forum and rarely post anything myself, but I had to put in my two cents to this topic. I've come to Cozumel every year for the past 10 years and love this place. My family and I are coming back in May, including my pre-schooler and toddler. My kids love it and we all feel very safe there.

Not sure what your family is like, but my kids (5 and 2) seem to like these activities:

Taking a rental car around to the wild side of the island. We stop to get a cold coconut, check out the view at Coconuts, and play in the surf at Chen Rio.

Visiting Chankanaab Park. You can take a taxi from the cruise ship terminal. Entrance fee is pricey, but if you like dolphins, that's the place to go.

Visiting a beach club. Our favorites are Playa Palancar (peacocks, iguanas - you can feed them hibiscus flowers, soft sand, good fish tacos) and Playa San Francisco (soft sand, easy beach entrance if you're carrying a kid, and a pool for when you get tired of sand!). Taxis can take you there too. No entrance fees, but you're expected to have some food and drink.

Have fun while you're in port!
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#18 AntonioInCoz

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:08 PM

&%$$$&(/%/&%(/ This makes my blood BOIL!!!!! I just shot off several emails to the Governor's office, and the press.

This slanderous attack cannot be tolerated. If I was the Governor I would fly to Miami, demand an immediate audience with the FCCA and hold a press conference, then have a Legal Firm deliver a Cease & Desist warning to any cruise line involved....

Just what Cozumel needs after Wilma (and the bad press that didnt go away for 2 years) then the passport debacle which cost the island dearly, then the recession/election/war situations of 2008, which also saw a reduced number of travellers, then "drug violence & swine flu" in 2009 (neither of which were tru for Cozumel, and NOW THIS!!!!

God please make it stop!!!!
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#19 Charles

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:17 AM

Good job Antonio, you can complain and most of us shouldn't touch anything related to politics. I never saw this particular port brochure. It really sounded like something that would have been very valid in Honduras during their strike and protests last year, many would consider it valid for Belice.

I have seen the outcome of some of these late night print jobs. After their 12-14 hour day, they relax and put together the next day's port information. This was was so beyond the normal BS, I really suspect a half asleep person made a mistake in word processing. I have seen the port shopping guides spend half their time in port apologizing to stores for switching sales and promotions between different stores and forgetting to add what was promised. This one was so self defeating from their normal mis-information. The boats couldn't make any money if they scared the people into not leaving ship. Both the casino and all the on board shops must remain closed while in port, so if ships did this, they'd go broke.

I'd sure hate to be in that persons shoes. Never mind what it cost Cozumel business, imagine how much it cost in ship profits and that is what really gets their attention. Cozumel sure deserves a break, even a small one.
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#20 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:35 PM

I have been visiting Cozumel since my youngest children were pre-teens. They quickly learned thier own way around and made friends. They were allowed to venture out on thier own since age 13 because both the kids and I felt safe. They did have contact numbers and places to go if they needed any help. I now live here and it is my grand daughters who now go off on thier own. They are given the same guidelines and rules that they have at home, because this is Grandma's home and they feel very safe. Not once in 14 years has there been an issue...other than a taxi driver taking advantage of them when charging.
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