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“Private whale shark tour by air from Cozumel”
Review of This Is Cozumel

This Is Cozumel
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Fee: Yes
Owner description: Genuine customer reviews for our Cozumel tours and activities. If you've booked something through us please post your review, we truly value all comments.
Reviewed August 27, 2015

I booked this private whale shark tour by air with much trepidation. First, there was only one prior review and I book my adventures based on a lot of homework, reading years of past reviews. Second, the cost was astronomical and apart from the deposit paid to the tour organizer, I needed to pay the remainder of the balance up front at the airport before departing. 2 red flags, but I was so intent on doing this as a private excursion to maximize my time with the whale sharks that I took a chance. I communicated with Alex about the instructions and forwarded the deposit, he assured me everthing would go smoothly. We got to the airport at 6:45 am and a representative from Duende tours met us promptly and explained everything in detail. I reluctantly handed over the remaining balance, a lot. She introduced us to our pilot and we were off. The piper cub over to Cancun was exciting, about a 25 minute flight. We were met by our driver who took us to the marina in an air conditioned van, about 30 minutes. There we were introduced to the tour operator who mistakenly put us on a boat with 6 other people. After explaining that we were to have a private tour, he made a phone call and everything was straightened out, no problem. We were the only ones on the boat large enough for about 15, along with the captain and his mate. Plenty of shade, drinks and sandwiches to die for made by his grandmother (with love). It was about an hour and a half ride to the area where the whale sharks were that day. I would say to take some medication if you tend towards sea sickness, but most if not all the medicine causes some degree of drowsiness and you definitely need 100% of your faculties to swim in the open sea and fully appreciate the awe of these majestic creatures. I use Sea Bands on my wrist, they work for me. When we got to where the shark (only one in this area) was, there was about 60 boats lined up waiting their turn. I was kind of bummed that we would have to wait that long, but after about 10 minutes, a call came over the radio that there was another one in another location, so we peeled off with the last 10 boats or so and headed to the another location about 15 minutes away. When we got there, there were only about 15 boats waiting so we got in line. The captain said to get our gear ready and sit with our feet dangling over the side until he counted to three. When he hit three, we got in the water and there coming right at us was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in the ocean. Large like a schoolbus and graceful, swimming about 7-8 feet below the surface was my first whale shark. I forgot to breath I was so excited. We just froze and then I heard the captain yelling swim! swim! so we started swimming above it, following it. Even though it is swimming slowly, it is pretty fast for humans so you really have to swim hard to keep up with it. You also have to kind of jockey for position among the groups of people that are trying to keep up with it as well. After a couple of minutes swimming with it, the boat picked us up, and we said we wanted to go again. In fact, we told the captain to forego the snorkeling and lunch part of the excursion, this is what we wanted to do all day. And we did just that. We swam with 4 different sharks a total of 6 times, the last one for about 12 minutes until we couldn't swim anymore. They even found us our own private one, but the water was too murky for pictures, but we swam with it anyway albeit for a short time. The captain went out of his way to make sure we were fully satisfied, which we were, going to different locations to find the ones with the smallest groups waiting. When we got back to the marina (much later than scheduled which was fine with us) our driver was waiting, the pilot was waiting at the airport and flew us back. Overall, this tour outperformed its expectations and was worth the high cost, every penny and then some. We generously tipped the captain, the driver and the pilot since they waited for us. I would recommend this tour done this way if you want to maximize your time with the whale sharks. If you go by land, it is a very very long day and you will only get a minimal time in the water getting kicked by other people. If you can afford it, do it. It's a once in a lifetime experience, do it right. Tell Alex that Gerry says Hi...

3  Thank yanks10360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thisiscozumel, Manager at This Is Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2015

Hi Gerry and thank you for taking your time to post such a detailed review, we're absolutely delighted you had such a great time! It's true, the tour by air is quite a lot more expensive, but, like you, everyone that takes it agrees it is well worth every cent! Swimming with whale sharks is a truly once in a lifetime experience and it makes us feel warm inside to know that we helped create some wonderful memories for you. Thank you again for having confidence in us and we hope you can come back again soon!

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in 21 reviews
"dune buggy tour"
in 13 reviews
"private plane"
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"whale shark tour"
in 8 reviews
"vow renewal"
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"cruise ship"
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"mayan ruins"
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"beach resort"
in 4 reviews
"chocolate factory"
in 5 reviews
"punta sur"
in 7 reviews
"bug spray"
in 3 reviews
"snorkeling trip"
in 5 reviews
"great trip"
in 5 reviews
"taxi ride"
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"wild tours"
in 3 reviews
"chichen"
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99 - 103 of 243 reviews

Reviewed August 17, 2015

This was great. I booked it through This Is Cozumel (however, this is cozumel is just a booking site- not the actual attraction). That was the only small confusing part. However, the experience as a whole was easy and great. You have to know that you're in Cozumel and not everything is going to be 5 Stars and if you go in knowing that, you won't be disappointed. Alan was our tour guide and he is certainly customer service orientated. He started the our laying everything out on the table explaining exactly how everything was going to go. Then we started! The buggies are older (and for some, probably a bit scary). We did have one break down mid excursion but someone came and picked up the buggy, fixed it and returned it to the couple that was using it half way through the excursion. We then went to lunch and had chicken fajitas (drinks not included- which they tell you from the start)-- they were delicious! We continued on to Punta Sur Park- an ecological park, we were hoping to see crocs but they weren't around at the time we went. We climbed up the lighthouse- very very narrow and 133 steps (also told to you before you decide to go up) but the view is beautiful from the top! We continued on to the Tequila Tour which you're talked to about Tequila for about 10 minutes, you try a few small samples and then they ask if you would like to buy a bottle anywhere from $50-$140 USD but it is delicious Tequila (just not a very long/extravagant '"tour"). We ended with them dropping us off at our condo. But overall, it was a very fun experience and we thought it was hilarious! Relax and enjoy your time- you're on vacation in Mexico :)

1  Thank Shelby P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thisiscozumel, Manager at This Is Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2015

Thanks for your comments, Shelby we're delighted you had such a good time on our Cozumel Dune Buggy Tour and your feedback is very helpful!

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Reviewed August 9, 2015

The Jeep/Buggy Tour was good, but not quite as advertised… we were picked up at our hotel, however the quality of the jeeps and buggies used is questionable. we did enjoy snorkeling at the dive shop/beach bar south of downtown. Then our guide made the suggestion that we change the tour going to a park/sinkhole instead of Punta Sur Eco Park and the light house. He did a very good job of selling the whole group on the change, but in the end, it was a terrible idea. Instead of seeing all the things advertised for Punta Sur (which we paid for in the tour price) we went to a free park and seen a sinkhole, some iguanas, and fresh water turtles. The “Tequila Factory Tour” was nothing more than a guy who talked about how Tequila is made then gave you some samples, before trying to sell you some really good tequilas for anywhere from $60-$140 USD a bottle. It’s good… but not that good. We then went to the west side of the island for lunch at a restaurant (nothing more than a roadside stand) where we had the advertised meal. Then we continued driving around the island stopping to see a “blowhole” in a rock formation pretty cool, but I don’t think it was worth passing up all the sights of Punta Sur. Then we continued around the island until we dropped everyone in the convoy off at their hotel or pier. It was fun to see the island this way however, I wouldn’t sugest that you let you guide change you itinerary.

Thank Jeff H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thisiscozumel, Manager at This Is Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2015

Hi Jeff and thank you for your feedback, we're pleased you enjoyed the tour overall and have investigated why the route was changed. The operations manager told us that some people in the group asked if they could go to a sinkhole and so they asked the rest of the group if they would be happy with that and the consensus was yes. Because of the change of route they took you to a different, shorter tequila tour to the one they usually visit too. Our apologies if you weren't happy with the changed route, but the tour guide was doing his best to customize the tour to everyone's taste. It's extremely rare that they change the route like this, but we've asked them to make absolutely sure that everyone is happy with the plan if it happens again in the future. If you will be visiting Cozumel again soon and would like to do the tour again so you can visit Punta Sur please let us know and we're be pleased to give you a 30% discount on the regular price. Thanks!

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Reviewed August 5, 2015

I booked the Isla Mujeres Whale Shark by Land tour from Cozumel for $169 thru This Is Cozumel. The actual whale shark experience was amazing, but the tour operator (Sea Friends) was lacking leadership and organization.

We took the 5:45am ferry to Playa del Carmen. A van driver met us at Senior Frogs...well he was there and I had to convince him that we were the party he was supposed to pick up. He had my first name and the number in my party correct, but my last name was incorrect and he did not have a sign that said Sea Friends (nor did he even know what group he was picking up for) as the instructions said he would. Next we picked up another two people at a Playa del Carmen hotel. Then we stopped at what looked like a convenience store for about 15 minutes...no passengers collected so I'm not sure why we stopped there and the driver didn't explain. The final stop was at a hotel in the Mayan Riviera and we were 40 minutes past the scheduled pick up time.

Upon arrival, there was no hand off to the tour operator so it was quite confusing as there were three different ones there. After standing around for 30 minutes or so, an introduction was given and they found out our van hadn't paid or signed the waivers yet. Then we were assigned boats and from that point things were good as we had a great captain and guide.

It took about an hour by boat to get to the whale shark location and it's a fairly rough ride. I definitely recommend taking Dramamine (which one of the guides had for sale). I heard the pod is around 300, but most are at the bottom and there were about 6 at the surface of the water feeding. There were probably over 50 boats each with 10 people on them. The boat gets in front of the whale shark and then 2 or 3 swimmers (plus the guide) jump off the boat. Then you swim next the whale sharks for as long as you can. Probably just a minute or two before they leave you behind. At that point, the boat picks you up. The process repeats for until all the sets of swimmers on your boat has gone two or three times.

When we first arrived, there were probably eight boats circling around one whale shark. But we were late arrivers, so for my second and third dives we were the only boat around the whale shark.

We did have one child in our group and she definitely was not able to swim as fast as the whale shark or even swim fast enough to get from the boat to close to the whale shark. I would definitely wait to go on this excursion until kids are close to adult size.

After the swimming is complete, the boat travels to Isla Mujeres and you can hang out in the shallow water next to the boat or head the short distance to shore and get a drink at one of the beach bars. The captain prepares ceviche and after about 30 minutes we were on board eating the ceviche and traveling back Cancun and then being transported in the vans back to hotels/the ferry. We had the same driver back to Playa del Carmen and I had to point out the other passengers to him in order to get everyone gathered and on the road (no instructions had been given for meeting up after the excursion).

The ground transportation did take a very long time. By doing the "by air" tour, you'd probably save 4 hours (45 minute ferry ride plus over an hour in the van each way).

Overall it was an awesome once in a lifetime experience! But I might have opted to use another tour operator to avoid the confusion.

Thank Kelly_Mc_54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thisiscozumel, Manager at This Is Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2015

Hi Kelly and many thanks for your feedback. We're delighted you had such a great time on the boat tour and we passed on your comments about the coordination with the driver. They have changed the way they meet-and-greet the vans when they arrive to the boat now to make the process smoother and the drivers have also been instructed to communicate better with passengers when they make stops along the way. Thanks again, your comments truly help us improve the tour!

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Reviewed July 31, 2015

We love to segway and had never segway in Cozumel - it was great - beautiful beach and then fun snorkle on the beautiful beach.

Thank c0wgirl54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thisiscozumel, Manager at This Is Cozumel, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2015

Many thanks for taking the time to post your comments, we're delighted you enjoyed our Cozumel Segway Tour so much!

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