Cozumel vs playa del Carmen

Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 06:01 PM
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Cozumel vs playa del Carmen

Need some help here.....Me and my brother are meeting in mexico to do some beach activities and some scuba diving...We are both in our 50s ... like to get into town for some food and night life....Sooooooo...Wondering if anyone has any advice on hotels or areas to look in....Money is not an issue ....Heading there the first week of nov.....Hey is the weather ok then? Thank you for all your help...Steve and Tom
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 04:41 AM
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cancun.bookit.com

light years better than Cozumel

for hotels of quality diving and party

Go for the Ritz if money is truly no object

www.xel-ha.com is awesome for dive snorkel

where CeNote meets the sea...

Many other options at PDC www.ecotulum.com has

some more primitive stuff but stay closer to Cancun for party

Hang on to your wallet many scammers particularly downtown.

travel.state.gov details all risk insuremytrip.com always wise
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 04:43 AM
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www.weather2travel.com Climate guides Nov

heavy storm risk then Cabo better less rain in Nov

Cabella Pedregal Resort is nice others

mexico.bookit.com booking.com for others
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 04:44 AM
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www.capellahotels.com/cabosanlucas
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Steveo, If its SCUBA you want, the reefs are off the shore of Cozumel. No question, that is where you want to be. Otherwise you will spend all your time on a boat going back and forth from Cancun to Cozumel to dive.

(Not sure why this guy is trying to sell you Cabo???)

The nightlife and food in Cozumel are excellent. My recommendation would be The Coral Princess. While its not over the top lux, it is a great little place with a stellar dive shop on premise. We spend a month there every winter. MY DH and all his buddies are divers. Good friends spend every November in Cozumel and love it. So few tourists - you have the whole place to yourself. Weather can be marginal in November. October is typically hurricane season. I've never heard anything bad about being there in November. If you want more info about CZM, see my posting on things to do.

BTW: No problem with safety in Cozumel other than being careful not to park in the new no parking zones.

www.coralprincess.com
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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I agree. If diving is the priority you want Cozumel. It is very well known as a dive destination.

If a fun town, food, and nightlife is more the priority then you want Playa del Carmen.

November should be OK weather (the later in the month the better, to be further away from the summer/fall 'rainy season').
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Old Aug 26th, 2011, 06:22 AM
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So Steveo, What's the decision?
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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I agree with Cozumel. Good snorkeling and diving. The square in San Miguel has great food compared to the resturants on 5th Avenue on Playa. Also much less expensive. Conzumel doesn't have much nightlife, but we have enjoyed Carlos and Charlies and Sr. Frogs on a trip or two. There are some really great open bars that face the water also. Plus if you take a trip over the the other side of the Island, there are some really great bars there also.

The Coral Princess is a good recommendation, but also look at the Fiesta Americana which seems to caters to divers.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 07:02 AM
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Oh, forgot to mention weather, We have been going to Mexico and Caribbean in a November/December for the past 10 years. No issues. We were in Cozumel December '09 and Playa del Carmen December '10 most recently.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 10:38 AM
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KVR, The next time you are looking for nightlife in Cozumel, try asking a local. Last winter we hooked up with a great guitarist at Especias. When he finished his set there we all went to his late night set at a bar "next to the firehouse" called The Shrimp Cowboy (only in Spanish -- El vaquero de camarón). It was great music and a lot of fun. You just gotta know where to go.
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Old Aug 28th, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Hey TC....Its going to be........Tell ya in a few days!!!! Just kidding...We now are looking at Cozumel, but cant decide on the Aura or Cozumel Palace. The palace is close to town but has no beach and the Aura is a bit far out but we could use taxi or rent a car..Anybody been to both?.I dive once or twice a year but have been all over the world doing it, my brother is getting certified as we speak so this is a first for him...I hope theres a good dive operator that will pick up at any hotel....We are looking at Oct 30th through the 6th of Nov (could be fun to be there for dia de los murtous day of the dead),but we could also travel on the week later 6th -13th for hope of better weather)...Any more suggestions would be great....Would like to book hotel and air by this weekend...Ciao for now
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Old Aug 29th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Great choice, Steveo.  Cozumel diving won't let you down.  Having said that, do be very particular about your dive operator.  As novices to the sport, you want above all else to be safe.  Some of the more advanced dives in Cozumel can be hairy due to currents.  

Neither resort that you mention has an in-house (on sight) dive operation.  They both use dive shops/tour operators located elsewhere.   Aura uses Dive Palancar and Cozumel Palace uses Aqua World, which is actually located at the Park Royal hotel.

http://divepalancar.com/

http://www.aquaworld.com.mx/cozumel.html

Things to look for in a good dive shop:  (1) a dive master/operator who knows the locations and how the currents run from day to day, (2) will watch you and your brother throughout the entire dive not just swim ahead of the group to point the way (3) isn't afraid to abort a dive if the currents are running strong in a particular location on a given day, (4) uses "good" air with fully loaded tanks (5) does not mix boats -- putting novices with advanced divers.  You could end up diving in an uncomfortable situation to keep the advanced divers happy or sitting for long periods on the boat while the others stay down with extended air, (6) will not cancel trips if the boats aren't full or make stop after stop at other resorts to fill the boats.  

Of course, if you ask them, all dive operators will say they do all the right things.  To get a true picture, I suggest you do some reading on the SCUBA boards (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/content/) to get a handle on who is recommended by seasoned divers and why.

I can only speak personally about Pepe's SCUBA at the Coral Princess.  We have known them for decades.  Their clients are fiercely loyal.  The three dive masters have been with Frank for 10-15 years.  All teach as well as guide.  They are schooled and tested on safety every year.  I have seen Frank send out boats with only two divers on each in order to keep the newbies separate from the advance divers -- everyone happy and safe.  The shop is right on sight, so you can hang with other divers and talk from day to day with Frank (the owner) or any of the dive masters about what is planned for the coming day.  Just a few advantages of having a true in-house dive shop.

http://cozumel-diving.net/pepe/

I hope this helps.  Have fun.  Be safe.
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