Frequently asked questions: If you have questions, you may find the answers here. Below are some of the frequently asked questions. At left are links quickly access information, maps, etc. If you don't find what you're looking for, we encourage you to give us a call or send us an e-mail!
What if I need to cancel?
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly recommend that you consider travel insurance which may cover trip cancelation costs, medical, emergency evacuation, personal belongings, emergency assistance, and travel delays. This insurance, available at a nominal fee, can also cover many other conditions such as airline accidents, lost baggage, late flights, inclement weather, "Acts of God," etc. Click here for more information.
Protect your vacation against unforeseeable circumstances. You will be covered if you need to cancel for any number of covered reasons including someone in the party getting ill or injured, a non-traveling family member getting sick, or inclement weather closing roads or airports. Also included is up to $50,000 of emergency medical evacuation coverage.
You are protected against losses due to:
• Trip Cancellations
• Trip Delay
• Trip Interruption
• Emergency Medical Expense
• Emergency Medical Evacuation
• Many other circumstances outside their control
The Travel Guard Protect Assist plan is available to citizens/residents of any country.
What kinds of circumstances are covered for cancellation or trip interruption? This comprehensive policy covers a variety of unforeseeable events. For example, if weather delays your flight and you miss the first day of your week's vacation, you can file a claim for reimbursement of that one day's charges. If a relative at home goes into the hospital and you need to cut your vacation short you can be reimbursed for the unused days. And, of course, if an illness or injury causes a cancellation of the entire trip you can recover all of the monies you would have forfeited to cancellation penalties.
Are weather-related problems covered? Yes, in most cases, if your trip is interrupted, delayed or cancelled due to weather problems you are covered.
What if I need to cancel and don't have travel insurance
If you cancel a reservation and if we are able to rebook the same property for the same rates and dates, we will refund your payment (less a $150 cancelation fee). Keep in mind that the more time that we have, the more success we will have to rebook a property. Last minute cancelations are nearly impossible as most of our clients plan their vacations months in advance. Please consider travel insurance!
In a nutshell, what is Cozumel like?
Cozumel is an island located in the Caribbean just off the Mexican Yucatan peninsula. The island is approximately 11 miles wide by 29 miles long, with one city called San Miguel and small inland village of Cedral.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, beaches, tropical temperatures are just a few of the main attractions on the island. In addition you'll discover numerous other diversions including serious power shopping, endless dining opportunities, water sports of every kind, horseback riding, the weekly fiesta in the plaza (Sunday evening) and hammocks waiting for you to plop in for a afternoon of leisure. Enjoy the sand beneath your toes, the palm trees along the beach and dramatic sunsets over the Caribbean. You'll fall in love with the island and the local people who greet you with open arms and warm hearts. Not to mention those ice cold beers and tasty margaritas!
Cozumel's proximity to the mainland makes it easy to do day trips to historical sites such as the ruins at Tulum or Coba or the eco-parks such as Xcaret and Xel-Ha.
Cozumel is a tropical island paradise with calm, crystal clear Caribbean waters teeming with brilliantly colored fish. Lush palm trees along the powdery sand beaches sway in the gentle ocean breezes. Warm weather and casual island atmosphere make this an ideal destination vacation for friends and family any time of the year.
If you enjoy warm weather, sunshine, snorkeling, diving, outdoor activities, dining adventures, experiencing other cultures and friendly people, then you'll love Cozumel.
Absolutely. We recommend that you rent a car at least one day in order to get out and explore the island. For convenience you may want to have a rental car for your entire stay so you can get around wherever and whenever you want. Rental cars are available from $40 per day. A limited number of vans are available. You need a valid driver's license in order to drive in Mexico.
Make sure to follow all traffic laws. Do not drink and drive.
Most streets in town are one way. The coastal highway is two-way and circles the island.
Parking at most villas/condos is available on the street.
If you choose not to rent a car, taxis are plentiful.
Note that you cannot take rental cars to or from the mainland.
Taxis are plentiful in Cozumel and rates are quite inexpensive. Rates are government controlled, but you should ask what the rate is before you get in. Taxis can carry a maximum of 5 passengers and rates vary for 1 or 5. Tips are appreciated since fares are so low. Phone 872-0236.
Sample Taxi Fares
Northern Zone to Airport
Residencias Reef to Airport
Condumel/Cantamar to Downtown
Country Club Estates to Downtown
Downtown to Chankanaab
Downtown to Residencias Reef
It is very easy to go from Cozumel to the mainland. An excellent, and quite reliable, ferry service has been in place for a number of years. Ferry takes about 30 minutes to cross between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen; tickets are about $14 each way. Ferry service begins early in the morning and continues late into the evening. See schedule below. Pick up a current schedule at the pier as it can change.
Ferry takes approx. 35 minutes to cross. US $19
Current printed schedules available at the pier
Take the ferry to Playa del Carmen and spend the day at the beach, or poking around the many shops. There are many, many restaurants. Or rent a car or take the bus to Tulum, Xel-Ha or Xcaret. See trips/excursions.
In addition, there are also shuttle flights between Cozumel and Cancun during daylight hours.
What if there is an emergency?
In case of an emergency back home, we can provide you with phone numbers that you can leave with your family in the event that you need to be reached during your vacation. Many of the properties have phones and we can give you that number if you request it before you go. However, sometimes it is best to leave the phone number of the office or representative in Cozumel since you may be at the beach or exploring the island during the day.
What if something happens on the island? We post emergency numbers in the properties just in case there is an emergency. There are English speaking doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc. on the island. There are also clinics and hospitals. Here are some handy numbers you might want to print and take along with you.
Note: From the US, add 011-52-987 and then the numberhe number
We recommend that you drink purified bottled water provided in each property; maid will see that it is replenished as needed. Restaurants/hotels use purified bottled water and ice is made from purified bottled water, too . . . so relax. If in doubt, drink beer, sodas.
No, but it will make your vacation more interesting if you can say just a few words (please, thank you, hello). Many residents, and most all of those working in hotels, restaurants, taxis and dive shops speak English.
You can use either, but we usually change money when we arrive and use pesos; you can usually save money if you use pesos. There are several places, or cambios, where you can exchange dollars for pesos; near the plaza you'll find cambios. We don't recommend that you exchange at the airport or hotels (rates are usually not in your favor).
There are several automatic cash machines on the island; that's a good way to get pesos as needed so you don't have to carry large amounts of cash
Credit cards are widely accepted; note that some businesses may charge an additional fee to use a credit card so ask before you use.
Usually warm to hot, but occasionally it can be cool. The coolest months are December and January. However, when a storm front moves in, it can even get cool in late March. The good news is that cold fronts are unusual and generally pass in a couple of days. Hottest months are July through October, but even during this time it's tolerable, and there usually is a gentle breeze. Rainiest part of the year is Sept.-Oct., followed by May-June. We've traveled many times during the rainy season; very, very seldom has it hampered our stay. It usually rains for a bit, then clears up. Off-season (May-October) can have its advantages: There are fewer tourists, and if you are a diver, you may enjoy some the best visibility ever in the off-season months!
What should I pack?
Swimsuits, shorts, comfortable walking shoes, thongs or boat shoes for the beach, sunscreen, maybe a sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt in case it gets cool. If you are on any medication make sure it is in the original bottle, clearly marked. Don't forget your camera!
Bring your own diving gear if you have it, along with your mask, fins and snorkel for snorkeling.
Many villas and condos have CD players and/or VCRs or DVD players, so you may want to pack some of your favorite CDs or videos (rental videos are also available on the island). It's always great to have a book to read while you relax by the pool, in a hammock or on the beach; pack a couple.
Residents of Cozumel are warm and friendly. Bring your good nature, a positive attitude and a friendly smile and you should fit right in!
I know this may sound odd, but I feel safer on the streets in Cozumel than I do right here at home in the good old United States. The island has little crime, and the people are friendly and courteous. While you shouldn't leave valuables sitting around at the beach, by the pool or yard, you really should feel quite secure. We've traveled to the area with our family for over 20 years and felt perfectly safe, both with our children and aging parents.
I can honestly tell you that the food is superb. There is a wide selection of restaurants and that's part of the fun of travel. We've tried many, many restaurant on the island, and we're always finding others. You will find plenty of seafood, pizza, pasta, wonderful breads, delicious fruits and vegetables. Don't think you have to go to fancy restaurants to get a good meal; some of the best food can be found in the little out-of-the-way spots. See our dining guide with a list of many of the island restaurants along with our personal notes and recommendations.
Regional food of Cozumel:
Carne Asada: Pork or beef, grilled over a charcoal fire
Chuleta Yucateca: Pork chop, marinated in red adobado then grilled and smothered wth sauteed onions
Churros: A donut type batter deep fried with a coating of sugar
Ceviche: Fish, shirmp or conch (prounced "konk") marinated in lemon and vinegar with onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
Flan: A popular custard dessert
Horchata: A sweet drink made of rice or barley, almonds, sugar, vanilla and water
Huachinango: Red snapper, usually served whole
Queso "Gallo":Holland cheese that has been imported to the Yucatan. Queso rellano (stuffed cheese) is made with ground beef, raisins, capers, smothered with Holland cheese and topped with a creamy white sauce
Tamalas: Chicken, wwrapped in a heavy dough and cooked in banana leaves
Ixnepech: A hot sauce made with spicy Habanero peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime and vinegar. Means "dog's nose" in Mayan.
Jamaica: Promounced "ha-my-ka", this delicious drink is made from flowers.
Mero: Fresh grouper, usually served as a fillet
Mojo de Ajo: Fish, conch or shrimp, served in butter and garlic sauce
Mole: Chicken or turkey or enchiladas, baked in a thick, spicy brown sauce made of almonds, chocolate, chipotle peppers and peanut oil
Pibil: Chicken or pork baked in a tangy red sauce with orange juice and wrapped in banana leaves
You can buy just about anything you need at the various supermarkets and stores in Cozumel. One of the great benefits of staying in a private villa or condo is that you have more space, including a full kitchen or kitchenette. You can stock up on your favorite foods and beverages for snacks, lunches or complete dinners. If your property has a barbecue, you can throw some burgers, chicken or shrimp on the grill. You'll save a few bucks by having some meals in your rental property, as well as enjoy the convenience of grabbing a quick snack or beverage out of your own frig. There are several large grocery stores on the island. Two of the largest, most convenient for shopping are:
MEGA: Located on the oceanfront road between Calle 9 and 11. This new mega-store features a full line of groceries as well as appliances, household goods and clothing. You'll find an impressive in-store bakery, deli, seafood, meats, fruits and veggies, liquor and beer. One stop shopping!
Chedraui: Located on the oceanfront road between Calles 15 and 17 across from el Cantil condos. Plenty of parking. Instore bakery, deli, large selection of fresh fruits/vegetables, liquor/beer, and full line of groceries.
San Francisco: On 30th Ave. on the corner of Juarez. Full selection of fruits/vegetables, beer/liquor, and groceries plus instore deli and bakery.
Liquor Stores can sell beer/liquor until 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and before 3 on Sunday. There are numerous liquor stores throughout San Miquel, including a large drive up liquor store located north of San Francisco grocery store on 30th. Covi's is often less expensive than the grocery stores and has a large selection. If you want to take something home, buy it here!
Small neighborhood tiendas (stores) are scattered throughout town and are convenient to many properties. Don't be afraid to go in and poke around, buy a couple of Cokes or a few basics. Some tiendas stock fruits and vegetables, some have beer/liquor.
Another alternative to restaurants and cooking yourself is to have a cook come in and prepare two meals a day in your villa or condo. We can make arrangements for you for the cook service.
Depends. If you always go to the most expensive restaurants, and need to fill all your time with diversions such as parasailing, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, special excursions, etc. you can drop a chunk of money; but no more (and probably quite a bit less) than if you were traveling in Florida. If you can do a few meals in, and try some of the smaller or less expensive restaurants, you won't have to spend much. There are several grocery stores, bakeries and fruit markets. Load up on soft drinks/beer so you don't have to pay the restaurant/bar prices. You can also pack a cooler with some snack foods to take along to the island. Ask us for tips on this, we do it all the time! The ferry is not expensive if you want to go to the mainland; however a day at Xcaret can be pricey if you have a herd of kids (it still won't cost as much as an amusement park in the states).
Travel can be very economical for friends or family traveling together. For example of group of 4 can stay in an in-town villa with private swimming pool, 2 BRS, full kitchen, etc. and have cook service for a week with 2 meals a day for 6 days for only about $400 per person for one week's accommodations and 12 meals! Or a group of 10 in a large oceanfront property with 2 meals a day (for 6 days) starts at just $500 per person for one week! You get more for you money when you choose to stay in a private villa or condo. That's one of the reasons we get so many repeat guests.
Need ideas on how to save a few bucks?
It doesn't cost a cent to go to the Sunday evening fiesta in the central plaza where you'll enjoy live music and plenty of people watching. You can watch local artists create paintings and other artwork.
It's interesting and no-cost to visit the local market early in the morning. This is where local residents shop for the freshest fruits and veggies, seafood and meats. It's a great cultural experience, but do anticipate some less than pleasant sights and smells (I have a low tolerance for the smell of fish and meat . . . and the occasional pig's head on a counter definitely ruins my appetite).
Go to the beach and play (avoid Playa Mia, however, as it has an entrance fee). Build sand castles. Bury a friend in the sand (okay, be sure to let them out). Take a nap in the shade. Lie on the water's edge and let the waves lick your body. Run a race on the beach. Make an anatomically correct sand man and woman. Watch the people on the beach and try to decide what they do for a living. Make new friends. Join in a game of volleyball.
Walking is free! Take an evening stroll along the oceanfront in town; time it just right so you can catch the sunset. Explore a different street each night. Don't worry, you can walk anywhere in Cozumel and feel safe.
Grab your mask, fins and snorkel and head for the sea. The most fantactic display of colorful and exotic underwater sealife is on display and you don't have to pay anything for the show! There are several areas where you can snorkel along the coastline. A few suggestions: Jeanie's, just off 11th; the Money Bar (south of town), or try north of the marina near the Presidente Hotel. Most of the oceanfront villas/condos have good snorkeling, especially they have a rocky shoreline.
Attend a soccer game or practice. The islanders are crazy about soccer as well as other sports and there are several fields. Ask around, there's sure to be a game or practice. There is a baseball field on 30th Ave.; go watch a game! There's also a sports field on 11th and about 40th.
Window shop 'til you drop. You could spend days trying to take in all the goodies and gadgets. Don't forget the flea market! As long as you're only looking, it doesn't cost a cent.
Lounge in a hammock or on the beach and read a good book. Life doesn't get any better than this!
See how many parks you can find in the city. There's one with small "animals." Another is across from the Corpus Christi church. One park has a replica of Mayan buildings. Don't forget the central plaza which is a central gathering place and perfect for people-watching.
Bring your racket and play tennis at the public courts at the sports field on 11th St. and 40th Ave.There is no fee and the courts aren't too bad; they are lighted so you can play when it cools in the evening. There are public restrooms and you can buy Coke, Gatorade and a few snack items.
Go to church. This gives you a chance to rub shoulders with the locals. There are a number of churches on the island: Catholic, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, just to name a few. Maybe you'll pick up some Spanish! Some of the priests/ministers speak English, so you may have the opportunity to visit with them before or after the service.
Do a few meals in your villa or condo and save! It's easy to pick up a few eggs, fresh fruit and homemade baked goodies for breakfast; grill some burgers or make spaghetti for dinner. Or, have a cook prepare meals in your villa or condo (ask us to make arrangements).
Stock your refrigerator with soft drinks, beer and snacks and avoid paying bar/restaurant prices.
Drive around the island and stop at all of the beach areas and explore the undeveloped east coast where you can look for shells, climb the rocks or play in the heavy wave action (don't go out too far!).
Eat at the loncherias or small eateries located off the beaten track. You'll get large portions, excellent quality and reasonable prices; most are open for breakfast and lunch until about 2 or 3 p.m.
Not one peso will you spend to take a dip in the swimming pool at your villa or condo. Work on a tan, lounge by the pool, read a book; to cool off, slip into the refreshing water again.
Take a siesta any time you want!
Go to the movie; it is inexpensive. Cozumel has a 5-screen cinema near the Chedraui grocery store. Yes, they have popcorn! Wednesday is 1/2 price day on movies!
Take the ferry to the mainland; cost is reasonable
You can stay within your budget and keep plenty busy.
It is customary to tip maids, gardeners, waiters and taxi drivers
Maids receive a salary, but of course, are always pleased when rewarded for their services. Each maid spends at least a couple of hours every day cleaning and take great pride in their work. I'm sure sometimes it's somewhat of a thankless job and any special recognition is very much appreciated. The same is true for the gardener. A suggested guideline for tipping is 5% of the total rental of the property, but use your discretion.
In restaurants, 15% to 20% is generous. Use your judgment on the quality of service provided.