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1St Time To Cozumel

things to do Transpotation. snorkeling

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#1 ksand777

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 02:02 PM

We will be traveling to Cozumel for our first time in February.

We will be flying into Cozumel. Do you have any recommendations for transportation from the airport to our Hotel?

We will be staying at the Ventanas Al Mar. Do we need to rent a vehicle? We will be snorkeling, relaxing. Is there any recommendations

for things to see or do? Any restaurant recommendations. Are there areas that we should not travel to? Thank you for any recommendations.

 


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#2 El Graduado

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 07:52 PM

Ventanas al Mar is on the eastern side of Cozumel.  It is the only hotel on that side of the island.  It is great for getting away from it all, but it is "away from it all."  They have a kitchen and serve breakfast and dinner, but I don't think they serve lunch.  However, Coconuts bar and grill is located right next to it and they serve only lunch.  There are some other restaurants and bars on that side of the island, but none in walking distance (unless you REALLY like walking!). 

 

I would recommend renting a car.  The cost of the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel will be as much (or more) as a 24-hour car rental, as will the taxi ride BACK to the airport.  When you rent a car, be sure and pick up a free copy of the Yellow Map of Cozumel, which all the rental agencies give away for free. 

 

You will only be snorkeling on the east side of the island if there is a norte (cold front) during your stay and the seas calm down when the wind changes to blow in from the north.  Otherwise, the seas on the east side are too rough to snorkel as it is the windward side of the island.  Kite-surfing yes; snorkeling, not so much.  Snorkeling is on the leeward (western) side.

 

Cozumel has a zillion restaurants of all qualities, price ranges, and cuisine.  There are other threads on this board that recommend places to eat.  I would recommend reading them.

 

Cozumel is extremely safe.  You can travel anywhere on the island safely.  It has around 80,000 residents, and like any town that size, there is some crime, but the amount of crimes committed on the island are surely fewer than the amount committed in any other town that size in the US or Canada.  The most common crime committed against tourists on the island is the theft of items left in plain view in an unlocked car.  Violent crime against tourists is almost non-existent.

 

Enjoy your stay!

 

 


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#3 DJDiverDan

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 10:21 PM

While I love visiting the East side of the Island, I don't think that I'd ever choose to stay over there. It is very remote, and literally nothing to do at night, since there is no power over there, so all the other little bars and restaurants on the East side shut down at sunset. And all of the really good restaurants in San Miguel are a good 30 minute drive away. But I understand that Ventanas al Mar is very nice, so if the object is to really "get away from it all," maybe its a good option. But you really won't get a flavor of all that Cozumel has to offer unless you rent a car and get away from the hotel. Taxis back and forth from that location will start running into a lot of money fast.

You do NOT want to snorkel off the East side - there are some wicked currents there, that can and will pull you out to sea or under. Even strong swimmers have drowned over there. For snorkeling, you really need to come over to the leeward side, there are some good snorkel tours that can take you out on a boat to Columbia Shallows or Palancar Gardens for great snorkeling. Or try scuba diving, the real draw to Cozumel, and why so many of us keep coming back year after year.
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#4 DONO

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 08:49 AM

I've stayed at Vetanas recently. We really loved it. You will definitely need transportation of some sort or you will be really bored. Coconuts is right next door and served good food. They close at dusk so prepare. Cuco (owner) will sell you ice if the hotel is out. The hotel also has a cool kitchen that they let us use whenever we wanted. The water directly in front of the hotel is really rocky. Nice beach to the north and just south of Coconuts. You can walk (it's a ways) to Mezcallitos buts that's about it. There is a small store on the road from town about a mile away. There "was" bicycles at the hotel to use. You can usually find somewhere to swim but it could be one end or the other. Sometimes not at all. The hotel has a generator they ususlly run all night and battery back up. It goes off occasionally during the night but you have power most of the time. There are good remote a/c fans that do a good job of keeping you cool at night. Stock up on snacks and drinks etc, use Coconuts to your advantage (Cuco is great!) and you will have a great time. Bring a good book as there is nothing to do there (other than wishing for water pressure). Enjoy! Try to get upstairs so you can leave your doors open. Ask for a 2 story suite and they will probably let you have one.

 

Dono

 

ps...there is decent snorkeling at Chin Rio about a mile south but beware of the wait staff and watch your stuff.


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It's those changes in latitudes!

#5 El Graduado

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 01:52 PM

The cost of a shared van (the only kind available from the airport) to Ventanas al Mar for two people and luggage is 66.00USD


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#6 DJDiverDan

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 07:42 PM

You asked for restaurant recommendations, so here are mine. All of these places are in town, so that means a long drive in for you from Ventanas al Mar.

Dinner - My favorite higher end nice places are La Cocay, Kinta, and Kondesa. You can find websites for all these places that will give you an idea of the menus and ambiance. Favorite other places are Casa Mission (also has a website), which is a ways back in town, just off the Transversal Road, Guido's (right on Melgar, north of the Plaza), the New Especias (good Italian food), Prima (not certain of the new location), Del Sur Argentine Empanadas (a great place for a light dinner of salad and empanadas, savory and sweet; I hear it also has good Argentine beef, but I've never tried it, I just love the Empanadas), Rolandi's (another good Italian place, right on the waterfont toward the south end of Town) and Pancho's Backyard (enter through Los Cinco Soles, a big tourist store on Melgar north of the Plaza. Finally, a "Don't Miss" local place, El Moro - a huge menu of Yucatan food, all of it excellent, and the owner, Ray, is the friendliest guy you'll ever find - it's way back in town, and I have no idea how to get there, since I just take a cab. El Moro doesn't have a website, but it has a page on Facebook.

Lunches - if you do make it into town for lunches, try to make it to Pescaderia San Carlos, a little hole-in-the-wall seafood market and restaurant. I always try to make it on Saturday, when it has a Sopa Mariscos, a seafood soup that is excellent (hint: add about a half a teaspoon of that really hot hot sauce to the soup - don't go overboard, cause that stuff will bite back, but a little bit really brightens up the soup), and the Grouper in Garlic Sauce is really good, too. If you want to try Lionfish, make it to La Perlita, which has a 2-for-1 special on lionfish entrees on Thursdays, the coconut crusted lionfish is very tasty. There are also a number of "loncherias" in town, small, locally owned places, often in the owner's house, that serve a comida del dia, meal of the day, that includes chips and salsa, a soup, an entree with rice and beans, and agua fresca to drink, for a fixed price, usually 70-80 Pesos - a real bargain. If you make into town for lunch on Sunday, go to El Moro. Ray alternates Sundays between Cochinita Pibil, a traditional Yucatan dish that is pork marinated in sour orange juice, achiote paste, and lots of local spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and slow cooked until tender and delicios, and Lechon al horno negro, a pork dish slow cooked in a black achiote sauce, it makes a dark juice that is just amazing.

Check out the restaurant recommendations on this blog, and, if you are looking for more info, there are several restaurant threads on the Cozumel forum on Scuba Board. Have fun!
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