Archive for the ‘Cozumel’ Category

posted by colin on Oct 9

In May of 2011, President Felipe Calderon (president ofMexico) reassured travel executives attending a global tourism summit in Las Vegas that “Mexico is a safe place to visit”.

Despite Calderon’s comforting words, various news programsand magazine articles have left some of us asking whether or not we should go.

Mexico is a large country, and so any attempt to answer that question should probably focus on those places that are safest for travelers.  On April 22nd, the US Department of State issued a Travel Warning to inform US citizens aboutsecurity situation in Mexico.  In the Travel Warning, the Dept. of State specified that “resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico are generally do notsee the levels of drug related violence and crime reported in the border region
and in areas along major trafficking routes
”.

Anecdotally, I can report that my wife and I spent two weeksin and around Cancun in May.   We took taxis into town and buses to attractions outside of the populated areas and never had any problems or felt uneasy at all.   The locals were always friendly and very helpful.  Most are very proficient in English.  We are heading to Playa del Carmen in December without giving it a second doubt!

And what about our guests?  Are they concerned about venturing to Mexico?  We have had a few inquiries about this
topic.  Safety questions do arise once in a while.  To questions such as “how safe is it? and Is the media blowing it out of proportion?”  I insist that you should use common sense.  Be alert, stay in populated areas, don’t wear expensive jewelry away from the resort, late night activities away from your resort should be curtailed, be respectful of your surroundings.  The same advice that I would give if traveling to NYC, Washington DC or LosAngles.   Use your head,  contact KokoTravel for your next Mexico vacation and you’ll have a great time!!!

 

posted by colin on May 28

The Ministry of Health initiated a certification program for tourism destinations that are free of influenza A H1N1 by analyzing the most important touristic places and endorsing them as safe and healthy.

 

To this date there are five cities certified as “virus free”. These cities are: Cancun, Cozumel, Villahermosa, La Paz and Manzanillo. Nine more entities will be added to this list, including Mexico City.

 

The program involves the daily review of tourists and employees and is led by the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS). This commission will maintain control of the spread of the virus and confirm that these places are safe and ready to receive tourists.

 

The program declares a destination as safe after 20 days of certification–the estimated incubation period ensuring the absence of the virus.

posted by colin on Apr 28

Crime Threats

The Yucatan Peninsula has not suffered the same level of escalating violence seen in other parts of Mexico. There is no evidence that indicates that criminals specifically target American citizens. Criminals select victims based on appearance, vulnerability, and inattentiveness.

Safety

In recent years, moped rentals have become widespread in Cancun and Cozumel, and the number of serious moped accidents has risen accordingly. Most operators carry no insurance and do not conduct safety checks. U.S. Embassy Mexico City recommends avoiding operators who do not provide a helmet with the rental. Some operators have been known to demand fees many times in excess of damages caused to the vehicles, even if renters have purchased insurance in advance. Vacationers at other beach resorts have encountered similar problems after accidents involving rented jet skis.

One of the better recommendations for avoiding being the victim of a crime at tourist destinations is employing the buddy system, traveling with a trusted individual. Be cognizant of your consumption of alcohol. Most vehicular accidents and incidents of crime affecting U.S. citizens involve the excess consumption of alcohol.

Traveling by Automobile

Road conditions in the Yucatan Peninsula are different than those encountered in the United States. Extra care should be exercised when passing a vehicle or being passed. Non-toll roads between major cities can be narrow and vary in conditions. Toll roads are generally wider and better maintained. Drivers should beware of unmarked speed bumps in populated areas. Driving at night outside of major cities is not advisable due to the lack of adequate street lighting.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of U.S. citizens in Mexico. Motorists should exercise special caution on the heavily traveled expressway south of Cancun, particularly between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where the road reduces from four divided lanes to two-way traffic on a narrow and poorly maintained road.

U.S. citizens are advised to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

Prior to road travel ensure your vehicle is in good working condition and that fluids are at the correct level. When traveling long distances, it is best to travel in tandem with another vehicle. Ensure that there is enough fuel to reach larger cities or towns, as some smaller communities may not have service stations.

The following items are recommended for road trips:

  • Cellular phone and charger
  • Spare tire
  • Portable gas can with funnel
  • Potable water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares / reflectors
  • Tool kit
  • Spare key

Protecting Your Vehicle

Do not leave valuables or items such as laptops, iPods, and expensive sunglasses in plain view and unattended in your vehicle. Avoid leaving your vehicle on the street. When possible park your vehicle inside residential compounds or parking areas with attendants.

OSAC – Overseas Security Advisory Council

posted by colin on Jan 27

All Inclusive Family Resorts Mexico

“One of our best selling points for families is that at Palace Resorts our child rates are for kids ages 4-17,” says director of Marketing Maira Briceno. “Children 3 years of age and younger stay and eat free.” Most hotels, she adds, offer children’s rates only for those 12 years old and younger-once they turn 13, they pay the adult rate.  At Palace Resorts, children 4-17 pay $50 per night when sharing the room with adults.

All Inclusive Palace Resorts has a number of family-friendly properties through-out Mexico with a variety of activities, amenities and perks for the whole tribe. “On the west coast of Mexico we have Vallarta Palace. In Cancun, we have the newly remodeled Cancun Palace. This hotel has a spectacular kids’ club with its own pool and water park with slides, theater table games and lots of entertainment,” explains Briceno.

“The Moon Palace Cancun is its own destination in itself. Here kids have plenty of fun; aside from the kids’ club, we offer miniature golf and a playground, an entertaining pool with slides, and for older kids (13+) we now feature paintball (for an additional fee). Xpu-Ha Palace offers a mini-zoo, snorkeling and kayaking onsite, and ecological tours around the property. Kids and parents can also rent bikes and explore the property on their own.” Each resort, she adds, has its own unique features and personality.

Added convenience is on the way at Palace’s kids’ clubs. According to Briceno, Palace has begun providing parents with cell phones so they can go about their day without worrying about the little ones. “If a child wants to leave the kids’ club, we just phone their parents and they can go and pick them up. We have implemented this feature at the Cancun Palace already and soon all the kids’ clubs will have it.

Briceno encourages guests to learn more about all of Palace’s All Inclusive Resorts and decide which is best suited to their needs and wants. “We offer a variety of hotel options for all tastes, whether it’s the hip Cancun hotel zone or secluded Moon Palace. If [you] prefer a more laid-back retreat, the Riviera Maya offers a variety of options or an island feel at Cozumel Palace.”

We suggest that you make contact with a Palace Premier member to get the Best Deal Cancun Resorts.

posted by Donna-Lee on Jul 23

San Miguel (population 60,000) is the only city on Mexico’s largest island, Cozumel – 28 miles (47 km) long and 11 miles (15 km) wide. Cozumel rests in the Caribbean 12 miles (19 km) off the coast of Quintana Roo, some 42 miles (68 km) south of Cancún.

A scrub brush jungle covers the northern half of the island, which is virtually uninhabited (along with the southern portions, the interior and the windward east coast). A road loops the entire southern part along the sea, then cuts back into town, dividing the island in half. The windward eastern beaches, best suited to beachcombing and shell collecting, are rocky, dramatic, impressive, gorgeous and too rough and dangerous for swimming (Playa Chen Rio is the exception.) The leeward western beaches feature picture-perfect white sand, gentle lapping waves, warm turquoise blue water and a series of vibrant living reefs. They offer good swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Two ferry services – a car ferry from Puerto Morelos and a people ferry from Playa del Carmen – serve Cozumel from the Yucatán mainland. Reach Playa using one of the frequent public buses from Cancún’s downtown terminal; a cab will take you for about US $30 (negotiated). The ferry service from Playa to Cozumel (45 minutes, US $5) changes schedule as often as we change underwear so check at one of the ticket booths.

San Miguel also has an international airport with some direct flights from the United States and numerous 15-minute connecting flights from Cancún (call Aerocozumel at phone 98/84- 20-00). If you’re on a cruise, you’ll find taxis lined up at the pier to take you downtown or on an island tour. Even if you are just there for the day, we’ll point out the best places to eat and shop, as well as what to do.

Cozumel streets are laid out well and it’s easy to know where you are once you get used to them. Av. Rafael Melgar is the main road running along the western waterfront. It becomes the North Road and South Road out of the downtown. Streets running north and south, parallel to the water, are avenidas and those running perpendicular to the sea, east and west, are calles. The sole exception to this is Av. Benito Juárez, which cuts San Miguel and the island into northern and southern halves. The streets north of Juárez are marked norte and have even numbers (2, 4, 6, etc.). All the calles south of Juárez are sur and are given odd numbers (3, 5, 7, etc.). Vehicles traveling north and south are supposed to have the right of way, while those traveling east and west are required to stop on every corner.

WARNING

Drive carefully and look before you cross the street.

Besides taxis (a good choice when going direct from one place to another), three types of personal transportation are available: motorbikes, bicycles and rented cars or Jeeps. Many major hotels rent motorbikes or cars and every street corner downtown near the dock has men hawking rentals. The prices are pretty much the same between individual renters, especially near the dock, but you could try going to some of the shops in town or waiting until the crowd disburses before negotiating.

WARNING

It’s illegal to ride without a helmet and motorbikes may not come with insurance, so check first. A word of caution: drive more carefully than you might at home. Accidents with injuries are not unheard of.

Parking can sometimes be scarce in town so be careful of No Parking zones (including red curbs). Your car could be towed or the license plate removed so that you pay a fine at the rental agency.  If you are in a group, or want to really see every detail of Cozumel’s wilderness, try getting a good deal on a Jeep.

WARNING

Jeeps carrying more than five people are subject to a moving violation ticket and impoundment.

Last but not least, pick up a free Blue Guide to Cozumel, available all over the island and at the ferry. It has some valuable discount coupons and fun-reading tidbits.

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