Author Topic: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome  (Read 15789 times)

berry

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2008, 23:35:50 UTC »
If you can stand to read another one about Coz, read on.  We go just about every year.  We just completed trip #20 or 21 this past May (losing count now).  Coz is the best bang for your buck in the Caribbean without a doubt.  The diving is outstanding, the people are nice, the atmosphere is laid back.  Best dive sites:
Palancar Gardens, Palancar Caves, Santa Rosa Wall, Columbia, Punta Sur, Punta Dalila, Punta Tunich.  There is no bad dive in Cozumel.  Tormentos, and Yucab are coming back from Wilma - they wer hit pretty hard, but even so, still a good dive.
We saw a giant loggerhead turtle at Columbia this past May; about 5 feet long.
Your hotel has good access to the dive sites and they use fast boats.  You will be within walking distance from town (about 15 minutes) or a cheap $3 cab ride.  You don't need to rent a car in Coz for more than a day to do the island tour.  Otherwise cabs are plentiful and cheap.  Make sure you go to town square on Sunday night; the locals usually have a little fiesta and it's great to walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cozumel. Great restaurants - Capi Navigante,
Pepe's (best beef on the island a little pricey but worth it), Sonora Grill, La Choza, La Mission, try even the cafe's in town square - Cafe Denis (lunch), Las Palmas (breakfast), Prima.   Tulum is a good day trip and will cost a few bucks but it is worth it...(but do you really want to leave Cozumel once you're there?)  You can go to the San Gervasio ruins on Coz in the afternoon after diving and have a look -cheaper and you still get culture or go to Cedral in the afternoon.  Cabs will take you to both places.  Have fun!  You may find that you'll want to come back every year. 

MargMM

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2008, 05:16:37 UTC »
Hi there.  I've been to Coz so many times that I finally bought a house there. 

I'd skip the trip to the mainland on your first time: there's lots of other things to do and see in Coz first time around...in fact, I've never been to the mainland ruins!

Blue Angel is a great choice and you'll be given the opportunity to discuss your dive site once they've assessed your abilities.  I think Devil's Throat is over-rated - have done it many times (and also backwards - entering the throat and swimming up).  Ask instead to do Chunchakaab or Maracaibo Shallows.  They run at around 100 to 70 feet - a pretty square profile and best done on nitrox if your are certified as such.  Blue Angel sends divers up as they run out of air or deco time so if you are on nitrox you'll max your dive. 

Someone on here talked about diving Maracaibo at 120 feet - that would be at its shallowest.  It is much deeper than that and Blue Angel isn't likely to take you there (plus 120 feet) without a group of very experienced divers.

But they are great - you'll like them a lot as I expect you'll like Caribe Blu.  I've not stayed there (but at their "sister" location of Las Anclas) but have spent a lot of time hanging about the pool and doing free shore dives from there.  Since Wilma, not a great shore dive, but there is still stuff to see.

Have fun.


380slman

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2008, 14:50:57 UTC »
You are on the right track. When you arrive in Cancun, just walk past all of the hotel and taxi people and go out to the parking lot. Go to the buses parked there (I believe the first two lanes) are buses that go to Playa Del Carmen. Pay for the ticket ($8 US) and enjoy the ride to Playa. You can hire a tricycle to cart your luggage to the ferry or just haul it yourself. It is about a 10 minute walk. and costs $11 each for a one way to Coz.
   Blue Angle is perfect for you. Tell Jeanie that I said hello (I am the one who got on the wrong boat and she will remember me)
   The best places to eat are on 10th, 15th and 20th Aves in between Calle 1 and 5. Mexico streets are numbered by 5's. These areas are just 3 blocks east of the water front and the neighborhoods are very friendly. Cozumel is a walking town and you will have no problems. It is about a mile and a quarter from the Caribe Blu to the town so you may want to taxi in. My favorite places to eat were Otata's on 15th and La Parilla Grill on 30th. Enjoy yourselves and dive Columbia Deep. You will see wonderful wall and coral formations.

DocV

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2008, 15:19:45 UTC »
My favorite places to eat were Otata's on 15th and La Parilla Grill on 30th.

Hi 380slman,

I believe that one of your favorite places to eat, "Otata's," is actually Otate's . It's on Av 15 about a 1/2 block south of Rosado Salas. Otate is Spanish for cane, reed or rush. 

Also, I'm not sure what "La Parilla Grill" on 30th you are referring to. There is La Parilla Mission on Ave 30 between Calles 2 & 4 Norte.

Regards,

DocVikingo

mburg

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2008, 16:38:18 UTC »
Was there last week - dove with Aldora and stayed at their Villa Aldora.  Great treatment, small boats with only 6 divers per.  Agree with everyone weighing in on sites - it depends on your experience and skill.  Far south are deeper wall dives.  Also, all diving is drift, usually with easy current, though on the shallower second dives, the current was more moderate and required skill and knowledge to dip below a ledge occasionally.

For food we ate where the locals eat - tacquerias mostly.  There are two on Avenida 30 across the street from the supermarket (Pique is on of them).  Also, on Avenida 15 just north of Calle 1 is Los Otates, also very good.  And then there's la Choza.

We also did the flight into Cancun, bus down to playa del Carment and ferry across.  it was easy to navigate.

You can't go wrong, as long as you aren't on a "cattle boat".

380slman

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2008, 21:30:29 UTC »
Thanks I stand corrected on the spelling, but the food at both locations is wonderful.

DocV

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2008, 10:19:12 UTC »
Thanks I stand corrected on the spelling, but the food at both locations is wonderful.

Yup.  Best pozole in town is at Otate's.

Regards,

DocVikingo

DowningB

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2008, 20:11:00 UTC »
Lots of great advice on this topic.

Another vote for Prima, assuming you like Italian.  Great food and the rooftop location is fantastic.  Don't be put off by the narrow stairway. 

Since this is your first time to Cozumel, you might want to save a trip to the mainland for later.  But if/when you do go, diving cenotes can be a life-changing experience.  And the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum are well worth the effort.

Basically, though, you can't go wrong no matter what you do in Cozumel.  A bad day there would still beat any great day at the office.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 22:49:55 UTC by DowningB »

agilulfo

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2008, 15:53:32 UTC »
Since this is your first time to Cozumel, you might want to save a trip to the mainland for later.

Thank you for the tip. Would you suggest the same thing considering that it's a 10 day trip and that we would be flying in and out of Cancun? Some people have suggested to spend the last night in Playa del Carmen and do the Cenotes/Ruins on that last day. Nevertheless, at this point, I think we am not going to make any decisions in regard to mainland trips until we get to Cozumel and asses the situation on the ground.

60 more days to go!

jdives

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2008, 17:21:05 UTC »
I think you are wise to play-it-by-ear once you get to Cozumel regarding what you do on the mainland.   Some folks like to break their trip in the middle and ferry over for some different sites.     If not, then doing so at the end of the trip makes more sense, unless you are locked into a package deal and don't want to forfeit some of your payment at the resort....plus you wouldn't have to double up on the ferry trip.

You are going to meet a lot of Coz and Yucatán enthusiasts on your dive boat...so reserving your decision until later makes a lot of sense.

I just returned from spectacular diving again in Cozumel.   About 95% of my eating is in 'locals' places.  My favorite for high quality and tastiness still goes to Las Flamitas (in the middle of the block on Avenida 25 between calle 3 and Morelos) on Wednesdays for their special of the day -- Queso Rellano.  I think they have the best Yucatán food on the island.  Hope you try it!  They are only open from 11:30-4:30 or so...but go early for the special.  Santa Carlos on Avenida 50 has delicious whole fried fish (hog fish is delicious) and they always bring cerviche to the table as soon as you sit down.  Again, it is lunch-afternoon place.  Last week the owner was singing and as always there was a very merry note to the place.

Enjoy your trip!
Life's Short -- Dive Hard!

DowningB

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2008, 03:29:16 UTC »
I agree that it's best to be flexible about these things.  After all, you're on vacation!

Slow down, relax and take things as they come.  It's easy enough to arrange a trip to the mainland once you get there if that's what you decide to do.

RobertEE

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2008, 21:59:39 UTC »
OK, here's my restuarant list- sorry it's late but you don't leave for a while yet:
Kinta- owner is Kris, former chef of Guido's, trained at NYC Culinary Institute
          this is my fav restaurant- all local ingredients- what I might call "Coz gourmet"     
          at a reasonable price- my #1 pick blending high end prep but local flair; located
          just north of the square
Conchita Del Caribe- only open until 7 and should arrive no later than 6- prime time is
          mid afternoon- mostly locals eat here; one block south of 11th on 65th- they
          have their own fisherman bring in local catches, ice them down in a cooler and
          you pick the fish you want; they will then prepare it one of several ways to your
          liking- very reasonable; other selections too with several ceviches (large
          portions of ceviches); great staff
Guido's- good pizzas and puff bread but getting quite pricey IMHO; on main drag just
          north of town
Chilando's- a very local place but open evenings (I think closed on Mondays)- think
          an omlette bar at a brunch- build your own at $2/ea plus 20 cents an item- you'll
          feast on two for $5; on 30th south of Calle on east side of the road- ultra casual
Albino's- another more locals place serving primarily in the afternoon- closes sharp
          at 8PM- get there no later than 6:30; always have great fish selections;
          reasonable; 20 Av norte about 6 blocks north of town; ask for Caesar as
          your waiter- very personable
LaChoza- an institution on Coz; for lunch they have an unlisted "special" which is
          very reasonable and changes daily; whole menu is good; mostly tourists
         but I always see lots of locals so can't go wrong
Espasia's- (I'm gapping on the spelling in the moment as well as the owner's name;
         just off the square east; I put it in the same class as Kinta; don't miss the zucchini
         boat appetizer; everything great on the menu
Prima's (also owns Winston's on top of El Cidral)- another mainstay; great food on a
         rooftop just off the square;  big portions of Italian food and seafood
Winstons- more high end; like being in a restuarant in Chicago vs Coz; my wife liked it
         but to me, it does not represent Coz; outstanding food however; located south of
         town on Malagar on the top floor (8 stories up?) great views but all glass
         enclosed; I think it would be best to go right at 5 when they open to see the
         sunset- that might make it really worthwhile; a bit pricey by Coz standards
OK, so that is my list when I was there last in Feb '08- Winston's/Primas is in a constant state of gossip that one or the other will close- AL the owner told me in Feb he was going to close Prima's- totally incorp that menu at Winstons and get out of downtown due to rents on the square.  That is contrary to everything else I have read on chat boards, but who knows?

DocV

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2008, 11:56:13 UTC »
A most excellent list, Robert, which I will take the liberty of tidying up a bit and adding another place:

1. Chilando's is actually Chilango's.

2. Conchita Del Caribe is no longer quite so "local." Sadly, it's been discovered.

3. La Choza - it had a rather serious fire on Sun AM 08/03/08 and has been closed since.  It is rebuilding and temporarily serving out of an old restaurant space at Ave 15 between Calle 2 & 4.

4. Espasia's is spelled Especia's (Spanish for "spices"). Adrian lost his lease on the place off the square east years ago. He built a new, modern place by the same name in a quiet neighborhood on Calle 3 between Av. 5 & Av. 10

5. Prima's (also owns Winston's on top of El Cidral)- it's actually "The Wynston" and it's on the top floor of the El Cantil North condos. It, Prima's and the condos are projects by Al Dannerman. And indeed The Wynston doe have a marvelous view.

6. Great suggestion on Kinta, located on Av 5 between Calles 2 & 4 North.  It recently had these dishes on the menu:

Chile Poblano Relleno - Stuffed with a vegetable ratatouille and cheese with Kinta's special red chipotle cream sauce - ($100 pesos)

Pescado Aioli - Catch of the Day (Red Snapper) baked with guaijillo pepper aioli crust served with coconut reduction sauce - ($145 pesos)

Kamaron Tamarindo - Sauteed Gulf Shrimp with Tamarind Chipotle Sauce and plaintain mash ($150 pesos)

Pescado Pozole - Catch of the day over a pool of red pozole with tortilla crisp, Yucatecan onion and shredded lettuce -  ($145 pesos)

The place is a true find & super value.

7. If you want an upscale place in a quite neighborhood over by the Corpus Christi church, La Cocay has long been considered one of the very best restaurants in town.  It serves innovative Mediterranean cuisine at 208 Calle 8 between Aves 10 & 15.

Regards,

DocVikingo


RobertEE

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2008, 12:19:14 UTC »
Doc- Thanks for the corrections.  I was drawing a blank as I typed the list on Adrian's place and I now recall the recent posts about LaChoza. We will be back for a couple of weeks come Jan.  Any new places opening worth a try?  We also went to a place just evloving- the old name was Quatro something- the new owner is Antonio, an Israeli ex-cruise ship captain.  A very personable chap.  Located on 11th just east of 65th.  He was developing his menu of extensive pasta dishes and a wide variety of coffees.  It never really opened offically while we were there during Feb but he did serve us once and it was delightful.
Bob

jdives

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2008, 15:57:15 UTC »
Hey Doc Vikingo and Robert, this is definitely the gourmet corner for Coz!  Glad to know about the Kinta.  The recent dishes, particularly the Chile Poblano Relleno, sounds delicious.  I've put it at the top of my go-to-place when I return in January.  Do they have specific special dishes for certain days as does Las Flamitas?  OK, gourmands, tell me  how you think Flamitas' Queso Relleno stacks up against the Kinta. 
Life's Short -- Dive Hard!

RobertEE

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2008, 16:01:49 UTC »
I can tell you Kinta does NOT deep fry their Chili Relleno- it is not like the typical, breaded then deep fried version- it is stuffed, then baked with a  great sauce.  Can't say I've been to Las Flamitas.  Where is it located?

jdives

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Re: First Cozumel Trip - Suggestions/Tips Welcome
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2008, 16:13:48 UTC »
Robert, even a better reason for me to try Kinta's Chili Rellano!
Las Flamitas is in the middle of the block on Avenida 25 between calle 3 and Morelos.  It's lunch only, closes late afternoon.  I always have to make a quick dash there from Aqua Safari after the two morning dives to make sure they don't run out of the Queso Rellano. 
Life's Short -- Dive Hard!

 

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