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Cozumel Trip Report - August 31 - September 14, 2011


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#1 Valli

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:38 PM

Cozumel Trip Report
August 31 - September 14, 2011


I normally post a trip report following each visit to Cozumel. This past year was an exception - I was on the island in February and April, but was using that time to reflect and rest after several horrific months and dealing with the loss of my parents within a few months of each other. As such, I will concentrate on my most recent visit.

As many of you are aware, I was the victim of a robbery while on my bicycle in the early morning hours of Monday, September 12th. I am still angry and frustrated over that incident, but I am trying to move forward and I will ensure I am less vulnerable in the future. It left a sour note to an otherwise excellent holiday - I am just glad it happened toward the end of the trip and that I was not physically injured. Again, I want to thank Carey for being there for me and providing invaluable assistance and advice.

There are various comments out there now on houses being marked, reports of home robberies, personal thefts, etc. I care about Cozumel and the people, let us hope we can all take steps to make it very difficult for these people to continue these acts that impact and violate us. Carey made some good suggestions about the warning stickers which could be very effective. If these actions continue, this may ensure less visitors to Cozumel or for those who do visit, they could be more inclined to stay at an AI resort and rarely venture off the resort (IMO). Some have made a few jokes about steps that could be taken to minimize these activities, and while at some level I can appreciate the humour and meaning; however, in the event you have been a victim, it just isn’t so funny.

So now that I have had my say, I will talk about my trip, and other than the foregoing, it was all good! Arrived into Cancun and had booked a flight with Maya Air to fly into Cozumel. It was as easy as can be, and much less tiring and stressful than the bus and ferry. I know there are those that still take the bus and ferry, but it isn’t worth it to me. The fare was 48 dollars each way, as there was a special promotion, so that was even better. However, even if the fare was at the regular rate, I would have still chosen Maya Air.

Weather during my entire stay was very hot and humid. Luckily, it only rained hard one night, may have rained some other nights a bit, and one afternoon. So it was mostly sunny, and a bit of cloud offered some relief.

I had been meaning to do this for years, but for the first time, I actually took a bus! I was staying close to Chedraui and Christine (poster on CMC) bussed it to my place and we walked to Chedraui to catch the bus which was going down 10th. Right after we boarded the bus, it started pouring, but we had umbrellas. We went and ate at La Choza - I find it to be consistent and fairly priced. Christine had fish fajitas and a lemonade, I had the cheese chili relano and a diet coke. Included with the meal are the chips and addictive dips, soup and tortillas. I think my total was about 80 pesos, Christines’ dish may have been about 120 pesos. Christine walked me to 15th and I took the bus back to Chedraui. Round trip was 14 pesos. If you can figure out the routes, I think it is a great (and less expensive) alternative to a taxi, and now that I have taken the plunge, I will do this more often. I would like to be able to figure out the routes, but eventually all busses will stop at Chedraui. It would be nice if more folks used the bus and give the taxis a little competition.

Up until the “incident” I went on the bike early every morning. Would often stop at Zermatt’s for a coffee and bun, it would come to about 12 pesos. The fresh buns are put out at around 8:00 a.m., so if I needed any for the day I would also pick them up. I also scored some flan at the San Martin bakery on 30th, and their flan is still the best. It is not put out until the early afternoon. I purchased 2 pieces, and if you wrap it and keep it in the fridge, it will store well.

Had ceviche for lunch twice. I think one time it was from Popeye’s, the other time from Conchita del Caribe on 65th. Both were fresh and good.

One afternoon my friend and I went to Chen Rio for lunch. It was very hot, and other than another couple we were the only ones there. We split a large shrimp cocktail and an order of grilled fish with garlic and a couple of cold beers. I am not a beer drinker, but I have to say it was really good and went down well. I think the shrimp cocktail was about 200 pesos, but it was more than enough for the 2 of us, and it was the best one I have had, and the fish was under 200 pesos, comes with rice and fries. Really good.

As many of you may know, Linda Staton had the dreaded dengue fever and was recovering as I arrived. She came over with a tray of her decadent brownies and also gave me a jar of her seafood bisque which contained lobster and crab. The consistency of the soup in my mouth was like velvet and it was truly 5 star in taste. I was able to put aside a few brownies for the trip home and they were sure enjoyed and appreciated.

One afternoon, Alicia, Linda and I went to Freedom in Paradise for a drive and lunch. It was so hot, but the ocean was absolutely beautiful. Linda and I each had the hamburger, and still the best deal going for $5.00. Alicia had the chicken quesadillas, and we each had a soft drink. It is a very reasonable place to have lunch and you can’t beat the scenery.

Also ate at El Morro THREE times - it is a place my friend and I always go every trip and they do treat us well. Had shrimp on a wire twice, and the grilled shrimp another time. Shrimp was amazing all three visits and the cost is about 180 pesos. Also had a very good Sangria there for 50 pesos, which is in a large round glass and is a decent price for the size.

Went to Perlita another night. I had the fish Vera Cruz and my friend had the shrimp shish kebob. My fish was excellent, but my friend said the shrimp at El Morro was better. I had some wine at Perlita but it was just barely drinkable. I can’t recall the price, but I would say both dishes were in the range of 160 - 180 pesos.

We also went to a place I had never been - the lobster place across from Playa Azul, I can’t recall the name - maybe the Lobster House. It was unbelievable. We chose a lobster tail that was big enough for the two of us, and it comes with rice that is tasty and not greasy, vegetables that are beautifully prepared - chayote and carrots. Also butter for dipping and nice crusty french bread. The owner was a classy gentleman, and the service was excellent. He also gave us a nice discount, and we liked it so much we went back there a second time - it was just as good, if not better. The setting and ambiance is lovely. I have passed that place several times over the years, but just never thought of trying it out. I checked the price for lobster at Perlita and El Moro, both were about 450 pesos a person, so in the end, this restaurant was not priced out of line at all.

Another night, we barbequed t-bone steaks from Mega. I picked them up the day before and marinated them overnight in some wine, lime juice, garlic and soya sauce. They were excellent, and the two steaks came to about 90 pesos. Also did baked potatoes in foil on the grill, and whipped up a concoction of garlic butter for garlic bread. It was so hot, and again, I enjoyed the cold beer as an accompaniment as well.

On another night, just didn’t feel like going out and I picked up a rotisserie chicken from Chedruai - it was 49 pesos, and we were surprised at how good it was - very moist and tasty, and it was cooked well. I normally don’t care for the sides they give you with the chickens available at the places on 30th, so this was a great alternative. I had some chicken left, so gave it to Linda so she could work her culinary magic.

Only had one substandard meal, and it was really disappointing. I was meeting a friend downtown on my first Sunday night, and I had a 20% coupon for Plaza Leeza on the square. It is not great dining, but normally it is sufficient. I have eaten there many times over the years, and it was terrible this time around. I had the chicken fajitas - there was plenty of onion and not much chicken, and they were out of the guacamole that comes with it, and brought over a mound of unappetizing rice on a small plate. Not sure what they expected me to do with that. I told the waiter it was not very good, but he just shrugged his shoulders. My friend had the chile rellano, and said it was just “ok.” It isn’t expensive, but that wasn’t the issue. I only went to the square a couple of times, but I guess if I am ever planning to eat at the square in the future, I will have to try somewhere different.

On the day before I left, Carey, Paula and I went to Buccano’s for breakfast. We told the fellow at the gate we were going for breakfast and he waved us in, so no entrance charge. It is a lovely setting with a covered dining area, outdoor tables and chairs, a pool and beach. There were a couple of cruiser groups, but they didn’t bother us. The breakfast is about $9.60 US and includes fresh juice and a nice fruit plate (apple slices, mango, papaya, and pineapple) drizzled with honey. The omelettes come with toast. I had the coconut french toast that comes with rum bananas and it was excellent. We used the plan locale, so the discount was applied and I would definitely return.

I have never had luck with buying ice cream at Mega or Chedraui, (usually has thawed and refrozen) so I went to deLindo’s (next to the Barracuda) and brought some gelati - part chocolate and part dulce de leche. It was about 70 or 80 pesos for the container, but it was very good, and I was able to make it last for my entire stay. Was also pleased that I could find diet Mountain Dew and diet Squirt and diet Orange Crush.

One thing I did notice - the restaurants we visited were virtually empty. Often we were the only customers or on a couple of occasions there was another couple and that was it. So I guess everyone is hurting. The owner at Zermatt’s told me business is very bad and they are raising his rent, so he looking to possibly relocate to 30th.

I know it sounds as though I “ate my way” through Cozumel, but it really was a good and restful holiday. I didn’t even read as many books as normal, but I left a few behind for my next visit.

There were a few places I didn’t get to (Kinta and Danube), but will hopefully make it there for my next visit.

Thank you to all my dear island friends for their support and friendship over these past couple of very difficult years. You truly make it a pleasure for me to return to the island.

Peace to all, and stay safe.
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Valli

#2 Kandy

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 05:28 PM

Valli:

Who among us has NOT eaten our way through Cozumel. Lord, I do and I live here - quite a problem at times I must say! Overall, it sounds like you had a pleasant trip and are looking forward to coming back. I hope next time we're able to connect. In the meantime, be well!

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#3 Valli

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:12 PM

Kandy - the saving grace is I didn't really "pig out" or eat too much junk. And the fresh fruit was soooo good. Linda had given me a bag of seedless grapes to munch on at the airport and they were almost like eating sweets. And even the cheese I brought to have with sandwiches tastes so much better there. I will be seeing you sooner than you think, and thank you for your supportive messages, they were a big help.
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Valli

#4 dawnb

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:24 PM

Valli, what a lovely detailed trip through paradise! Sure wish we could have been there to enjoy it with you!
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#5 Valli

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:05 PM

Allow me to clarify something. In terms of my comment about people making jokes, it was not with the intention to single out any person in particular. I don't normally like to post personal issues, nor am I intending to have a pity party. I totally understand that in regard to the theft, I was not hurt and the items are replaceable. This incident hit me very hard as it was my father who first encouraged me to visit Cozumel back in 1991, and without his urging, I likely would have never vacationed in Cozumel. He and my mother went every winter for about 13 years. Before my father died, it was his intention to come with me to Cozumel in February, as he loved that island so and had so many remarkable memories, and it had a significant impact on the vibrancy of the art he created. Fate stepped in and my father unfortunately passed away in February and did not make the trip. Shortly before that, he had given me some money to hold and use for our trip. I hadn't spent it, and that was the money that was in my purse that was taken from me a couple of weeks ago. While I have my irreplaceable memories of my father, the theft really left me with a bad taste. Those that know me well, know I love to laugh and I normally have a pretty wicked sense of humour. Hopefully, that clears this up, and I apologize if anyone thought I was being too uptight or bitter.
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#6 cvchief

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:42 PM

Valli,

Seriously if I contributed, I was apologzing (with an explanation!) I did and do not think badly of you in anyway. I do try to sprinkle a smile or two. My grandfather always said better a smart$#% than a dumb#$%. Looking back I not sure now that he was encouraging me to actually be a smart#$%..... Hmm..... He. while not an artist per se, was really good with his hands. (Yet another trait that skipped over me....)

I guess I am saying Coz is wonderful, but there are and always have been some sucky people everywhere. (Think it started with that Cain guy....)
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#7 taw

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:16 AM

Valli;

Excellent trip report. Where did you find Mt. Dew?

Thank you
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#8 Valli

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:32 PM

Two weeks ago,Chedraui had loads of cans of diet mountain dew in the soft drinks/water section, plus a huge display nearby. Of course, that may have changed since. Can't remember if Mega had Mountain Dew, but pretty certain Soriana on 30th also had some.
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#9 taw

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:19 PM

Thank you

:rolleyes:
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