First off just some info about me and my family so you gt where this reviews coming from. I'm 16, and my brothers are 14, and 12. I wouldn't ignore this review just cause of my age, because I have alot of tips at the end you should keep in mind when planning your vacation, even if you don't stay at El Cid! I realize the review is extremely long, so I summarized it at the bottom with the most helpful tips!
I have anut allegy, and my mom has a gluten allergy, and after the first night every chef, waiter, and the main host knew my name, and that me and my mom had allergies. Nut in spanish is "nuece" and it sounds like "New-ace".
My family and I went to Cozumel for Spring Break this year. We traded for RCI and we stayed at two hotels over break, El Ceiba on Cozumel, and Park Royal on the Cancun Hotel Strip. Although El Cid was a small resort, and Park Royal was HUGE, El Cid was a much better hotel hands down!!!
When we first drove up to El Cid my heart sank, because from the outside it looked like a dump. The driveway is all torn up, and the outside looks a bit old. But as soon as we stepped inside it was just beautiful. While we were waiting to check we were brought delicious complementary drinks (fruit punch, I would definately recommend trying!) Through the lobby we could see the pool, and then the ocean. It was just beautiful.
This was definately the best part of El Cid, and personally my favorite part of the whole trip! My family got the all-inclusive bands, and I would definately recommend those, we totally got our moneys worth! Each day they have a breakfast, llunch, and dinner buffet, and each buffet is different every day. Each buffet there is a chef waiting to cook whatever you want, right there for you! You must, I repeat, YOU MUST get the flank steak! They had it during lunch and dinner, and it was better than any sirloin or filet mignon I've ever had! I also would definately recommend getting Strawberry daquiris (I don't drink alcohol so all mine were virgin.) They were SO good! Best I've ever had. We got them at the big resort we stayed at during the end of the week and there was NO COMPARISON. I also would recommend the cheesecake for dinner. It was amazing! But the best part about the buffets is that if you don't like anything on there, you can just order off the menu! And the menu's you can order at anytime of the day, so when my brothers and I got hungry while swimming, we would just go order a batch of nachos!
So my family had the all-inclusive wrist bands so with those you get an hour of free snorkeling! (Remember this, because we weren't told this by the hotel, a nice couple informed us right before we almost payed for it.) Anyways, the snorkeling was just beautiful. There is a sunken airplane right off the beach!!!!! My family and I had a hard time finding it, but if you go in the water by using the steps that are like built out of stone right on the beach, the wreck was all the way out to where the ropes are, and a little to the left. You'll see the huge anchor; it's just beautiful. The dive shop is right next door to the hotel, that's how good the snorkeling is in that area! BUT KEEP THIS IS MIND! When you go snorkeling take some bread from the breakfast buffet, and I mean like 5 slices or so. And when you go snorkeling through little pieces in the water. It's just amazing! Hundreds of little fish come and they are literally jumping right out of the water to get the bread, and they're like rubbing your legs! After our family went snorkeling for an hour, we decided to book a snorkeling trip to do more. We went out with a professional guide, and paid a ton more, and it wasn't even close to being as good. HUGE WASTE OF MONEY. At El Cid you can pay $16 and rent the snorkeling equipment for the whole day!
So we learned the hard way that it doesn't matter where you shop (we thought farther away from the main road would be cheaper) it actually just depends on when you go. During the day sometimes Cozumel has 10 or more cruise ships docked on the island, that's a ton of people going around and shopping! At night, right after all the cruise ships leave, is when the shopping gets cheapest because the venders know you may be their last customer! Our favorite locations to shop were this little market that was like a 5 minute walk max right out the front door of El Cid to the right. I bought a backpack there for $13 and it is actually really good, and they wanted $25 for it at the square. But the square definately had some good prices!! DON'T SPEND MORE THAN A DOLLAR ON KEY CHAINS OR MAGNETS OR OTHER LITTLE THINGS. It may take awhile to find, but there are some dollar stores that are huge and have all that stuff for a dollar! Other stores wanted at least 5! Also the store in front wanted $16 for there ponchos, and that was the best price I saw the whole trip.
These are some things my family found, and you should keep in mind while planning your trip!
*Get the all-inclusive wrist bands, but not the $90 ones that are good for steak and stuff because they have amazing steaks for the buffets!
*Take small proportions when eating the buffet, because it is an outdoor restraunt and our food got cold when we took too long to eat it.
*Go shopping at night after all the cruise ships leave, it is so much cheaper!
*DON'T BOOK SNORKELING OR ANYTHING FROM THE HOTEL! They wanted $240 per person to go scuba diving for one tank. We ended up going for $65 per person, PLUS we went snorkeling at two reefs, and we were picked up and dropped off right at the hotel dock!
*Book all your activities on the little market to the left. We found a place that was before the market that was in an alley that you would easily walk past and miss if it weren't for all the salesman out front asking you to come look. they have everything, and even offered a fishing trip that was $200 cheaper than the one we had booked in advance, plus they guaranteed a fish!
*Go snorkeling right off the shore of El Cid. It's free for an hour with the bands, and it's better than the one we paid to do with a professional guide!
*Bring bread to fee to the fish when you go snorkeling, it literally attracts hundreds!
*FLY INTO COZUMEL. We flew into Cancun to save like $300, and it was so not worth it. We spent $200 just in the ferry to get across, and another $150 on taxis to get to and from Playa Del Carmen. For a few extra bucks, fly straight into Cozumel.
This was better than the huge resort we stayed at on the Cancun strip. The beaches were nothing like the ones on Cancun, but every worker was so friendly and helpful, it was just amazing. My family will definately be coming back ASAP!!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.