We have been going to Cozumel for YEARS (sometimes as many as 5 times a year)....
We used to go to Playa Mia (when it was Playa Sol) ...then we went to Mr. Sanchos until Paradise Beach opened....now we go to Paradise Beach because they offer the most water and land toys.
Paradise Beach is a free beach resort. They do not charge any entrance fee (like Playa Mia) and they do not charge for their lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas and CLEAN restrooms and changing rooms....the Internet at the bar is even free. All they ask is that you eat/drink while you are there.
They also offer an OPTIONAL wristband for $10.00 that includes the largest number of non-motorized water and land toys in Cozumel. You can even climb a coconut tree....which this 54 year old lady did last month AND rang the bell!!! woo hoo!!!
All the beach resorts will run you $12-15 one way for up to 4 people.
And all the beach resorts have the same sand and water....although Mr. Sanchos did lose a lot of the sand that was covering the rock at the water line when Hurricane Wilma came through. Water shoes at all the Beach Resorts is recommended. Because the WEST side faces the mainland...there is not enough wave action to make the sand really soft.
If you go to Paradise Beach, tell Tom that DJ said HI!!
Anyway, we did something new for the first time last month.
We hired a private driver and went over to the East side. For those who do not know...the East side has no electricity. Since it faces open waters with dangerous currents (unlike the WEST side that is safe) there is no major development over there.
So it is primitive and beautiful. There are about 6 - 8 bars over there..so we just bar hopped for 3 hours and had a blast.
It was $95.00 for 3 hours and $25.00 for any additional hours for up to 4 people (sometimes you can get a van that holds 8 if you give them enough notice). Gerry will even bring an ice chest if you want to stop at a grocery for ice, soda and beer.
He speaks English very well. He used to be the Maitre D at the Park Royal.
You can make your reservation through firstname.lastname@example.org
. You do not have to give them a Credit Card....you just make the reservation and Gerry picks you up at the Pier.
This way you can leave the "driving" to someone else and enjoy the :liquid charm: of Cozumel and the natural beauty!!!
As far as Ship excursions...."the thing" to do in Cozumel is swimming with the dolphins. And I would book that through the ship to make sure you get a spot.
Also IF you want to do the ruins at Tulum...ONLY do that through a ship excursion because it takes all day and requires you to leave the island.
If the tour is late getting back....the ship will wait for a SHIP TOUR...they will not wait for an independent.
The only thing I would not recommend folks to do in Cozumel is the zipline. This attraction was started in ports with mountains and heavy tropical forests....and Cozumel has neither. You basically glide from one man made stand to another over flat land that is not very tall.
Hubby and oldest son did it in Puerto Vallarta and it was excellent.
Just know that Cozumel is safe and very tourist friendly...so above all...go and have a good time.