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mr_tabasco
07-21-2008, 15:19
My wife and I are taking our first trip to Cozumel and are trying to figure out the best place to stay. This is our first dive since our OW and we are going to be diving with Papa Hoggs. We want to stay in town so we could eat at some of the local restaurants. The problem I am having is I can't find a good acurate map of Cozumel. My wife is think she wants to stay at Hotel Cozumel but I can't firgure exactly where that is. If I look on Expedia it shows it south of the square and if I look other places it says it is North of town. I would think I wuldlike to sty closer to PH but maybe hat is not important. Does any one have a good acurate map of Cozumel or have any insight?

TRACI
07-21-2008, 15:38
I have used Papa Hogs 5 times, and have no complaints. Margaret is very flexible with their boats. Hog Town Cafe has some excellent food, breakfast is really good, and they serve it to you pretty quick.

We have stayed at several different hotels in Coz, I find the most convenient to Papa is Casa Del Mar, but it is not all-inclusive.

TRACI
07-21-2008, 15:39
Hotel Cozumel is also a good choice for location to Papa Hogs, but I can not speak of the hotel, never stayed there.

mr_tabasco
07-21-2008, 16:12
Thanks. We were not going to go the all inclusive route since we wanted to try out some of the local restaurants. I just didn't know if where Hotel Cozumel was located, is it within walking distance to town and to Papa Hoggs?

Defman
07-21-2008, 16:12
I'll second Traci's recommendation for Papa Hogs, really good shop and food. I have been to CZM 5 times as as well and have always dove with PH, did my first ever post-cert dives with them. Margaret is a jewel! And Mike, well, he's Mike. He seems like an a-hole at first but he's really not once you get to know him. He just one of the those lovable old cranky dudes, like Archie Bunker... Buy him a beer and talk about something other than diving.. like Harley's!

If I recall correctly, and based on the map from their website, Hotel Cozumel is a little south of town. Remember that CZM is small and what may look like quite a ways on a map isn't really very far at all. You could probably walk from Hotel Cozumel to PH or town, but cabs are cheap enough.

mr_tabasco
07-21-2008, 16:13
Maybe it is just easy to get a taxi but having never been there I don't know how big of a deal it is.

TRACI
07-21-2008, 16:16
Probably the only hotel that is in walking distance is Villablanca, right next door to Papa Hogs, but I have never stayed there. Hotel Cozumel is a good walk to Papa Hogs. I would catch a cab, or we always rent scooters. Mike, is just Mike. I think it took me 5 trips before is actually started cracking jokes, but he is alright.

roofless
07-21-2008, 16:19
I have used Papa Hogs 5 times, and have no complaints.

Last time I dove with them I was under weighted and they didn't bring any extra on the boat. Worst leg cramps ever. This was 1995

TRACI
07-21-2008, 16:22
I have used Papa Hogs 5 times, and have no complaints.

Last time I dove with them I was under weighted and they didn't bring any extra on the boat. Worst leg cramps ever. This was 1995


We usually do a weight check before we get on the boat, but the DM's have always carried extra weights just in case.

mr_tabasco
07-21-2008, 16:25
We will be arriving at noon on a Sunday so we were going to try and do a shore dive just to get aclimated and make sure our weights were good.

roofless
07-21-2008, 16:33
We usually do a weight check before we get on the boat, but the DM's have always carried extra weights just in case.

That's why I was so shocked. I'd dove 3 months earlier in Cayman and was using the same weight. I couldn't believe they brought zero onto the boat.

It was also just myself and one other guy on the trip. They carried us to the site via an old cracked-paint wooden v-hull boat with a little 35hp outboard motor. Sounds like PH has improved a lot since I dove with them. My local dive shop also uses them for their trips.

This was also the time I flew to CZM without even so much as a hotel reservation. Good times....

waytooslow
07-21-2008, 16:39
That's why I was so shocked. I'd dove 3 months earlier in Cayman and was using the same weight. I couldn't believe they brought zero onto the boat.

It was also just myself and one other guy on the trip. They carried us to the site via an old cracked-paint wooden v-hull boat with a little 35hp outboard motor. Sounds like PH has improved a lot since I dove with them. My local dive shop also uses them for their trips.

This was also the time I flew to CZM without even so much as a hotel reservation. Good times....

sounds like fun going unplanned and all. may have to try that - tabasco let us know how it all turns out.

diverdan_51
07-21-2008, 16:48
I've been to Coz a handful of times with my most recent trip about 4 weeks ago with my youngest daughter while she completed her OW certification. Hotel Cozumel is a nice place. It's located about 1 mile south of the plaza so it is walkable. The Villablanca that Traci mentions is about another 2-3 miles (I'm guessing) south of Hotel Cozumel. If you're wanting to spend a lot of time in town, you would definitely need a taxi (or scooter) for Villablanca/Papa Hogs. The Barracuda Hotel is just a couple of blocks south of town but isn't as fancy as Hotel Cozumel.

Taxi... You will have NO problems finding a taxi if you so choose. Not being ran over by one is probably a bigger task.

Food... Prima - Italian or LaChoza - Mexican are the best in my opinion.

Chankanaab National Park is a good place to spend an afternoon. You can rent tanks and go for a shore dive there. Probably one of the best shore dives I've ever done! They now require you to hire a guide for shore dives ($10 for up to 4 people) because there are some underwater caverns there where you could get lost. The caverns are filled with thousands and thousands of sardines along with dozens of tarpon which are feeding on the sardines. It's pretty impressive. Sundays are a good day to go to Chankanaab because no cruise ships are in port meaning a much smaller crowd.

Also, taking a day and renting a scooter or jeep and going over to the other side of the island is a fun time.

Hope this helps.

shovelhead91701
07-21-2008, 16:52
My wife and I love cozumel and I would try to get you to stay at an all-inclusive just for the fact that drinks and snacks are free........adds up to a lot of walking cash just to carry around to buy all day long....... I have never had a problem with anyone local but hey, it happens right? We always go into town to eat off the beaten path as well but you sure don't need a lot of cash with you for that right?

mr_tabasco
07-21-2008, 17:30
Thanks for all of the feedback. Every little bit of information helps. I will let you know how it turns out.

hooligan
07-21-2008, 19:03
Definitely check out the east side of the island. There are a couple of bars over there that are fun to visit.

DevilDiver
07-21-2008, 21:07
The Villa Blanca is clean and cheap not upscale but comfortable and like stated it is just across the street from the Papa Hogs dock. It cost $3 for a taxi to town, $4 maybe if the cruise ships are in. It is nice to have a 5 min walk to and from the boat.

There is a great little beach bar there as well "La Papalita"- ask for Carlos, Mike is the owner.

chace_nicole
07-21-2008, 21:39
The Can-do maps are great and can be purchased here Cozumel map (http://www.cancunmap.com/cozumel_map.html) for $8.00

They have one for Cozumel and its a map of the whole island with information and location of hotels, restaurants, beach clubs, the whole bit.

Looks like they have a new addition aside from the island map...the reefs of Cozumel
Cozumel dive and snorkel map guide (http://www.cozumeldivemap.com/)

ertechsg
07-21-2008, 22:50
Wife and I stay at hotel coz when we go great place. Short walk to town 5 min to the first bar 10 min to square --(stay away til evening when cruise ships leave.) Papa hogs should pick you up at the holtel's dock ( just on other side of street actually go through a tunnel so you don't have to mess with the traffic) easy. AI is not a bad way to go if nothing else breakfast and drinks. The hotel does have really good food but as mentioned do go to prima's awsome any taxie driver will know where it is 10 min from hotel about $3 taxi ride. Just remember you are in mexico and a 3-4 star hotel there is not like here. Just relax injay the dives, views food drink and people it is extreamly safe there. Any other ? just PM me glade to help. You'll love it there.

roofless
07-22-2008, 09:05
Here is Funjet Vacations 2008 Mexico Brochure
Funjet Vacations - Mexico 2008 (http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trisept-uk/funjet-mexico08/)

The CZM pages start on page 26. You'll find full color maps, hotel photos, pictures, ratings, descriptions, etc.

It's not a brochure for divers per say, but should help you decide how 'budget' you want to travel. The Barracuda Hotel, for example, is a diver hotel. You'll surely have 'hotel envy', however, if you decide to stay there.

Just a heads up ;)

mr_tabasco
07-22-2008, 12:14
Thanks, as I said every little bit helpss. We keep getting a little more informaton from different folks and hopfully we will have it figured out enough by the time we get there. I think the wife is going to insist on a nicer hotel until she has been down there and seen what some ofthe others look like.

roofless
07-22-2008, 12:20
I think the wife is going to insist on a nicer hotel until she has been down there and seen what some ofthe others look like.

smart man :smiley20:
better safe than sorry

Defman
07-22-2008, 12:39
I think the wife is going to insist on a nicer hotel until she has been down there and seen what some of the others look like.

Probably a good choice. It's much better to be in a place that is snazzier than expected/needed than ending up in a dump you're not happy with. When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy!!

Sorry you're a little overwhelmed with info, that can happen with the topic of Cozumel. I've always heard good things about Hotel Cozumel and Papa Hogs is an excellent choice, I don't think you should worry about having made a bad decision with either. Now your job is to relax, have a good time, and most of all... tell us all about it when you get back!!!

mr_tabasco
07-22-2008, 12:48
That is probably good advice! I was also curious about diving locations. I don't want to do anything too difficult (staying with the theme of keeping mama happy). This is probably too open ended of a question but are there any locations that are high recomendations for newbies?

mr_tabasco
07-22-2008, 12:51
OH one other thing..... does anyone have any experience booking hotels through Expedia in Cozumel? I have found some good deals but I am always scared of something that looks too good.

Defman
07-22-2008, 13:29
That is probably good advice! I was also curious about diving locations. I don't want to do anything too difficult (staying with the theme of keeping mama happy). This is probably too open ended of a question but are there any locations that are high recomendations for newbies?

Margaret will make sure you're on a boat that suits your level of diving experience and not put you in over your head, so to speak... I don't have any specific sites for you, it's all good in CZM!




Oh one other thing..... does anyone have any experience booking hotels through Expedia in Cozumel? I have found some good deals but I am always scared of something that looks too good.

I don't but Expedia is a reputable operation and I'm sure it's a safe purchase and they'll help out in case there is any problem.

mr_tabasco
07-22-2008, 13:44
I am thinking of just booking the hotel myself and the book the diving separate. It seems like it is a little cheaper to do it that way. I am not looking to make it super cheap but hey everyone has a budget.

roofless
07-22-2008, 13:55
I am thinking of just booking the hotel myself and the book the diving separate. It seems like it is a little cheaper to do it that way. I am not looking to make it super cheap but hey everyone has a budget.

Why not use a travel agent? They have access to lower negotiated block rates, and often have first-hand knowledge about the island/resort/etc.

I often request Funjet hotel-only packages (when I use air miles) because they have a great 'cancel for any reason' insurance option for under $40 a person. It's often the case that you will have trouble getting a refund if you decide t postpone your vacation due to something insignificant like say... a hurricane moving into the gulf. Find an agent here (http://www.funjet.com/agents/index.asp). I rarely use on-line reservation search engines for vacation destinations I have never been to before.

just my $.02

ParrotheadDiver
07-22-2008, 14:06
Not sure if you have your orginal question answered but Hotel Cozumel is approx 15-20 min walk south of the Plaza/Square...you can cab it for around 4.00US.....they have a pier so PaPa Hogs can pick you up there....

If you want to stay in town Vista del Mar or Casa Mexicana is a good choice...check w/papa hogs regarding downtown pick up....

Chase Nicole has given you some very good info on maps...I never leave home w/o mine....

some of the charter groups funjet, apple, etc. mentioned are good to use to book airfare and hotel you may get a better deal that way....

have fun

georoc01
07-22-2008, 14:27
You don't list your location, but I generally find I get the best deals either with an airfare/hotel deal and book the dives seperate or book the dives/hotels as a package and the airfare seperately.

I use a group like Funjet or Apple Vacations for most of my bookings. I do like that they have someone on the ground in Cozumel that you can contact rather than depending on a phone call back to the states if you have a problem while you are there.

TRACI
07-22-2008, 14:30
I have never had any luck using a travel agent, they can never match the deals that you can find on your own. The only con is, it takes alot of time searching for the best deals.

Defman
07-22-2008, 14:51
Someone else suggested it and I'll second it, at this time of year buying trip insurance is a good idea. Heck I buy it all of the time and even used it once, but I think it's a must buy during hurricane season.

mr_tabasco
07-22-2008, 15:30
I was definitley going to get trip insurance. I had tried a couple of travel agents but they seem to want to book things their way. I had not tried the fun jet option but I will look into that as well. You are all giving me great information. It is always better to get info from people that have been there, thanks.

TRACI
07-22-2008, 15:38
I have booked many trips with Worry Free Vacations, but I think they may cut their flights off into Coz in August, and not restart until Spring.

roofless
07-22-2008, 16:20
I have never had any luck using a travel agent, they can never match the deals that you can find on your own. The only con is, it takes alot of time searching for the best deals.

Good travel agents are hard to come by. They also don't appreciate working for free to have their potential client book direct to save a couple bucks. I worked as a travel agent for 8 years, 3 of them as a manager, and if I knew my potential clients were shopping every agency in town, I would tell them that we all get prices from the same vendors (which is true) and I would ask what they had found so far, whether that would be the best price, and then send them back to who quoted them. The value and services comes when you work with the agent, and not use them as a quote service.

Once you build that relationship, they will work very hard for you. You'll also have a lot more free time since you won't be pouring over pages and pages of questionable reviews and amateur experience stories on the internet.

TRACI
07-22-2008, 16:40
I have tried to build a relationship with travel agents in my area, but they tend to only want to deal with more 5 star vacationers spending the big bucks, And not sure what you consider a few bucks, but I had a travel agent price the exact same vacation that I book through Continental.com, and it was going to be $300 higher.

I always write reviews after a trip, and do not consider myself a amateur with a travel experience to share. I also take in consideration all the other amateur reviews that people have taken the time to post, not just someone sitting behind a desk reading amenities out of a travel catalog.

roofless
07-22-2008, 17:23
Like I said, a good agent is hard to find.

scubarobin
07-23-2008, 07:46
I use Expedia quite a bit and have never had any problems. The best deals on hotel/diving packages are either through the dive op (like Papahogs) or with Caradonna or BayAdventures. Don't try to book dive packages through Expedia, they just aren't "dive travel" agents.

For Cozumel, there are so many inexpensive hotels and good small dive ops, it is sometimes best to book them all separately if you don't mind all the work. The smaller hotels are usually pretty basic though so if you have a non-diving spouse they might be too basic. We have done both options... we have stayed at Casa del Mar, Hogtown Hotel, Sol Cabanas, La Ceiba el Cid, and Plaza Las Glorias (which has been gutted and rebuilt as a luxury hotel downtown). Each had their good points and their bad points.

TRACI
07-23-2008, 07:51
I only got to stay ar Sol Cabanas one time before Wilma hit, so sad to see it destroyed, I really liked the location.

georoc01
07-23-2008, 09:34
I use Expedia quite a bit and have never had any problems. The best deals on hotel/diving packages are either through the dive op (like Papahogs) or with Caradonna or BayAdventures. Don't try to book dive packages through Expedia, they just aren't "dive travel" agents.

For Cozumel, there are so many inexpensive hotels and good small dive ops, it is sometimes best to book them all separately if you don't mind all the work. The smaller hotels are usually pretty basic though so if you have a non-diving spouse they might be too basic. We have done both options... we have stayed at Casa del Mar, Hogtown Hotel, Sol Cabanas, La Ceiba el Cid, and Plaza Las Glorias (which has been gutted and rebuilt as a luxury hotel downtown). Each had their good points and their bad points.

The only caution I would have in using Expedia is do they have anyone on the ground in Cozumel if you do have problems? I know the one time I did have a problem with a reservation, and we went back and forth with many phone calls, was a pain to resolve. I would hate to have to do that over international phone lines.

I have used Apple vacations, and they have someone there who greets you at the airport, takes care of your hotel transfer and gives you a name and local person to call if you do have any problems. I believe that fun jet and worry free vacations do as well if you are shopping online.

lucidblue
07-23-2008, 10:47
I just got a quote from Maduro Dive (http://www.madurodive.com/) that was quite a bit cheaper than Caradonna and Bay Adventures. However, even though their rate for the hotel/dive package was really good, I was able to find airfare that was $150 cheaper per person on my own.

mr_tabasco
07-23-2008, 11:27
I believe we are going to end up booking everything seperate and are probably going to book the hotel through Funjet based on the comments from this thread and the prices we have seen. I wish I had a good travel agent and did not have to do all of the leg work but I haven't been able to find one yet.

We are not going to be going until October but all of this planning has me pretty excited so I don't know how I am going to wait that long.

lucidblue
07-23-2008, 13:06
I believe we are going to end up booking everything seperate and are probably going to book the hotel through Funjet based on the comments from this thread and the prices we have seen. I wish I had a good travel agent and did not have to do all of the leg work but I haven't been able to find one yet.

We are not going to be going until October but all of this planning has me pretty excited so I don't know how I am going to wait that long.

We're hoping to go in October too. I just want to book the trip.

DevilDiver
07-23-2008, 15:54
I have used Funjet, Apple and Worryfree many times. I have only booked through Bay Aventures once but all have been great.
I have found another website that looks promising but have not used yet but they appear to have competitive prices and the book live aboard and destinations not found on the above web pages.
Save Money Diving Scuba diving, diving holidays, liveaboards, dive packages worldwide (http://www.save-money-diving.com/index.php?pageid=intro)

I believe they are worth checking out. If anyone uses or has used this company please post your expeirence......

mr_tabasco
07-24-2008, 21:24
After all was said and done we booked at the Casa Mexicana through Fun Jet. PH doesn't pick up there but it was mamas choice so I figure it was the best choice. We will probably check out the other hotels while we are there so we will know better on the next trip. We don't go until October but I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for all of the feedback it was really helpful.

ParrotheadDiver
07-25-2008, 08:35
good choice on the hotel...you will also get a breakfast buffet with your pkg....

here is a good list of local places to eat that a friend of mine, who lives there, made it is located on her website...

Cozumel Diving: Blue XT SEA Diving, Cozumel Mexico (http://bluextseadiving.com/restaurants.php)

most of these are within walking distance of Casa Mexicana

TRACI
07-25-2008, 08:43
After all was said and done we booked at the Casa Mexicana through Fun Jet. PH doesn't pick up there but it was mamas choice so I figure it was the best choice. We will probably check out the other hotels while we are there so we will know better on the next trip. We don't go until October but I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for all of the feedback it was really helpful.


I stayed at Casa Mexicana in January, it was a great hotel. Very, Very clean, and the breakfast buffet was awesome. It is in a really good location. I would definetly stay there again on future visits.

SYOTABUCS
08-11-2008, 19:34
No matter who you dive with, be careful that they do not make you pay for all your dives up front. Most operators do not.

Reason is if the Dive Shop happens to not be a good fit for you, then you would have a hard time moving on to someone else.

Have fun and enjoy.

mr_tabasco
10-12-2008, 17:48
Well we just got back and all I can say is WOW!

We had originally scheduled three days of boat diving with one day off at the end of the trip. We ended up diving an extra day since we had the time and we could not see being in Cozumel and missing a chance to do more diving.

This was our first trip to Coz and our first ocean dive so it was a real learning experience. We did a shore dive when we arrived on Sunday afternoon just to get our weights right and didn't really expect to see much. However, we got to see a spotted moray and a bright red seahorse as well as loads of other fish. We dove with Racendo (sp?) for all of the boat dives and I would definitley recomend him for new divers he is super patient and full of information.

The first day we dove Chankanaab Shallow and Paradise. The viz was probably about 60 feet so it wasn't super compared to what I have heard but it was still awsome compared to what we have seen. The second day we dove Palancar Caves and Columbia Shallows. The viz was a little better but the currents were pretty strong (well they seemed strong to us). Racendo said they were probably about 2 knots max. The coral formations in the Palancar caves was just breathtaking, especially when you looked back up at them with the sunlight in the background. The third day we dove Paso del Cedral and Punta Tunich. We had so much fun that we decided to dive one more day and we dove Santa Rosa and San Fransico.

I was a real air hog most of the trip due to my size and inexperience but was able to keep my air consumption with everyone else on the last day so I guess I will just have to keep practicing. Overall I don't think we could have asked for a better trip. Both my wife and I had a great time and are already trying to figure out when ad where we can go next. We got to see several turtles, a couple of sharks, manta rays and there was a big green Moray but it was back in a hole so I never actually saw it.

Thanks to all of you for your input and feedback to help in planning this trip!

SynCitizen
10-13-2008, 00:09
Sounds like the trip was a success. I would like to see pics if you have any you would like to share.

mr_tabasco
10-13-2008, 13:28
This was my first time to take pictures so they were not that impresive bu here are a couple.

http://my4paws.com/images/scuba/PA070012.JPG

http://my4paws.com/images/scuba/PA070044.JPG


http://my4paws.com/images/scuba/PA090037.JPG


This was just a shot looking down at my wife on Santa Rosa wall. I thought it showed the dramatic effect of the abyss below you on the wall.

http://my4paws.com/images/scuba/PA090042.JPG

SynCitizen
10-14-2008, 00:32
A little photo tweaking and you can have some nice looking pics. The 3rd one kind looks surreal. I like it.
What camera did you use?

mr_tabasco
10-14-2008, 08:19
The Camea was an olympus stylus 1010. I was prett happy withit an even go some pretty cool videos too.

mr_tabasco
10-16-2008, 08:36
here are a couple more.....
3154

3155

3156