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Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Northern Baja...
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Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

First I would like to say thanks for all the helpful information that has been shared on this forum! It was just my husband and I (both 36). I booked our flight and hotel separate, because we use Mexican regional airlines, I usually find a better deal that way. Flight was Tijuana – Cancun $560 (rt for both). We were going to do ground transportation, but that can be so exhausting and I usually regret trying to save a buck. I found a Cancun – Cozumel roundtrip on Mayair for $236 (both). I figured it would have cost us at least $100 for ground transportation (rt), so the extra $136, for convenience didn’t sound bad at all. I also found a great deal on the hotel (Iberostar) from TripGuy $775 for 7 nights. I work from home, so have time to do lots of research and they beat the price by up to $200 on other sites.

Day 1

We started off our trip by nearly missing our (non-refundable) flight, we literally had to run to the gate. We flew a Mexican regional carrier Volaris (excellent on-time service) I would definitely recommend, the flights were significantly cheaper than the major carries Mexicana and Areomexico (which I have flown) and there was no difference in service or equipment. We walked out the door and found a free airport shuttle waiting at the curb, which took us to the Mayair terminal (too far to walk with luggage). We flew on a little Cessa 6 seater, first time I had flown on something that small, but a smooth flight nonetheless.

We arrived at the hotel at 8pm, had dinner, caught the show and then headed to the disco.

Day 2

Snorkeled off the hotel pier, lots of fish. Spent the rest of the day by the pool recovering from the late night.

Day 3

Checked prices on snorkel trip at hotel dive shop something like $55 for 3hours. Called Dive Palancar (Occidental Hotel dive shop) they had a 2 reef 2 hour tour for $29 or 3 hour 3 reef tour for $35. There were not enough people for the 3 hour tour, so we took the 2 hour. They picked us up at the Iberostar pier and it ended up being just my husband and me. It was great because the guide pointed out many things we would have probably not even noticed. They actually ended up taking us to 3 reefs, Columbia, Palancar and Hollywood. We saw 2 sharks, 3 turtles and eel and too many different fish to even name. Well worth the money, especially considering we had a private guide.

Day 4

We took a cab, which apparently have raised their rates, it is now $220 pesos (or $20dlls), from Iberostar to downtown. We rented a car from Isis $35/day for a convertible bug. By the way, no large authorization on your card, like at most rental agencies. The car was great! We ended up keeping it for 4 days, as it was so convenient having wheels. The only problem we had was getting caught in a downpour and not being able to get the top up, good thing we were in our bathing suits we were drenched. We learned our lesson and were prepared for the next time.

Before the rain caught us we spent a couple of hours at the Money Bar, not too many fish, but saw a couple we had not yet seen.

Next we headed to Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club, not to many fish, mainly just people wading in the water drinking.

Just as were heading down the beach to the next stop we got caught in the downpour, so we just ended up back at the hotel.

Day 5

Woke up heavy winds, no good for snorkeling, so we headed to the east side of the island. Had a drink at Rasta’s but it was a little cloudy and with all the wind too cold to get in the water, so we just enjoyed the view. Although it looked like a good place to play in the surf.

We continued north on the eastside and stopped along the way to check out the view. The next place we stopped was at Playa Bonita (don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but there is only 1) We sat down at a table right in front with a nice view and were told that we could not sit at that table because it was for 6. The restaurant was only about 25% full and there were no cruise ships in port, so we were a little put off and decided to find somewhere else to spend our money. The beach there was beautiful, with calm waves and looked like a great place for a swim.

We continued on to Chen Rio and had a shrimp cocktail (excellent) and a few drinks. If there wasn’t so much wind this would also be a nice place to swim and maybe snorkel.

Next we headed to Coconuts for lunch. I had the shrimp with garlic and my husband a hamburger, both were good (but honestly not what I expected from the rants and raves). Maybe we’re spoiled, we live in Baja and always have good fish. There really wasn’t much action, maybe we hit it on an off day. A beautiful view though, I must say. We stopped our journey there and headed back to the hotel and finished our afternoon in the pool.

We headed to the Plaza to catch the live music. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. Although it was still pretty windy it was very lively. We danced, but it’s a nice place to hang out and watch even if you don’t. It was also very family friendly lots of kids. Highly recommend this for a cultural experience, as it was about 80% locals.

Day 6

Another windy day, thankfully we had the car. So we headed east again and swam for a couple of hours at Playa Bonita. Then we headed farther north past Coconuts to Mezcalito’s. They made an excellent Mojito and we had the fish ceviche which was delicious! We took a nap in the hammocks there and then headed to San Gervasio. We walked around for a bit, but were a little pressed for time, as it was closing. If you have been to Chichenitza or Tulum it is nothing in comparison, but if it’s something that interest you, check it out.

Day 7

We woke up to a beautiful day and headed to Chankanaab. Entry was around $15, there is a childrens lagoon and easy access (stairs) into the snorkel area. Apparently they had been closed for the last 2 days because of the high winds. All the dive shops were offering large discounts on all their services. We did an hour intro to dive for $40/pp (the resort was charging $150/pp for 2 hours), with Eduardo and San Miguel Dive Shop. Eduardo is extremely patient and was very safety conscious, constantly checking with me to make sure I was ok. I think I was a fish in another life, but an hour was sufficient, as the pressure began to give me a slight headache. When we came up I realized we had actually been down about 1 ½ hours. Excellent deal! …and the headache was gone within about 5 minutes of surfacing.

Day 8

After breakfast we headed downtown to do a little shopping before returning the car. Car return went smooth with no problems (FYI only spent about $16 refueling the car, after 4 days). We returned to the hotel and requested a late check out (our flight wasn’t until 4pm), they charged $10 an hour. We went snorkeling again for the last time at the hotel pier, showered, had lunch and were off the airport. I had heard from one of the guys at the tour desk that Mayair is notorious for canceling flights, so I called that morning to confirm and everything was fine. The tour operator also tried to talk me into changing my flight time (for an additional charge) from 4pm to 2pm, saying that might be cutting it to close for my flight from Cancun (it was at 5:45pm and a regional flight so no need to arrive more than hour prior). The Mayair flight left on time, the shuttle picked us up within 10 minutes of arriving and we arrived at the main terminal about 4:45 and had plenty of time to get to our gate. Volaris flight home on time, arrived home 10 minutes before scheduled.

It was a great trip, Cozumel is beautiful and although we usually like to try new places, we will definitely be back!

Hope this helps! …and thanks again to everyone that helped us!

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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1. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Thanks for a really excellent trip report--I enjoyed it. Agree with most all your comments! Isis is really a great value with really good service. Sounds like lots of really good food but agree about Coconuts--I have never had any really great food there but the view cant be beat.

You were here at a really windy time but sounds like you still had a great time!

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2. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Thank you for your trip report. Sounds like you had a great time. Did you take any pictures? I am really going through withdrawal without any new pics............

Rockport, Texas
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for Cozumel
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3. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Great report.. I see even though Playa Bonita wanted you to change tables you still went back the next day. They do have good food and a nice beach.. I think I would tell them we are expecting 4 more people to joine us.. the.. have a beer and leave :-)

Wonderful thing about the VW's is that they're used to getting drenched!!

Any pics to share??

Newmarket, Canada
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4. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Great report just gets me excited about my dec trip 54 sleeps

Raleigh, North...
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5. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Enjoyed the report................

Thanks for sharing your trip with us...............

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Thanks for the report. I agree with you and Robert, Coconuts food is decent but pricey, but the view is spectacular and the ambiance is nice. My vote for food on the east side is the seafood platter at Chen Rio or ceviche at the Rasta Bar.

ann arbor, mi
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7. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

Sounds like you had a great time! It took us three trips before we finally stopped at coconuts ... always very packed. Still haven't had food there. Always enjoy Chankanaab, especially on slow days!.

8. Re: Trip Report 10/14/09-10/21/09

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