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Trip report: 1/2-1/9 2021

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by H2ODoc, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. H2ODoc

    H2ODoc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    485
    172
    43
    Some thoughts from our recent trip. It's our 5th trip to Cozumel over the last 10 years. Returned to a dark and cold snowstorm in Denver last night :mad:

    Our family of 5 - all divers (me, wife, 17, 19, 20 year old kids) planned a last-minute trip to Cozumel to warm up, get some more diving experience for the kids, and get out of Denver for a while.

    Our friends from Denver with their son, niece/husband/2kids and another niece were there at the same time, same flight, etc. We elected not to share their villa to try and distance a bit for Covid, and rented a condo near the villa they rented.

    ACCOMODATIONS

    We rented 2B at Paradise condos. Nice place. 3BR, ocean view, small pool, great balcony, very clean. We'd rent there again.

    Friends rented Las Ventanas villa (not the condos). REALLY nice place. Big pool, huge kitchen, outside shower, palapa/pier on the water, right next to Palancar dive pier. We probably should have stayed with them. Great place for so many things. Caretaker on site made tamales for us one night and mole / fajitas for us another nice. Papa Hogs picked us up each morning at the Palancar pier.

    DIVE SHOP

    We normally dive with Blue Angel or Aldora but decided to dive with our friends, and they use Papa Hogs. They got us all on one boat (10 divers on most days). I'm a creature of habit, so I was a small amount hesitant to use PH, but they really did a great job. Boat Captain, Pancho, and divemasters Rocky and Eddie were great. Excellent pre-dive briefings, very attentive underwater, spotted tiny things, big things, took good care of us. Especially important to us since we had our kids with us, that have about 25 dives in their career. Kids were pretty competent and very comfortable underwater, so that's good! Boats are a bit old, but clean and no issues there. Rocky has a very funny laugh and we had a lot of fun on the boats. I'd add them to my list of great companies to dive with. Only complaint was the $4.50 beers at Papa Hogs bar while we were getting our dives setup after we arrived on the island.

    DIVING

    First day was a checkout set of dives and all 10 of us were together with two divemasters, so it was a bit "crowded" on those dives. The divemasters split us into two groups for the next 5 days of diving and that worked MUCH better.

    We saw about 2 nurse sharks and some of us (not me, darnit) saw a black tip the whole week. A few eagle rays, a few morays, a few turtles, a few grouper, and that was about it for bigger creatures. We were surprised not to see more sharks/rays, but maybe it was luck of the draw.

    We did the Felipe Xicotencatl C53 wreck dive, which I was neutral about diving, but it turned out great. Very interesting and a bit creepy, as we only had one light for our group of 5!

    Palancar and Columbia deep were fantastic as usual. All other dives were "typical" and I don't mean that as a bad thing. All enjoyable with good vis and a bit of current.

    DINING

    Blue Angel for dinner was very good. Waiter spent a lot of time with our kids speaking Spanish and teaching them some slang words, and it was very fun. Our kids enjoy trying out their Spanish and it really helped as they've had 2 years of high school Spanish, and I only speak menu-Spanish (taco/cerveza/bano).

    El Moro was fun, as well. Ray is a national treasure!

    On our last day, we went to La Choza for a late breakfast, and that's becoming a tradition for us. Love that place. Good coffee, chilaquiles, etc. etc. etc.

    Ohana for peanut butter tequila shots one night. Chatted up Matt for a while. Good times.

    Senior Iguanas for Baja tacos one afternoon was incredible. I heard that they only do that once in a while.

    OTHER

    We rented a car from Budget - $140 for the week. Smoking deal! Turned it in, and they pointed out the missing front license plate and were thinking I got a ticket and the cops took the plate. I was afraid it was going to be a problem and cost me $$$. Luckily, I snapped some pics of the car as I picked it up, and showed them the picture with the plate missing then, so no issue!

    No cruise ships are there due to Covid and that's such a nice treat for us. Maybe not so much for shop owners, but it was a nice break from the crowds. Town wasn't empty, and there's still a bit of traffic, but not near as bad as normal.

    Covid: they do a decent job on the island minimizing risk: hand sanitizer when you get on the dive boat, wear masks on the dive boat, hand sanitizer when you enter a restaurant, take temps at restaurants. But, as in the states, everyone is adjusting their masks, wearing them loose, or sometimes below the nose. Didn't bother us much, but it may cause some anxious people some concerns.

    (edit to add...) I tried two ATMs at the MEGA to get $100USD in pesos. Both warned me about a $15USD fee for the transaction and had a "decline this transaction" button. After displaying that warning, I pressed "decline" and both of them spit out my pesos and charged me that $15USD. WTF??? Avoid those machines. I might try to dispute those with my bank.

    Final thought: Cozumel is such a friendly place. Locals, restaurant servers, divemasters, gas station attendant, grocers, etc. All seem to be genuinely friendly. So refreshing!
     
  2. rick00001967

    rick00001967 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: canada
    1,667
    642
    113
    "i only speak menu spanish".....thats a good one. i am gonna steal that for sure. haha
     
  3. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,532
    6,235
    113
    Glad you had a good time. Thanks for the topside details on places you stayed or saw. That's often useful info. for trip planners, especially when you've got a sizable family along.
     
  4. cozdiver3

    cozdiver3 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Arkansas
    11
    0
    1
    Thanks for the review. We are missing Coz really bad - ready to go back when it calms down re COVID up here.
     
  5. H2ODoc

    H2ODoc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    485
    172
    43
    Some random pics. We were just diving with an old GoPro, so I'll leave the u/w pics to the pros on the site:

    Tacos at Senior Iguanas:

    YKeOjzI.jpg

    J1noUoA.jpg

    Ceviche at Blue Angel

    z0XeoRG.jpg

    Sunset from Villa

    7hVCjD6.jpg

    Rocky pointing out some critters:

    OX1fliD.jpg

    A few cervezas were enjoyed here:

    ScEJ6R4.jpg

    DM Rocky showed my kids how to do this cool bubble ring:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. H2ODoc

    H2ODoc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    485
    172
    43
    Understood. I think it's fair to say that most shops/hotels/restaurants/divemasters are happy to have us come down, as long as we respect their mask / sanitizing requirements. At least that's my perception and the answers I was given when asked how they felt about us visiting. But, it's a personal choice, of course.
     
  7. Rob9876

    Rob9876 Barracuda

    342
    157
    43
    Great report, and these two bits of information are especially good to know! Did that $140 at Budget include full insurance? And what kind of car was it?
     
  8. H2ODoc

    H2ODoc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    485
    172
    43
    $140 didn't include insurance. Found the deal on Kayak.com via Hotwire. 5 passenger Nissan. About the size of a Honda Civic or Accord, maybe.
     
    Rob9876 likes this.
  9. Rob9876

    Rob9876 Barracuda

    342
    157
    43
    O.k., guessing it was a Tiida/Versa then. Do you know how much it was with all of the insurance? I think with taxes and insurance we paid around $55/day all-in for one last time.
     
  10. Kimela

    Kimela Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St Louis
    1,035
    1,431
    113
    Please tell me more about this ... sounds interesting as I sip my port wine in Missouri in January ... feeling sorry that you went home to snow in Denver. :( But glad you had such fun on Cozumel!! :)
     

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