Cozumel's resorts versus "the other side"

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Jun 5th, 2003, 07:47 PM
  #1
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Cozumel's resorts versus "the other side"

Please, I need some honest encouragement that going to Cozumel is not going to be disappointing. A relative recently said his cruise ship went there several years ago and he compared it to his impression of Nogales---slums, kids begging, and said he wasn't impressed with it and hated all the poverty. ---Now I have vacationed in Puerto Vallarta and loved their town and all the wonderful restaurants and their bumpy little buses. We also enjoyed a vacation at the Moon Palace in Cancun along with the usual tours. We found everyone very friendly. I know there is poverty outside of the resort areas and there were kids and adults trying to sell their goods on the beaches, but it really didn't bother me. They're just trying to make a living and they didn't continue to hound us. ---So is it so much different in Cozumel? Could it be that this relative of mine got a poor impression because he perhaps only saw what was near to the port where the ships dock? How could he not see anything beautiful? I read that there are a lot of great restaurants, shops and resorts in Cozumel. I guess I had imagined Cozumel even a little better off than the mainland with higher prices at resorts and restaurants.---Your comments are appreciated.



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Jun 6th, 2003, 01:43 AM
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Honeydoe, we spent only 4 nights in Cozumel, 2.5 years ago, so I am no expert, but I don't recall seeing 'slums' and kids begging. I have seen that kind of poverty in other parts of Mexico (the 'huts' outside of Mexico DF are very sad indeed), and trust me, Cozumel does not suffer from that level of poverty.

We rented a car for 3 days and drove all around the island and felt very safe. We went shopping in the back streets (not the main avenue where all the cruise ship passengers stay). We stayed at a small bed-and-breakfast and ate in many different restaurants - good seafood everywhere.

The people congregate on the main Plaza and dance, socialize, etc., lots of fun to watch.

The thing about Cozumel is that resorts have taken up the best beachfront areas in the swimable (west) side of the island. I think if I were to return I would stay in one of the mega resorts because they do have the best beachfront. Where are you staying?
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Jun 6th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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I'm not yet sure which resort we'll be staying at---I'm considering several and probably an AL just because we like the convenience. We'll still enjoy some of the local restaurants though. The Presidente Intercontinental sounds good and I like the idea of a reef out front even though we will be taking some dive boat(snorkeling or perhaps diving) excursions. Also like the Iberostar because we could use its sister resorts on the mainland, also. And then there is the Reef Club and the Coral Princess Resort(but no AL) that someone recommended. Any suggestions? ---Your comments about the island help to validate my own intuitions. I have a feeling this relative of mine just stepped off the ship and didn't see much more than what surrounded the dock area and maybe things have changed since he was there five or six years ago. Sometimes it is just one's attitude of accepting different cultures, too.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 08:02 AM
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Wow! I don't know where your relative visited, but it was NOT the Cozumel I know and love. I think that Cozumel is the least slummy of any Mexican destination. The people are hard working, polite, honest. And as far as "kids begging" - not in Cozumel. The schools have a program to keep kids from dropping out. They are allowed to attend school half days and work in the local grocery store half days to earn money. I have NEVER seen a child begging anywhere in Cozumel -in fact, I've only ever seen one old man begging on the main street, and we've been going there for over ten years. There is signage all over the city urging tourists not to buy things from market stands that employ young children during school hours. The people of Cozumel really believe in education and strive to give their children the best.

As for "poverty" - no way! There are 7-10 cruise ships a day in Cozumel pouring money into the island. The people of Cozumel are so fully employed that many resorts have to import workers from the mainland in order to meet demand.

Again, I don't know what your relative was doing, but he was not fair to Cozumel. I guess if a person already has a negative view of Mexico from a visit to Nogales, then their expectations are to find the same everywhere. Of course, if you search for poverty, you can find it anywhere. No, Cozumel is not the USA. You will find housing standards different than here. You will find families with a scooter rather than an SUV as the mode of transportation. This does not mean they are living in poverty. It means they live a different lifestyle. A lifestyle that we all pay quite a hefty price to visit.

I'm sorry to say that your relative sounds like the kind of ugly American who's money would be better spent on movie tickets than travel.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Well Honeydoe - its funny that you mention the Iberostar in Cozumel, because I'm going to the Iberostar Paraiso in August, and I was thinking about doing a day-trip to Cozumel and using the facilities over there. If I do so, I would be happy to report back, but depending on when you are going, you may decide to book before I return.

Other than that, I do not know much about the resorts on Cozumel - just that the Intercontinental is supposed to have excellent snorkeling. I looked into staying there when we went to Coz, but, I was looking for something, eh, cheaper.

I really share TC's sentiments about Cozumel and I want to add that the people are very nice and honest. We "booked" a snorkeling trip with a local guy to the reefs. We made the contact through the folks that worked at Playa Corona, but this guy did not have a shop or anyhting, just a boat. Another family and us gave the guy an advance so that he could purchase supplies and gas for the trip the next day. Well, there was bad weather the next day and we could not go out, but the guy met us at the meeting point (albeit a little late) and reimbursed us without a problem.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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We just retuned from Cozumel 2 days ago. My first comment as we were on the road leaving the airport is "It's so clean!" We've been to other destinations in Mexico, and Cozumel is by far the cleanest and neatest of them all. We never saw children begging. We didn't even have to put up with beach vendors. We stayed at the Playa Azul on the north coast. We loved our trip!
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Jun 6th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Thank you so much for all your input! I just knew that the Mexicans on Cozumel had to be as friendly and kind as we found them to be in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta! We are going in Sept. and looking forward to a wonderful vacation! We're spending nine nights total and still haven't decided on whether to do half the time in a resort along the Riviera Maya(between PDC and Akumal) and half the time on Cozumel or to just spend the whole vacation on Cozumel and ferry to the mainland a couple of days to see the towns and try the snorkeling around Akumal. We love to snorkel--bigger stuff than just little fish;-) -- so I have a feeling that we want to be near the bigger reefs of Cozumel most of the time. We may even get certified to dive before then.
MariaRosa, I would love to hear about your vacation at the Iberostar in August. We will probably make our reservations before then, but who knows, we might want to stay somewhere different next time. I heard that the Iberostar on Cozumel is not as nice as the ones on the mainland, but is still a top resort. We were also considering the Iberostar Tucan---keep hearing how beautiful it is--and there are monkeys!
TC -- do you feel that all those cruise ships pollute the waters off of Cozumel? I've heard they often do. Such a shame. I know Mexico loves the tourists, especially for economic reasons, but hope they are enforcing strict pollution laws on those cruise ships. Don't want to be swimming or snorkeling in oil sludges or toilet and kitchen leftovers! --7-10 cruise ships per day! Wow! I never realized that many ships ported there daily. I'll try to stay out of their way. Would much rather socialize within the Mexican culture. I think Mexico is a little gold nugget in the sand that not everybody has discovered yet. Many in the U.S. still can not believe that Mexico has a whole coastline and more of beautiful, friendly resorts. Meanwhile, we will keep vacationing there! This will be our third vacation to Mexico within four years.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 06:43 PM
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Honeydoe1
Wow, your cousin is quite a guy!!!
I agree with TC. I stopped off at Cozumel last year from a Panama cruise.
We spent the whole day there on the beach from 8Am to 7 Pm and we toured the Island also.
We just hired a taxi.
The resorts I saw very just great and the beachis also superb.
Where the cruise ships dock, is a VERY nice port of call.
In fact I think the main reason so many cruise ships come to Cozumel as one of their stops is because the port is as nice as you will see anywhere.
All the building right at the port are all very new and touristy.
Sure they want to sell you something, your on holidays coming into their homeland.
This is the same world wide.
I was very impressed with Cozumel for the duration I was there.
You will not be disappointed , no matter which resort you stay at.
Your idea of AI ,is a good one. Don't spent your time looking for places to eat three times a day.
You can still go elsewhere to eat if you feel like it.
Have a nice time.
Pour some cold water on your cousin!!!!!
Percy


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Jun 6th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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My poor brother in law! He's really a nice guy. I actually heard this via my sister, his wife. Maybe she got Cozumel mixed up with some other port! Sure sounds like it.---Anyway, I'm thrilled to hear all the good things you all had to say about Cozumel and the Mexicans. As I said before, we had such great experiences on the mainland of Mexico and I just couldn't believe that those negative comments about Cozumel were true. Just wanted to hear it from all of you. I love this website!
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Jun 9th, 2003, 09:22 AM
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Check out the trip reports for Cozumel on this site
http://www.mts.net/~eissner/

We've stayed at Iberostar Cozumel and the Allegro years ago when it was still the Diamond. If you have any questions, don't hesitate.
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Jun 9th, 2003, 09:00 PM
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Honeydoe,
Cozumel is a great place to stay!! Very clean and full of charm.

I would go to the Iberostar in Cozumel...its beautiful, food is wonderful, very nice beach for relaxing, and its a Great resort. I give it an A+!! Been there twice.....its better than the old Allegro, and I use to like that place!
The Paraiso is also a beautiful place, just twice as big. And even bigger in the fall when the new Iberostar next door is complete...
The Reef Club is pretty generic,
small rooms, just ok food, and small pool.
Do go snorkeling at Dzul-ha----free to get in,(have lunch or a few cervecas) and snorkle away---unbelievable fish and huge brain coral and fans.
Buena Suerte!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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Cozumel is very nice. I like to make it a day trip from Playa del Carmen and rent scooters for a day of bar/beach hopping. The boat ride is short now (The poor Xel Ha - the long boatride - is now a beached relic outside the Maritime Museum on Cozumel). There are plenty of small hotels up the beach away from the dock in Playa. The Blue Parrot used to be the end of the line but has gotten too big and cheesy. The Moongate is just off the beach behind the Blue Parrot and is more cozy. But like I said, there are MANY accommodations. It's also very easy to rent a car and visit Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza. Cenote Scuba diving is a MUST DO!!! You haven't dived unless you've glided through an underground, pitch-black cave studded with stalactites and stalagmites in water with 350 ft. visibility. Truly amazing!!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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The problem with Coz is not the local folks, who are as others have noted hardworking and friendly. Rather, the problem is the cruise ships -- six, eight, ten or twelve a day, vomiting thousands or even tens of thousands of day trippers. It has changed the look and feel of Coz so dramatically. Get as far away as you can from the cruise ship docking area.

--Lan Sluder
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Jun 11th, 2003, 08:19 PM
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Hey, you all have been great in your responses! Can't wait to be in Cozumel!--I heard that the Palancar Reef is in front of the Iberostar Resort. Can anybody verify this? Can one swim out to it?
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Jun 11th, 2003, 11:38 PM
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As far as Cozumel goes, yes people are right, there is very little or no begging or visible poverty for tourists to see. That has all been "cleaned" up. You can go to the beaches, or shop in town and enjoy yourself.

However, I want to clarify people who say there is "no" poverty in Cozumel. Way on the back streets, miles back from anywhere that tourists go, there is poverty. Mexico is not a rich country despite all the tourism and even though there aren't beggers, by Western standards, the back streets of San Miguel, Cozumel do feature people living poorly.

But have fun, anyway, it's so beautiful. It's becoming too touristy, though. I remember a Cozumel that had 1 cruise ship a day and it was so peaceful. It's turning into a real tourist zoo and I'm worried for it.
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