Isla Mujeres or Roatan or...?

Old Jul 7th, 2003, 06:37 PM
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Isla Mujeres or Roatan or...?

My husband and I will be visiting our daughter who will be studying in Oaxaca next spring, and we're thinking of combining the trip to somewhere on the Caribbean, perhaps Isla Mujeres or Roatan, Honduras.

Our primary interests are snorkeling (but only right off the beach-- I get sea sick-- so that's why Belize is not on this list), relaxing on the beach, exploring nature, and eating good food.

We like a place that is low key, authentic, not highly developed (but not toally devoid of creature comforts either), and *definitely* not filled with high rises and huge hotels!

Which of these places do you recommend, and are there other places to consider (I know virtually nothing about Playa del Carmen and Akumal, for example)?

Thanks.

Liz

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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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Look at locogringo.com for a nice insight into the area.
For what your interests are, I would suggest Akumal.
PDC doesn't have very good snorkeling, and I would have suggested Cozumel, but it sounds like you are looking for something a little more laid back...
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 06:16 AM
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I know you said you have ruled out Belize, but, the reef at Ambergris Caye in only half a mile off shore. The boat rides to good snorkeling spots are very short, and, in most cases, inside the reef, so there is very little wave activity. Even though when we were there the winds were terrible, and the waves outside the reef made for some big swells.

Ambergris Caye was a lot of fun. Lots of small hotels and restuarants, very few cars and friendly people.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 06:26 AM
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For GREAT beach snorkeling Roatan is the place. It is spectacular. However, it is nearly impossible to get from Mexico to Roatan. We flew to Roatan from Houston and wanting to continue on to Cozumel had to fly back to Houston to start again. There were no airlines that connect points in Mexico to points in Honduras.

Second choice - Cozumel. The shore snorkeling again is spectacular and although its more developed than Roatan it still retains a very local flavor if you resist staying in an all-inclusive resort or spending too much time on main street shopping.

If you get sea sick, skip Belize. There is no shore snorkeling and the waves action both inside and outside the reef can be terrible at times.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 05:54 PM
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Now I am confused. Diana, why Akumal over Isla Mujeres? Please tell me what makes you point me there instead of Isla? It's hard for me to get a sense of the differences, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. I will check out that website.

And Jean H., I think the letter from TC makes me think seasickness in Belize is in the "eye" (inner ear?) of the beholder! But the fact that getting to Roatan from Mexico is nearly impossible may rule it out, alas....

Are there high rises in Cozumel?

Liz
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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I have the perfect answer for you. Go to Huatulco, Oaxaca. There are nine bays for snorkeling right off the beach. Get a car or taxi to take you to San Agustine Bay and one other close to it that I forget the name of. Pristine beaches available away from the crowd. We went to Conejo Bay(not for snorkeling) where there was one palapa on the beach. The owner went out in his boat to get us fish for lunch. It doesn't get better than that.
Oaxaca city is well worth a few days. Love that zocalo. Many ruins and handicraft villages to visit and the best Mexican market I have ever seen. Why go to the Caribbean, when Oaxaca has it all? All except the touristy crowds.
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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I guess you're right about sea sickness and such being a personal thing.

I guess I'm wondering how you're thinking about getting to Isla Mujeres. The only way I know of is by boat. I guess there is a small air strip, I don't know if they have commercial flights. We snorkeled at Garrafon on IM. It was our first snorkeling experience and we thought it was fun, but in retrospect, we really didn't see much.

I haven't spent much time on Cozumel, just a day trip from Playa Del Carmen. (And the ferry ride over there did make me sea sick.) Not as bad as many others, the staff were quite busy handing out plastic bags. Anyway, there are certainly some large resorts there, but also some nice smaller properties. It was too windy for good snorkeling when we were there, but I hear good things about the snorkeling right off the beach. We'll definitely try it on the next trip.

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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Never been to Roaton but IM fits all your requirements. Vist
isla-mujeres.net
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 05:40 PM
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Jean,

<< I guess I'm wondering how you're thinking about getting to Isla Mujeres.>> I heard there's a fast boat that gets there in 20 minutes. I can handle that, and it's different than *having* to take a boat every time I want to go snorkeling, and if I get tired of being in the water having to hang out in the boat. I don't always get sea sick, anyway, but it's enough of a concern not to wnat to *have* to take a boat in order to snorkel.

Rosalyn<

We do plan to spend at least a week in Oaxaca and its environs, and were thinking of another week on the Caribbean. I have never heard of the bays you're referring to, but did some investigating on line. Are the waters tourquoise? Is ther snorkeling really amazing?
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 06:15 PM
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I'm sure you will have good time where ever you decide to go. For what you're describing, I'd be looking long and hard at Cozumel.

Jean
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 08:38 PM
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I think the "highest rise" on Cozumel is about 9 floors. There aren't too many. There is plenty of low key authenticity in Cozumel, you just have to know where to look for it. Get away from the cruise ship pier and the main street shops and it feels just like any small town. Big plus - you can fly directly there from many places in the states and you can snorkle right from shore.

I agree with previous poster - I think you have to take a ferry to Isla.
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 08:56 PM
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The first time I ever snorkeled was at Huatulco so of course it was great. I have since snorkeled at Cozumel, Akumal and Xel Ha. Huatulco wins out still and we have been back once. The water is absolutely clear with schools of fish positively abounding. This was 3 years ago but doubt if it has changed much. Although destined for major development, the few hotels at Tangolunda Bay are only allowed to be 3 stories high and only on one bay. We stayed at a wonderful hotel up on the cliff there which had only 27 rooms at the time. Steps down to the beach and a taxi back. No snorkeling at that bay. Maguey Bay and Organo Bay offer easy access to great snorkeling. San Agustin was the ultimate in "laid back" living and doing your own thing. Great people there. I always dream of going back there. Taxi fares were posted in the square at Crucecita and were fair. They always returned to pick us up at the designated time. Very reliable. There are flights to Huatulco but the drive is spectacular though a little scary. Takes 6 hours by car but the scenery is worth it. Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 13th, 2003, 05:45 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses.

Rosalyn, I did some research on Huatulco and I got the idea that many of the bays were best for "experienced swimmers" because of lots of wave activity. Did you find the snorkeling bays to be calm?

Liz
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Old Jul 13th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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The bays we snorkeled at were perfectly safe and calm. There was one bay not recommended because of the undertow, but only accessible by boat. The ones I mentioned you have nothing to wory about. The waves are rough at Conejo Bay but it's not a snorkeling bay. Sometimes cruise ships unloaded their "cargo" at Maguey which makes it a bit crowded for an hour or so but not very often (Then, maybe once a week) .If you want an intimate hotel that has Mexican flavour, good restaurant ,beautiful view, and very nice uncrowded pool, try Casa Del Mar, (it may have a new name) up on the far side of Tangolunda Bay. The entrance is a little hidden from the road, but well worth a visit even if it's just for dinner. Hope you go.
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