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#1 bryan

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:33 PM

The wife and I are looking for a vacation and we are thinking about Cozumel. We are on a budget and would like an all inclusive resort close enough we can go into town for shopping and maybe dinner one day. I don't want to brake the bank.. With that said can anyone recommend and resorts?
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#2 Charles

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:00 PM

Sorry Bryan, for the most part, people here are opposed to the nature of all inclusive resorts. I do understand that many can book air-hotel packages that might be below costs. Oh the joy of doing business in Mexico and keeping the majority of money outside the country. They do so little for the local economy, the ride from the airport and jobs for a few maids and gardeners might be the prime contribution to the island.

 

The Palace is close to downtown, regarded as the best and most pricy, depending on your bank, it might break some people's

 

Hotel Cozumel, not too distant from town, walking distance for many.

 

And then there are the distant hotels and then the real distant hotels with most being foreign owned (European many) and don't do a damn thing for Cozumel except flaunt their existence and disrespect for all things Mexican and especially Cozumel.

 

Perhaps someone might make suggestions, the primary original intent of this website was to get people out of AI and enjoy what the island has to offer.


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#3 luvfish

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:13 PM

Bryan---why dont you stay at a small local hotel in town. "Hotel Pepita" is a small clean hotel and 2 blocks to the square.
The cost is just under $45.00 a night. I have friends who have been coming to Cozumel for more than 10 years and they always stay there. Freddy who works at the front desk speaks English. That way you could walk to lots of local resturantsand enjoy the local food.
Just an idea ...... here is the phone number.from the states 01152-987-872-0098
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#4 Coz2wonder

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:02 PM

When were you planning on coming down?  The prices will vary depending on what time of the year, and what your departure city is.

 

I am certainly not opposed to AI's...however, the food on the island is wonderful and you would be missing out on some delicious treats.

 

Do you want in town, or north of town, What I suggest is that you search on some of the hotels that have been recommended even if they are not AI (a couple are).  Perhaps the package would good enough that your budget won't suffer.

 

South of town which has AI resorts will cost you about $18.00usd each way for taxi's...but, the hotels are really nice.

 

I would check what the packages deals would be on some of these budget friendly places, as well as what else has been recommended.   Melia, Playa Azul, Flamingo,   Blue Angel, Scuba Club, Suites Bahia.  Hacienda San Miguel is right in town, and has efficiency kitchens, if you really want to save money.

 

I use Cheap Tickets to look up prices on package deals.


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#5 bryan

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:16 PM

Sorry Bryan, for the most part, people here are opposed to the nature of all inclusive resorts. I do understand that many can book air-hotel packages that might be below costs. Oh the joy of doing business in Mexico and keeping the majority of money outside the country. They do so little for the local economy, the ride from the airport and jobs for a few maids and gardeners might be the prime contribution to the island.
 
The Palace is close to downtown, regarded as the best and most pricy, depending on your bank, it might break some people's
 
Hotel Cozumel, not too distant from town, walking distance for many.
 
And then there are the distant hotels and then the real distant hotels with most being foreign owned (European many) and don't do a damn thing for Cozumel except flaunt their existence and disrespect for all things Mexican and especially Cozumel.
 
Perhaps someone might make suggestions, the primary original intent of this website was to get people out of AI and enjoy what the island has to offer.


Just because it's a chain AI resort does not mean it doesn't help the island. I am sure local people are employees at those resorts.. Keep that in mind when you are bashing them. Local people are making a living because of these places. I have visited country's where AI resorts have helped turn country's around (DR). Just because I would be staying at an AI does not mean I wouldn't journey into town for some meals and shopping.. I would still be giving the island my hard earned money.
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#6 dawnb

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 05:14 PM

With all the excellent restaurants in and around downtown, along with great shopping and entertainment, we would never stay at an all-inclusive in Cozumel. In the Dominican Republic, yes, definitely AI.

Casa Mexicana and its sisters, Colonial Suites and Suites Bahia, provide a fantastic breakfast buffet that's included in the price. Casa Mexicana is the newest one of the group.

Coz2wonder has some good recs.
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#7 marlinfishing

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 05:25 PM

Sorry Bryan, for the most part, people here are opposed to the nature of all inclusive resorts. I do understand that many can book air-hotel packages that might be below costs. Oh the joy of doing business in Mexico and keeping the majority of money outside the country. They do so little for the local economy, the ride from the airport and jobs for a few maids and gardeners might be the prime contribution to the island.

 

The Palace is close to downtown, regarded as the best and most pricy, depending on your bank, it might break some people's

 

Hotel Cozumel, not too distant from town, walking distance for many.

 

And then there are the distant hotels and then the real distant hotels with most being foreign owned (European many) and don't do a damn thing for Cozumel except flaunt their existence and disrespect for all things Mexican and especially Cozumel.

 

Perhaps someone might make suggestions, the primary original intent of this website was to get people out of AI and enjoy what the island has to offer.

 

I've always stayed at AI's & I'm not on a tight budget.  The cost for (10-12 from DFW days) is approx. $2500USD.  Between eating out, cabs, car rental(1 day to trip the island), tipping the hotel employees, deep sea fishing, etc., I usually budget $3000USD for those activities while I'm in Coz.  How much of that $5500USD do you know leaves Mexico?  I think we leave a lot our money there.  But, I could be wrong.  I certainly feel like I leave quite of bit in the people's hands.  Literally.  I'm not a cruiser.

 

Charles, I'm not trying to dispute your statements.  AI's work for us.  We could be totally wrong.


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#8 bryan

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Marlinfishing, glad to know some people in here are here to help!
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#9 Coz2wonder

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:35 PM

I think your getting some helpful information from those who visit, and those of us who live here.  Just hit the ignore button if you feel the information is not useful...I do!

 

The hotel(s) Dawn B mention are good choices.  Suites Bahia might be a really good option.  It does have suites with kitchens.  It's right in town and you can walk everywhere.

 

I think what every ANYBODY decides is their choice, and they are choosing those locations to fit their needs.  

 

When friends and family visit, I put them up at the Coral Princess, which is north of town.  Love the place.


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#10 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:56 PM

Cozumel is a wonderful place to vacation...climate, people, attractions, etc. My wife and I came here for many years and went the A-I  route which suited a short stay, free of domestic labour  (cooking, cleaning, and not worrying about menu planning, etc.), but missed out on what Cozumel really had to offer. Even today, you can find many reasonably-priced AI and airline packages because the economy is hurting especially after 2007-08 (running the gauntlet to try and sell time shares is still a favourite sport). Talking to the servers and cleaning staff at the All Inclusives, I also came to the conclusion those folks didn't all share in the bounty so gratuitously dropped by tourists that went instead mostly to absentee owners (staff generally have pretty pathetic wages and hours of work). Also stayed in a number of downtown hotels and found most of them were excellent and reasonably priced (especially if you practice that other local sport...negotiating). My wife and I came to the conclusion we wanted to live right in the heart of the city and after years of looking around finally found just the spot; and now are in a permanent vacation mode here and doing our share to redirect whatever limited tourist dollars we have directly to the hard working and struggling local folks. My conscience tells me that holidays are just a little sweeter that way. So flip a coin my friend. I know whichever way it turns up, you'll have a great Cozumel holiday.


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#11 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 10:04 PM

Forgot to second Dawn B's suggestions. Have stayed in 2 of the three and they are excellent.


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#12 Charles

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 11:30 PM

Thanks Marlinfishing, glad to know some people in here are here to help!

 

Your welcome Bryan, we're here to help. Sorry I was the only one to make a recommendation that would seemingly fit your intent. The Hotel Cozumel is the far more economical AI close enough to town to enjoy downtown without $10-$25 dollar cab fares, each way. Many consider the AI package prices to be economical enough, people feel free to enjoy meals at many of the fine restaurants that many would consider walking distance. Their beach is across the highway from the hotel. They do boast a large pool. They are 1.7 kilometers from downtown, but close to Chedraui grocery store and assorted recommendable restaurants. 

 

Melia, the most distant to the north, long time more locally oriented AI hotel, 5.8 kilometers from downtown

 

El Cozumeleño next door has their repeat fans and then those that say, never again, 4.5 kilometers.

 

Playa Azul, a smaller boutique hotel of 50 rooms that is very much a long time part of Cozumel. Only recently have they added an AI option. More pricy, but it has its strong merits. Problem with some of the northern hotels regarding prices, they may include golf packages at the country club you may not want.

 

 

Just because it's a chain AI resort does not mean it doesn't help the island. I am sure local people are employees at those resorts.. Keep that in mind when you are bashing them. Local people are making a living because of these places. I have visited country's where AI resorts have helped turn country's around (DR). Just because I would be staying at an AI does not mean I wouldn't journey into town for some meals and shopping.. I would still be giving the island my hard earned money.

Yes they do provide jobs to locals, I mentioned the maids and gardeners they hire. Of course all their employees live in Cozumel now. This applies especially to the assorted all inclusives to the south. Northern hotels have been here. Those more recent resorts were built with imported labourers, using outside contractors and architects (or course) and even bringing in their own construction materials, not utilizing the available Cozumel support. Some of the constructions (many) butchered environmental laws, illegally wiped out whole sections of mangroves.The Iberostar probably has the worst history, at their start, they thumbed their noses at Mexican Immigration law, brought in most of their staff from Europe, many from Spain. It was quite a scene when they were raided, illegal employees taken straight to the airport for deportation. They did not pass go, did not collect $200 dollars, could not receive their wages owed, could not pick up any of their personal possessions or deal with pets, deported with the clothes on their backs. They were told that since they lived on the island, undoubted they could have friends ship their possession to them. 

 

These large, multi-national owned hotels (part Mexican is not common) depend on filling their rooms from selling huge blocks of rooms to wholesalers. Many of their guests might be on charter aircraft. They can provide almost too good to believe package prices. Problems occur when travel agencies choose to divert traffic to other locations that offer higher profits all the while bashing conditions in Cozumel. I remember the startled travel agent who asked me how all of this was rebuilt so quickly after hurricane Roxanne (1995?). The group of agencies had been told that the island was all but totally destroyed and to not send guest for six months, but they had good, profitable options elsewhere, like the Dominican Republic. The agent was a bit disgusted to learn that the island was largely recovered after three days and indeed, had hosted two cruise ships 48 hours after the store passed.

 

My first trip to the region starting in Cancun, I flew Mexicana and buying a package from the airline, they offered three nights in the Holiday Inn for $18 dollars more than airfare alone. I figured that at $6 a night, meals extra, I couldn't go wrong. A deal like that can't be turned down. Cancun had to reinvent itself, sadly as a Spring Break destination only a few years later. The giant wholesalers, people that buy room nights in blocks of 10,000, at the annual convention of travel agencies, Cancun hotels were basically offered their cost for the four months of high season. It was demanded that the other eight months of the year, prices must be discounted 25-35% below cost. The threat was to lose money with a full hotel or sit empty and lose money too.This is what played a major role in tipping the economy of Cancun. This was not totally all inclusive resorts, but most were AI.

 

All inclusive resorts might make some sense in some destinations like the DR. When the perceived reality of guests, rightly or wrongly believe that right outside the compound fences are roving bands of heavily armed Negro terrorists. Guests find comfort in those eight foot high fences and the armed guards on horseback patrolling. But don't try to exploit that scenario with the situation in Cozumel which has long been the case. I often wondered why these AI would discourage guests from leaving and taking options to drink or dine off the resort premises. If guests had paid me to feed them, I'd sure be quick to offer menus and suggest good eating establishments, but then guests might be dissatisfied with warmed over buffet food whose leftovers get masked as something else later.

 

Many people do have cast iron stomachs and rarely get ill when those around them are dropping like flies. All inclusive resorts are prone to problems with keeping food at required temperatures and some, like the El Cozumeleño have done their best to keep away the pesky birds that swoop down and hit the buffets or even guest's plates. Some can ignore the little droppings the birds leave behind, stir the food first to cover any of the bird "messages". Now there are occasions of major outbreaks of Norwalk related viruses. They could happen anywhere, but only at buffet lines are people sharing utensils and it requires great efforts to cleanse the resort of Norovirus once it has taken hold. Do tip well although many claim falsely that tips are included and employees receive good earnings, right. Tipping bartenders will even get you name brand liquors and not out of the bottles they refill with assort rot gut liquor. People might be horrified about employee conditions, what they are put through and their wages. Speak with Spanish speaking only "peon" workers, the maids, gardeners, bottom of the rung labourers, but talk with them off the resort grounds. I know this won't happen, but I have talked to many over the years. They will present a different face to the smiling, pretend you're happy, pretend you're thrilled to be working at the resort required.

 

Many offer time share sales, such a deal! I mention time share as many guests resent the fact that they have to deal with people that work on commission sales only. Some only have a gauntlet to run when entering or leaving. Some sales people will take a strong NO as an answer or after the third or tenth time.

 

Bryan, do what seems to suit your needs. My answers are more directed at the nature of the beast for future readers, not directly in answer to you or your posting. People do need to be reminded of the whole business model and some of the darker sides of AI promotion. The bulk of guests will pay their money north of the border. That money may take a zig zag route across continents before landing where the actual owners wish. Most if not all of those funds would never touch Mexico. The actual day to day operations need to be paid with revenues generated onsite. The resorts aren't demon infested, the employees certainly aren't evil, but the downsides to AI are numerous. The subtle if not major bashing of Cozumel, warnings about best not to leave the resort for safety, they are a sin. I was familiar with assorted D.R. and Jamaican resorts, their dug in, armed camp mentality designed to calm real or imagine fears. When that same message, all the assorted operations models were brought to Cozumel, that marked the decline in the economy of the island. Many hotels will have outside vendors and shops (dive shops one example) that are local, others have equally foreign owned and permitted foreign employees which don't do a damn for the island. What I find personally distasteful is they market an English only. Mexican free experience. It reminds me of the per-civil rights era in the States.

 

Good luck, again I'd suggest looking at the Hotel Cozumel and you could check Playa Azul which if not beyond your budget, would offer a quality, high value vacation experience. You can stay at some of the suggested places downtown, eat real food and quality restaurants of all price ranges and gain a far greater experience with competing low prices. It is the simple Cozumel itself, the people, the places that bring all the dedicated returning visitors again and again. 


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#13 Coz2wonder

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 09:59 AM

All suggestions were recognized in other posts.  

 

Not knowing your budget, time of year, prefered location for your vacation, the best thing was to provide you with  lots of options of places to research.

 

Enjoy your FIRST visit to Cozumel!


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#14 crunch

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:57 AM

I saw a whole lot of helpful suggestions.  Seems a lot more thank you's might be appropriate.  

 

No offense, just saying.


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#15 bryan

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 01:04 PM

I personally thanked everyone who offer suggestions. There are some really good people on this board.


I saw a whole lot of helpful suggestions.  Seems a lot more thank you's might be appropriate.  
 
No offense, just saying.


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#16 scubawoman

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:07 AM

Charle's last post was spot-on!  And as far as economy goes, could you feed and house your family on $8.00 - 10.00 US a day?  Guess where this is happening as we speak? 


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#17 DONO

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:47 AM

We've stayed at Hotel Cozumel & Resort. It's not that glamarous but it's nice. Breakfast and lunch were good. Never ate dinner there. It's close enough to walk into town or the grocery store. Nice pool. Great staff. I priced El Coz a few weeks ago and it was cheaper than it's been in the past. We only stayed AI once and that was because of a mistake Expedia made and we got the AI portion for free. Like others said...staying in an AI you'll be missing out on one of Cozumel's best products.....food!

 

Dono


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#18 crunch

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:12 PM

El Coz AI is cheap Brian.  It is about 1.5 mile walk to town.  They have nice snorkeling.  Beach drink service.  They are right on the beach not back in the jungle.  Food is average Ai, but the nice thing is you can order off the menu instead of buffet if you prefer.  I am a condo gal, but this is based on doing a day pass there a couple years ago.

 

Then there is the one downtown with the tunnel to the water.  ? hotel Cozumel?  Looked pretty decent and right in town.  Pretty cheap too.


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#19 Coz2wonder

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:56 PM

seems to me a lot of assumptions have been made.  First, just because somebody wants to stay in a budget, doesn't mean he wants skid row.  Before anybody gets twisted over that comment, the hotels that have been suggested are not skid row, but they are low budget.

 

The fact is, WE do not know what his budget is.

 

Another fact is, this is the FIRST time that Bryan has been to the island, and do you really think a great introduction is to discuss politics, or the low wages of the locals that live here, or visiting?

 

Helpful suggestions are appreciated, I am sure.

 

Not everybody is interested in the laundry list of flaws about LIVING here, at least a first time visitor should not be assaulted with information that is not relevant to THIS request for information.

 

I just don't understand some folks who take every opportunity to degrade, find fault, air the dirty laundry, bloviate at nosiem about old news.   One more thing,  I sure as hell don't appreciate it from folks who have no vested interest in Cozumel, and don't  live here.


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#20 Coz2wonder

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:24 PM

Here are some helpful hints that perhaps is not common NOB (north of the boarder).

 

1. In a grocery store, the bagger only works for tips. I tip 5p's to the bagger.

2. The gentleman who will put your grocery into your car, I tip 10p's if I have about 5 or 6 bags

3. The gentleman who waves his hankey to help you back out of your spot, I tip about 2-5 p's

4.  For good service in restaurants and bars, 15%-20% 

5.  Maid service-50p's a day

6.  Bell hop when you arrive-100p's or more.

7. Taxi drivers-that is debatable.

8. Gas station attendant, nothing unless he adds air to my tires (you do NOT pump your own gas).

 

Bring some, new bills here.  $1, 5, 10's and nothing higher then a $20.  Bring a lot more smaller demonication then higher.

 

Alert your bank and credit card companies that you are traveling.

 

Only use bank ATM's

 

I sure hope others will provide some helpful information to our island visitors.


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