Our 1st trip report!
Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:03 AM
We just got back from a great trip to Cozumel. A big thanks to this site and to this forum for providing excellent advice that made our trip really fun and easy going. We are DIY vacationers and we aren't into resorts or much touristy stuff; we like to wander and to explore.
Where we stayed: Villas Las Anclas: This place is fantastic with nice big comfortable rooms, a small kitchen area and a wonderful outside serene courtyard. The rooms are cleaned daily and you get a large jug of bottled water each day (you can get more if you need it, just ask!) Jordi, the owner, is wonderful and very helpful. We loved staying at 'Las Anclas and will return on our next visit. There are many reasons why this place is rated at the top of places to stay in Cozumel.
Where we ate: The local restaurants are really good and cheap. We asked Jordi for some recommendations and also just tried out various places on our own; we aren't afraid to try new things! La Choza, right around the corner from 'Las Anclas has wonderful food and you MUST try the Chicken Mole, it's amazing. La Choza does have some English speaking staff, it does help to know Spanish, and they will take dollars in small amounts. Sabores is right across the street from 'Las Anclas and they serve a plentiful and tasty lunch. I spoke some Spanish at Sabores, but they also can speak a bit of English if needed. El Foco, right down the street makes some amazing tacos and they are very inexpensive, try the horchata,too! There is a new Argentine empanada place one block from 'Las Anclas and the empanadas are really good. There is also a panaderia nearby called La Cozumelania (sp?) that makes great breads and pastries. It's good to know Spanish and they only take pesos. La Kinta is a more expensive place and we found that the food was okay but nothing special. One night we decided to try something other than Mexican food and so we went to Rolandi's which is an Italian place. They have tables out on the water and these provide a very nice place to watch the sunset. The food was good and the service was really great but I don't think we'll go back there as it wasn't that good!
Coffee: We are both coffee drinkers and unfortunately, we couldn't find any good coffee. Cozumel Coffee has a great breakfast but their coffee is acidic and the espresso suffers from the same issue. We'll probably go to the Mega (food store) when we return and see what they have. An aside to all of this is that when I asked several of the locals where to find coffee in Spanish they thought I was looking for stuff to smoke! Any input on where to find good coffee on Cozumel would be appreciated.
What we did:
The Mystic Snorkeling Tour: We went on this tour as it was recommended by this site and by Trip Advisor. The tour was great and Rosi and her crew are wonderful. We visited a shallow area that is a ‘fish nursery’ for small fish and went to some deeper snorkel areas as well. This tour is for people who can swim and have experience snorkeling; it’s not for beginners.
El Museo De La Isla De Cozumel: This is a great little museum located on the main road a bit north from the main plaza. There is a wealth of historical information about Cozumel and the Yucatan. You’ll also find some good exhibits on the reef systems and ecology that make up Cozumel. It costs about five pesos per person to get in. Some of the rooms are air conditioned!
Snorkeling and Beach Clubs (North to South):
Uvas- Okay snorkeling, but a bit touristy and the music was too loud in the shaded area. Inexpensive food and drink and the staff is friendly and helpful.
Money Bar at the Beachcomber (Dzul Ha reef)- This is a cute little place with a large shaded area where you can sit and eat and drink. If you prefer, the staff will bring your food/drink to you while you sit in the comfy beach chairs. There is not much shade in the beach area. The snorkeling at Dzul Ha is REALLY good and not that difficult. The food is good and the staff are very pleasant. The manager gently tried to get us to check out one of the condos for sale and we declined. He was very gracious and did not pressure us.
Chankanaab- Rather expensive to get in ($21USD/person) and very touristy. It tends to get packed with cruise ship folks. The place gets much quieter when all the cruise ship passengers leave. The little palapas and chairs on the beach are really nice. We found the snorkeling to be okay. This was our least favorite place in Cozumel and we likely won’t go back.
Corona Beach Club-This was our favorite beach club. Funky and laid back with plenty of shady spots. This spot is uncrowded and the staff are very attentive; good food and drink. The snorkeling is excellent although there can be currents later on in the day. There is also a shallow area where kids can play. NB: You can tell your taxi driver what time you’ll be leaving and they’ll come back to get you…or you can just flag down a taxi. This is one of the southernmost beach clubs so it is not as visited as others.
We also did a lot of walking around town which was a lot of fun. I speak pretty good Spanish and the locals appreciated this. We found it very helpful to have pesos instead of dollars; many local places don’t take large American bills. There are a lot of touristy stores along the beachfront road; walk on the other side of the road right at the water for a nicer, quieter walk.
The Cozumel airport is very nice although you will be hounded by people offering snorkeling tours, scooters, and rental cars once you leave customs. A polite but firm, “No,gracias” with a smile seemed to work well. There is a military presence in the airport and this may surprise some people. I’ve traveled a lot in Central and South America and this is typical. The shuttle ride from the airport cost us $15 dollars.
A note on rental snorkel gear: The quality of this gear ranged from poor to mediocre. If you are going to do a lot of snorkeling consider bringing your own gear.
Did we feel safe in Cozumel? YES! We felt safer than we do in many large metro areas in the United States. We never felt unsafe walking around after dark although one should excersise common sense when doing so. People were generally polite and friendly.
The bottom line: We WILL be back!
Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:30 PM
Posted 25 August 2011 - 06:54 AM
Posted 25 August 2011 - 11:55 AM
Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:12 PM
Posted 26 August 2011 - 07:49 AM
source document: US NEWS Travel (http://travel.usnews...o/Things_To_Do/)
I did not know that the Cozumel Museum used to be a luxury hotel! Who knew.
It also is ranked #2 on attractions, and things to do while in Cozumel!
The number one beach (as per the article) is Palancar Beach...
Check the article to see what they think are the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th...
The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!
Posted 27 August 2011 - 11:24 PM
I'm glad folks are finding this report helpful. Thanks for the coffee info, we'll use it on our next trip. We will also have to check out Palancar beach on our next trip, too.
Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:27 AM
Quick question about UVAS. You mentioned the food and beverages were inexpensive. Do they offer something other than a non all-inclusive package? I've heard it was an AI place so we have always skipped it.
Nah Ha 602
Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:12 PM
Regarding UVAS, we just showed up, paid for our snorkel rental and had a decent time. I had no idea that it might be an AI type place. It was a bit too touristy for us, but the staff and service were both great.
One thing I forgot to mention in my review was the Cozumel Airport. CZM is small but well kept and not overly crowded. Customs was quite efficient. Note that right outside the customs exit there will be people who will steer you towards a sales desk where you will be presented with bargain snorkel tours, rental cars, scooters, etc. We politely declined as we had already booked what we wanted ahead of time.
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