Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:32 AM
Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:47 AM
Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:01 AM
First of all, welcome to the forums, Bryan. We're here to help you plan your first trip. And I warn you that you are likely to get hooked!
I agree with Dan. Cozumel is very safe and very friendly. San Miguel is a bustling and crowded little city, however, so the small criminal elements do seep in. Moped snatching purses and cameras from people's arms is a relatively new occurrence and happens more way back in the neighborhoods than in the downtown tourist areas. But it's something to just be aware of.
Ditto on leaving your valuable stuff out and exposed. Not a good idea anywhere.
But as to your physical safety, you will be just fine. You will notice the vibe as soon as you arrive. 99.9% of the people here are honest, kind and helpful -- and glad to see you come and spend your money. But there are bad apples in every barrel so to say the place is Totally Safe is not true. Only place safer might be a quiet tree lined street in suburban Sunnyvale, CA where I just visited my daughter recently (bay area). Safe but boring. Pardon me. Ahem.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:53 AM
Bryan, just to let you know who I am - I am NOT a resident of Cozumel. But I've been coming to Cozumel regularly - usually twice a year, sometimes three times a year, since 1990, when I got certified to dive. I fell in love with the Reefs, and with the people and atmosphere. Since it's so easy (and used to be cheap) to get to Cozumel from Dallas, I just kept coming back as often as I could make it. As to safety on Cozumel, the one and only time I was injured on Cozumel (aside from the occasional mask squeezes when I was a new diver) was when I did something incredibly stupid - I rented a Moped. I don't know the statistics, but I'm willing to bet a substantial sum that many, many more tourists are injured and killed (yes, killed) doing "tourist" activities than by any criminal conduct. San Miguel, the main city on Cozumel, is an incredibly safe place to walk, but if you decide to see other parts of the Island, the wild East Side with its blow-holes, isolated beaches, quaint little bars and beach clubs, or Chankanaab Park, Punta Sur Park, the Beach Clubs farther south, DO NOT get sucked into thinking that Mopeds are the way to go. Rent a jeep, a car, anything with four wheels, or hire a taxi. And if you plan to make it a drinking tour, sampling the Cervesa and Tequila as you go, stick to the taxis. Just do NOT rent a moped.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:46 AM
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:14 PM
It depends on what you want to get out of your vacation. If you want to just veg on the beach, then a resort might be the ticket for you. If you want to really experience Cozumel and Yucatecan culture, you should stay closer to town if not IN town.
There are tons of restaurants and lots of people watching and colorful neighborhoods in town and then take a taxi or rent a car to cruise around to a different beach club every day and check out the wild east side of the island (No good beaches downtown the only downside of this plan.)
See if El Cantil has any one bedroom rentals. That is a great location where you can walk to everything in the town and it has a little snorkeling beach, too. Almost across the street from the two big grocery stores so you can buy beer and breakfast items if you ever get tired of eating out.
Some of the hotels and resorts to the north of town are worth a look, too as its a pretty quick drive in if you like action at night, for example.
Iberastar is a nice resort but it is waaaaaaaay down the island isolated from pretty much anything. If you are the restless type you are likely to find yourself renting a car and careening all over the place. You won't be taking taxis because it will cost you at least $60 US RT to go into town would be my guess.
I am not familiar with Sunscape. That is a new name for an old place. Allegro is pretty far from town too if that's Sunscape.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:20 PM
Bryan, you'll hear a lot of differing opinions regarding Resorts, so let me give you mine. I think Cozumel is not the kind of place where you want to go All-Inclusive OR go to the Resorts that are way south of town and generally isolated from local culture. There are simply too many outstanding restaurants in Cozumel, from the higher-end Gourmet type places, like Kinte, Kondessa, or La Cocay, to the more mid-priced Mexican places like La Mission (there are 3 different Mission retaurants - my personal favorite is Casa Mission, back at 65th Ave., a Mexican mansion-type place with beautiful gardens that you can wander after your dinner), Pancho's Back Yard (a LITTLE pricier than mid-priced, but worth it), long-time Cozumel favorites like Guido's and Rolandi's, newer places like Del Sur (OUTSTANDING Empanadas!), little hole-in-the wall places like El Moro (excellent Mole) that you'll need a cabdriver to find for you, and locally owned Loncherias, where you can get a full thre course lunch with drink for about 70 or 80 Pesos (see the recent thread in Food & Drink Forum). There are good reasons to prefer All-Inclusive. If you have small kids & you don't want to worry about them eating, or planning for dinners that they'll eat, you might prefer AI. If you are a die-hard diver that wants 4 or 5 dives a day, the far South All Inclusive Resorts make sense as you are closer to the Reefs and you don't have to worry about finding a place for lunch between dives. If you are a hard core drinker, the AI's might well save you money on alchohol. I don't fit into any of those categories, and I'm a foodie - I REALLY enjoy my meals, so I don't want to park at a place where I'm going to have the same choices every day, and, frankly, the quality of the food is really hit or miss. I understand that the food at Cozumel Palace is really good, but Cozumel Palace is one of the more expensive choices you'll find. Last July, I stayed at Hotel Cozumel, which is All-Inclusive, as part of the ScubaBoard Cozumel Invasion, and, while many people said the food was "just fine", I found it nearly inedible - it wasn't that it tasted BAD, it just didn't have any flavor at all. I ate out 6 nights out of 7 I was there.
So, before deciding that you must have a resort, think about the alternatives - a nice Hotel in town, like Casa Mexicana (it has very nice rooms, though a very small pool, and a Breakfast Buffet), and be ready to walk to different restaurants for lunches and dinners. Or, stay at a non-AI place, like Casa Del Mar, down near the Cruise Ship Pier, where you'll have more choices for Dive Ops, but you'll take taxis into town for meals, or at least dinners; you can walk right across the street to Ernesto's for some great Fajitas and a few beers for lunch, and there are other restaurants in walking distance. There are LOTS of choices available, from very cheap hotels in the downtown area - they won't be fancy, but if all you are going to do is sleep there, so what? - to Dedicated Dive hotels, like Blue Angel or Scuba Club Cozumel, to nicer non-AI Hotels, both in town, in the North Hotel Zone, or south of town. If you have a family or a group, consider renting a house or condo - if you look, you'll see lots available.
Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:57 PM
Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:04 PM
Yah, that's what I figured. Used to be the Allegro before it was the Sabor. There were some food scandals when it was the Allegro as in lots of people getting ill from the buffets.. Sabor got bad press because they treated the adults only area guests better or something and maybe it wasn't as
'sexy' as sabors are supposed to be?? Who knows. But, yes, it's at least a $25 US cab ride to and from town from there. Long drive into town and dark as pitch going back late at night..
Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:41 PM
Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:57 AM
I was looking at a lot of posts and people are saying bring water shoes... Is the beach Rocky?
In a word, YES. There are several natural sand beaches on Cozumel, most at the southern Beach Clubs or Resorts, some on the East side of the island, but most of the Island has hard ironstone shore. Even places with beach areas, like Chankanaab Park and many waterfront hotels, do not have sand running all the way to the water - you'll need to navigate the ironstone to get into the water, and doing that in bare feet will hurt. Beaches are not the primary draw of Cozumel. If you are the type looking primarily for pristine soft sand beaches to lay out on most of the day, then Cancun or Playa Del Carmen are better destinations. The big draw for most to Cozumel are the reefs - great diving and snorkeling. And to get into the water for the good snorkeling in most places, you will want protection for your feet. I usually just use my dive booties, but anything which has a rubber sole with padding and can survive saltwater will work.
Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:59 AM
It would be a good idea to bring water shoes as the areas of "iron shore" where the snorkeling is good are not sandy beaches. I always stay in the south and rent a car. We end up driving into town most nights for dinner but it is only about a 15-minute drive home and the main highway is an easy drive. The south/southwest is where most of the diving and snorkeling reefs are located so it is more convenient for daytime activities and also for traveling to the eastside. The area where Sabor is located is adjacent to the "old beach road" which is a great road for biking and they do rent bikes there. There is great snorkeling a very short distance away at the Money Bar and also Corona Beach Club. I certainly agree with the recommendation not to do an AI as there are so many good and affordable restaurants available on Cozumel.
Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:02 AM
Hey everyone I am planning on booking a trip for my wife and I in early spring. The island looks beautiful I can't wait to get there! Is the island pretty safe? Will we be able to walk around and not have to worry? Just want some opinions and feedback. Thank you!
Our favorite place to stay is Playa Azul www.playa-azul.com. I like this place because it is small (50 rooms) and family owned. My kids are grown and gone; I am a teacher, so I want to get away from kids and this place meets our needs; small and very few kids. You can choose the AI or breakfast only plan; plus your stay with either choice includes green fees at the CCC. We choose the breakfast only as we like to eat at different places on the island. We rent a jeep from Less Pay (just a raggedy ole jeep that is dependable and cheap).
Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:04 AM
Something to think about..:
Carnaval Cozumel 2014. The offical dates have not been announced, but if it goes according to past schedules, since Easter is April 20, the main week of Cozumel Carnaval should be from Wednesday, February 26 to Wednesday, March 5, 2014 with parades on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, and the final parade Tuesday, March 4. Me this will be my 26th consecitive Carnaval, I would get a place in or near town, Playa Azul, Coral Princes, Cozumel Resort or any of the others......, maybe breakfast at hotel or find one of the better "local places", do the beach thing and site see during the day and party in town at night, and again try the local places to eat or try the "street food" or food on the plaza or at the Palacio. Some people have a problem trying "street food" , but my well traveled friends have no problems.....!
Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:45 PM
I love the south end of the island. Deeper water, just jump in. Great snorkeling,too.
Easy walk/bike/taxi to town (about 1.5 miles) and the hotels are very nice, and smaller then the AI's to the south.
Check out the following two places that I like
Coral Princess Hotel (I always stayed there, and that is were we put our family up when they visit)
The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!
Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:00 PM
I will say this... You really need to be careful on the island of the margaritas at coconuts and at mezcalitos - they seem to attack violently, unprovoked, and little forewarning,
Just ask Paula
Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:48 PM
Funny lady Coz2Wonder means the "other south end of the island": Both hotels mentioned are north end!
Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:53 PM
Thanks Deb, yes I mean the NORTH END.
Thank goodness it's and island, and you can only go in a circle!
The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!
Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:25 AM
Bryan, my wife and I just returned from 2 weeks. We stayed in town at the Bahia Suites. Its clean and on the front street. Near all the shops and restaurants. Has a refrigerator, microwave, and sink in room. You are about 5 blocks from Mega Mart in case you want beer, snacks, etc in the room. Very inexpensive. We had an ocean front private balconey for about $75/night.
We would definitely stay there again other than the fact that took a long term lease on a house this trip and will be staying there from now on. This was our 3rd trip this year and we will probably make at least 2 more. I am a rabid Texas Aggie and make all the games both home and away so that will put a dent in available time to go. We are planning to spend Christmas there.
A word of warning. You will get hooked. Terri and I have been travelling to Cozumel since the late 80's and we never get tired of it. If you don't dive, get certified before you go. The diving is the best anywhere, and we've been a lot of places all over the world.
Consider yourself warned.
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