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First Time to Cozumel

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Wrock, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
    1,030
    205
    63
    Sh0rtBus and Wrock like this.
  2. deepsea21

    deepsea21 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA
    1,098
    908
    113
    What other non dive related things should I do and experience while I am there?

    In addition to what has been mentioned stroll through the Mercado Municipal (municipal market) in town and the shops around it - Great goods at a fraction of the price in the tourist zone near the water. See the wild east side with your car (or the flat calm east side if the port on the west side is closed due to a Norte and you can't go diving). I'd probably hold off on renting a car until you are there and keeping an eye on Wind Guru Cozumel. If you see winds forecast to be blowing out of the north at 20+ mph the port will probably be closed so no diving... That's when I'd rent the car a day or 2 out from that nasty forecast. Other than seeing the east side and the ruins, I think you'll have little use for the car since you are staying in town. Have google maps on your smart phone and download the offline map for Cozumel so you can find everything without having to pay for international data if you provider charges for it.

    Should I make a trip to the mainland?

    I personally wouldn't. Far better diving in Cozumel and while there are Cenotes they are COLD compared to the ocean and there really isn't much to see in them in my opinion. Some people love them, others think they are waste of time.

    Should I use Pesos or US dollars for my day to day purchasing?

    Pesos withdrawn from any bank ATM machine via a debit card at a bank or the Mega. Depending on the bank, some will ask you to accept a BS exchange rate that they post. Click on DENY and your transaction will go through based on your legitimate Canadian bank's exchange rate being offered that day based on the spot exchange rate. Why would I accept this Mexican bank's 17:1 exchange rate when my bank is exchanging at 20:1? All the Mexican bank is doing is handling the transaction and the collect a small fee of a few dollars. This scam is showing up in tourist areas everywhere where people don't know better and the Mexican bank pockets the difference between what my US bank offers and what one may unknowingly agree to by pressing that "Accept" button instead of the "Deny" button.

    Any don't miss it food dishes I should try?

    Take your pick off the menus of these places. All in town or cheap taxi ride if you don't feel like walking it. When I'm grabbing taxi's to travel about the town and close zones I just get in, tell him the establishment I want to go to and hand him 50 pesos. That's about 2x the official rate and I'm being generous. Locals DO NOT tip taxi drivers. Below is a link to the most recent taxi fare schedule I could find.

    You'll probably be in Zone1 in your condo and as far as you'd be electing to take cabs around San Miguel is probably into Zone 2 or 4 so the official rate to zone's 2 and 4 is 27 pesos. Obviously handing him 50 pesos is a nice fare. $2.50 US to get where I want to go quick and easy is a no-brainer. This is why I say renting a car is nice but only if you are going to venture far from town. If not, it's far cheaper to cab it around. Taxi rates

    Los Otates (now no name but everyone knows where it is)
    Los Otates, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    El Moro
    El Moro, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    Los Sera's
    Los Sera's, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    Benitos - Italian with brick oven pizza - Try the spicy shrimp pizza.
    Benitos, Cozumel - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripAdvisor

    Burritos Gordidos or Crazy King Burrito (they are pretty much beside each other).
    Burritos Gorditos, Cozumel - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripAdvisor
    CRAZY KING Burrito, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    Chilangos Taqueria - CLASSIC Huaraches
    Chilangos Taqueria, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    El Billy Asados Al Carbon - BBQ. BBQ Sampler. Staying in a condo in town you'll have enough food to take back with you for 2 more meals (or to bring on the dive boat and share with everyone the next day)
    El Billy Asados Al Carbon, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    Casa Denis - For a dinner in town square. 1 order of the the Fajitas Mixtas (Beef, Chicken & Shrimp) is enough for 2. Drinks aren't "cheap" there.
    Casa Denis, Cozumel - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripAdvisor

    Casa Cuzamil - Cheap comida del dia before 6PM. Usually has 5-6 entree selections for the Comida del Dia. I go with the chili relleno.

    Casa Cuzamil, Cozumel - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

    Burger King - When you get sick of Mexican food and Mexican beef (which tastes a bit different from the beef you may be accustomed to in Canada - I know it tastes a bit different from US beef).

    The above is my "must eat" list but others have their own and the only reason I can't comment on their recommendations is I haven't had the opportunity to eat at them yet.

    Sounds like you are doing everything right... Staying in town, diving with quality ops (3P's is my op as well), and are asking all the right questions. Glad to see you are interested in dining at establishments that offer far better food and lower prices than can be found in the tourist zone. The one problem with Coz is you could visit annually for a few weeks for the rest of your life and not run out of existing and new restaurants to try (or dive ops for that matter). The other prob with Coz is it is going to ruin you for many other dive destinations. The quality of the diving, the low cost of diving and topside accommodations in town, the ease of getting there... We dived Coz for the first time 17? years ago now. Been back every year ever since. We'll squeeze in other dive destinations but those are costly and far away. Coz is going to interfere with your sense of adventure and desire to dive new places because you'll want to go back over and over and over.
     
    Wrock likes this.
  3. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    49,121
    4,751
    113
    Be sure to tell your bank that you'll be using your cards in Mexico so that the cards won't get closed and/or eaten by machines

    There are many interesting ruins on the mainland. Tulum is a little overly manicured, but interesting, and you'll also see lovely girls in bikinis heading downstairs to the beach. :) We did Coba & Tulum as a day trip from the island. If you do Coba, stop in Tulum city at a grocery on the corner to buy water jugs to carry in a backpack, and rent a bicycle. Rent a car i Playa del Carmen.

    Another trip, we left most of our stuff in our Cozumel hotel but went the night before to overnight at the back gate to Chichen Itza, went in first thing the next morning beating the tours & crowds, then when it got busy, did nearby Ek Balam - not to be missed when in the area. Mayan Ruins Mexico: Yucatan Peninsula Mayan Ruins, Mexico - LocoGringo

    Pricey? Only a little. Ferry prices keep changing, but for a tourist who expects to spend money, not a biggie.

    They start laying in May so the summer heat will hatch the eggs, and there are tours to see them at night. They start hatching in August, and the tours to rescue stragglers are great. Over in November.

    I like the butterfly farm, on the way to Punta Sur for the rest of the day.

    Is the bank-owned ATM at the airport bad? I wait until I get to my hotel, but I figured it was ok. Here is the conversion scam to avoid: More photos of the bank ATM scam

    NO! Do not support animal abuse. Grr.

    Welcome to our bean to bar Chocolate Factory in Cozumel Island, Mexico.

    Save leftover Pesos for the next trip. Your bank probably gives you lousy rates anyway.

    It opens when he leaves. "The president of the Foundation of Parks and Museums of Cozumel #FPMC, Noemí Ruiz Piña, announced that February 20, 2020 will be the date of the reopening of the island's museum"
     
    Wrock likes this.
  4. Wrock

    Wrock Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    21
    21
    3
    Thanks so much! So much good advice in here. How many pesos should I expect for an average meal at a sit down restaurant?
     
  5. Wrock

    Wrock Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    21
    21
    3
    Thanks for this. I normally do this before travelling but I had forgotten.
     
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    49,121
    4,751
    113
    I've had two eaten by ATMs when I forgot. I had backup plans, but it was disruptive. I later heard that one can often retrieve the cards during business hours, and my photo is on mine, but I try to avoid that - along with the conversion scam seen even on bank ATMs.
     
  7. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    10,192
    3,481
    113
    Eating on Cozumel is monetarily much like eating here in the States.
     
  8. deepsea21

    deepsea21 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA
    1,098
    908
    113
    Depends where you go and how much you drink. For one person for diner at a sit down restaurant and a Sol beer (or two) with a nice tip if you stick to the back street restaurants... I'd say about 250 Pesos tops for one person. As you are staying on the island for 11 days, don't be afraid to pull a bunch of Pesos (6000 - 7000) from a BANK OWNED ATM as you'll go through those Pesos faster than you think and will be pulling more throughout your trip. Furthermore, once you dive Coz you'll probably be back in short order so if you have Pesos left over you'll use them on your next trip... makes that next trip just a little cheaper!
     
    Wrock likes this.
  9. Wrock

    Wrock Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    21
    21
    3
    I strongly suspect this is going to be true!
     
  10. Basscat

    Basscat Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwest Missouri, USA
    484
    229
    43
    +1 for Casa Cuzamil and I too love their chili rellaño comida del dia, but everything else is good too. My favorite after dive lunch, enjoying a margarita and the breeze in their upstairs dining area.
     
    deepsea21 likes this.

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