Fly in to CZL or CUN (for stay in PDC)?

Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 09:22 AM
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Fly in to CZL or CUN (for stay in PDC)?

I'm planning a trip to the Playa del Carmen area in March, and (right now, at least) it looks like airfare to/from Cozumel will be a bit cheaper for me than airfare to/from Cancun. I've never been to this area before, but it looks to me like Cozumel might be a better place to fly in and out of even if it were a little more expensive (however, all the guidebooks seem to suggest Cancun as the airport of choice, although maybe that's just because there are many more flights in and out of Cancun). Presumably, its airport will be quite a bit less crowded than Cancun's at that time of year (Spring Break time), but the trip is similar: to PDC from Cozumel is a 5-minute cab ride to the ferry dock then a 30- to 45-minute ferry ride, versus a 30- to 45-minute cab ride fromn Cancun to Playa. Can someone with some Cozumel/Riviera Maya/Cancun experience tell me if this is right, or if I'm missing something?
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Cancun is 45 minutes up highway 307 from PDC.

Cozumel is an island off the coast, and a 20 minute flight into Cancun, or a 45 minute ferry ride from PDC.

I've done both and would recommend flying into Cancun and taking a taxi or bus to PDC.

The trip into Coz and then over to PDC could easily take you the entire day and well into the night.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 10:56 AM
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If the flight is direct into Coz (which some are - I think Continental is direct into Coz from the US) then the ferry to PDC is okay but you'll pay about $11 or so round trip on the ferry (I think but am not sure) and will also need a cab from Coz airport to ferry dock (about another $5-$6). The ferries run about once every hour or so. The cancun airport is reasonably efficient although I imagine departures during spring break season are a mess. There's an inexpeinsive and comfortable express bus with AC from Cancun airport to PDC that runs every 20 minutes or so with RT fare about the same or cheaper than the ferry. If you don't mind the possibel extra time during departure I think that CUN may be just a trifle more convenient.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 11:17 AM
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When I go to Belize, I sometime fly into Coz. I actually prefer it to flying into Cancun (anything is better than Cancun). As noted it's just a short cab ride to the ferry and then a short reasonably pleasant ferry ride to Playa. The ferry prices vary some depending on the time of day (early morning is a little cheaper), but it's around US$8 or so if I recall correctly.

--Lan Sluder
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 11:30 AM
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two things to consider-if you even get a little seasick-somedays the water is really rough, making the ride very rough and if its real bad, the ferry won't run all. This does not happen often but just wanted to let you know it can. I guess it just depends what bit cheaper in airfare is worth
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Walking is safe anywhere at night on Coz but most of the AI's are at least 2 - 3 miles out of town. You can get a decent hotel/villa room for $60 or so in downtown San Miguel and on the edges and a really nice one for about $100 or so. Meals at restaurants in town range from $4 - $5 for the Commida Corrida (meal of the day) at the local loncherias on the side streets and back streets (full meal with soup, salad, entree, rice and beverage) up to the same price you'd pay in the US. Typically, about $5 per peros for breakfast, $5 or $6 for light lunch and $20 each for dinenr will have you eating very well in Coz. Little nightlife apart fromt he few clubs near the cruise ship pier that appeal to that crowd. Cabs can get pricey after awhile and the good beaches (the few that exist) for swimming are tyically at the AI's. The coast is rocky but the snorkeling is very good and the scuba diving is fantastic. The cruise ship crowd really overruns and ruins the character of the town in and around the main plaza and on the main drag by the waterfront during the day and early evening but once they're gone it's nice. Sundays are especially good as there's live music on the plaza and the locals young and old come out to socialize and dance.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Thanks for all of your replies. It sounds like maybe the airfare would really have to be quite a bit cheaper for flying in to Cozumel to make sense. Does anyone know how often the water actually is rough enough for the ferry not to run (especially in March)? If it is one or two days out of the year, on average, and that tends to be near rainy/hurricane season, then I'll discount this (although it is good to know it is possible). If, on the other hand, it happens more regularly, that's something definitely to consider.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2003, 05:18 PM
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I have been to Playa almost every month of the year and only seen the ferry not running maybe three times and this is over a period of 15 days. The trade winds are part of this area and no one can predict when they are strong-could happen in March but doubtful. Just wanted you to be aware of this. Of the three times we saw it closed-one time it was like for 3 days.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2003, 07:26 AM
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Don't assume that the airport in Cozumel (Its CZM by the way - so make sure you're going to the right place)will be less hectic. CZM is a very small airport whereas Cancun is much larger with more capability of handling the spring break crowds.

You may also want to consider the time it will take to get back to Cozumel airport from Playa on the ferry to catch your plane home. Its not such a big deal on the arrival, but what if you catch a bad weather day on your departure, no ferry and you miss your plane home. On a cheap ticket, you're out of luck. IMHO its not worth the worry.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2003, 08:15 AM
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Looks like my idea of flying in to CZM and staying in PDC is out - too risky for the narrow window of time that I have. Sometimes I'm amazed at how great these boards can be. I'd have never known this (the thought never would have crossed my mind) if it weren't for the knowledgeable folks here. Thanks.
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