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“great little spot”

Garrafon de Castilla
Reviewed March 4, 2012

we stopped here on a couple days to do some snorkelling and soake up some sun, while the snorkeling might not be as good as some places we found it to be a very good value, they have a very nice beach and a very good place to eat, we will be back

Thank beach10vers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 4, 2012

My husband, 13 year old son and I visited the Garrafon de Castilla on Isla Mujeres in February of 2012 and had a great time. We took the ferry from the Puerto Juarez terminal (140 pesos or maybe $13 each round trip for about a 20 to 30 minute ride). When you get off many people will urge you to use their golf cart company - I assume they get a kickback if they escort you into one of the places. Golf cart prices are negotiable. We rented golf carts at Prisma, about a block and a half to the left of the terminal when you exit (negotiate and use the internet coupon for Prisma Golf Carts in Isla Mujeres - we paid about $39 U.S. using charge cards even with the additional charge card fee, because of the coupon). We used "Laura the Map Chick's" map which we'd ordered from the internet, though the golf cart rental will provide you with a map. (Hers gives recommendations and descriptions of hotels, restaurants and attractions. She also has one for Cancun.)

If you're coming from the east side of the island down, you'll round a turn on the south side and see the Garrafon zipline. A short distance past that you'll see a somewhat hidden sign for Garrafon de Castilla - it's a left turn down a sloping rode.

The drive down is about ten minutes or so. You pay 50 pesos at the entrance and have access to chairs on a cement deck overlooking the ocean in the shade, or somewhat uncomfortable but usable loungers on the beach, some in the shade. The beach is a sand beach, not very big, but you're not there for the beach. From the moment you step into the water you are surrounded by fish! If you swim out and to the left you'll find remains of some sunken piers and submerged rock areas which attract schools of fish. If you're not a comfortable snorkeler you can stay waist deep and practice your skills, and you'll see a number of fish right there. If you're more comfortable you can and should swim out farther. There are many of the usual tropical varieties that I'm guessing you'd see on a day snorkeling trip to the same area. But instead of spending 30 minutes in the water on an organized trip you can go in and out all day. We were there two days. The first day there was some wind in the Cancun area but the Garrafon side of the island was not windy. The water was clear and swimming was easy. The second day we went it was windy there and the water was cloudier, though fish were still plentiful. Swimming was a little tougher and there were swells out by the rocks. Each day we had delicious lunches at the restaurant on site - simple, outdoor dining in the shade near iguanas sunning themselves on a wall and delicious food. Try the ceviche, guacamole and fish tacos! We drank only bottled drinks or soda there, and although we ate the ceviche twice never had any stomach issues. This place was a real find, especially since snorkeling in the Cancun area or at Garrafon can be very costly.

The place rents snorkeling equipment including fins, towels and lockers at reasonable prices. There are bathrooms on site.

The entrance is above the beach, so you will have to walk down stairs to get there. Not great accessibility for those with disabilities. You can park golf carts in the little parking area uphill, or alongside the road next to the entrance. I've linked an old website but the prices are not accurate and the place does not seem to be a working hotel - not sure. There is construction going on in buildings in the area.

This is a real treat!

3  Thank jillles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2012

For 5 bucks, I enjoyed a few hours of lounging on the beach, with an hour or more of swimming among the fish. A great option for snorkelling or a short afternoon break during your golf cart tour.

Thank LUV2travel-notmuch$
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2012

I found this place to be a good deal financially but lacking in good snorkeling, which is most people's main purpose of visiting. For 50 pesos per person you can use the lockers, bathrooms, and loungers on the sand. Unfortunately this place provides fish food, and even if noone is feeding the fish while you're there, the behavior of the fish reflects this practice. They swim right up to you looking for a handout. Perhaps this abundance of fish is equated to good snorkeling for some people, but there isn't much to see here. Furthest out by the buoys we did see spotted eagle rays when we were there, but that was just lucky. If they hadn't swam by, the snorkeling here would have been a bust. We ate here too, and the steak tacos were very mediocre. I enjoyed watching the iguanas though.

1  Thank skeletonbreath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2012

Nice little, inexpensive place to visit. Shower, lockers food and rest rooms available for small price.

Thank OrangecountyTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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