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TC's 2003 Updated Cozumel Information - Things to See and Do

TC's 2003 Updated Cozumel Information - Things to See and Do

Apr 14th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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TC's 2003 Updated Cozumel Information - Things to See and Do

A word about beaches, snorkeling and all inclusive hotels: Many Internet postings report that Cozumel has no nice beaches. This information is somewhat misleading. The western shore is hard black limestone called "ironshore". Some hotel beaches are man made. While some hotels don't have typical beaches, they do have beautiful white sand terraces that are wonderful for sunning. Seawalls surround these and the sand is trucked in. They are usually equipped with umbrellas for shade, sports facilities and snack bars. Entering the water is achieved by way of a sea ladder or steps. The water at entry will be quite clear and loaded with fish and coral. Many hotels do indeed have pretty beaches. These don't typically have the best coral reefs. There are several very pretty public beaches on the western side of the island; San Francisco, Playa Sol, Playa Corona and Nache CoCom where one can spend an afternoon. They all have snack bars, beach chairs, some have pools, etc. The entire eastern side of the island is made up of gorgeous beaches, but some are dangerous due to undertow and very trashy from cruiseship dumping. So don't get hung up about beaches.

I also disagree that Cozumel is a "divers only" destination. We spend a month there every year and have done so for more than 10 years. I don't dive (my husband is a diver), but I do not feel in the least deprived. The snorkeling is easily accessible and a spectacular way to inhabit the water. There are so many activities to do and things to see that even if you don't dive or snorkel you'll enjoy a wonderful vacation.

Another real benefit of Cozumel is its fantastic choice of restaurants at comparatively modest prices. We don't recommend all inclusive meal plans. They are more suited to islands where multiple food options do not exist or where it is dangerous to leave the premises, like Jamaica. Indeed, one of the great joys of Cozumel is exploring the fine dining establishments and the wide variety of cuisine available. That said, here we go.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:47 AM
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This & That:
-Upon arrival at the airport, you will be required to take a mini-bus to your hotel. Taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, only drop them off. The bus transportation costs are equal to about $12 per person US.

-You may need the equivalent of about $15 US arrival tax and $12 US departure tax in pesos per person. This is collected at the airport, unless it has already been collected in advance by your airline - which is usually the case. Ask your travel agent.


-Hotels will do money exchanges for you, but it's not the best rate on the island. However, it is never worthwhile to stand in line on the one or two days a week that the bank is open to exchange money. The wait is tremendous and the rate is only minutely better. The best places are the little "hole-in-the-wall" exchange houses. There are also cash machines all over Cozumel now. They accept most cash cards and disperse money in pesos - think about this carefully when you tell the machine how much money you want - you want pesos not dollars. 200 pesos only equals about $20 US Do the math first. Current exchange rates can be calculated at http://www.xe.net/currency.

-There is no need to rent a car for an entire week. Taxicabs are plentiful and cheap. Cabs charge a flat rate, approximately $3 US for two people to go in to town from the North hotel zone (about 1 mile). Higher from further destinations. (About $10 US for two from the Reef Club in the southern zone.) The town is small and once you reach the center everything is within an easy 5-6-block walk. It is very safe to walk around San Miguel.

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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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-If you do rent, work with one of the car rental companies in town. They are much cheaper than the hotel rental desks. Be careful of the VW Beetles, they're not always in the best mechanical condition (actually most cars aren't, so check them carefully before you leave the rental office). Ask for a newer car. If you're willing to listen to one of the many time-share sales pitches, you can get a certificate for a $10 one-day car rental. Be careful however, this can turn into a scam with the rental companies. They'll try very hard to bait & switch by saying that they don't have any of the cars that your certificate is good for or showing you a real junker, then trying to upgrade to a more expensive car. A new VW beetle from Smart Rental went for $28 per day in 2003. Be sure to ask for a NEW car if you use these guys. The convertibles are always made from older sedans so are the worst cars of the bunch. Whoever you rent from, take a few photos of the car (or pretend to) at the time you sign the rental agreement. We have found this prevents any discussions about who put dents in the car at the time its returned.

-If you rent a car, be aware that there are only two gas stations on the island and they have very limited hours of operation. Ask where and when you can get gas and don't let your tank get low. There are no gas stations on the far side of the island.

-Traveling to the "other side" of the island: I do not recommend renting a scooter to travel to the far side of the island. It is a very long trip by scooter and it's very windy-even on good days. The trip can be uncomfortable and dangerous on a scooter. Taxi drivers will take you to the other side and wait with you at any stops for about $50 for the day. Better yet, rent a car for just one day. Go to the east side of the island on a day when it's windy or rainy on the west side. Drive south around the island. There is a nice park at the lighthouse road worth investigating . Back on the main road continue on for lunch at Chen Rio - good food, safe beach (no undertow) but dirty water or Coconuts a cliffside tropical oasis, spectacular views. If you have time, stop at San Gervasio - the most important Mayan ruin on Cozumel but quite small compared to the mainland ruins. A small entry fee ($3) with a nice guided tour. Don't buy silver here, no matter what they tell you, silver is cheaper in town. (see notes in shopping section)
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:50 AM
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-I'm not a diver although my husband is, so most of this information is geared to snorkeling. There are several good Internet sites containing Cozumel diving information. Suffice to say that the diving is spectacular. Palancar Reef is the second largest reef in the world. We love Pepe's Dive operation at The Coral Princess Resort. They are considered one of the safest and have great dive masters.

-Chancanab National Park is the big tourist attraction for snorkeling. Every cruise ship takes hordes of people there to snorkel and for a time the fish and coral were badly abused. In fact, at one time you weren't allowed to snorkel in the actual lagoon even though that's the attraction. The park has been refurbished now and is in much better condition. There are wonderful fish and coral to see as well as botanical gardens and a reproduced Mayan village. The park has added a "swim with the dolphins" program. I believe the cost is about $120 per hour. A friend saw spotted rays with 3-4 ft. wing span here. We've seen lots of barracuda here.

-Two other good choices for snorkeling:
(1.) Take your gear in a cab to a Northern zone hotel. Walk in and snorkel from their "beach". This is a very beautiful stretch of live coral reef. The fish are spectacular! The coral wall is breathtaking. No crowds! Let the current take you on a drift snorkel starting at Puerto del Sol condos and getting out at El Cozumeleno hotel. It's a nice easy ride with lots to see. (2003 Update: -Many hotels are now secured with gates and guards making it impossible to wander in and swim and snorkel from their shores like before.)

(2.) Book one of the full or half day snorkeling tours. (Cost about $40 per person) Tours from the central and northern zones travel to Santa Rosa Reef, Tormentos and Yucab Reefs usually providing drinks and lunch. Tours from the dive shop at Occidental/Diamonds Resort in the southern zone go to three reefs much farther out. One is covered with star fish, one is the Palancar Shallows. These are excellent ways to see some of the reefs that are farther from shore. The large reefs contain more diversity of fish and coral. The brain and fan corals are much larger (but not as colorful) as those closer to shore. The fish are also larger (grouper and triggerfish, sometimes turtles or rays) and dolphins are known to play around the boat wake. It's a fun day.


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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:52 AM
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-If you love to snorkel, I highly recommend that you consider buying your own snorkel gear. Many reefs are very accessible from shore. You can snorkel every day (we snorkel three times a day). The cost of renting gear is high ($7 - $10 per day for mask & tube only) and I worry about the cleanliness. The quality of rented gear isn't the greatest either. It's very important to get a proper fit and seal on the snorkel mask otherwise you'll have salt water in your eyes all the time and will hate the whole experience. The current is somewhat strong along the coast, so fins are a good idea. SportMart (or other equal quality sporting goods store) has adequate sets of snorkel equipment (mask, tube, and fins) in the reasonable price range. I've even seen them at Target at times. Quality equipment is a good investment. Buying equipment on the island is somewhat expensive, but excellent quality. Most is dive quality equipment, masks will start in the $50 range, tubes are $20+. A good bet is a silicone mask. This is the softest rubber with the best seal. You want it to fit snug but not tight. The mask should never leave deep marks on your face after you wear it. Test the seal by placing the mask on your face (without the strap around your head) inhale through your nose and hold your breath. If the mask stays on your face, its good, there are no leaks so water won't get in. Make sure that the snorkel tube mouthpiece is also made of soft silicone rubber. It will be in your mouth and rubbing on your gums, you want it to be as soft as possible.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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-If you're not a great swimmer or are a bit nervous about getting into the water to snorkel, consider using a water skier's belt. It is a simple floatation device that fits around the waist. It adds just enough buoyancy to let you feel really secure, yet doesn't hold your head up at the exaggerated angle of a collar style life vest. I'm not a good swimmer but I used one for years and it worked well. Now I use a shorty wet suit. These can be rented at dive shops for about $10 per day. This gives me the added buoyancy and added warmth. Even though the climate is tropical the water can be very cold if you stay in for more than a few minutes. I just can't say enough about the beauty underwater in Cozumel. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel secure enough to enjoy the spectacular sights.

-If, like me, you are blind without your corrective lenses consider a dive mask with correction (much like "cheater" drug store reading glasses) or consider contacts for snorkeling. The water gives a bit of magnification, but not enough to make things clear if you're dependent on corrective lenses.

-Try night snorkeling. You can rent large underwater flashlights from most dive shops for about $10. Many reef creatures only venture out at night - like amazing blue octopus.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:55 AM
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-I suggest that you purchase an underwater guidebook for the trip. A good, inexpensive one is "Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas" by Paul Humann & Ned DeLoach. It is a small (80 pg.) paperback book that costs about $12 in the US. This book has great color photos for the fish, coral and sea creatures that you will encounter. Being able to identify the underwater inhabitants really increases the fun. ISBN #1-878348-10-8 published by New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida. Phone: 904-737-6558.

-If you want to take underwater pictures, those one-use cameras work pretty well with these caveats: only use them on very sunny days, don't try to take pictures of things more than 10 feet down. Light is lost underwater very quickly and the further down the object the darker your picture will be. More than 10 feet and its just not worth the effort. The cameras are much cheaper at K-Mart in the states, than at souvenir shops on the island. Kodak will develop your photos with a special process for underwater photos. It restores a lot of the color. You have to ask for it when you drop your film.

-(We have a full condo and stay for 3-4 weeks each year, so some of the following information is related to stocking and using a kitchen.)

-Sodas and soft drinks are somewhat expensive on the island. We always take powdered lemonade mix - you can also buy this in the local grocery. (Lemonade packages look like LIMEADE - lemons are green in Mexico).

-There are several good liquor wholesalers on 30 Ave. Norte and approximately Calle 6. One sells liquor and wines and the other (across the street) sells beer. The grocery stores also carry wines, beer, etc. but be aware that no liquor is sold on Sunday afternoons.

-It's difficult to get really good coffee on the island. If this is important to you, bring your own. Decafe is usually Sanka in restaurants. You can now buy ground coffee or coffee beans at Ched Rui (not the best), The Coffee Bean, Rock n Java, and a new place called Chiapas on Calle 2 Norte near the square.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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-The BEST stores for everything (supermarket, liquor, butcher, bakery, deli, hardware, Wal-Mart all rolled into one) is Ched Rui at the south end of main street. A good second choice is San Francisco at 30 Ave. Norte and Avenida Benito Juarez.

-Ched Rui also has a Mall attached to it complete with a state of the art movie theater with movies in English with Spanish sub-titles. Great for rainy days. Only $4.

-I don't recommend placing long distance calls from the "Calling Stations" in town. It's a real racket. One call cost me $75 when I got back home. The hotels also tack on a big service charge if you call from your room even if it says that you are connected to AT&T. Some hotels now have pay phones in their lobbies that will accept AT&T or any other calling card service thus bypassing the hotel surcharges. You can also buy pre-paid phone cards to use in these pay phones at a rate of $1.00 per minute.....no strings. Just ask at the front desk. Or check with your own long distance company before leaving the states. Some have decent one-rate International plans for calls from Mexico.

-(2003 Update: There are now lots of high speed Internet cafes in town and many offer phone service to the States at 55 cents per minute. A good one is next door to Rock n Java or The Crew Members Club a few doors down.)

-Tours to the mainland: Tulum, a walled Mayan city facing the ocean + Xel Ha, a natural lagoon for snorkeling - $80 per person. Xcaret, (like Disneyland in Mexico) - drift in underground rivers, swim with dolphins (not included in price and difficult to book), orchid farm, wild birds, butterfly pavilion, food & more $60 per person. Fly to Chichen Itza - 5-hour pkg. includes flight over the jungle, tour & lunch. $100 per person.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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-If you like fishing, try a day of deep sea or tag along with some locals for the day. My husband and friends went fishing with locals last year. They just went to the town dock and negotiated with the fishermen. Our three guys went out in one of those boats that look like an overgrown rowboat with an outboard motor with three local fishermen. They used hand lines (no rods or reels), old sparkplugs as sinkers, big old handmade hooks and junk fish for bait, but caught more fish than ever before. They loved the local adventure. Very barebones. Bring your own food and drinks, take lots of sunscreen (no canopy) and bring a sturdy pair of old gloves for handling the lines. If you want a little local flavor in your vacation, this is it.

-In case of a medical emergency, life is much easier if you have Xerox copies of:
* your health care provider's insurance cards
(There is an American doctor on the island and a very good hospital)
* your drivers licenses
(Leave the real one in your hotel safe. If stopped for a driving offense, they'll want your license. Better not to have it available to surrender.)
* your airline tickets (keep copies separate from the actual tickets)
* your traveler's checks receipts (keep copies separate from traveler's checks)
* a contact list of family or friends in the U.S

-Other items to think about bringing:
Tee shirts to snorkel in (the sun will blister your back very quickly)
Rain jackets, maybe even a small umbrella and something warm - it can get cool here.
Good sunglasses
Carmex or other lip protection
Skin care lotion is good after a long day in salt water & sun
Lots of shampoo for getting the salt water out
We wash our swimsuits in soap at the end of every day; otherwise they get stiff from saltwater.
Lots of zip lock bags, pinch style clothes pins, rubber bands, twist ties, super glue and string. You can fix darned near anything with these in hand.
If you stay in a condo, bring a sharp paring knife. The ones provided are always dull as a spoon.

-While you're on the island, carry something in your wallet or purse with your hotel's name on it.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:58 AM
  #10  
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-You do not need to speak Spanish. However, if you attempt any Spanish at all, you will get the most helpful replies and grateful attitude. We have never found a place where our very limited Spanish and a few hand gestures couldn't get our message across. Learn to say please (por favor) and thank you (gracias). These words will take you far. A fun book on vacation Spanish is "Spanish for Gringos" by Wm. Harvey. It is part of the Barron's Educational Series book. The thin softback edition cost $8.95 in the US ISBN# 0-8120-4434-7

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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:58 AM
  #11  
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Favorite Restaurants:
I mention here a mix of upscale, mid-range, and low-end places that we like. We discover new places every year. The island offers everything from vegetarian to Asian, a waffle house and even Cajun. As of 2003 there are two Burger Kings, a McDonalds, a Haagen Das ice cream and lots of sushi places. If you are adventuresome or speak a little more than "shopping" Spanish I recommend you explore as many local eateries as possible. The food is wonderful and really cheap. For instance, we like to buy grilled chicken from the street vendors on Ave. 30. For $4 US you get a half chicken, a quart of cole slaw made with jicima, and a platter full of spaghetti. It's a great cheap meal.

Poncho's Backyard (Ave. Rafael Melgar between Calles 8 & 10N) Very beautiful and romantic. The setting is the thing here. (2003 Update: Ponchos food quality has slipped and we don't think it is worth the price any longer. Its still beautiful and you might want to try it for lunch.)

El Moro (75 Bis Norte No. 124 entre 2 y 4) A must. Funky family owned and operated. Out in the suburbs - take a cab because it's tricky to find. Wonderful grilled seafood. Open kitchen so you can watch the cooks. Order the Zacharias Special for two. It's a lot of great seafood. This is still the best place to eat in Cozumel.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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LaCoCay (the Firefly) Restaurant: (Calle 17 20 y 20 Ave. Bis) Phone 52-987-2.55.33 This is probably the only restaurant on Cozumel where you would need a reservation. It is the most romantic place. Very small, (10-12 table) with open air windows looking out on a lighted park and Spanish cathedral (Corpus Christi). Specializing in seafood, beef, and pasta it is owned by a highly regarded restaurateur from Montreal. Fabulous food. Order the chocolate souffle for dessert. It's worth the wait. This is one of the most expensive restaurants on the island (about $40 per person with drinks and desert)- but worth it for a beautiful, romantic night out.

Guido's Pizza (Ave. Rafael Melgar between Calles 6 & 8 N) One of the prettiest indoor courtyards (you have to go all the way to the back). Specials are wood burning oven-baked pizzas (they're great) and pastas. Excellent sangria and daily specials.

Museo de la Isla De Cozumel (the Island Museum) (Av. Rafael Melgar between Calles 4 & 6N) Make sure you have breakfast here. The restaurant is on a balcony on top of the museum. All-you-can-eat breakfast is about $6 US. The view of the bay is spectacular. There are always pelicans skim-fishing along this stretch. It's a great breakfast show.

El Turix (the Dragonfly) (Next door to LaCoCay @ Calle 17 20 y 20 Ave. Bis) phone 987 2 52 34 Authentic Yuatecan Cuisine. The dearest couple, Rafael and Maruca run this small very casual restaurant. They are very friendly and willing to help with selections. I suggest you order one of everything on the menu. It's just the right amount of food for two people and cost only a few pesos. We loved the quesadillas with pumpkin blossoms inside. They prepare excellent seafood paella on special nights.

La Verandah (Calle 4 Norte between 5a Ave. Norte and 10a Ave. Norte) Caribbean-style island house with a front porch and garden. Dining inside or out (the candlelit garden is gorgeous at night). International menu includes fish & chips, barbecue chicken, roast-beef, fajitas, stir-fried vegetable, rack of lamb and grilled seafood. (Moderate prices) Not fantastic food, but great atmosphere. Order something real simple. Very sporadic service.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:00 AM
  #13  
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Casa Denis ( 1 Sur 16 on the backside of the main square, across from the open-air flea market) This is a fun place. Cheap, good Mexican food - tacos, enchiladas, chicken mole. Fun to sit and people watch outside. It looks a little tacky, but don't be shy. It's really good and the waiters are silly and fun. The salsa is killer hot. Try a watermelon liquada. We go here very often.

La Choza (Calle Adolfo Rosado Salas @ 10 Ave. Sur): Some of the best seafood anywhere and good traditional dishes too. Wonderful fresh fruit margaritas. (Moderate prices) We go back here often for the grilled fish with garlic sauce.

Rock & Java (Ave. Rafael E. Melgar {main street} in the southern hotel zone near Plazas Los Glorias): "To-die-for" desserts and coffee. The very best carrot cake I've ever eaten.

La Mission has moved and is now located on Calle Adolfo Rosado Salas just off the main street. They do good fish.

Ambar: La Cucina Italian has closed as of 2003. The owners have a new - very upscale - place near the town square. Its quite New York stylish with lots of hanging white curtains and a beautiful back garden. We didn't eat there but it looks great.

Coffeelia on Calle 7 near the waterfront, a great new place for breakfast or lunch. The Dutch style crepes are amazing.

Especias on Calle 5 Sur at Ave. 10. Loved this new (in 2003) very little restaurant. Excellent food; fish with a light cilantro sauce and deliciously prepared filet of beef for $9 US. Outstanding. Call for a reservation as there are only four tables. 044-987-876-15-58.

Found a new deli with many American offerings. Pacsa Deli at the corner of Calle 2 Sur and 50 Ave. Norte. Many island restaurants purchase here.

Manati: (2003 update) Many on Fodor's bulletin board have liked it - we didn't. Our four dinners were all different and all bad. From island insiders we heard that the original chef has left and the cooking chores have been taken over by his sister. Not a good thing in our opinion.

Many of the island hotels have wonderful restaurants also. You might want to try the El Presidente or the Sol Cabanas del Caribe.

Don't be afraid to eat or drink in Cozumel. The water in all the hotels and restaurants is bottled and purified. We've never had a problem with water, ice or food and we eat in some pretty funky places.

Keep in mind that things change on the island, so there might be new places and some of these could be gone since we were there last. I try to keep the list pretty up-to-date.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:01 AM
  #14  
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Let's go shopping. - Vamos de copras!

-The Farmers Market (Calle Adolofo Rosado Salas between 20 and 25, inside the white building on the left) A true local market. Great produce, herbs, meat, fish, and "to go" food from the shop owners stalls at the back. Wander all through, many tourist items can be bought for a fraction of the cost of downtown. Wonderful photo opportunities here - look for the whole pig's heads. Go before noon.

-Los Cinco Soles (Av. Rafael Melgar 27 between Calles 8 & 10 N) the best craft shopping. Be sure to take in their art and furniture galleries, it has somewhat limited hours -usually when the ships are in town. This place also has an extraordinary tequila shop and shot bar. There are 100+ different kinds of tequila from $2 to $700 per bottle.

-Another beautiful item here is the Mexican pewter. It looks so much like silver and comes in an amazing array of styles in tableware, candle holders, etc. I use this often as wedding gifts. Mexican pewter is a non-toxic product made of an alloy of aluminum, tin and a small amount of lead that can be cast into almost any form. Since it is non-toxic, pewter can be used for serving food and it's maintenance is very simple. Do not leave it in contact with acidic foods like lemon, tomatoes, vinegar, etc. for long periods of time, as this can damage the finish. Pewter can be used in conventional ovens, but never in microwaves. Always wash pewter gently,in warm soapy water wiping in one direction only, to prevent scratching. Do not wash pewter in a dish washer. It is necessary to dry pewter utensils thoroughly as moisture can cause staining. To maintain ornamental pewter, simply wipe it occasionally with a clean, dry flannel cloth.

-I think Cinco Soles has very good silver jewelry. It is high quality and there is no game playing with prices. Just a specific discount for cash over credit card. Prices are clearly marked on tags.

-Another great place with very artistic silver jewelry can be found at The Silver Emporium - a large modern looking glass fronted building on the north end of the main street. They have excellent quality, good original designs and will deal about 15-20% off the ticketed price.
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:02 AM
  #15  
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**A Note about Mexican Silver: Sterling silver is indicated by "925" stamped somewhere on the silver, which certifies that there are 925 grams of pure silver per kilogram, or that the silver is 92.5% pure. Look for this mark or you may pay a high price for an inferior quality that is mostly nickel, or even silverplate called alpaca. Also know that this silver scratches quite easily when worn. The "weathering" is just part of the eventual look. That said, the silver is beautiful, inexpensive and looks great with a tan.

**A Interesting Note about buying jewels: Posted by Diver Dan on the Cozumel Travel Forum, February 19, 2001 " I was intrigued a couple of years ago when I went to Cozumel with a friend who is in the business of growing rubies - yes, you can grow rubies in your garage, with the right equipment & materials. The man-made rubies are called Cashon - they are chemically & physically indistinguishable from natural stones, except they are normally clearer, with less inclusions (those tiny specks of impurities that lodge in all gemstones as a result of other elements that get stuck during crystal structure growth) and variable in color, as a result of incomplete mixing of the chromates that give rubies their red color. There are also man-made emeralds (although the process is much more dangerous, as the coloring agent in emeralds is very highly toxic before it sets in the crystal structure). Anyway, a properly trained gemologist can tell, with a sufficiently powered microscope, the difference between Cashon (man made) rubies & natural, based upon crystal structure, growth lines, inclusions, etc. - natural stones sell for up to $3,000 per carat, depending on size, quality, color & clarity, while Cashon sells for between $4 per carat (for very small chips) and $60-$80 per carat. I went with my friend to several of the jewelry stores on Cozumel, & she pulled out her Jewelers' Loupe and a small portable microscope to inspect several rubies - all of which were being offered as "Natural". To no great surprise, a fair percentage of these stones (less than half, but in all size & price ranges) were in fact Cashon, worth only a small fraction of the offering price. A significant percentage of the emeralds offered had been oiled, a common practice with emeralds - the oil seeps into microscopic pores in the crystal - it enhances the color and refractive qualities of the stone, but the gems won't continue to look like that after the oils seep out and evaporate or discolor with age. Advice: Unless you are very knowledgeable about gemstones, and bring your jeweler's loupe with you, think twice about buying expensive jewelry in Cozumel." (I didn't write this, but it sure is interesting. TC)

-PECH Artesanias (30 Ave. between Calle 8 & 10 Norte) if you like the Talavera handpainted ceramic dinnerware at Mi Casa and Cinco Soles, try this "outlet" store for better prices.

-Bakery Zermatt (Calle 4 N at Av. 5N) the best bakery in town.

-Mi Casa (Av. Rafael Melgar between Calles Rosado Salas & S 3) hand-painted pottery, tableware, vases, pewter and silver. Beautiful.

-Tee shirts are always cheaper in the funky little shops that run along the backside of the square than they are in the tourist shops up front. (Ave.10)

Vaya con Dios! Que disfrute!
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:03 AM
  #16  
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AND NOW A WORD OF MY OWN ABOUT CORAL REEFS.

"We do not inherit the earth from our parents. It is lent to us by our children,"
so goes an old Chinese proverb. This is especially true of the underwater world and coral reefs. The world's reefs are being destroyed at such a rapid rate that by the time our children inherit this world, there may be nothing under the sea worth viewing.

What Can One Person Do?

Keep hands, fins and equipment off of coral reefs and marine animals when diving, snorkeling, or fishing. Even minimal human contact can break or destroy coral polyps and injure fish and animals.

Don't stir up sediment - it cuts off sunlight needed for photosynthesis. The coral reef begins with algae that use sunlight to make food. The algae nourish the tiny coral animals known as polyps. Coral polyps secrete a hard, stony shell of calcium carbonate that builds up over time becoming the actual coral reef.

Keep coral and marine creatures alive and underwater for your next visit - don't bring home collected souvenirs. Buy an underwater photograph instead. The shells you see on the ocean floor have living creatures inside.

Don't throw trash into the water. Plastic bags wrap around branching corals, causing them to suffocate and die. Bags, six-pack rings and cigarette butts kill great numbers of marine animals through entanglement and ingestion.

Protect your skin from the sun with a shirt whenever possible. Oily sunscreen can contaminate and suffocate corals.

Don't urinate in the water near coral reefs. Coral polyps, reef fish and other sea creatures are susceptible to disease-carrying bacteria and viruses from human contamination.

Don't anchor on the reefs. A thoughtless toss of an anchor can easily destroy years of coral growth. A dragging anchor rope from a boat swinging in the current can chafe through or snap off fragile coral branches in a few minutes.

Dive with responsible operators that are committed to keeping coral reefs alive.

Please help preserve the coral for future generations.

Thank you. (Gracias)
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:09 AM
  #17  
TC
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
I hope this limited information helps travelers enjoy Cozumel as much as we do. Please keep in mind that these are only my own opinions, I'm sure many others have much to add to my bit. Although I am NOT a Cozumel expert by any stretch (just an enthusiastic visitor) I will be happy to try to answer any additional questions. I don't always read this post faithfully, so contact me via email at [email protected]
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Apr 14th, 2003, 08:29 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,658
Thanks TC, for the great and informative update.
We leave next Tuesday for our tenth year in Cozumel.
I am looking forward to the old favorites like El Moro and Casa Denis, as well as trying out the new places (have heard nothing but good things about Especias.)
Do you know which restaurant it was/is that has/had the lions in cages?
We would like to avoid that for sure, and I really was hoping after that girl was injured they would make them remove those poor animals.
I thought I had read it was La Mission, but not sure?
Also, do you know if they plan to reopen Joe's (reggae bar) anyplace else?
We heard the new location closed, and we really enjoyed going to the old place over the years.
What else is new/closed/different since this time last year?
Thanks!
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Apr 14th, 2003, 02:30 PM
  #19  
TC
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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The place with the lions is La Mission. Not the old La Mission near town, but one called something like Casa la Mission. It is more like a private home and in a more residential district, but owned by the same people.
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Apr 21st, 2003, 10:15 PM
  #20  
TC
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Topping for Jeanette.
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