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Just back from Cozumel

Old May 23rd, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Just back from Cozumel

Daughter and I just returned from 5 nights in Cozumel.Thanks for all the help and recommendations from fellow Fodorites. We stayed at the Coral Princess.It is very clean, the staff was friendly and helpful,the hotel food was good, and reasonable. Ate breakfast there every morning(continental was included w/room)out on the patio overlooking the blue blue sea. Also had dinner there two evenings,when we were too tired to go to town.The best snorkeling we experienced was right in front of the hotel.Coral and fish of all colors,unbelievably clear water.Rented a Suziki Sidekick right at the hotel, for convenience.Drove to San
Gervasio,interesting ruins on the island,but I might skip that if going to Tulum.Lunch at Coconuts on the Caribbean side of the island was a treat. Sits high above the beach on a cliff. It is a funky open air bar. The surf seemed really rough on that side of the island so we did not go in the water but the beaches were beautiful and deserted.Continued around the island, stopping at San Francisco Beach,Paradise Beach(right next to each other.)Nice place, but crowded and the water was not very clear. Kids would probably like it because of the trampoline and this big climbing "iceberg" thing in the water.
Stopped at Chedrui, like a Super Walmart,on the south side of San Miguel for snacks and a couple of gallons of water to keep in our room.(Hotel charged $1 per 50oz. bottle)
Next day went on combined tour of Xel-Ha and Tulum. Could have spent whole day at Xel-Ha,there is lots to do there. We enjoyed the snorkeling, the tubing down the river and going in the caves. Didn't have time to relax in the many nice shady areas with beach chairs.On to Tulum,which is very worthwhile if you enjoy history (we do).I was afraid it would be so hot there in the afternoon but the breeze made it pleasant the whole time.Nice to have a guide with us, as we learned so much.By the way, the bus used on this tour was very comfortable,clean and air conditioned, we were glad we did this with a tour instead of on our own. The ferry or water taxi to the mainland was very rough, if you are prone to sea-sickness, be prepared.
Next day spent relaxing at the hotel.Not a real beach but a sand terrace, with steps into the water.Nice pool, I think we only went in it once though.There is a swim-up bar, and lounge chairs right in the pool. Went to town for dinner and to be there for the Sunday night festivities in the town square. Great music,food, people watching, we really felt like we got a taste of local culture. Ate dinner at Casa Denis,near the square. Next day we had booked over the internet, a 3 reef snorkel tour with Eagle Ray divers.We were very lucky, the two of us were the only snorkelers with them that day.So we had very personal attention; I would higly recommend them. Stop for lunch at Nachi-Cocum was included,great beach,pool and whirpool.This was our best day yet,thanks to Raoul our snorkel-guide for the day.
Next day, headed for home. We really liked Cozumel.Our main purpose was to go snorkeling and see scenery and culture, and we were not disappointed.If you are looking for more of an upscale touristy destination,it might not be for you, but we loved it. I can't comment on the shopping other than there are plenty of shops and aggressive shopowners on the sidewalk trying to get you inside. I don't care for shopping, and don't care a thing about jewelry (yes...my husband knows how lucky he is!!)so I don't know if there are bargains to be had. Food was very good and fairly cheap. Any questions, I would be happy to answer.
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Old May 25th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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Thanks for sharing your holiday on our favorite island, Cozumel. Lovely to read.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for your info. We are looking at going to either Cozumel or Play Del Carmen next year in March with our two daughters who will be 11 & 12 years old. We only have a week and I am racking my brain trying to make a decision which place to go. I'm leaning towards PDC because it is a good base for day trips to Xcaret and Xel-Ha and Tulum. We also want to go over to Cozumel because it seems to have the best snorkeling for us ( I heard they have snuba too but have not found any info on it yet) and some scuba for my husband who is new to this scuba business. My question to you is... You seem to enjoy Xel-Ha but what did you enjoy about it vs. just snorkeling over at Cozumel? I am just wondering if some of these side trips we want to take aren't going to hold a candle to snorkeling in Cozumel. I look foward to your opinion.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 02:30 PM
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Marianne: I'm sure that MLW will give you a better answer to the comparison of Xel-Ha and Cozumel snorkeling. I haven't been to Xel-Ha for several years. It was very pretty - a great place to spend the day. However, if you love to snorkel and want to do a lot of it, then Cozumel is a better choice - IMHO. You can snorkel right from shore any time you like. There are lots of great snorkeling places, but as MLW said, the snorkeling right in front of Coral Princess resort is some of the very best. It is literally like going into a swimming pool/aquarium. The nice part about that set up with children is that they can go in as much as they like and you can go with them or watch them from the beach. You can even watch them while you're having a massage on the beach! Pepe's Scuba at Coral Princess is one of the very best and safest dive operators on the island. If your husband is new to SCUBA, he'll love the guys at Pepe's. The boats are small and the dive masters are very caring.

I think its Papa Hog's that does SNUBA on Cozumel. Try a Google search for his web site to learn more.

My choice would be to stay on Cozumel and do a day trip to Xel-Ha and Tulum rather than the other way round.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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Mariann, For just the snorkeling, as TC said, Cozumel was really the best, as far as the clear water and the number and variety of fish. With the age of your children, they probably would enjoy a day trip to Xel-Ha.There are caves to swim into (they take your picture and have them for sale as you leave the park).There are coves to explore, about 5 restaurants (we had the all inclusive ticket, you can eat at any and all, all day)The tubing down the river was fun.My daughter and I are two "kids" aged 56 and 31 and we had a great time!! Check the Xel-Ha website for an overview. We wanted to go to Tulum so the combined day trip worked for us. One trip to the mainland from Coz was enough though. There is plenty to see and do on Cozumel. Let me know if you have other questions.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 05:28 AM
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TC-
Do you have to be a guest at the Coral Princess to snorkel off of their beach, or is anyone welcome to wander over there? I'm staying in PDC and am thinking about a day trip to Cozumel to check out the snorkeling.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Thanks, both mlw & TC. The Coral Princess sounds very nice. Viewing past threads I was thinking the Intercontintal was probably the best choice but maybe the Coral Princess is the better choice. I check over at Trip Advisor and the only thing that makes me a little nervous is someone wrote about "thin walls". I'm a light sleeper, did you find this a problem?

I prefer having a one or two bedroom vs. interconnecting hotel rooms so we can spread out and the Coral Princess sounds like they accomondate this. I notice they are a timeshares. We have two timeshares in Hawaii that we love to use but had not considered trading. I don't like to trade our oceanfront Maui (Embassy) because we never get an oceanfront when we trade and I do love sipping my coffee and looking out on the ocean in the morning and falling asleep to the sound of the waves at night. Let me know what you think of the noise factor.

Thanks again for your input.

Mariann
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Old May 27th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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P.S. Does anyone have a website to the Coral Princess?

Thanks - M
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Old May 28th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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I found the website to the Coral Princess. I don't know why I couldn't find it before, computer wasn't cooperating. I also found Papa Hog's sight. Both are very helpful. Thanks. I'm thinking of trying to the extend the trip out and spend maybe four to five days each in PDC and COZ. Tough though, now that I'll have a junior higher it will be tough to pull her from school. I sure hope my girls will still want to vacation with mom once they are older and have their lives. It sounds like you have a great relationship with your daughter.

I've also noticed a few condo's that are for rent that look very nice such as Miramar (twelve units that form a pyramid), Las Brisas and Cantamar. Does anyone know the proximity of these to the Coral Princess? My thought is if they are right next door that the snorkeling would be equal. Thanks for your input. Mariann

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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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Marriane: I've never found the "walls" at CP to be thin. Sometimes there will be a noisy group above us who walk around with hard soled shoes on. That can be a bit noisy. I am a VERY light sleeper. The other noise factor is if someone sits on their balcony -along side your balcony bedroom early in the morning. The noise does carry father than most people think. Again, its never been a serious factor for me and I'm a very light sleeper. Do ask - when you make your reservation for a HIGH FLOOR, away from the swimming pool. That is a bit quieter. Its really no different than other hotels.

You will love the CP for having breakfast on your balcony. All the one/two bedrooms have ocean views. In fact your are so close to the ocean that you could toss something in. It is my very favorite thing about the place.

Web site is: http://www.coralprincess.com/

Half of the CP is time share, the new half is not. You can trade in if you are part of the RCI service. CP is an RCI Gold Resort. I don't know how easy it is to trade in, we never trade our time. You can just rent like a hotel either through the CP web site or with lots of different tour operators like Apple.

Other good condos on the same stretch as CP are Puesta del Sol (PDSII) or Las Brisas. Both are beautiful, quiet and on the same stretch of reef. http://www.travelnotes.cc/cozumel/links/condos1.html

Email me if you have more questions. [email protected]
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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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Aquarius: If you are nice and quiet and discrete, I don't think anyone will hassle you at the CP for snorkeling.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Marianne: I was in a bit of a rush with my last post. I don't mean to put you off about the noise. We've been going to the CP for 12 years and stay for several weeks each year. Noise has never been a big factor. Like any public place, you can get some talking or walking around once in awhile, but its never kept me awake. I'm not sure what the poster on TripAdvisor had in mind, but construction of ANY building in Mexico is different than in the States. There is no insulation in the walls- they don't need it for warmth, so that makes a bit of a difference in how sound penetrates. Its not bad, just different. The staff is very good about noise around the pool at night etc. Again, ask for a high floor.

The view from the balconies is amazing there and you will have your own kitchen for making that early morning coffee.

Do email if you have any more specific questions.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 12:31 PM
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Aquarius: Two of my favorite places to snorkel (both public) are Dzul Ha and Paradise Beach. Any taxi driver can take you to either from the ferry dock.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Thanks T.C., very helpful advice. I think I may email you because I do have just a few questions. I really appreciate you taking the time.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Not a problem, Marianne. I'm happy to help.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 08:50 AM
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Hi, I just got back from Cozumel yesterday (so sad) and just wanted to let you know that I stayed at Miramar (404). It was absolutely great...the pool was wonderful. We had two bedrooms, one with two twin beds and the other master with a king. The living room sofa also pulled out to a bed. I think our rate came to around 150 a night and we had six people. The house manager Fulvio was very very nice. We reserved through "At home in Cozumel." The website is http://www.cozumel.tc/ The only downside is that there was construction going on right next door which tended to wake us up around seven thirtiesh/eightish.

We did a day trip to Xcaret, which was very easy with the ferry/transportation process. Xcaret was nice but in hindsight I wish I had done Tulum/Xel Ha. The snorkeling is nowhere near what we saw right outside of our places, and the whole underground river was kinda boring. We all loved Cozumel so much and can't wait to go back...great food (Casa Denis and La Veranda are the best) and great water!
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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I disagree that the best snorkling is in Cozumel. We just returned from Play del Carmen and there are plenty of great places to snorkle that are not the least bit crowded. Akumel is fantastic for spotting sea turtles and you snorkle right from the beach. Yal Ku lagoon is $6 and some of the best snorkling in the area. Lots of colorful fish, turtles, stingrays, barracuda. Xel-Ha and Xcaret are near to PDC with no ferry ride or worry about being crowded by cruise ship daytrippers. You can also snorkle in of of the many cenotes for a unique experience. Accommodations in PDC range from $30/nt to break the bank. Check out this website www.playdelcarmeninfo.com

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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 03:02 PM
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Hi! Our cruiseship will be stopping in Cozumel at the end of October. What would you suggest for a clean, quiet beach with amenities and clear water? Also, is there any sightseeing that you would recommend? Thanks.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 05:37 AM
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Babylene: Do you want to snorkel or just sit on the beach? Makes a difference on where you might go. The best beaches don't always offer the best snorkeling and vice/versa. Give me a bit more information about your needs and I will be happy to help.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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HiTC..thanks for replying. We would like comfortable lounges in the shade, clear water (sandy bottom) for swimming, clean facilities. I don't think we will snorkle. If possible we would like a long beach for a walk. I don't know if there are beaches like that in Coz. Look forward to your suggestions.
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