P_M's brief report on Cozumel

Old Dec 9th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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P_M's brief report on Cozumel

DH and I spent 5 days in Cozumel last week. My report will be fairly brief because it was sort of the vacation about nothing. We mostly just relaxed and chilled out at our resort but it was incredibly fun.

We stayed at El Cozumeleno. We were immediately impressed with the staff as they were all so courteous and helpful. In the 5 days we were there we never met anyone who wasn't friendly and anxious to make our stay more pleasant. This is an all inclusive resort so all food, drinks and non-motorized activities are free. The activity I enjoyed most was the free snorkeling tour on the beach just outside the hotel. I took that tour twice because you will never see the same thing twice.

DH is not such a fan of snorkeling, he's happy to hang out at the pool and the hot tub. I however am a snorkeling fool and I spent countless hours just swimmin' with the fishies. I could not believe how many different species of fish and marine life I saw on the beach right outside of our doorstep. I have snorkeled in many parts of the world but the snorkeling here was among the best. Aside from the many colorful fish I saw stingrays, crabs, conchs and lobsters. At one point I saw what I thought was a sea snake so I went bolting out of the water. I found the snorkeling guide and asked him if there were sea snakes in this part of the world and he assured me it was just an eel. I told him this wasn't flat like the eels I saw in Hawaii, this one is round like a snake, and he assured me it's OK, this is a different kind of eel. Whew!!

One day a current came in and brought with it many jellyfish. I got stung but it really wasn't half as bad as I imagined. I even went back in the water later that day. The next day the jellyfish were gone.

We only did one major excursion and that was the Atlantis Submarine. We've been on submersibles before where you are about 20 feet below water but this was an actual submarine which dives down about 100 feet. I was so worried that I would have motion sickness but I was fine, I barely felt any movement. It was such an amazing experience, it was like being in a completely different world. It cost $90/per person and it was worth every penny.

In case anyone is interested in this resort I will provide a bit more info. Overall our stay was very good and we met many people who have stayed there many times over the years. The breakfast is good and you can get an omelet made to order. The lunch and dinner buffets are mediocre on a good day, but there are alternatives. I recommend avoiding the buffet and ordering something off the menu such as the club sandwich or the ribs. For dinner I recommend eating at the Vernadah Restaurant. It is part of the resort and it's free, however you need a reservation and you need to dress up a bit. The food there is very good and the pianist makes it even better.

Now for the bad news. On our last day of the trip we ate lunch at the buffet. Later that afternoon I felt kind of funny but I thought I was tired from too much sun and snorkeling. We already had reservations at the Verandah and I thought if I had some food I would feel better. Nope. While we were eating dinner DH kept asking if I am OK. I told him I just want to go back to the room so we did. By 9:30pm I was vomiting like crazy and this went on until about 2:30am. Thank God we didn't have an early morning flight home to catch because I would never have made it. Strangely I never had diarrhea.

The next morning I went to the front desk and told the what happened. Our flight home was at 4:25pm so they allowed a later check-out at no charge. As I write this it is Sunday night, just 2 days after this incident. I'm feeling better but not completely well. If I'm not back to normal by tomorrow I will see a doctor.

I would like to make it clear that I never drank tap water or even brushed my teeth with tap water. I am not a heavy drinker so I did not get sick from too much booze. Also I do not have any food allergies.

Overall it was a very good stay and this might surprise you but we would consider staying there again. We will avoid the buffets like the plague but I have to say the good things about this resort far overshadowed the bad.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions I will be happy to answer if I can.
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Old Dec 9th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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In fairness I should add that buffets in any part of the world can be bad. You don't know how long the food has been sitting out and the people working at the restaurant don't always monitor that either. Whenever possible it's always best to go for fresh cooked food.
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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Oh dear. I've always heard about people getting sick from AI buffets. But sorry you had to prove the point P_M!!

No diarrhea is not unusual when you get 'bad' food. Sometimes it only comes up the other direction. Nor is it hanging on for awhile even once you're back home.
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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Nor is it (unusual for it to be) hanging...
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Old Dec 10th, 2012, 10:00 PM
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I am so happy to hear of your experience w/a variety of marine life right off the beach in Cozumel. Hurricaine Wilma (Oct. 2005) and Emily just a few monmths prior, really devastated the coral reefs and hence marine life immediately around Cozumal. I had snorkeled there before Wilma many times and it was so great. But then went back in 2008, 3 yrs after Wilma, and snorkeled and there was hardly any coral or marine life at all compared to prior in the exact same area (just a bit towards town from Chankanaab).

So I hope your experience now, a few yrs later, signals that there is recovery happening on reefs just off of Cozumel. we have snorkeled off of Akumal and other places off mainland across from Cozumel in last 3 yrs and had great snorkeling experiences, but apparently the mainland was not get as affected by emily and Wilma as the shallow reefs right off of Cozumel.
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Old Dec 11th, 2012, 04:46 AM
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Thank you both for reading my report.

emd3, this might sound strange but I thought of you while I was hurling through the night. I remember your story of how sick your son was on your trip to Peru and I was wondering if the same was happening to me. Fortunately I made it home without having to go to the hospital, and I'm happy to say that I'm now feeling better.

One good thing came from this, I usually come home with a few extra pounds after a vacation, but not this time.
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Old Dec 11th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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Nice report, PM - I love snorkeling too. Sounds wonderful except the getting sick part. I've been sick in Mexico twice - no fun. Have you guys ever been to Hol Chan in Belize? If you like snorkeling, it's another good spot.
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Old Dec 11th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Thanks for the report. Maybe I missed it. Did you fly into Cancun and then over to Cozumel, direct to Cozumel, or ferry via Playa? (We stayed in Playa and thought Cozumel might be a nice change).

I had the same experience as emd3 regarding the reef at Cozumel (also in 2088, I think). Went back the next year or so and snorkeled in Akumal with a couple BIG turtles!
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Old Dec 11th, 2012, 02:01 PM
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Bitter, we flew straight into Cozumel a American Airlines.

VG, a few years ago we were on a cruise that stopped in Belize. We did a snorkeling tour but I don't remember where. I do remember how great it was.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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Hurling in Mexico is no fun, no matter what the cause, although I'd be particularly pissed if I got it at an AI. Paying to get sick sucks. I went on a boat to go snorkeling w/the giant whale sharks (as big as whales) last summer from Cancun's pier, and OMG, everyone on the boat hurled at one time or another over side of boat. Note to self: Choppy water in a little fishing boat is a big bummer - AND you really can't enjoy whale sharks or anything else when you have your stomach in your mouth.
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Old Dec 13th, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Aw, P_M, You've brought back some good memories for me.
These, however, do not include hurling.

We used to stay there for long spans of time before Coz got popular. This was in the days where we paid so little for our room (10. per night and a couple cartons of Vantage cigs for the owner for the entire stay) we'd actually keep our room while we took off to other Yucatan locations.
We'd rent bicycles for a 1. and ride the island and to Chankanaab Park to snorkel and drink Ritas. Breakfast was from a very inexpensive place around the corner where they squeezed fresh fruit everyday and had freshly made yogurt - again, for pennies (pesos).

In any event, you've whet my appetite enough to want to make a day visit this winter from the Yucatan.
Thanks for posting.
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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Cybor, easy to do from the ferry terminal in Playa Del Carmen! (insert smiley face here)

But be aware Coz. town has changed. I used to go there 20 to 35 yrs ago. But now the cruise ships stop there and it has changed. So many folks from the cruises are all over, at Chancanab (which now has dolphin swims, etc., and admission price to snorkel, etc.) and other places. Doesn't affect those at resorts too much, but affects day trippers who go across on the ferry.

Isla Mujeres hasn't changed too much, but ferry there leaves form Cancun.
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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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emd,
Thanks.
We did a day trip a few years back and were indeed shocked (even though we knew ahead) at how much Coz had changed.

Nice to know that one can still ferry across. I think we used to come across to Cancun. That ferry was definitely very seasick worthy.
The key back then and now to snorkeling at Chancanab and a few other places is to get there early in the am before the crowds stir up the bottom of the waters.
That and most of the better (more colorful fish) seem to come in closer to the shore earlier in the day.
Hoping, to also get some diving in
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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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ooo, diving.

Have you snorkeled at Akumal w/the sea turtles, and at the reefs (2) right off the beach there? If not, put that on the list. That bay did not get disturbed as much from Wilma as Coz. and some other areas...

My husband and daughter are headed to Playa tomorrow for a wk. I won't get down there til early April as the condo is tied up/ rented til then. It is like withdrawal for me.
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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Haven't been to Akumel but am putting it on the list. I just ordered a couple Yucatan and Chiapas travel books. All tips welcome.

I'm sorry for you that your condo is rented the rest of the winter. I know the owner of mine. I'll put in a word for you. She may let you have the air mattress.
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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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Do NOT miss Akumal and snorkeling there. Also there are two other nable places to snorkel easily at Akumal, Yalku lagoon and Half Moon Bay.

check this below, how cool is this - this is how good the snorkeling is right off Akumal bay, and keep going after the turtles finish

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihI6dKRCFR8

Also it would be a pity to go to the Riviera Maya area and not go to an underground cenote. The open cenotes are nice for swimming, but the nderground ones are spectacular. We went to Dos Ojos last Sept. and it was incredible. We used Edventures, as we did not want to get lost in the caves. There is one "eye" (ojo) that is ok to swim in alone but the other one that has multiple "rooms" or "chambers," there we felt much more comfortable w/the guide. For us, this is also a DO NOT MISS. Google "Dos Ojos Snorkel Tour" and look at IMAGES that come up.
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