Hi, we are back from a much too short trip to Cozumel. I am posting a full hotel review and pics under hotels review, and will give lots of details on hotel there, but here is a summary of what we did while there!
Got in about 3:30 PM and made it to hotel about 4:30 PM, got our room request with a King room (#530) on top floor toward north end. That night just relaxed, checked out resort, ate at Mexican restaurant, and had a jacuzzi.
Up about 7:00 AM. Ate breakfast buffet at CP. Then walked downtown and check that out. Had some gellato at a great place called Sorrisi on Calle 3 Sur.
Walked back to hotel and went to pool for a couple hours and did some snorkeling off property. Lots of fish near shore and some jellyfish out by the bouys.
After lunch at the grill, I had my resort scuba course through Aqua Safari at 12:30 PM. My bf although certified hasn't dived in three years, so he also had to take a refresher course. He ended up in the same class with me and one other couple, and they just had him demonstrate a few extra skills.
I was VERY glad I had read my bf's PADI instruction book before so I knew what to expect as far as skills practice, because the Instructor's classroom instruction was a bit confusing and disjointed, especially in that he just kind of ran through the skills without explaining the "why" of them or putting them into context. There also was a slight language barrier. I was glad my bf ended up in our class, because he helped out a lot, in extra explanations to the other couple, who had no scuba knowledge. We also felt a bit rushed in our skills practice as we had to be done by the time the boat came to pick us up.
Also there was no pool work, just straight into the ocean off some slippery steps that were HARD to get in and out of with tank on your back. I would suggest doing a free pool course at your local scuba shop to feel more comfortable and make sure you have a grasp of the basics to make the resort course more enjoyable.
After the classroom and ocean practice, we went out to Paradise reef and dived in about 25 feet. The instructor held my hand and the other girl's hand throughout the dive, and my bf followed behind holding hands with the other guy in the class. After about 10 minutes I relaxed enough to start enjoying the fish and reef, and ended up liking it very much. We dove for about 40 minutes, and got back to the Palace at 4:30 PM
That night we ate at the Asian restaurant in the resort. Wanted to go into to town afterwards but were a bit pooped so relaxed on our deck and had a jacuzzi.
Breakfast buffet in the morning and then off to Chankannab on the Palace tour at 9 AM. Snorkeled for a while there, more fish than at the Palace snorkeling and some underwater statutes that were interesting.
We had booked the dolphin swim and snorkel and prepaid as part of our non-refundable package before I read about the dolphin controversy here. Since they already had the money, figured might as well see it firsthand. They kept them in pens during the day, alternating them out for the dolphin swims. They said at abot 4 PM they let them out into the larger swim area where they were free for the night, but I did feel kind of sorry for them. There was a baby dolphin in one of the pens right next to where we were, as well as a pregnant dolphin due in a couple weeks. They had our dolphin do some tricks, petting it, gave us kisses, and pull us around by its fins, for photo ops and a video they put together. All in all, was OK but I am sure swimming with them in their natural environment would be a lot more interesting.
That night we took a cab over to 30th Avenue to try out some local food. We stopped at Chilango's first and I had a nopales cactus quesadilla and my bf had a pork hurache. The were 18 pesos each and HUGE and so good! With two large jamaica frescas, we spent about 70 pesos. We wanted to then go to Los Seras for tacos but were too full! So we walked from there back towards the beach and stopped at the Gellato place again. Wandered around town and walked back to the Palace. Had a couple drinks and went to sleep.
SATURDAY - 3/10
Got up early to catch the Ferry over to Play del Carmen. Picked up a rental car at Playacar Palace and ate at their breakfast buffet (lot larger and more choices than Coz Palace, but had a LOUND marrachi band playing inside the buffet restaurant).
After breakfast headed to Tulum. It was extremely hot. We decided against hiring a personal tour guide and bought a book guide at the bookstore there. We still got some "tour guide" info, just from overhearing other guides while touring. Beach there is really pretty. We spent about an hour and 1/2 at Tulum and then started heading back.
We stopped at Xel-Ha Palace on way back. It is HUGE, very spread out. Very uncrowded, serene and quiet. Some palapas were missing there roofs, apparently all the hurricane repairs have not been done, that part of the resort was blocked off from view by tall green fencing.
It has tons of animals: Monkeys, Cats, Crocodiles, Deer, Turtles, Snakes, an indoor domed aviatory, etc. It was almost like visiting a jungle zoo. We took a LONG walk to the beach there, stopping to check out the various animal exhibits. The beach was rocky and rough, I cut my foot trying to wade in a little bit, so we ended up just laying out and having a drink. Pool was nice and big and there was a great children's pool with water slides, jungle gym, etc in it. After that, took the trolley back to the lobby which runs about every 10 minutes.
Headed back to Playacar and had a quick lunch at their buffet because wanted to catch next ferry back to Cozumel. We got back to Cozumel at 2:30. Stopped AGAIN for gellato at Sorrisi (can you tell we liked the gellato? :)) Then hopped a cab back to the Cozumel Palace. Where we snorkeled and spent time by the pool for rest of afternoon. That night ate at the Italian restaurant.
SUNDAY - 3/11
Had to leave :(. Way too short of time. Wished we had stayed the whole week. Just snorkeled and spent time at pool before check out at noon, then lunch at buffet and off to airport.
I will post more on the Cozumel Palace specifically on my hotel review! Let me know if you have any questions!