Becky and I recently visited Cozumel, Mexico. We stayed for 5 days/4 nights at the Wyndham Resort (all-inclusive, air fare through Continental, round-trip airport transfers, all for $1350 for the two of us). Here’s our first travel tip...don’t stay at the Wyndham (stunk like sewer and ocean views weren’t really ocean views). Second travel tip...when you arrive at the airport in Cozumel, go through customs, get your checked bags and walk straight out of the building to the people holding signs up outside. If your airport transfers are included, your ride will be looking for you out there. All the guys on the inside of the airport are trying to sell you more expensive travel arrangements. The guys you pre-paid aren’t allowed to come inside so they stand just beyond the doors yelling your name and holding up signs. Of course, if your package didn’t include airport transfers, you’re own your own (it cost $9 per person to go from the airport to the Wyndham).
I arranged to do some diving with Sea Robin
on Tuesday. They picked us up from a pier just down the beach from our hotel (cost $3 to get on the pier). And we didn’t have far to travel by boat before we were at our dive site. We first dove at Palancar Gardens
, lots of coral and marine life, nice "swim throughs", average depth of 80’. We then took a break on land where all the dive boats go to for a surface interval. Our second dive was at Palancar Reef
, a very relaxing drift dive with Hawks Bill turtles and wonderful coral formations, average depth of 60’. The boat that Sea Robin uses has a cover (to provide shade from the very HOT sun), and they gave us drinks and fruit after the dives. The dive master, Eduardo, knew all the places to check out underwater...and he never rushed us.
We enjoyed Sea Robin so much that we used them a second time to take our wives snorkeling while we dove some more...this time at Columbia Shallows
...average depth of 35’ with very colorful coral, tons of fish and very clear water.
Here is my third travel tip for scuba divers...I recommend that all DiveBuddy members give Sea Robin a try next time you’re in Cozumel. Tell them Greg from DiveBuddy.com sent you :)
Becky and I partied some during the day and night (free drinks at the resort daily and one crazy night at Senior Frogs...I won a margarita drinking contest using a baby bottle :) The resort only had XX (Dos Equis) to drink...but who cares...it’s beer!
You also have to try Los Otates...it’s a very authentic Mexican place downtown somewhere, couldn’t tell you where...but all taxi drivers know. Here’s my fourth tip, agree on a travel price before you get in the taxi...and make sure it’s for everyone in your group, not a per person rate...and let them offer the first price before you negotiate lower. We went to Los Otates around 2am, there were many locals hanging around so you know it had to be good.
Regarding money in Cozumel...bring mostly U.S. Dollars and some Mexican Pesos. You can get Mexican Pesos for a decent exchange rate at the airport or take money out of an ATM machine at the airport in Cozumel, it will give you Pesos and your bank usually gives you a good exchange rate. The reason you want some Pesos, is that a lot of vendors or tour operators have a horrible exchange rate. They’ll say 1 dollar or 10 pesos. But right now, $1 is equal to a little over 13 pesos, so you’re better off paying them the 10 pesos.
Regarding safety in Cozumel...I never once felt threatened. That might have something to do with the big group we walked around with (4 couples). But other than the aggressive street vendors trying to sell you Cuban cigars and Rolex watches, I felt 100% safe the entire time (plus I’m bald and rather big, maybe that scared them away :)
We had a wonderful vacation in Cozumel. The diving was great, the weather was great, the people were great, the price was right. Here are a few of the pictures we took: