Thursday 21 February 2019

MEXICO: Visit Cozumel, Beware Of Wide Spread Scams At All Gas Stations

Cozumel is a Caribbean island just off the Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. It has great beaches, nice people, and safe streets, with prices comparable to other Mexican tourist destinations.

Cozumel was badly hit in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, but, with few exceptions, has been completely repaired.

Cozumel being an island and municipality in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. The municipality is part of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

The economy of Cozumel is based on tourism, with visitors able to benefit from the island's balnearios, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel.

The island is located in the Caribbean Sea along the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula about 82 km (51 mi) south of Cancún and 19 km (12 mi) from the mainland. The island is about 48 km (30 mi) long and 16 km (9.9 mi) wide.

With a total area of 477.961 km2 (184.542 sq mi), it is Mexico's largest Caribbean island, largest permanently inhabited island, and Mexico's third-largest island, following Tiburoon Island and Isla Angel de la Guarda.

The majority of the island's population lives in the town of San Miguel which is on the island's western shore.

The municipality, which includes two small areas on the mainland enclaved within the Municipality of Solidaridad with a land area of 10.423 km2 (4.024 sq mi), has a total land area of 647.33 km2 (249.93 sq mi).

The island is covered with mangrove forest which has many endemic animal species. Cozumel is a flat island based on limestone, resulting in a karst topography. The highest natural point on the island is less than 15 m (49 ft) above sea level.

The cenotes are deep water-filled sinkholes formed by water percolating through the soft limestone soil for thousands of years. Cozumel's cenotes are restricted to qualified cave divers with appropriate credentials.

Tourism, diving and charter fishing comprise the majority of the island’s economy. There are more than 300 restaurants on the island and many hotels, some of which run dive operations, have swimming pools, private docks, and multiple dining facilities.

Other water activities include para-sailing, kitesurfing, and a tourist submarine. There are also two dolphinariums. At the cruise ship docks, there are several square blocks of stores selling Cuban cigars, jewellery, T-shirts, tequila, and a large variety of inexpensive souvenirs.

San Miguel is home to many restaurants with a huge variety of different cuisines, along with several discotheques, bars, cinemas, and outdoor stages.

The main plaza is surrounded by shops; in the middle of the plaza is a fixed stage where Cozumelenos and tourists celebrate every Sunday evening with music and dancing.

All food and manufactured supplies are shipped to the island. Water is provided by three different desalination facilities located on the island.

The Festival of Santa Cruz and El Cedral Fair is a historical tradition held in the town of El Cedral, in the south of Cozumel Island at the end of April. This annual event is said to have been started over 150 years ago by Casimiro Cardenas.

Cardenas was one of a group that fled to the island from the village of Saban, on the mainland, after an attack during the Caste War of Yucatanin 1848. The attackers killed other villagers, but Cardenas survived whilst clutching a small wooden cross.

Legend has it that Cardenas vowed to start an annual festival wherever he settled, to honor the religious power of this crucifix.

Today, the original Holy Cross or Santa Cruz Festival forms part of the wider Festival of El Cedral, which includes fairs, traditional feasts, rodeos, bullfights, music and competitions. The celebrations last about 5 days in all and are held every year at the end of April or beginning of May.

The Cozumel Carnival or Carnaval de Cozumel is one of the most important carnival festivities in Mexico. It has been celebrated as a tradition beginning from the late nineteenth century and fills Cozumel’s streets with parades. It begins the week before Mardi-Gras in February.

Cozumel's Carnaval is a tradition which has been passed down through many generations that celebrates a mixture of cultures that escaped to the warm embrace of Cozumel.

Dating back to the mid-1800s, Cozumel Carnaval was started by young people dressed in vibrantly colorful costumes known as Estudiantinas or Comparsas, who expressed themselves in the streets of Cozumel through the artforms of dance, song, and fantasy.

Cozumel has an international airport whos Airport Code is CZM, which receives direct flights from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Halifax, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, and Toronto as well regional flights from Mexico City.

However, most of the travelers fly into Cancun whos Airport Code is CUN, which generally has more flights. Take a bus or van south to Playa del Carmen and take the ferry across to Cozumel.

A shared van from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen will cost around 300 pesos per person one-way, where a bus will be around 130 pesos or $12 USD if you do not have pesos handy, per person one-way.

Also you can take a small plane to Cozumel from Cancun airport's domestic terminal. It takes just 15 minutes and the trip is an amazing experience for about $75 USD per person one way.

There are nearly hourly rides to and from Playa del Carmen and it will take you about 35-40min on the ferry. There are two companies in service. They are called Ultramar and Mexico Waterjets.

Ultramar was 150 pesos per person one direction and Mexico Waterjets was as low as 45 pesos. Mexico waterjets depart from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel every full hour at 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21 o'clock.

To get from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen you can go at 07:30 and at the full hour at 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 20 o'clock. There are two companies, so buy a single ticket because you may need to use the other ferry company coming back and the tickets aren't transferable,two one-way tickets cost the same as a return anyhow.

A car ferry leaves from Calica, a few kilometers south of Playa del Carmen, pass Xcaret. The car ferry from Puerto Morelos no longer exists.There are 4 ferries each day, but the first at 04:00 AM and the second at 08:00 AM are specially for supply and logistics of the locals and islander.

So take the ferry at 12:15 PM and 06:00 PM. From Cozumel back to the mainland you can take all ferries: 06:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 04:00 PM and 08:00 PM. Rental cars are allowed and cost 400 pesos for the car and driver. You purchase your tickets in the wait line at the dock.

Recommend you get in line at least one hours before the scheduled departure time. But parking in Cozumel city is a nightmare and you will be ticketed and they will remove your rear license plate that can only be retrieved at the policia station on Quintana Roo Ave.

That is about 300 feet beyond the intersection with Ave Rafael E melgar, the main road that runs along the waterfront at a cost of 300 pesos if you pay within 24 hours,600 pesos after 24 hours.

Cruise ships often visit the island. A few can dock virtually downtown. A larger pair of piers lies about two miles south of downtown San Miguel, and primarily serves Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships.

If many ships arrive the same day occasionally in high season, some may moor offshore and tender passengers to docks virtually downtown.

Walk, rent a car, or take a taxi; there is no public traffic out of town. The docks are saturated by pushy agencies trying to lure you into car rentals and activities. The younger travelers or anyone who has free time may want to take them up on their offer.

Always check first so you are not getting scammed but it is usually just a timeshare offer. You pay about $20 for a jeep rental or a moped for the entire day and you get free breakfast at a five star resort.

A regular day car rental is around $55, but speaking Spanish will get you a discount 95% of the places if you ask. For example, the posted price for a VW Pointer at Less-Pay next to Hotel Barracuda is $40, without insurance and taxes.

As an American who speaks Spanish, you can get that same car for 350 pesos, with insurance and taxes. Even if prices are posted, they can be bargained. Scooters half that ~25 dollars.

Be aware that the rental insurance usually does not include scams. If any part of the rented vehicle will get stolen you will have to pay for it from your own pocket. There are options of additional insurance options though, paid on top of the rental price.

Alternatively, taxis are always available and will take you to the west-shore beaches for $20 onwards, depending on distance and number of people. Taxis cost between $2 and $3 or 30 to 60 pesos for intra-town destinations. Like the rest of Cozumel, they accept US Dollars at the current exchange rate.

Bicycle rentals are also available. The Cozumel rent-a-bike offers several different types of bicycles. The rates vary depending on how many days you want to rent the bicycle. One day is 20 USD. Two or three days is 15 dollars a day. 4 or more days is 15 dollars a day.

It should be mentioned that the majority of traffic accidents that befall tourists involve scooters or motos. These accidents seem to be due to a few factors:

Some inexperienced riders expect that if they can drive a car, then they can drive a scooter.

Some riders are unfamiliar with driving practices and conditions in Mexico.

Roads are not always in the best condition, and potholes are generally unmarked.

Scooters offer substantially less protection from accidents than anything with four wheels.

Many accidents are also caused by tourists having too many alcoholic drinks and then driving motos.

Scooters can be a great way to explore the island, but should only be driven by experienced riders. If you are not experienced, please do not rent them.

Cars and Jeeps are available for rent at multiple locations, including airport and cruise terminals. At Cruise terminals, one day rental costs roughly between US$45-$80 for most of models without insurance. The paved road is in very good condition from mid-part of the island to the southernmost part.

Jeep would be a better choice if you plan to drive on unpaved road in some parks. The cars tend to be with relatively higher mileages comparing to those in US and Europe.

Wide spread scams at all three PEMEX gas stations on Cozumel island have been frequently reported for many years by tourists online. Some scams may occur even with tourist watching. PEMEX stations are individually owned and operated. So, each gas station has its own office handling complaints.

Some car rental agencies at cruise terminals offer $25 flat fuel charge without refill at the time of return. Use credit card, rather than cash, to pay for the gasoline may offer potential chance for charge dispute and settlement later.

Carretera costera sur km4. Right Across from Park Royal hotel. 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM. Scooter and Jeep rentals. Scooters 15/20 USD for 12/24h; Jeep Wranglers for 45 USD for 24h, unlimited milage and liability insurance included.

Most visitors travel to Cozumel to dive and see its wonderful underwater life. While there are quite a few beach clubs that offer snorkeling, the main attractions are the reefs offshore and the multiple dive shops and operations are always ready to take you there.

The main town, San Miguel, and dive operations are on the west side of the island, but if you rent a car or scooter then the east side of the island is the place to go. The east side of the island is mostly undeveloped, but there are beautiful beaches, big waves, and rocky outcrops over the ocean.

If the waves are sufficient you can find a few small blow holes. Be aware that the waves and attendant undertows can make swimming on the east side very dangerous, however. You will also find a restaurant on the beach every few kilometers.

Cozumel also offers several Mayan archaeological sites. The most extensive vestiges are those at San Gervasio. Admission fee is 77 pesos, an inland site a few miles north of the Carretera Transversal highway.

Another site is located near the village of El Cedral, inland from the Carretera Costera Sur highway. In Punta Sur Park, at the southern tip of the island, there is the El Caracol temple, believed to have been used as a lighthouse by the Mayans.

Cozumel is one of the premier scuba diving destinations in the western hemisphere. The island abounds with dive shops, most willing to give you a scuba class or resort course and take you out if you are not yet certified.

A boat dive for certified divers with two tanks will cost around $90, plus any equipment rental, note that all Cozumel dive shops include only tank and weight belt in their prices so expect to pay another $20-25 for BCD, reg, mask, fins and wetsuit and Marine Park Fee.

Most dive sites are located well south of the city proper, as are a number of dive shops if you want a short boat ride. Most diving in Cozumel is drift diving, where you are dropped off by the boat at the beginning of the dive, are carried along the reef by the current, and picked up at the end of your dive by the boat.

There is some shore diving, but it is limited compared with what you can enjoy further out and places like Palancar Reef and the walls. Along with other marine life Divers are able to see Seahorses and Eagle Rays and Turtles, especially during Turtle Nesting season, sees large numbers of Turtles on Cozumel's beaches during nesting seasons.

Aquaworld Cozumel is ranked among the world´s top scuba diving destinations. 7 am to 7 pm. Cozumel diving is second to none, you can’t visit Cozumel without diving! We offer more than six options for certified divers that will ensure you witness the best dive sites in the area as well as providing quality service and safety.

Aldora Divers, training, certification and fast 6 person boats with high capacity steel tanks and long surface intervals, usually at Palancar Beach Club. Rental equipment. Night Dives. Nitrox available. Villa Aldora room and suite rentals.

Always Diving. Diving lessons and professional certified dive instructors in the best dive spots in Cancun, Cenote dives, Cozumel dives.Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, 365 days a year.

Aqua Safari. Training, certification and two types of daily dive trips, fast or large boat. Good company but they tend to pack more people on a dive trip, with up to 16 on the big boats. When the wind is blowing and the small boats cannot go out, their seaworthy boats often still can provide service.

They also have a 8 person fast boat available. 1 tank afternoon dives are a very good deal. Night dives Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Nitrox Available. Hotel packages with Safari Inn, Cozumel Palace and several other hotels.

Blue XT~Sea Diving. Training, certification, equipment rental, and nitrox are available from this dive op. Personalized service, max 6 divers per fast boat. They'll keep and clean your dive gear except wetsuit if you wish and have it on the boat the next morning.

Night and Afternoon dives based on demand, and hotel packages with decent savings are offered.

Bottom Time Divers. Training, certification and 6 pack diver fast boat are available from this very popular family run dive op. Owner/instructor with excellent local knowledge, beach SI's and dive gear overnight wash and rinse etc. Private groups accepted.

Buena Ventura Diving, is a small, personable dive outfit dedicated to the specialized needs of its diving clients.

Cozumel Dive School. A full service, five star PADI dive resort offering recreational and professional certifications, divemaster internships, specialty courses, TecRec courses, multiple daily boat dives, private shuttle to/from the harbor, equipment and accommodations included.

Courteous and friendly multilingual staff and students from all over the world offer the opportunity to meet a diverse group of like-minded divers looking to learn, gain experience, pursue the professional realm, and have a great time doing it in one of the World’s Top Dive Destinations.

Deep Blue. Training, certification, nitrox, technical and known for fast boats. At most 8 divers with 2 divemaster or as few as 4 divers with 1 dive master. Rental equipment. Night Dives. Hotel and dive package is available through numerous hotels.

Dive shop is located in town across the street from La Choza. Divers are usually called the day before diving to arrange dive location and possible divemaster.

Dive Paradise. Training, certification and two types of daily dive trips with a fast or slow boat. Night dives. Numerous dive / hotel packages. Several dive shops. Rental equipment. In Cozumel since 1984.

Find & Dive. Is an online tool for planning and booking your next dive trip to Cozumel.

Living Underwater. Small, personalized service offering steel 120s offering super-long dives. Best for advanced divers.

Mestizo Divers. Small groups of divers on a modern fast boat. Custom trips to the dive sites of your choice. When not diving they also offer fishing charters.

Ocean Tours Scuba and Water Sports (At Cozumeleño Beach Resort & Hotel), North Hotel Zone. 7 am to 7 pm. Since 1986, Laura and Jose De la Fuente have been hosting and diving with Cozumel´s visitors. PADI scuba dive operation, fully equiped with top of the line gear available.

Dive Trips for certified divers, scuba school all levels, equipment rental, repair and retal. Deep sea fishing charters.

Salty Endeavors. This is a boutique dive center featuring personalized service, small groups, fast boats, and highly experienced staff. We are a PADI and SSI Dive Center and carry a full line of rental equipment. Scuba classes start daily and certified divers can enjoy upt o 5 dives daily in the Cozumel Marine Park.

Sand to Sea Adventures. AM or PM Departures, Most often has small groups with personalized dives to fit your needs. Snorkel charters, Fishing charters and SCUBA GROUPS with special large (10+) group pricing. Pickup from many hotel piers and arrangements for cruise ship passengers.

Discover Scuba, SCUBA refresher, PADI certification, equipment rental, nitrox rental (EAN Cert Required) and night dives. PADI certified Instructors and 2nd Generation Cozumel Divemaster. PADI scuba certification, Discover Scuba and private dive trips available, too. Small boats maximum of 6 divers, concierge diving and overnight gear handling.

Scuba Mau. Training, Discover Scuba, Hotel/Dive packages, Dive trips. Utilizes small boats with six people and a well-trained but personality-filled dive staff. Located next to the Villablanca Hotel. $60 per day for two tanks, $10 per day for full equipment rental.

Koox Diving Cozumel (Koox Diving), 10a Av. Nte 62, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico. 7:30AM – 9PM. Koox Diving Cozumel is a diving center located in Cozumel. They specialize in Scuba diving and Reef Snorkelling.

The Koox team consists of highly experienced diving instructors with more than 15 years of diving experience, they gained in the best dive sites worldwide.

If diving or tours are not what you're looking for, there are still plenty of other things to do:

Snorkeling. The second most popular activity after diving. Many beach-side dive shops rent equipment for $7-10. Even though all beaches in Mexico are public some require fees to enter and use the facilities.

Beaches with a rocky limestone shoreline on the west coast are the best for snorkeling or shore dives since less sand is disturbed so visibility and coral growth are better.

Catamaran Sail and Snorkel Excursion. Great excursion operated by Cozumel Water Sports taking you snorkeling to 2 reefs with music, open bar, snacks of fresh fruit and guacamole, 2 daily departures.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour — a twist to snorkeling. You visit about two or three reefs, which are small parts of the second largest coral reef in the world. It costs at the most about $40 a couple but you can get it a little cheaper depending on where you buy your tickets.

While heading to the snorkeling sites you have the privilege of looking through the glass bottom of the boat to see all the sea-life you pass on your way. Very fun to do as a couple or a family.

Mini Submarine Tour. A new way of exploring the underwater world. This new activity by Cozumel Water Sports offers all non divers and non snorkelers to explore the reefs and sea life of Cozumel.

Riding your underwater scooter with your head dry in the air filled helmet, you can drive around the reefs. Especially great for people who wear glasses as you can have them on under water.

Beach lounging. Most of the calm western side of Cozumel has rough rocky beaches not suitable for swimming or sun bathing. The areas that are suitable have been turned into small parks.

Some charge entrance fees which includes a beach chair and umbrella as well as access to the washroom and shower facilities; others are free to use, and offer many of the same amenities, while relying on visitors to purchase food or drinks.

Playa San Francisco is located 20 minutes by taxi south of town and has a restaurant on site.

The Other Side. Beaches on the east windward side of the island. Sandy surf and large waves alternating with rocky limestone coastlines on the east side of the island are beautiful but can be dangerous for swimmers. The roaring surf creates strong breakers and undertows in many areas.

Never enter the water alone. There are now many areas where flags are displayed showing the level of safety for a particular area.

Despite the potentially dangerous swimming conditions, these beaches are stunning and serene for enjoying sunbathing, long walks or playing in the water very close to shore. These beaches are popular with surfers and kite surfers, and with locals on the weekends.

Chankanaab National Park, About 9km south of town. 7am - 5pm daily. The park includes a beach, restaurant, bar, changing rooms, walking trails, and a lagoon with a large iguana population.

Activities include snorkeling & diving, swimming with the dolphins, snuba, and Seatrek. $2 coupon and packages available at their website. approx. $19 for adults.

Deep Sea Fishing, Puerto Abrigo Marina. Cozumel is rated as one of the top ten sport fishing hotspots in the world. Fishing is enhanced by the deep-water channel between the Yucatan Coast and the Cozumel Island. The channel squeezes the Gulf Stream as it passes by Cozumel on its journey northward.

This funnel effect causes an upwelling and an abundance of fish. The nutrient rich Caribbean waters around Cozumel support a vast array of sport fish with exceptional fishing opportunities all year long.

Paradise Beach, Carretera Sur Km 14.5, Cozumel, Q.Roo, 5 miles South of Int.Cruise Ship Pier, 7 miles South of downtown. 9am-5pm daily. Free admission, beach chairs $2. Beautiful sandy beach, one of Cozumel´s largest swimming pools, a $18 FunPass is available for unlimited access to over 14 land&ocean activities.

These including snorkel equipment, kayaks, paddleboards, waterslides, water trampolines, bungee trampoline, coconut tree climb, a 14-ft. climbing iceberg, and more.

Fabulous food and drinks served right on the beach or at the restaurant. Clean bathrooms, showers, change rooms and lockers. Beachwear boutique, parasailing, wave runners, massage, etc. also available.

Located 9 miles south of San Miguel Downtown - Cozumel, 5 miles south of the International Cruise Ship Pier. Sometimes they do insist to buy $10 per person worth of food or drinks. Free Entrance.

Playa Palancar. 10AM - 5PM. This west-side park features a quiet white-sand beach, lounge chairs and hammocks under shady palm trees, and a well-stocked bar and restaurant. It's about a $20 taxi ride south of San Miguel, but you'll be free to spend the day with the purchase of food.

Equipment for shore-based snorkeling can be rented for $10, and it's not difficult to find schools of colorful fish even in the shallow waters.

Silver is cheaper here than in the U.S. but be sure to look for the .925 stamp as some places do sell fake silver jewelry.

Sergio's Silver and More. Two locations on the island. Very low key approach to sales. Selection is good and prices more than fair.. Service is the best. Can size rings and very patient with novice buyers of silver. Between Avenidas 10 and 15 past Palmira's and The Square.
Local restaurants, most fairly good and fairly similar to each other, are plentiful in and around the city's downtown main square.

Alberto's Beach Bar, Carretera Costera Sur km 18, Cozumel 77600, Mexico a few km north of Playa Palancar. This isolated beach-side bar and restaurant distinguishes itself by catching its own seafood daily. The grilled Mahi-mahi filet is a definitely a worthy experience.

Tables are literally setup on the beach, so it's also a great place to watch the sunset. Atmosphere is very informal, with a live DJ most nights. Although not officially recommended, it's possible to walk the 1-1.5 miles up the beach from Playa Palancar if you're not afraid of a small hike.

Located between the Occidental Grand and Iberostar resorts and walkable along the beach from both, though a small flashlight may come in handy after dark.

Casa Denis, Near San Miguel main square. This self-declared oldest restaurant in Cozumel has very good, reasonably priced entrees featuring some Mayan and Yucatan specialties, along with more conventional Mexican fare like tacos and enchiladas.

The Mayan Pork is an interesting take on conventional barbecue, tender with a slightly sweet marinade, and no sauce needed - and margaritas are freshly made and strong. Dinner comes with a free Tequila shot at the end. $10-$20.

Casa Mission, 55 Avenida entre Avenida Juarez y calle 1 Sur, Cozumel 77600, Mexico one block before fire station. 8 am - 10 pm Daily. BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER Casa Mission offers superb food, however the real attraction here is not the food, but the setting.

Located off the beaten path, the restaurant is the veranda area of a large hacienda style Mexican home. It is surrounded on all sides by an extensive garden that combines perfectly with the colonial hacienda ambiance.

There are no longer any lions or monkeys, but there still are a number of beautiful caged birds. One of the most romantic spots on the island for cocktails or dinner. One margarita is sufficient.

La Cocay. Off the beaten path but worth the finding. La Cocay is Mayan for the Firefly. The food is delicious and presented extremely well.
La Choza, Calle Adolfo Rosado Salas #198, at Avenue 10.

Great homestyle, local Mexican food served in a relaxed atmosphere. Fish is excellent, tasty fajitas and guacamole. Only one Margarita needed here.

Kinta, Ave 5 between Calle 2 and Calle 4. Tues.-Sun. 5:30pm to 11pm. This restaurant takes a contemporary look at some traditional Mexican dishes, applying a French/Latin fusion style. E.g., the Chile Relleno includes ratatouille in the filling and is topped with a delicate cream sauce. Atmosphere is relaxed but sophisticated. $20-30.

El Morrito III, 6th Street North between Rafael E. Melgar Avenue and 5a North Avenue. This tiny restaurant is located in a Mexican home off the beaten path. If offers cheap, cheap for Cozumel, although expensive compared to the rest of Mexico, authentic Mexican food.

Tacos are ok but not as good as other places in Mexico, and cost about $1.25 apiece. The atmosphere is unbeatable though.

Pepe's Grill, At the corner of Avenida Megler and C Salas, Steak and Seafood.

Prima Trattoria, Adolfo Rosado Salas between Avenidas 5 and 10. Northern Italian style cuisine offered along with wonderful salads, try the blue cheese salad. Excellent pasta and seafood, they know how to prepare it properly and it’s super super fresh. Try the surf and turf for a mix or the seafood linguine combo, both will suit you.

Rolandi's, Melgar & 11, Past the Mega, right next to Margaritaville. 11am-Midnight Daily. Italian finer dining eatery directly on the water. Good service. $12-$20 USD for most entrees and $6-$8 USD for desserts.

Senor Frogs, Located right above Carlos 'n Charlies, Senor Frogs is a hotspot for young people and tourists. A very laid back atmosphere with very few rules. There is a bar incorporated with tire swings; just to have fun while you drink.

They have a dance floor and a stage for the live music they sometimes provide. If there is not a band, there is always a DJ to keep the party going. Prices vary depending on the drink.

Kondesa, 5ta Av. between 5 y 7 Sur #456. A sister restaurant to Kinta; run by the brother of Kinta's owner. Wonderful modern Mexican food in a great setting. A charming outdoor courtyard of seating, good service. It's a little outside the main tourist area of town, but is worth a visit.

Guido's, Ave. Rafael E. Melgar #23 between Calle 6 & 8 North. European restaurant run by a sweet family of expats. Guido's has a beautiful courtyard, a romantic ambiance, and delicious food.

Downtown, bottled liquor prices seldom vary, though you'll find some drop-off the farther you get from the center of the city. Don Julio Tequila runs $45-50 at the tourist shops, but if you have time find a local grocery and get it at half price. Kahlua runs $10.

Bars seldom monitor customers for age or drunkenness, so take care driving or walking as the evening wears on.

1.5 Tequila Bar and Lounge, Av. Rafael Melgar at Calle 11 Sur. Club atmosphere with dancing and a view. Nice mix of locals and tourists. Thankfully, no cruisers. Can get crowded on weekends.

No Name Bar, Avenida Rafael Melgar next to Hotel Barracuda. Quiet place, friendly atmosphere, sometimes air conditioned. A traditional expat hangout with an excellent selection of semi-pricey tequilas. Loud dance music during the day. Have recently established a $100 peso minimum per person.

Reef Bar, Rafael E Melgar, across from Mega, near Hotel Barracuda, just a block north. Laid back atmosphere. Great place to have a few beers once you are finished diving for the day. The bartenders are friendly and will take excellent care of you. $1.50 beers.

Kondesa, Ave 5 between 5th & 7th. Sister restaurant to Kinta. Mexican food with a modern twist.

Wet Wendy's, #53 Avenida 5, Entre Calle 2 y Juarez. All American staff is very friendly, laid back. They have their own house-brand of tequila that is astonishingly good for the price. Excellent margaritas the size of Mt. Everest.

Pancho's Backyard, Rafael Meglar 27. m-s 10a-11p sun 6p11p. Pancho’s Backyard provides a gastronomical experience that comforts all of the senses. In the peaceful and romantic environment of Pancho’s actual backyard, among the murmur of fountains and the soft Mexican music, your soul will be renewed by the cool caribbean breeze.

You will be swept away into a tropical paradise, while enjoying the colorful personalities and full flavor of our Mexican delicacies.

Pescador San Carlos, 50 ave and bet calle calle2 and 3. 9 am-6 pm. a Family owned restaurant, the fisherman catches and prepares whatever you like from his catch of the day. Off the tourist strip, this place is a real taste of Cozumel and worth the trip.

A five dollar cab ride from the docks will get you a great meal, at a very reasonable price. cheap.

Hotel Villas Las Anclas, 325 south 5th Avenue. checkin: 132:00; checkout: 12:00. Offers spacious suites in a serene tropical garden. 80-120 USD.

Beachouse Hostel Cozumel, Lote 36, Cozumel,Country Club Estate, Zone North. The Beach House Cozumel is mixed in a warm, traditional Mexican style with European quality and a few personal touches.

You can also enjoy our private swimming pool and the beautiful garden. Just a few steps away is our fantastic white sand beach, which offers some of the best kite boarding conditions in Mexico. The Beachouse organize Diving-,Snorkel- and Fishing Tours. 25 - 55 USD.

El Cid La Ceiba Beach Hotel, Carretera A Chankanaab Km 4.5. A member of El Cid Resorts, this beachfront hotel on the southern shores of Cozumel Island features private balconies, all inclusive plans, ocean view swimming pools, an oceanfront restaurant,and snorkel and shore diving.

Casa del Mar Hotel & Aquatics, Carretera a Chankanaab Km 4. 2 reasonably priced and convenient hotels and dive shops located near all of the major dive locations, The Casa Del Mar is Generally less expensive than La Ceiba.

Hotel Flamingo, Calle 6 Norte. Simple but comfortable rooms, available for very affordable package rates through many common travel booking sites. The daily included breakfast is high-quality and a welcome bonus.

This is a small business so some minor imperfections may need to be tolerated, but the staff is quick to help whenever possible.

Occidental Allegro Resort, Kilometro 17.5, Carretera Sur. A five star resort located on the beach offering all-inclusive packages. 3 on-site restaurants, still included in your stay, a snack bar equipped with a buffet for lunch and late-night snacks.

They have a swim-up bar, direct access to the beach and docks for any snorkeling or scuba diving. From $68 p.p.

The Summer Place Inn, Av. 10 between 17 and 19. Private units and a condo which can be booked nightly, weekly or monthly, run by a Canadian family.

Villa Anna Maria, 65 bis Av. 171 between 1 y Rosado Salas. Bed and breakfast place run by a Scotsman and a Mexican.

Villas El Encanto, Calle 21 sur No.44 entre Av.Rafael E Melgar y Av 5, Col. Andres Quintana. This hotel offers cozy and well-appointed rooms, all of which have air-conditioning, cable TV, and Internet access.

Some of its amenities include swimming pool, spa services, and assistance for yoga sessions, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing trips, sea treks, golf, shopping. rates start at USD 50.

Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel, Costera Sur Km 3,3km south of town. Located outside of town, this hotel is adjacent to three SCUBA shops. Dive Paradise, Scuba Mau, Papa Hogs), making it a good option for divers.

Hotel amenities include a pool, tennis courts, restaurant, wireless internet in the lobby, air-conditioning, and an appointment-only spa/gym. $50-$150 per night.

Villas Deja Blue, Calle 21 Sur esq. 5av #101. Villas Deja Blue provides twin, queen, king, double, deluxe and villa deja blue villas with central air-conditioning, cable TV and wireless DSL internet access. Its facilities and services include salt-water pool, pool deck, scuba driving arrangements and housekeeping services.

Casa Colonial or Mexican Colonial Architecture, Ave. 35 Entre 8 Y 10. Casa Colonial; Cozumel vacation rentals in the heart of San Miguel, Cozumel Mexico. These vacation villas represent Luxury without the price tag.

El Cid La Ceiba Beach, Carretera a Chankanaab KM 4.5. A Cozumel resort on the beach located on the southern shoreline. This oceanfront hotel features newly renovated accommodations, El Cocay Spa, a brand-new eco-park and a private dive center. ADR: $81.

Coral Princess, 2.5 Kilometer Zonal Hotelera Norte. An older resort on the North end of the island. There is a hotel side and a side rented to travel club members.

Many of the same people have been visiting this hotel for years and years, and the people who work here are wonderful. Direct access to snorkeling and an on-site dive shop.

Big Fish Cozumel Dive Hostel, Ave 10a Nte #498 esquina Calle 10 Norte. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Big Fish is the ultimate brand new dive hostel and dive school in downtown Cozumel, carefully designed for scuba divers and dive students, managed by experienced instructors and are great fun to dive with.

Perfectly located in downtown, only 2 blocks from the ocean and the main street. Everything is within walking distance, main square, restaurants, bars, clubs, 24 hrs supermarkets and pharmacies etc. 12-45 USD.

Amigos Hostel Cozumel, Calle 7 sur # 571 x Ave 25 & 30 col. centro, walk south from pier to calle 7 make left walk 5.5 city blocks to gate. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. Two mixed 8 bed each dorms one private room set in large tropical garden with swimming pool.

Large full kitchen, communal area pool table darts,board games, DVD movies, free WIFI, many electrical outlets, reading lamps, AC 10p-8a may-oct in dorms, 3 hot water showers for 16 dorm clients, lockers, book exchange.

Private with 3 single beds, AC, kitchenette, private bath. Lots of hammocks and smoking areas. BBQ grill for client use. Rental of snorkel gear on site. bike, moped, car rentals, snorkel and dive trips arranged. Extensive welcome briefing by 25+yr island resident offered upon arrival with detailed map for your keeping! 12 US/bed.

El Cantil Condominums, Av.Rafael E Melgar, calle 15 y 17. Condominium rentals for a few days or a week. Oceanfront with spectacular water views. Air-Conditioning, cable TV with US stations, free Wi-Fi, free VOIP phone calls to US. Walking distance to downtown. On site pier for scuba pick up.

Tourism Observer

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