I am going to Cozumel for the last week of October and need help deciding where to stay. I intend on renting a car because I don't want to be in town, just relatively close. I'm coming to dive, not shop. :-) However if there are areas on the fringes of town that fit what I'm looking for, I'm open. Never been there, so I don't know what to expect. I REALLY don't want to see a Walmart because I think my eyes will melt out of their sockets. I know its there, I just don't want to see it so I can remain blissfully in denial.
-Not a template, sterile resort. Don't need a swim-up bar, no all-inclusive (isn't part of the adventure trying new restaurants?)
-On a sandy beach that had shade, and is a peaceful place to read. Doesn't necessarily need to be swim-in... I'll be spending my water time below the surface. If it exists, a beach where I will not constantly be hassled by vendors.
-I do appreciate luxury/comfort and am very aesthetically oriented, but don't need a 5-star. For a place that is really cool, HAS CHARACTER and a friendly vibe, I do not mind sacrificing luxury... I just want a clean, tastefully decorated, ocean view room, preferably with a private balcony, hot water with good pressure, a/c and a mini-fridge. Can't stand tacky decor. And I would like to pay no more than $130, preferably a good deal less.
-A dive shop that doesn't crowd their dives in close walking distance would be AWESOME, but again, I will have a car, so can be flexible there.
I'm a somewhat mischievous 36-year-old woman traveling solo, and would like to be in a place where I can meet others to play with. :-)
Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated!!