When David and I didn’t get to scuba dive on our cruise in March, we almost immediately decided that we needed to book a dive trip. (Since we braved 50-60 degrees temps to get certified in time, to say we were sad that we didn’t get to dive would be an understatement.) It took us about a week to decide where to go, and since it would be a quick trip (while David was on his four days – oh gotta love a paramedic’s schedule), we had a few guidelines:
- We wanted to make sure it was somewhere that we could fly in under 3 hours. (I mean who needs to waste a day getting somewhere when you’re only working with 4 days?)
- Highly rated dive sites. (First time diving in the wild should be good right?)
- Preferably somewhere that we’d been before (so we weren’t worried about trying to do a lot of sight-seeing on top of booking dive time).
- All inclusive (because I mean, come on, it’s just easier to not have to leave the resort)
- Oh, and we had not a very big budget. (See: we just got back from a 10 day cruise, and this was an unplanned, last minute trip that I hadn’t been saving for.)
After some research on Belize, Roatan, and even Jamaica (I know, I know – I’ve told many of you that I’d never go back to Jamaica, but it kept popping up as a good place to dive for beginners. It has the closest Sandals resorts. We weren’t planning on leaving the resort. AND, you can dive for FREE with Sandals! Sandals, in a different country, is now fairly high on our list for next tropical vacations.) We decided on Cozumel, Mexico for five days!
For many that know us, this wasn’t a surprise… and for those that don’t know us so well yet, this marked our 7th time in Cozumel. (Third overnight trip; the other four trips were via Carnival cruises.) But, Cozumel made perfect sense. It has one of the best coral reefs, we are very comfortable there, and it’s a two hour plane ride. Win-Win-Win.
We ended up at the Occidental Grand Cozumel, and we were less than impressed with the entire experience. When we arrived, we were immediately set-up with someone trying to sell us on their time-share. (Not a good first impression.) After we got done with that we were taken to the Royal Club to check in because we had upgraded our package to “Concierge.” (Although I’m not quite sure what we got that was additional in the concierge package – we were lead to believe that we wouldn’t get a minibar refill unless we upgraded, but people who didn’t upgrade got theirs refilled.)
Upon checking in (the girl that checked us in really couldn’t have been more miserable), I learned that the $500 resort credit, which sold me on choosing this hotel over another, is a scam. It isn’t a credit like other hotels in the area offer, it is it just percentages off in the spa. The girl that checked me in wanted to see my printed confirmation (seriously who is killing trees printing those things?), even though TWO people before her confirmed who we were and even knew what room we’d be in when we arrived. I had a picture of the document on my phone, and she wanted me to email it to her, but was going to charge me to use the WiFi. Well, sorry, I’m not paying to send you the confirmation number that I know you already have.
We did arrive early, and our room wasn’t ready- which was fine. We looked around (gorgeous property), had lunch, checked out the on-site dive shop that we’d already booked dives with, and changed into our swimsuits. When it was time to go to our room and clean up for dinner, was when our problems REALLY started. We ended up with a patio door that wouldn’t lock (we were on the ground floor), a shower that wouldn’t drain (eww), and housekeeping was ignoring repeated requests.
At that point we were overwhelmed with the issues we’d had since checking in, and my husband went to find a manager and speak to her. She was very nice and professional- she made sure that everything was taken care of and stayed with us until we were satisfied. She also upgraded us to the actual Royal Club (which gave us access to those additional amenities, like a private hot tub and the exclusive restaurant, and free WiFi).
I didn’t get many pictures of the hotel (or really in general – I guess I should get better at that if I want to keep doing this blogging thing… ha!) But, the pictures on Expedia are pretty accurate.
After that horrible start, the rest of the week was much better. The hotel and the grounds were actually really nice and much better than I thought they would be, and it was also FULL of tiny, animal creatures for us to adore.
Would we stay there again? Maybe, but there are other great options on the island, and they did make up for the bumpy start.
As for our first scuba diving trip in Cozumel, we had pre-booked with ProDive Mexico, which as I mentioned previously is the on-site dive shop for Occidental, but we’ve dive with them again! They were great and professional. We ended up booking two 2-tank dives on two different days (geesh, that’s a lot of 2s!), but tropical storm Cindy was out in the Gulf of Mexico causing a stir and making me all sorts of nervous. We did have A LOT of rain while we were there, but thankfully, we only have to skip 1/2 a dive. When we were on our dive the second day, came up from the first tank to find out that the park was closed due to weather and we wouldn’t be able to go back out for our second tank. We were bummed, but honestly the first dive that was so gorgeous, we weren’t all that bummed. Unfortunately, weren’t able to make another dive, but they gave us a certificate for a dive when we come back (or to any of their other dive shops in the world – if I remember correctly, they have like 7 more?)
We ended up diving 3 locations:
Ok, now on to the good stuff, pictures! Because I’m sure they are more interesting than me droning on.
Unfortunately, since that bee-yatch Cindy was hanging around, our light was limited, and most of our pictures turned out dark. But, we had a great time. Diving in Cozumel was breath-taking. We are already talking about next time. 😉
P.S. Santa Rosa Wall was my favorite!
We went into this trip with no plans except for scuba diving. There were a couple of things we would have liked to do, like Whale Shark watching or visiting Chankanaab, but nothing set in stone. We wanted to relax, sleep in, and scuba dive, and we got to do all of those things (well we more went to sleep early, and woke up before 7am- like we normally do).
The rain did slow us down more than normal, but it ended up being nice and relaxing. We took advantage of the adults only pool…
…even in the rain.
And hung out with these cute, little, drink stealing guys…
He, seriously, just walked right over, knocked my drink over, and put his head in the glass. I would have probably been upset if I’d paid for that drink. #allinclusivewin Also, don’t worry about that guy, I poured my water on top of it to dilute it and try to prevent his from getting drunk/sick. But, obviously, he’s done this before.
ETA: That cute guy is a called coatimundi AKA “Mexican raccoons” (by the locals)
Our last full day, we went into town to visit our favorite bar and do a bit of shopping. If you are going to Cozumel, you have to visit Wet Wendy’s in town; we go every time and it’s the best!
While we were there David tried grasshoppers. Ugh- gross.
While this was a quick trip, it was so great to be able to get this quick dive trip and take the time to take a break (without a million place to be and things to see) with my love. We are always sad to say good bye to Cozumel, but I’m sure we will be back soon!