We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First timer

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Iowa Park, Texas
Level Contributor
185 posts
31 reviews
Save Topic
First timer

We are planning our first trip to Cozumel in May (we won't to be after the spring break crowd and before the summer vacationers). Any input on the best places to stay, are all inclusive packages the way to go? What are the must do and see things. We are mid 40's, no kids, not big partiers.

Mentioned in this post
Cozumel
Cozumel
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,619 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First timer

It really depends on how you would like to stucture your vacation. AI means your are paying to stay,eat,drink there. So if you want to go out and expierience authentic mexico means extra money spent to leave and dine out side the Hotel. If you just want to stay at the hotel and use the facilities there for your family, maybe the extra 60-100 bucks per person might be the way to go. From expierience, most AI food gets old after a certain time. A lot of reviews here to back that up. So plan accordingly.

Dankom@casitademaya.com

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,694 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First timer

I agree with most of Dans thoughts as to an AI, and with that in mind booked my next trip to Cozumel by the resorts location rather than their menu. I have been 6 times before and know why I go and what I want to do when there. I have booked an AI that has a good reputation for their facilities but a lower endorsdement of their food selection. I paid for AI for the convenience of eating breakfast there, ordering drinks whenever desired and will still eat other meals there but intend to eat out most evenings. There are many excellent restaurants there and my wife and I want to sample them. Most of the AI's are away from town so you tend not to take the taxi ride into town, and thus miss a really big part of the Cozumel experience. The thing you need to figure out is why you are going there, to snorkel, dive, or just relax. Almost all the diving is near the south end of the island, long boat rides from town eat up a big part of your day. On the other hand the better snorkelling is not where the sandy beach area has most of the AI's built along it. It's very difficult to tell someone you don't know how to spend there vacation and their money. Cozumel is a great place to visit but you need to know if it fits your needs. Luckily you people in Texas can get there in no time compared to us northerners, and probably a lot cheaper. Read all the information on this message board, read some of the reviews of the resorts, look up some maps etc. The one thing I can assure you of is that you can't satisfy everyone at any resort, AI or otherwise. I think some of the food reviews were written by people who only like moms cooking, and nothing else. I personally have no complaint about the food, there has always been something tasty even though I may not have recognized what it was. Cozumel is an island, and has limited locally grown produce, everything must be brought over from the mainland, and the AI resorts do a pretty good job with what they have, considering what we travellers pay for a weeks meals.

Mentioned in this post
Cozumel
Cozumel
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Texas
Texas
United States
Cozumel, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,619 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First timer

Well said.

The point about the food is well taken. A lot of vacationers want American style food wherever they go and its hard to duplicate it here. So when the AI tries to do so, it is met with harsh criticism for someone who dosent understand the northeners aquired food taste and standards.

So when in Rome......

Destin, FL
1 post
Save Reply
4. Re: First timer

Hi my husband and I stayed in Cozumel in July of this year (2004) for a week and was the best vacation we ever had. We decided to rent a condo for a week in a complex called Las Brisas. What a wonderful place and the manager is a very nice guy. The condos are very well kept and we even met a few owners while we were there swimming in the pool. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and a nice kitchen to cook in (we ended up eating out most of the time). I heard from other guests on our excursions, that they enjoyed their all inclusive plans at other places but we found so many wonderful places to eat in town. There isn't much beach front on this island but we had a very nice strip in front of our condo. The only bad thing was when we arrived Sunday; many of the locals had the day off and were on the beach. The rest of the week though it was almost deserted. The water was gorgeous and snorkeling was interesting. We did a fishing trip that we didn't enjoy much though through a local company. Maybe because we are avid saltwater anglers in our hometown we might have high expectations. I do have to say the locals in this area were wonderful and so helpful. If you want an adventure try going to the local grocery store. :-) Everything is in pesos and most of the locals in restaurants have pretty good English. We flew in and just paid a taxi to take us where ever. They are really easy to flag down in front of the condo.

The things I'd recommend are: Xcaret (on the mainland ~ fabulous night show and the park was gorgeous. They have these underground rivers that you float through and was unbelievable, puts Disney to shame), Chichen Itza (also on the mainland ~ especially if you like ancient history, this is an all day trip in land though and you can book it through someone on the island. If you stay in a resort I heard they got much better prices than we did), must go to restaurants are: Guido���s (Italian) and Aquario (seafood and a bit upscale, but the ambience at night, food and server were fabulous). I heard to stay away from the ATV tours and horseback riding from our manager, it wasn't worth the money. The shopping downtown in San Miguel is ok, but really catered towards all the people in port from the cruise ships. Its best not to go downtown when the ships are in port (it���s a madhouse). If you go in the late afternoon and evenings the locals will cut you better deals because the main flow of money just got back on the ship. We enjoyed shopping across the way in Playa del Carmen better (can take the ferry).

We have no regrets about the place (except our fishing charter). There are a ton of small food places (of all cuisines, even a McDonalds which we were determined to stay away from) and Frooms has a great guide book to the major places on the island. You have to go to Xcaret. It was so relaxing (not peak season when we went so I can imagine it does get bad) and really magical. I loved floating down this "River" carved in the stone through caves and such with these wild macaws flying over and big lizards in the rocks. The night show depicting the Mayan culture then the culture of the different regions in Mexico was unbelievable. The entire thing was in Spanish but it didn't matter. We had an English program and that was more than enough. We opted for the dinner with the show (food really surprised me) and it was worth it (it was our anniversary). www.xcaret.com

If I can help at all please feel free to email me. I can show you some pictures and talk Cozumel all day long. morganftd@bellsouth.net

Mentioned in this post
Cozumel
Cozumel
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Hotel Xcaret Mexico
Hotel Xcaret Mexico
1,208 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Guido's
Guido's
2,483 Reviews
Cozumel, Mexico
San Miguel
San Miguel
399 Reviews
Cozumel, Mexico
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Mayan Palace at Vidanta Riviera Maya
Mayan Palace at Vidanta...
4,368 Reviews
Playa Paraiso, Mexico
Mexico
Mexico
North America