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1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

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Minneapolis...
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1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Staying at Reef Residencias...we've never been to Cozumel before and we want to know if it's safe/smart to rent our own car from the airport, drive around island, etc. We are staying at Reef Residencias condos. Anything particular we should know about rental cars? Is it possible/impossible to make our way to the condo on our own? Any MUST'S you would recommend? We're not divers, we're in our 30's and love great food, great scenery and don't need wild parties. Getting away from the kids and work for a little peace and quiet. We like to get out and about somewhat while on vacation, hikes to fabulous places? Trek to gorgeous places? Any advice would be appreciated!!

Lincoln, Nebraska
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1. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

we also are staying at the reef in jan. get our car rental online from thrifty about 260 for ten days plus 22 to 25 aday for full coverage. res. reef has a great parking lot, your on the south side not far from money bar that has a 5 to 7 happy hour and great live music fri . sat. and sunday. you will want to spend aday driving around island stopping at rasta beach bar chen rio and coconuts for the view, in town dining musts guidos, ohanas, casa mission, casa dennis , elmoro, plus many more than you have time for. we are taking advantage of the properties in house shopping a little expensive but I , we did not think that was one of our favorite times.thriftys rep. will either be outside the terminal with a thrifty or dollar rent acar shirt on. don't stop and talk to anyone inside terminal . you can see there sign about 300 yards in front of you we just drag our bags over and start there, you can order maps online of all the eating , hotels , gas stations on line. the res. reef sends directions with you, only 1 road around island once you get outta downtown its a breeze. driving in town and parking alittle more effort. just don't park on main street and you should be fine. check out tigers adventures for an adult snorkel trip, look at facebook and decide if its for you he picks up at dock in front of condo its a 4 hour tour that's right gillagan

Edited: 25 August 2014, 00:01
Minneapolis...
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2. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Most from this forum will tell you to rent your car from Margarita at ISIS. Very reliable service and good deals on car with all insurance coverage. (http://www.islacozumel.net/services/isis/)

Yes....it is perfectly safe to rent a car and travel around on the island. Its safe to walk anywhere. Its just safe (period).

Driving is no problem. Just keep the ocean on your right...and you will find your way. Ask for a map when you pick up your rental car. If you rent from Margarita, she will give you a map with the in-town parking lots marked. They are easy, safe and cheap. A great map to order in advance is the MapChic map. (http://www.mapchick.com/cozumel-map/)

Do get out to dine in some of the wonderful restaurants on the island. Some of our favorites after 22 years, are:

EL MORO (washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/on-cozum…)

BLUE ANGEL (http://www.blueangelresort.com/restaurant/

BUCCANO'S AT NIGHT (http://www.buccanos.com/)

Make a reservation. Only open on Friday and Saturday nights.

DEL MUSEO (tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150809-d1…)

BTW: Do not believe the cruise post on the above thread that he was told the exchange rate was 20 pesos to the dollar. The rate has NEVER been anything near that. That guy must have been drunk.

GUIDO'S DELI: (guidoscozumel.com/eng/la-tienda-guidos-delic…) Great spot for a late breakfast or lunch.

For a pretty courtyard, especially on a rainy night, try GUIDOS ON MAIN STREET. Great oven pizza and a beautiful flowered dining area. Excellent Sangria. (http://www.guidoscozumel.com/)

We also like KONDESA. (http://kondesacozumel.com/)

DEL SUR , for empanadas. (thisiscozumel.com/other/111-other/1252-del-s…)

Some of our favorite things to do:

# One -- absolutely! SNORKEL: no matter how you do it, get out on the water to see the beautiful reefs.

A tour with Tati: (http://cozumelphototour.blogspot.com/) Hook up with the wonderful Tati Biermas. She will give you an island tour with photography as the focus. While she does short, around town tours; she will also do more custom days (I gave underwater photo sessions with Tati to my husband one Christmas) or "around the island" tours. She will customize a tour based on skill levels and interests. She is also just a lot of fun and a wealth of information about the island. You might even be able to mix snorkeling and photography with Tati as your guide.

You might like spending a day with Robert Cudney, paddling the mangroves with lunch on a secluded beach. (tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150809-d2…)

If you want to tour around the island and taste at all the remote beach bars, you may like the COZUMEL BAR HOP bus tour. No drinking and driving! (http://www.cozumelbarhop.com/)

How about a Mexican cooking class? COCINA CON ALMA (https:/…440866062656765)

Best all around shopping -- CINCO SOLE on the north end of main street.

Enjoy!

MinneSNOWta
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for Cozumel, Alexandria
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3. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Get yourself the best map evah! Great for first timers and even those that have been there several times.

http://www.mapchick.com/cozumel-map/

Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Wow, simplyred, great post!

To the OP:

-I have had great luck for many years with Thrifty, located just OUTSIDE the airport, and a short walk across the circle. If they weren't around, I would likely go with ISIS as many here do. I would choose one of those two. Both have solid reputations, whereass there are a few shady car rental agencies on the island. Either way, opt for all the insurance they have to offer, both whatever is included in the rental price and any supplemental they offer.

On that note, DON''T BE TEMTED TO RENT A SCOOTER TO RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND. PLEASE. JUST DON'T. Many here like jeep-type vehicles, but I prefer a car with a trunk so valuables can be safely locked up in the trunk while you re eating, swimming, or just walking the beach.

Like Simplyred, I like buccanno's at night. I think it is one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at anywhere, period. However, it is only open on Friday and Saturday nights, and there is enough demand that you should make a reservation well in advance. If you go, the menu items are great, but her nightly specials are always unbelievable.

I too love Kondesa, especially for the atmosphere. However, La Cocay, while not having the atmosphere of Kondesa, IMHO has food offerings second only to Buccannos. You might want to check it out.

I do not scuba either, but Cozumel is a wonderful place for even the most novice of snorkelers to enjoy seeing what is under the ocean. Be careful: Once you hit upon a beautiful reef, it might change your life. It certainly has mine, as I go back every year mostly for the snorkeling. Here is a snorkeling report I did last month:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150809-i66-k76424…

Another big draw to visitors is "driving the loop" around the island. You just take the main road going South out of town,. It will take you down tothe Southern tip of the island. There you will see the entrance to Punta Sur, an eco park, with some of the best quiet beaches, calm water and incredible snorkeling on the island.

Just outside the Punta Sur entrance is Rastas, a classic beach palapa with food and drinks right next to the crashing ocean. Note that over on the East side of the island, the water faces the open ocean and is generally rougher. For swimming, either don't go ot real far or swim at one of the protected areas. Chen Rio is the most popular (On Sundays it can get really crowded) Punta Morena. EL Mirador is a favorite of mine though less protected than the previously mentioned two.

There are several restaurants on the East side that are pretty good for beach type food. Everyone has their different favorites, but mine are El Pescador (NOT the Chen Rio restaurant) which are both located at the Chen Rio swim area, Playa Bonita Restaurant, and Mezcalitos. I love to have a drink and watch the waves at Rasta's but for some reason have never eaten there.

You will travel up the east side until you reach the transversal road ( that's were Mezcalito's is located) and the road will take a sharp left turn away from the coast and head through the jungle back to the town of San Miguel.

Take bug spray with you wherever you go, and please use only BIODEGRADABLE sunblock if you are going to get into the water.

Hope this helps.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Thanks, Eno. Appreciate the compliment.

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Thank you so much for the great info!

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Eswetmore, see my post here...http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150809-i66-k7712656-Cozumel_day_trip-Cozumel_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

You can see what we planned to do, and what we ended up doing (due to shortage of time). We rented a car from ISIS, brought our own snorkel gear, drove around the island, stopped, snorkeled, ate/drink, and kept moving.

based upon what people on this board had to say is what we did, or attempted to do - minus Punta Sur. I would make sure to add that to your list - sounds like you can spend a full day there.

Cozumel, Mexico
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8. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

There is a new car rental right at the airport called Fox. Check Fox Rent A Car.com

Baccano's for evening dinner (friday and sat. only) is closed for until Oct 31st. Open 7 days a week until 5pm.

Just be aware that you can not drive north on the old hwy.

Edited: 02 September 2014, 23:15
Cozumel, Mexico
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9. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

just an FYI, if you're staying at RR, you may want to go south around the island. Going back into town is 10 miles, but you would end up back at RR if you follow the main road around the island.

If you go south, you will hit Palancar first, then Punta Sur, Rasta's is next door, then as others mentions the other beach clubs.

Minneapolis...
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10. Re: 1st time to Cozumel...couple questions on cars & must dos!

Just returned from Cozumel and did just about EVERYTHING you mentioned above! The food at the restaurants you all suggested was SPECTACULAR!! Loved, loved, loved Cozumel! Thank you for the tips! And yes, felt TOTALLY safe to drive there...couldn't have been easier! Thank you!