We returned to El Cozumeleno after staying there in December. We had sent a few emails requesting a first floor room in the new tower – none of which were returned, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But upon checking in found we had 1102 – the very first room after the lobby on the first floor. It was a little noisy at times as people leaving the lobby would still be kinda of loud, but it was no big deal. That room has some nice foliage by the patio so it helped shade our patio which was also kind of nice. We had a little bit of noise from the nearby kitchen but tolerable. Bonus was it was probably the closest room to the ice cream machine and soda fountain!
Food: Maybe it was a matter of just having been there <3 months ago, but the food seemed even more tired this time than last. We chose to eat out almost every night – partially because we didn’t like the buffet offerings, but partially because there were so many restaurants in town we wanted to try. We had one dinner in 6 at the resort.
Drinks: I really felt like they were cutting corners on drinks this time. No real limes for beer. Lime juice instead. In December, they had Baileys. This time they did not. In December, my wife’s banana daiquiri was made with a real banana, this time some yellow crap out of a bottle. This was a disappointment to me. Food I can overcome, drinks…not so much.
Service: Great as always. Really appreciated Alma out by the pool, she’s great. The activities staff, as usual, were big hits with my youngest child. They enhance the El Coz experience greatly.
Snorkeling: Water conditions were not nearly as good this time – water was murkier. The first day we arrived the storm from the prior day had pushed a lot of brown water and seaweed in. To the north of the pier the water was brown all the way out to the end of the pier…yuk. Thank god we were NOT at the Melia. I will never stay at the Melia – the risk of that yuk water on your beach… NO THANKS. Walked down to the old sol cabanas resort and snorkeled back once – again not nearly as good as December. Wanted to do it again, but the last couple days the surf was up, so didn’t feel like getting smacked into the shore.
Getting back I have read some interesting reviews, a couple of the negative ones are frankly full of it and I feel I have to comment:
• The music by the pool is satellite radio and they rotated stations everyday. I didn’t hear a single song twice, let alone ‘the same 5 songs’ over and over.
• I have still not seen a bird actually pull food straight from the buffet. I am sure it happens, but some of the reviews made it sound like they were perched there chowing away. People need to do a better job of bussing their own plates when done in the snack bar. The bird complaints to me are very over-exaggerated by some.
While we had a good time at El Coz again, I think next trip we will be searching for something different. For one, given our activities away from the hotel and desire to eat out in town, I am not sure staying at an AI really makes sense for us. We do love being in a place with other families, beach volleyball, etc – so the trick will be finding a non-AI that still fills that need. I am thinking Hotel Cozumel might be the logical choice. The other thing that will be tricky is that our kids are now totally spoiled by the AI eat and drink whenever they want setup – not sure they will adjust well to non AI. If we do AI again, I think we will probably try Fiesta Americana or Park Royal just to try something different.
Day 1 – Ferried over to PDC and went to Xplor. In one word – Awesome. Xplor is amazing… the kids and us – loved it. Zip lines were great, as was the cave activities. The scenery itself is great. It was about $85 each to get in (prepaid online), but the nice thing is once you are in, you don’t need money for anything. They give you as many lockers as you need. They have a lunch buffet (a good one I might add) that is included as well as a drink bar that made great smoothies. The only bad part of the day was the ferry ride over was rough – lots of people getting sick. I needed to bargain for the taxi price to Xplor also – we paid $15, we shared a van back with 4 others who said they only paid $11.
Day 2 & 3 – Oldest daughter and I made official dives #6 – 10 with blue project diving. We loved Blanca, Paco, and everyone at blue project. From my initial email contact, everything was absolutely perfect. They were right on time Friday meeting us at our hotel to try on gear, and do the paperwork. The gear we rented was the best we have used thus far. The first day out we were the only ones going and it was so nice to set the schedule to our needs (we’re not morning people so a later start is nice). The second day was with another couple, but we pushed for another later start and they were fine with it. We’ve done ‘big boat’ operations now and small ones, and I personally will never go back to the big guys again.
When we used the in house people in December, we had to be ready to go at 7am from the pier. Then we went to an intermediate location, reorganized boats, then went to dive. Then came back and took a cab. We arrived back at almost 2:00.
Contrasted to this time – slept in, had leisurely breakfast, left at 8:40 via taxi to the caleta, fast boat to the 1st dive spot – do two dives with interval on a beach, return to caleta and taxi back – in room by 1 pm. Ahhhhhhhhhh!
Day 4 – Sailed on the Adelaide; I had heard so many good things about this trip, maybe my expectations were too high. We’ve always done larger (Fury type) snorkel cruises and wanted to try a smaller version. My wife and I found it relaxing, the kids were a little bored. The first of two snorkel spots we went to was just ok – the 2nd – right by the caleta was much better. The food was very good – as advertised, the guacamole truly was the best guac we had this trip. To be fair, Kim did not sail that day, so maybe we missed part of the Adelaide experience by not getting to meet Kim. I think the final analysis for us is that we are just ‘snorkeling tripped’ out – this being our 4th one over various locations (Hawaii, aruba, and now 2 in coz). Plus now that we are diving… I think that limits the maximum enjoyment you can get out of snorkeling.
Day 5 – just chilled at the hotel and packed up for the departure the next day.
Wet Wendys Margarita House – I wanted to try their margaritas, but I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the best food. First off, the margaritas are great….but I was blown away by the food. My blackened chicken chipotle mango burrito was great…. We got some regular nachos and they too were fabulous. Service was great and the atmosphere was very welcoming. By the way, there are some places you eat at night where you need something to keep you warm – this is one of them, the breeze blows through the plaza behind the restaurant. The menu is pretty kid friendly too – if you happen to have a kid who struggles eating out in Cozumel (like we do)…. Nachos, chicken fingers, burgers….. but they also have some good Mexican fare.
Del Sur Empanadas – loved it. The empanadas are delicious, Rene is a very welcoming and gracious host. I want to go back and try the meat platter perhaps. The kids shared a ribeye and it was as good a steak as you will find on the island. We had beef, shrimp, spinach and tomato basil empanadas and the dulce la leche and apple cinnamon for dessert. I don’t know which one was my favorite – we both though the apple cinnamon was the best dessert one.
La Choza – amazing Mexican food. Kids like their beef kabobs, my chili relleno was amazing (I will have a hard time settling for one in the US now, it was so different…and SO much better). It is a little pricier than some restaurants, but a great atmosphere with impeccable service.
La Mission – the only repeat for us from last trip – it was good as always. I had the coconut shrimp this time which was fantastic. I loved the presentation in a coconut shell filled with coconut milk / cream…. yum.
Corona Sports Bar – the only place we ate at that didn’t make our ‘return to list’. It might be a good place to catch a game and have a beer, but the food was just ok and it took forever, even though it was empty. I don’t understand how this is the #1 ranked restaurant in Cozumel on TA. Maybe it’s a great place to catch a game in the afternoon and have a beer, but if you are looking for a dinner out, I’d go somewhere else.
Still so many restaurants I want to try…. I think one of the reasons I want to return to coz is to EAT!
Until next time :)