General Information and FAQs
Cozumel is Mexico's largest 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 a small village called Cedral. The ancient Mayan name for Cozumel was Cuzamil which means "Island of the Swallows"
Scuba diving, snorkeling, beaches, tropical temperatures are just a few of the main attractions of the island. Frequent flights from the United States directly into Cozumel's International Airport, or through Cancun, make it an easy and affordable destination.
The Mexico peso is the official monetary unit, but American dollars are accepted just about anywhere. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Money exchanges, called cambios, are located throughout the island, with some of the best rates offered in those near the central plaza, ATM's are available at the banks in the plaza
Spanish is the official language but English is spoken in most areas frequented by tourists.
Travel around the island is easy with taxis abundant (and quite inexpensive). Rental cars, jeeps, vans, mopeds and bicycles are also available.
Excursions to the mainland are convenient, with ferry service between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen offered 7 days a week. Roundtrip price is approximately $20; with ferries leaving almost every hour from early in the morning until about 11 at night. Crossing takes about 35 minutes. There is also air service to Cancun, about a 20 minute flight.
Questions before or after you make a reservation? You might find the answers here. If not, we encourage you to give us a call or send us an e-mail!
What you can expect
- We'll answer any questions you may have before or after you have made a reservation. We are very familiar with all the properties we offer and have stayed in many of them.
- Villas and condos are completely furnished, including all linens, towels, cooking utensils, etc. Many villas also provide beach towels.
- Maid service and purified bottled water is provided.
- A representative is on the island to greet you upon your arrival.
- You will have a contact on the island and in most cases that person is available 7 days a week.
Selecting a property that works for you
- In-town villas are in most cases just a short walk to the ocean and close to restaurants/shopping. In-town properties are a comfortable, convenient choice for your stay. You may find you don't need a rental car because it is so easy to get around either by walking or getting a taxi when necessary
- Oceanfront/beach area properties offer spectacular ocean views or access. Because of location of some of these properties, you will want to have a rental vehicle. Some of the oceanfront/beach area properties have excellent snorkeling right in the area.
- Property size varies from 1 bedroom to 8 bedrooms. If you have a larger party, there are a number of villas close to each other that could be combined for groups. All villas have restrictions on the number of guests that can be accommodated. You do not want to over-crowd your villa or condo or you'll run into problems (you may not have enough water, towels, etc.); and you could be faced with extra charges. When you make your reservation we need to know how many people will be in your party. If that number changes, you need to inform us. If you exceed the maximum occupancy in your villa or condo, you can expect one or more of these actions:
- You may be required to pay an extra charge
- You may lose your security deposit
- You may be required to find alternative lodging for the extra guests
- You may be asked to leave the property and forfeit your reservation
When and how to make a reservation
- Many properties are booked a year or more in advance, especially for holidays and winter months. Book early so you are not disappointed. Availability of a property can change at any minute. Though we have calendars on all of the properties, we always need to confirm with the manager before we can guarantee availability.
- We need to have a 50% deposit in order to confirm a reservation. We can hold your dates for 5 days; that gives you a chance to get us your deposit. We recommend Fed Ex or priority mail.
- Payment can be made with a personal check. On some properties, we can take Visa or Master card, please inquire.
- Your final payment is due 45 days before your vacation, in most cases. Also due at that time would be the fully refundable security deposit that we must collect for some properties.
- You will get a letter of confirmation after your initial deposit. When you have paid your final balance, you will also receive directions to the property, the phone contact number, etc. Your security deposit will be refunded within 14 days after you return (unless there has been damage to the property, of course).
Other questions . . .
What if there is an emergency back home? We will provide you with phone numbers that you can leave with your family in the event that you need to be reached during your vacation. Most of the properties have phones and the phone number will be included in your final confirmation. However, sometimes it is best to leave the phone number of the office, 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 if there is an emergency. There are English speaking doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc. on the island. There are also clinics and hospitals.
Can I drink the water? We recommend that you drink purified bottled water; this is provided in every villa and the 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 . . .
Do I have to speak Spanish? 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.
Should I use pesos or American dollars? We usually change money when we get there. 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 cash machines on the island and you may find you will receive a better exchange rate going that route. You can use dollars, but it's usually to your advantage to use pesos.
What's the weather like? Usually warm to hot, but occasionally it can be cool. The coolest months are usually December-January. However, when a storm front moves in, it can even get cool through late March. The good news is that this is unusual and usually passes in a couple of days. Hottest months are July through October, but even during this time it's tolerable, and there generally is a gentle breeze. We have days in Minnesota in the summer that are more uncomfortable (with the high humidity). Rainiest part of the year is September through November. 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. Actually, off-season (May-October) can have its' advantages: There are fewer tourists, most properties offer low season rates and if you are a diver, we've had 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.
Is it safe? 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 I wouldn't leave valuables sitting around at the beach or car, you really should feel quite secure. Our children have traveled with us often and they love Cozumel.
How's the food? I can honestly tell you that the food is superb. There is a wide selection of restaurants and that's part of the fun. We have not hit every restaurant on the island, but we're trying our best to get around to as many as possible. 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.
What kind of documentation do I need? All US citizens are required to have a valid passport to enter Mexico, this does include children and infants. If you need to apply for a new passport, allow plenty of time to receive it before your trip. You will also need a Mexican Tourist Card, this will be handed out aboard your airplane.
Is it expensive? That depends. If you go to the most expensive restaurants always, 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. Most of our properties also offer optional in-home cook service which is an excellent value. 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, but it still won't cost as much as an amusement park in the states.
Do we tip the maid or the gardener? Tips are very much appreciated. The maid is paid a salary, but of course, she is always pleased when she is rewarded for her services. She spends at least a couple of hours each day cleaning and she takes great pride in her 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.
Maps! Maps! Maps!
Island map, villa locations maps, dive map: CLICK HERE