Cozumel Palace Review - Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Cozumel Mexico 2011-12-17 to San Fransico Reef and Pelancar Reef
We (me and my boyfriend) stayed at Cozumel Palace from December 10-17, 2011 and had the most amazing time. We have stayed at several other all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and this one was by far our favorite.
Resort: Cozumel Palace
The resort is very close to the airport (about a 15 minute drive),walking distance to downtown Cozumel, and a short drive away from some great snorkeling spots (that are free to access from the shore). It isn't much to look at from the outside (street side or beach side), but is quite nice inside with marble floors and a view of the water from anywhere in the lobby. With one three-story building and one main pool (they also have a kid's pool and activity pool, which we didn't use at all, and a diving pool, which is only used for scuba diving certifications), it's very compact in comparison to most all-inclusive resorts. All the rooms are ocean-view, which is a great plus, though some (like ours was) are a bit of a walk from the staircase and elevator in the lobby. Our room, which was a junior suite, was very nice, with marble floors, a king-sized bed, a balcony overlooking the water and grounds, a nice bathroom and an in-room jacuzzi. It is important to note that this resort does not have a beach. They have an area that has sand, but to get into the water you have to walk down some steps or down the ladder at the pier. The water is deep (over your head) right off the pier and very quickly after the steps. Before we went on the trip I was very concerned about there not being a beach, since I normally like to wade in the water and walk along the beach, but I had so much fun swimming and snorkeling off-shore that I didn't end up missing the beach at all.
The resort has 4 on-site restaurants: an Oriental restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, and an outside buffet restaurant. 24-hour room service and alcoholic drinks are included in the all-inclusive price. The Italian restaurant serves as the breakfast and lunch buffet during the day. Overall the food at Cozumel Palace was amazing! The breakfast and lunch buffets were always amazing with a great variety. The one item in particular that stood out to us was the flank steak ordered off the room service menu. I have never liked flank steak, always finding it to be tough and chewy, but this flank steak was so amazing. Once we discovered it, we ordered it every chance we got, including right before we left for the airport (and they packed it in a to-go box for us). The one food item I remember being a bit disappointed with was the dessert at the Oriental restaurant. Nothing on the menu sounded very appealing, and the one night I tried one of the items I didn't find it to be very good. However, on another night they had these to-die-for cream puffs at an outside buffet party, so that made up for it in my mind. It's true that Cozumel Palace doesn't have quite as many options as some of the bigger resorts in Riveria Maya but we enjoyed the food so much that we didn't feel like we missed out at all.
We had a $1500 credit which we used to do a scuba diving tour and a snorkeling tour, get massages, do the romantic dinner on the beach (which got rained out so was done inside instead), and buy several bottles of wine. We ended up getting certified in scuba diving during the vacation so that we could use the credit for a scuba diving trip. It was a bit on the pricey side (about $450 per person), but included 2 dives right outside the resort and 2 dives at the reef so we felt that the additional price was well worth it (the dives at the reef normally cost around $100/person). Also, for every dive it was just us and our instructor, who was great, so we felt like we got really personal service and attention. The scuba diving and snorkeling in Cozumel is some of the best in the world, so we would highly recommend doing one of those excursions on your trip. I wouldn't recommend the Romantic Dinner, however. I felt that the food served at the restaurants was better than what we got with the Romantic Dinner, and at about $300/2 people (using the resort credit), the price is pretty steep.
We felt that the service at Cozumel Palace was amazing. We were greeted with welcome drinks, which is pretty standard for an all-inclusive resort. We were able to immediately sit down with the concierge to learn about the available activities and what options were included in the $1500 credit. There was a small snafu when we scheduled our snorkeling tour for the afternoon of our first scuba diving lesson, and then it turned out that the first scuba diving lesson was a full-day lesson so we missed the snorkeling tour. We talked to the concierge about it afterward and he rescheduled our snorkeling tour for another day without any problems. He was also very helpful in getting us a scooter rental for a day and recommending snorkeling locations for us to try out. One thing that stood out to us with the service was the second night we ate at the Oriental restaurant for dinner, we left right after finishing our entrees since we were tired from scuba diving and didn't want any of the dessert. We stopped in the lobby to decide what to do and an minute later the manager of the restaurants came over and asked if anything had been wrong at the restaurant since we left so suddenly. We told him that everything had been fine and we just left because we were finished, but it was truly amazing that they came to find us and make sure we hadn't been disappointed by anything. Also, on several days our scuba diving tours interfered with us being able to get breakfast and lunch during the buffet hours. We talked about this with the hostess the day before on each occassion and they packed us a great box every time we needed it. We felt truly taken care of during our whole stay at Cozumel Palace.
Cozumel, Mexico - Scuba boat going toward dive site
Virginia and Jerry on scuba boat going toward dive site
Cozumel, Mexico - Arrived to dive site - jumping in
Virginia and Jerry arriving to dive site in Cozumel Mexico and jumping into the water
Cozumel, Mexico - descending 40 feet at dive site
Virginia and Jerry scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico. Jumping from dive boat into water and descending 40 feet. We are popping our ears and slowly descending as we are deflating the BCU.
Scuba Diving Cozumel, Mexico - Chasing Manta Ray at 60 feet by the wall
Virginia and Jerry scuba diving about 60 to 80 feet in Cozumel Mexico on December 2011. Chasing Manta Ray at 60 feet by the wall. The water current felt like 30mph going against it. You can see that the Manta Ray is barely trying to move forward while I am kicking all out trying to catch up to it.