Old Reviews – Iberostar Cozumel

  Iberostar Cozumel   Lucien & Claudette ~ Sudbury, ON, Canada

March 2009

Arrival: February 11 to 18th
Arrived at the ressort in early afternoon, the trip from the airport and back was ok except a bit of a hassle for a transportation voucher at the airport. Do not paid attention to this, just go outside and look for your tour guide. Our room was ready. We were both disapointed in the size of the room and the lack of furniture, aside from the king size bed, two night tables, 2 chairs, 1 small rond table, another table holding the tv. Only 1 plug-in in the room were the tv was connected.The bathroom was also quite small, hot water for showering was not always available. The worse about this room was beside being small, and dark, was that it was very damp, we asked other and they had the same problem.

The ground are very beautiful and immaculate, the lay out was also interesthing, once you got to know it was simple to go from one area to the other,

The beach had ample shade and thoses uncomfortable yellow lounger, at other Iberostar usually they have cushion for thoses, none there. The beach itself was fairly clean, and a very good area, you never felt crowded. If you want to swim in the ocean, bring a pair of water shoes as the edge of the beach at the water line is full of rock,

The higlight of that place is the staff, very nice, pleasant, taking excellent care of the rooms, the staff at the bar was polite and helpful, at the cafeteria everyone had a smile and were giving good service. Do not be afraid to tip, they all deserve this.

The food was good mostly but not superior, you will not starve as there is plenty of fresh fruits, salads choice, and many main courses. The desserts were all excellent.

Because my wife had a accident we experienced first hand , the medical system of Mexico, We both can vouch that this was excellent, She broke her wrist on saturday night in the evening, after arriving by taxi to the clinic, she had X-rays and was operated on by an othopaedic surgeon and had a cast put on. We were reassured that we did not need to rush back home as she was ok for a few days and could fly by regular flight. The weather during our stay February 11 to 18th, 2009 was pleasantly warm and comfortable.

Would we go back, no.

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  Iberostar Cozumel   Maureen

February 2008

Fifty close friends from Barrie, Ontario stayed for a week, the main purpose to dive and escape the snow. We were not disappointed!!

Briefly, the food was great and my husband was not sick, as happened twice in Cuba (we cannot go back to Cuba). The room was lovely, very clean, on the second floor of a pretty, yellow 4 suite building, although it would have been nice to have a king size bed instead of two smallish doubles.

The grounds were beautifully kept and the resident iguanas were always on hand to pose for photographs! The staff was very pleasant and welcoming, but especially the Dressel divers staff. From the manager Miguel, to Deb & Rachel and all the dive guides, to the men on the boats, the diving experience was flawless.

My only complaint was the smoking policy, or lack of one. A large group of Americans came in on our 5th day and suddenly there was cigarette smoke everywhere!! The theatre, common lounges and the main dining room were filled with smoke. As Canadians we are no longer subjected to second hand smoke in public places, and we found this smoke very intrusive.

So in summary, we had a fabulous holiday and diving experience, and look forward to returning to Mexico and the Iberostar Cozumel.

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July 2007

A group of 23 of us went to the iberostar cozumel to see my son get married there. It was wonderfull we dealt with the hotel direct by email for the wdding.If you go through first choice you will pay more and they only hand you over to the hotel anyway.They did everything for us and it couldnt have been better.We also had a group of 9 of us that are divers the diving was also excellent we used dressel divers at the hotel and couldnt fault them.The hotel is unusual in as much as its very rustic looking but it was great the staff are wonderfull and food and drinks you could get anything tou want there.Any qustions please email me.

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Iberostar Cozumel Mary ~ Kingston, ON

March 2007

This is our 7th submission to Debbie’s excellent site. Amazing job Debbie! We rely on your site as our travel bible!

We have done the all-inclusive thing now 7 yrs in a row. Traveled 5 times to the Dominican Republic, Cuba once, and this yr decided to try Cozumel. We are in our late 40s and have traveled to other locations over the many yrs; Barbados, Acapulco, Jamaica, Hawaii, Mallorca, Tenerife, Morocco, Kenya and parts of Europe. What we look for in a resort is cleanliness, good food (folks, remember that it does not have to be gourmet to be good), and great beach – two wks to recharge our batteries. The Iberostar excelled in all categories but, unfortunately failed in the beach and bugs categories.

Immigration and customs was quick despite 2 of 3 of our suitcases being searched. I think they wondered why we had so much stuff with us, 1 huge duffel bag of school items, jeans, toiletries etc which we were giving to the kitchen staff. Flew with air canada vacations and therefore allowed 100 lbs check-in each. Don’t know if the airport was damaged in the last 2 hurricanes and needed to be rebuilt, but everything looked new and very clean. Washrooms located just inside bldg after disembarking from plane. Drive to resort took 25 mins. Staff accommodations by the gate still under construction, but at no time was it noisy.

Can honestly say it was the best we have had in the last 7 yrs. Most other resorts were pretty good too, but the Iberostar is definitely at the top of the list! Of course there will always be someone who will find something to complain about. Neither one of us was sick. Neither did we hear any complaints from anyone else. You can eat like a king, enough food to chose from for even the most picky person, who if nothing else, can have their choice of several varieties of bread and rolls! Breakfast has the most choices. Everything from real orange juice with pulp, yogourt and fresh or dried fruit to a big breakfast of pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, bacon, sausages, etc (incl peanut butter and nutella). Dinner, at the mexican a-la-carte restaurant, men must wear long pants, jeans allowed, and closed shoes. At the steakhouse, men can wear bermudas. I was pleasantly surprised to see that 99% of the women were dressed very casually compared to other resorts we have stayed at. We only ate at the main buffet for breakfast and dinner, and at poolside restaurant for lunch. Lunch was my least favorite meal because of the incense of sorts they have burning to keep the few flies at a minimum. The other thing I did not like at lunch was that the one day I grabbed a hot dog bun it was rock hard. The one time I had a small piece of grilled beef, it was very tough, so the next time I chose something else to eat, no problem. Ice cubes are made with purified water, will see the hole in the middle of cube as proof of this. Those with children, be warned that some of the desserts at dinner time have alcohol in the cherries. One of the parfaits with a maple syrup color at the bottom of the glass also turned out to be alcohol. Enrique, who is 19 yrs old, was our dinner waiter. A very pleasant young fellow. Tipping is not necessary to get excellent service, but we did start tipping him $1.00 a day at the end of our first wk, and then $5.00 on our last night. He was grateful. There is a bathroom inside the main buffet restaurant. The only complaint I have about the dining room is that even after the carnations on tables had wilted badly, they were still there, a real eyesore. Better to remove vases than have your guests staring at wilted flowers.

Excellent, the best from everyone!!! In comparison to Dominican Republic, most of the staff in Cozumel had a better understanding of the english language.

All villas are round in shape and house either 4 or 8 rooms. They look like "Smurf" houses. We were given a room in one of the single level villas (bldg 72), 4 rooms, very nice. Close enough to pool and beach, but in a reasonably quiet area, a few mins walk to lobby. Room (7201) was pretty well hidden from the main path by gardens, and so we liked that. Yes, the rooms are small, but sufficient. Endless supply of towels. Pillows are flat, but you get 4. King size bed is very firm, but we found it to be comfortable. You can always ask for a foam topper. Enough lighting, incl a reading light. Safe (electronic) is free. Fridge restocked daily. Will also find a coffee maker, radio and candle (so leave yours at home). Face cloths are larger size, double your typical size. Shampoo and shower gel in wall mounted dispenser. Also supplied with small bottles of shampoo (better than wall mounted one), lotion, shower cap, sewing kit, soap and men’s comb. No fear of running out of toilet paper, kleenex and jugs of drinking water. We did find the shower temperature fluctuated a lot from very cold to scalding hot, even at non-peak shower times. No dresser, instead there are shelves in closet. Brought a zippered bag to hold my small clothing items like undies and such; this way had more room on shelves for other clothes and stuff. 15 hangers, plenty for 2 persons. If you have longer dresses, they will not hang nicely. Brought and hung one of those plastic "over the door" hooks on the closet door; dress problem solved. Everything worked, AC, ceiling fan, safe, tv, blow dryer, etc. Blow dryer has only one heat setting (hot) and speed. Our shower hose leaked and we reported it, but took 6 days to be repaired. My husband used duct tape and that temporarily solved our problem. Some of you may ask why travel with duct tape. We always have 2 huge garbage bags and some duct tape with us in case our luggage zipper breaks. Won’t look fashionable taping our suitcase shut, but it’s a temporary fix, bags keep the clothes from falling out of suitcase, and it works! A nice touch is the hammock on every veranda. Only encountered 2 spiders in the room, not a big deal, but to discourage others from entering room, we shoved a towel up again the space under the door each night. There are 2 windows, but cannot be opened. Motion sensor in room connected to the AC, so even if you leave AC on while out, it will not turn on until you are back in room and moving around. Found we were still able to open our door even after shutting it because locking mechanism was slow in engaging. If staying for 2 wks, you may find your electronic key de-activated at the end of 1 wk if they forget that you are staying longer. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and found a fruit basket and card in room, very nice. Maid (Bertha) was great and took excellent care of us; give her a score of 10/10. I packaged a bag of toiletries, makeup, jewellery, clothing, etc and she was very grateful. Apparently they only make $4.00 a day.

This is where we were really disappointed. We had read many reviews where people mentioned the coral and rocks, not being able to swim, and not being able to enter ocean without water shoes. Sadly this is very much true. Apparently prior to the hurricanes, there was a nice sandy entrance to the ocean and you were able to swim in it. Since then, well, what you have is a huge slab of endless coral the whole length of the beach. It also starts at water’s edge and extends out up to approx the rope. Impossible to swim in that! All you can do is barely wet your ankles. It’s a real shame to not be able to play in the ocean. We were disappointed in that the resort has not done any work to improve this part of its lovely property. You can safely enter the ocean from the ladder near the end of the pier. Water there is approx waist deep. This is the area from which people snorkel as well. There is a bit of sand, but it is still best to wear your water shoes. Can borrow shoes from dive center, but most people bring their own. Lots of fish to see around and under the pier. Many hide under the pier; french angel fish, barracuda, sargent majors, blue and yellow tangs, parrot, etc, some of these bigger grey ones will actually nip at your fingers whether you have bread or not. My husband did snorkel in front of the resort, and besides the fish by the pier, he was disappointed to see only a few others incl a ray and cute 2 inch squid. I guess it didn’t help that for most of the 2 wks we were there, winds were high. White caps and churning of sand made it impossible to snorkel. There was even one day that all boat trips were cancelled. Free scuba lessons in pool were given every day. I listened in, they seemed to be very thorough in their explanations, especially the fellow with a british accent.

The sand part of the beachfront is in reasonably good shape. They do rake, but other than right by the water’s edge where they rake and remove the seaweed, they don’t clean up much else except for leaves. Rest of the raking is basically just to smooth over footprints from the previous day. There are a lot of small pieces of coral all over the place. The worst spot is right next to the showers by the pool/beach edge. That area of the beach is so eroded and is right down to the coral base; coral and what looks like small gravel which just makes it uncomfortable to step on. Lots of chairs to be found all day long, never crowded; large beach area, enough to make everyone happy with tons of elbow room. Even at 10:00 a.m. you could still find a chair, although maybe not in the shade. Some of us did reserve our favorite spots even though there are signs not to do so, but was never enforced. Enough shade thanks to palapas and trees. There is a beach bar, and washrooms which were kept reasonably clean. Washroom stalls are quite tight to get in and out of, gee, could they have made them any smaller? By the way, topless bathing is not allowed, sorry boys.

For the shell collectors, make a left at the beach and walk for a half hr and you will find tons of conch shells, many of them quite big. Lots of other beautiful shells to be found along the way or even further south. This is the last resort on the south end of the island.

Very nice, all are kept very clean. Can almost say that there are 4 pools. Two large ones, 4.3 ft deep. You cannot swim from one to the other as they are separated by the swim up bar. There is a kiddie pool which is only 1 ft deep. Next to it is a lounging pool which is only half a ft deep, where you will find roughly 20 lounge chairs in the water. Washrooms, very clean, are located next to where you pick up/exchange your towels, by children’s playground and shallow pools. Lots of chairs and palapas, but we found that the chairs are placed way too close to each other, most are touching.

This is the other major problem we had. We both got maybe 40 bites each from mosquitos, but we think mostly from sand fleas. Yes, the sand fleas are definitely looking for victims during the day too, not just at dusk and at night. I killed 2 on my arm when they were biting, so I did see proof. We weren’t the only ones with this problem, many other guests were too. Those who stayed around the pool seemed to be less affected by sand fleas. Heard of one woman who saw Dr and was told bites were from sand fleas, toxins were in her blood stream and spreading. Itched badly and pussed a clear liquid. Given steroids which seemed to help her. We only went to 2 shows, and always returned to our room immediately after dinner, so we cannot say that we were easy targets. I also only put on perfume once so I can’t say it was the scent that attracted the bugs. My husband used muskol bug spray with deet and still got many bites. A pamphlet in the room indicates that "because the hotel is situated in an environmentally protected area, in order to control mosquitos and other insects within the grounds, they fumigate daily between 5:30-6:00 p.m. Are not allowed to use any toxic chemicals, therefore the products used are breathable and harmless to humans." We were told by one of the front desk clerks that they can only fumigate every 3 days, doing so every day would be too toxic for people. Draw your own conclusions.

Grounds and Miscellaneous
Resort is architecturally very well planned, everything is within easy walking distance. Wheelchair accessible. Gardens are quite nice, however it would be much nicer if they would remove a lot of the dead trees leftover from the hurricanes. There is a dead palm in front of bldg 71, it looks quite ugly what with absolutely no palms at all. The way the paths are laid out, not completely surrounding each bldg, is so that you have the least amount of traffic to the rooms, and hopefully the least amount of people walking past your room.

Lobby is nice too, lots of seating. Tables here are glass topped, and I noticed that they were still dirty every morning at 7:30 a.m. from previous night. The dirt is very visible and in my opinion should have been wiped by the time the buffet opened from breakfast. Internet service is avail 24 hrs/day, 2 computers. Costs you 20 pesos ($2.00) for 15 mins. Washroom is off lobby, very clean.

Watched two shows, Las Vegas, very amateurish. Folklore, very nice. Didn’t smell any sewage by theater, unlike what some people had written about. However, we did smell something now and then along different pathways. Watch where you step as there were a few times where at the end of the day, peacock droppings from the previous day were still not swept off the paths. There are at least 12 female peacocks and 1 male. Are very gentle and comfortable around people. At dusk you will find them flying up onto the roof tops.

Gift shop is alright, very small, but I thought they would have had more silver jewellery. There is a vendor on resort grounds, on beach near the pool, next to outdoor gym. Had some nice stuff, mostly pottery, but have to barter. Can also paint your own pottery. A chap sits on beach near the pool who does henna tattoos. No other vendors except for one "spray painter" that comes by once or twice a wk and sets up by pool in evening. So, if you love to shop, you’ll have to go into town (US$18.00 each way, set prices) or at airport. No local buses. The only day that cruise ships are not in port is Sun, so least crowded day. I bought my jewellery at arts and craft gift shop at airport and am very happy. Very few shops at airport. Arts and crafts, carlos’n charlie’s, hard rock cafe, liquor and perfumes.

Chankanaab Park/Dolphin Encounter
This is Cozumel’s Marine National Park, and a 10 min and $10.00 taxi ride from resort. You have 3 dolphin discovery activities to chose from. Encounter (basic package) at US$79.00, then there is the Swim Adventure at $99.00 I think (handshake, kiss, snorkel and belly ride), and the most expensive is the Royal Swim Adventure (ride with 2 dolphins). We participated in the Encounter (kiss, hand shake, touch and watch it perform). We pre-booked our activity with our air canada rep. This must be pre-booked because of popularity. Was told cameras are not allowed during the encounter, but in fact are, as long as they are waterproof. Pictures and video of your group will be taken by park staff. Look for someone wearing the dolphin discovery shirt at entrance to park, and make sure to check-in with dolphin staff 1 hr before your scheduled activity. Your entrance to park is incl in cost, as well as taxi ride back to resort. Will be given life vests to wear, and receive a 5 min explanation of what to expect. Showers, washrooms and lockers are to the right of dolphin gift shop. Lockers are free of charge, key incl. Everything is very clean and is of course new since being rebuilt after the hurricane destruction. We also got to see a 4 day old baby dolphin with it’s mommy. Ahhhhhh, so cute! Were in ocean (waist deep) with 2 dolphins for approx 25 mins. Wear water shoes or will have to go barefoot if you have sandals of any sort. There is a white line at edge of the platform. Trainer will tell you when to step forward for an activity as a group or 1 by 1. Ocean is 9 ft deep beyond the platform. Chain link fence behind you to grab onto to keep your balance. Wonderful encounter, dolphins are beautiful, skin is amazingly silky soft! Once done, you will be led to viewing room to watch video. Very well done DVD, $30. Expensive, but worth it. Pictures of you shaking hands/fins, and kissing are $15.00 for 1, $28.00 for 2. Gift shop has some very nice items and reasonable prices. There were several dolphins swimming in the center large ocean compound area where the activities take place, as well as their coming up for air in their individual pens along the 2 sides of center compound. Even if you don’t participate in any of the hands-on activities, you will still be able to watch from a distance. As for the rest of the park, majority of activities are also in the ocean. You have swimming, snorkeling, diving, snuba, seatrek or just sit back in the shade and enjoy the scenery. Walk around the park and take in the reproduction of mayan ruins. Not much else to see.

Conclusion Overall, the Iberostar is a very nice and very clean resort. Like I said, the staff were all wonderful, food excellent and neither one of us was sick, which is very important to us. Would we return? Would love to, but unfortunately not until something is done to allow for some swimming in the ocean, afterall that is one of the reasons we all escape to the caribbean. The bug issue is also a big one. I understand that because of the countryside the resort is situated in, surrounded by lots of greenery/jungly it is hard to control the buggers. However, we did not expect to be eaten alive. We have now been back home for over a wk and I am still very itchy and full of scabs. We have never had this many bites or this bad. If I disregard the ocean and bug part of our holiday, I would give the Iberostar a 10/10; but I honestly can’t, and so I only give it a 5/10.

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Iberostar Cozumel Mike ~ Texas

February 2007

My girlfriend and I booked a four night stay, January 15-19 at the Iberostar Cozumel. We had been to Cozumel on a few occasions, cruises, and trips from Playa del Carmen, that sort of thing. But we had never stayed there. It was very enjoyable, and we will be back.

In keeping with my usual luck, we were flying from DFW on Ryan International on the iciest day of the year. The flight was scheduled to depart at 800 am, but was held for five passengers who were stuck. You should know that I had rousted my lovely GF at 400 am, to be to the airport by 530 to get “a good seat.” My bride to be was giving me the stink-eye because we waited 3.5 hours to even push back from the gate. The plane was about 40% full. Everyone had a good seat. This resulted in the following exchange:

Me: We got a row all to ourselves! Her: Everyone gets a row all to themselves. Me: Yes, but we got to determine which row!

Her: And you picked one over the wing so I can’t see anything. Moron.

I decided this was a good time to familiarize myself with the safety booklet. The plane appeared to be new, a 737-800. There are no magazines. After de-icing, the pilot decided to get to Cozumel in a hurry. Holy cow did we book it down the runway. We arrived just before noon, about 2:15 after take-off. I am not sure, but I think there is only one runway at Cozumel, because we essentially landed, turned, and disembarked. We were the only plane there.

Always my least favorite part. If there are 10 seatbelts…that means 10 people. Not 12. And shouldn’t your screaming kid be in school?

Our room wasn’t ready, which was perfectly understandable, as it was about 1pm. We had lunch and a couple of drinks in the fine lobby bar, and proceeded to our room.

The room is quite interesting. It is small, and the front door is also your balcony. The floors are tile and stone, king size bed, 19 inch or so TV. You might not want to spend a lot of time there, but most folks who go to Cozumel aren’t there for the room. It was quite clean and comfortable. The bathroom was shower only (which I like), sink with longish vanity. They provide lots of the shampoo, soap, etc, and a blow dryer. The TV has about 15 English speaking channels, but channels you never heard of. The bed was firm, but that is universal in Mexico, apparently. No mustiness, no sewer smell. The GF complained a little, but I assured her it was me.

Really two pools, in a figure 8, separated by…a swim up bar! Well, I knew one was there, as it is a pre-requisite for any vacation I take. The pool was about 4 feet deep all around, separated into the quiet pool and the activity pool. Hey you! Shouldn’t your Marco Polo playing kids be in the activity pool? Or better yet in school? Believe it or not, I like kids. Parents…I can do without sometimes. We had no problem getting loungers or even being under a palapa if we chose, but then again I don’t think the resort was full. The water was cool, about 80 Fahrenheit…which is to be expected considering the weather was always between 75 and 85. I would do the Centigrade conversion for my non-USA readers, but I am a lazy American.

Four Bars. The best is the lobby bar, with top shelf liquors, and frosted mugs for the beer. The lobby was a great place to just stop, sit on one of the comfortable couches, and people watch. The theater had a bar, but I was always tired from the day, and never sampled any of their libations. At the swim-up bar, the Dos-Equis (XX) beer on tap was reasonably cold. They had Pina-Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris in machines, and would make anything else you wanted. No top shelf stuff, which was fine by me. It seems absurd to sit your pasty, chubby self down in garish swim-trunks, and bemoan the lack of single-malt scotch. Get an umbrella drink like the rest of us, and watch your kids. There was also a beach bar with essentially the same selection.

Alas, every silver lining has a cloud. The GF thought it was just fine. She is a bit of a Philistine that way. There were lots of American-ish choices. For example, the hamburger steaks were excellent. But the bun would pull a tooth out. And enough with the unidentifiable white cheese. Give me some cheddar darn it. There was also the questionable tactic of putting out unfamiliar looking things…and not labeling them. There were fine looking marinated tomato slices…with small square green things on them. There were usually grilled filets of chicken, pork and beef, some type of potato, good breads, good desserts, and rich, creamy ice-cream, so I didn’t go hungry. Label the stuff! Breakfast was fantastic, except my fellow fat, cholesterol laden countrymen would grab all the bacon. The link sausage is a no-go. The Steak house is good, but the sides were Lilliputian.

A sizable minority of northern Europeans, I met Swedes, Dutch, German and Brits. A few I thought were from France, but it turned out were from the 51st state, Canada. I kid! Don’t ban me! So quite a few Canadians, and a majority (but not overwhelming) American. The rowdy kids? American. All in all very friendly, or at least civil. Oh, no thongs, no topless, and limited Speedos. So if you are worried about your child being scarred, it is a family friendly resort. As long as I am not there.

Dunno. I was wiped out from the drinking and lounging about.

Literally beyond reproach. From the pool side drink takers who came every fifteen minutes, to the wait staff at the buffet, I have never had service this friendly and prompt. And not just prompt where they are bugging you, they had a real feel for when you would need a refill, napkin, etch. I also had to have some laundry done (take extra clothes…you will sweat). They came down in five minutes and completed it the same day, for about the same price as a dry cleaner here. Much cheaper than a US hotel or cruise ship.

We did the snorkel of Palancar and Columbia reef. Having seen the movie “Open Water” I wasn’t pleased about this, but there is unlimited beer and margaritas. So I adjusted. I recommend the experience.

Fast, efficient.

Overall, an amazing experience, totally relaxing. We are going back the same time next year.

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Iberostar Cozumel Dan ~ North Bay, Ontario

May 2006

We travelled to the Iberostar for the week of April 24-May 1st, 2006. We were a group of 8 ranging in age from 19-40. I haven’t travelled down south much (so far) but I can easily say this will be a hard trip to beat, it is an amazing resort and plan to visit it in the future. I would like to visit other places but I will probably try to make it to this one every 3 years or so.

Check In
When we first arrived at the hotel I was a little worried since they haven’t fixed up their main entrance from the hurricane yet, there is no sign, just a gate but once you get to the lobby you breathe a sigh of relief, it is beautiful. We were greeted with nice fruity drinks and very friendly staff, I believe it took us 10-15 minutes to get checked in. We arrived around noon and most of our rooms were ready with the exception of one room (we needed 4).

These rooms are awesome, we had a king sized bed in the top level of a 8 unit hut (6311). When I saw my room on the map I was dissapointed it was so far from the beach but the walk was maybe 3 minutes away, it just looked a lot farther on the map. Our room was a little musty but they provide a scented candle to help with that. It was immaculate, marble floors, beautiful bedding, mini bar (with beer!), free safe, TV with 99 channels (only a dozen were english but who wants TV). Everyday the maids cleaned the rooms, made animals out of our towels and left flower pedals everywhere. We got a big jug of water to brush our teeth with plus bottled water in the fridge to drink. The beer was quite good, much better than the stuff I had in the Dominican which took a few to get used to.

The beach is great for snorkeling but not so great for swimming. Luckily I have thick soles and was able to walk in and swim but like many people before me recommended you should probably bring some old sneakers or aqua shoes if you’re set on swimming in the ocean. Back to snorkeling, it is much more interesting at this beach than a sandy beach, we saw a nice variety of tropical fish here and even saw a barracuda. I brought my own mask and snorkel but they provide some for you if needed. I highly recommend the snorkeling excursion, it’s like swimming in someone’s aquarium, it is very safe and the guide is quite entertaining. Back to the beach, the part out of the water is pretty nice sand, some people said the chunks of coral in the sand were hard on the feet but again it didn’t bother me.. although I learned pretty quickly not to dive while playing beach volleyball.

I love how the pool is divided into a lounge area, kids area, activity area and just a general swimming area. The swim up bar is great and wasn’t as busy as other resorts, it was also nice that it had two sides to it. Only a few times did I have to wait a bit to get a drink, otherwise the staff is quick and friendly. If Abraham is working then you must try some of his famous shots, I called him the shot-master because he made layered shots with an artistic precision, you have to try a mexican flag and a shot-in-a-glass, two very good layered shots.

I had so much fun at this resort, the staff is so friendly and are always running around trying to recruit people for activities. Of course if you don’t want to they don’t pester you, but if you are known for doing just about everything (like I was) you almost always get asked. Kenia, Fernando, Leo, Ismeal (sp?), Edwin, Christian and Alex are all so awesome, they made me feel like there couldn’t be a game without me. Also, if you win or place in a lot of events you get a diploma at the end of the day which can be traded in for goodies.

I can’t say enough about these people, I actually miss some of them, it feels like I made new friends. We spent a lot of time at the swim up bar and got to know Mario, Nicolas, Abraham, Agustin and Miseal (I hope I didn’t forget anyone). They are all super friendly, always smiling and joking around. The activities people are the best I’ve ever seen, when they have their meals they will seat with guests and talk with them, we got to have a meal with Kenia and Fernando, they both enjoyed discussing theirs lives in Mexico as well as finding out about Canada. I was so busy all the time trying to do as many activities as possible, even if no one else wanted to join me I felt like I had a friend to go with. I wish I had gotten some contact information from some people, it would’ve been cool to have some penpals. I went out to Senor Frog’s one night and met up with Ismeal and Edwin and even during their time off they didn’t mind hanging around with us and dancing with us, they were great! All the girls gushed over Edwin while all the guys were drooling over Kenia. Also, one couple in our group had some power problems, I called the front desk and told them about it and then went outside to sit on the hammock and just as I was sitting down a maintenance guy (Miguel I believe) was coming up the stairs. He had us up and running in 2 minutes.

Drinks are awesome at this place, there is so much selection and no one is stingy on the hooch. In fact if you find a drink weak most bartenders will hand you the bottle and let you add as much liquor as you want. Also, I may not have been the first to do this but I think I invented a really cool drink. I went over to the self-serve espresso machine and plopped a couple large espresso’s in my Timmy’s mug; I then ordered a coco-loco and dumped it in with the coffee.. the result? coco-loco-chino, it’s an awesome way to start the day… man I could go for one right now. I don’t know how many drinks I tried, I lost count in the 30’s. Also, the bartender will invent stuff for you, you just tell them you want something fruity or sour and they will come up with a tasty concoction for you. They also serve up a tasty selection of shots, be carefull though, all that booze and sun can be pretty tough on the system, we had a few sick people on our hands.

What can I say other than the food was great, the selection was sufficient for just about everything to find something they liked and one night there was lobster, how can you go wrong. We tried out the steak house, it was ok, but we preferred the buffet. My pants were a little tight for work this morning so I guess that is a good sign. The breakfast buffet was amazing, if you can think of a food to have for breakfast it was there… ever monte cristo’s! I haven’t had those in years.

I’m a little biased on this one, I’m not big into live shows with dancing and stuff.. the other people in my group assured me it was top notch entertainment but I normally skipped it and took a little siesta and shower during this time. I think the existing disco is still being worked on so the theater is the make-shift disco for the time being. Not many people dance and stay out late here, if this is your scene then I recommend a trip into town to Senor Frog’s. The cab ride is $17US each way, which isn’t too bad if you can get 4 people in a cab, also the downstairs bar will give you some "monopoly" money equalling your cab fare to spend on drinks, you have to get a form at the hotel, ask one of the staff. Make sure you get the cab driver to fill in the amount and present it to the doorman at the club, he gives you some play money good enough for a round at least. I forget the name of the downstairs bar.. Carlos and charlie’s?, anyway, it’s more relaxed and lit up, good for a few pre-dance drinks. Once you are ready head up to Senor Frog’s for a great night of dancing (heads up: men have a $5 cover charge). The music is mostly techno with some mexican stuff thrown in, they sometimes show videos as well. Be prepared, it gets very hot in there, you WILL sweat, dress appropriatly. There are open balconies where you can cool off. The drinks are close to what you would pay in Canada.. I was paying $3.50 for beers (Sol, Dos Equis) and I was paying $5-$6 for mixed drinks. To maximize your savings do a bunch of shots before leaving the hotel, that way you only need a few rounds to stay "happy" 😉

There’s a ton of shops downtown, just get a cab and ask to be dropped off at the Pier, again it’s $17US each way. I spoke with some staff and they said the taxis are regulated and are 100% safe. Bartering at the shops is pretty simple, just tell them that whatever price they state is way too expensive and start walking away. You can bargain like crazy and get pretty good prices, I normally didn’t try to hard and paid about half the asking price in most cases. I know I could probably get them lower but these people aren’t living the high life, they could use the money more than I can. I found the shops very touristy, lots of trinkets and stuff you only find in tourist locations. It was still a fun way to spend a few hours.

Now for the cons
Not much wrong with this place but just wanted to point a few things out, once and awhile at night you get a sewage smell that blows through the place, it can get pretty rancid at times. Don’t leave your door open, I had a little guest a couple of nights. Don’t leave any food out, there are ants.

Summary I HIGHLY recommend this place, I find it to be big enough that there’s quite a bit to do yet small enough that you actually run into people you meet multiple times. The last resort I stayed with was too big, I would meet some cool people and then never see them again. The staff is exceptional, I cannot stress this enough… they dance with you, eat with you, will be your partner if needed for a sport of some type, etc…. everyone speaks English quite well, I tried my best to speak spanish when I could and learned as much as I could while there. The staff was more than willing to help you with spanish if you wanted. I would give this resort a 10/10.

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Iberostar Cozumel David and Irene

April 2006

my friend and i stayed at the iderostar in mexico, wow what a great place, we were there for one week, the rooms are just as you see on the net, the staff is beyond friendly, they treat you very very well, drinks are plenty, they have everything and if they are not sure how to make it just ask and they will put in whatever you like, at no times did we ever have to wait in line for drinks or food always lots of staff on duty, beach is nice wear beach shoes as it is alittle rocky, if you are interested in shopping i would suggest cozumel downtown, very nice and you can find everything there, always remember to barter on the prices as they will come down, food at the resort was very good the odd thing was not to my liking but that is just my taste, we had everything under the sun each day so you would never go hungry and if you did well that would be your own fault, we had steak cooked to order, lobster, shrimp, everything! the only thing i would suggest is bring your own butter from home as thiers is awful…lol not sure what it is made of but wow it is BAD, we stayed in rm 6204 mid way between the beach and front lobby, we loved our spot, the lobby is really nice and we always had a drink before dinner there and also after,fernando the bar tender is great as will as candy man and all the others they smile all day and nite and love to hear all about your home and life in your country, i miss them dearly, shopping is great, they like american money, i read reviews that said to bring paso’s but once there i found they liked american money much better and if you paid in paso’s the price would go up a few bucks, i had to hit the instant teller when there, very simple, i wanted 100.00 so i keyed in 1000.00 paso’s which gave me 100.00 in paso’s and the rate was good. i checked when i got home and for 100.00 it cost me 8.07 not bad at all. expect to pay about 5.00 american for t-shirts and they are good quailty, i would say the prices are very comparable to home ( i live in canada ) we took the ferry over to playdela carmen, which costs $11.00 each way and $17.00 each way for 2 for a taxi from the resort to get you to the ferry, it was fun a full day, no one bothered us we found it very fun and relaxing, alot of guest at the resort rented jeeps and did there own tours, the feed back was excellent they had a great time exploring and no one bothered them at all cozumel is very safe, they did say the trafic get heck it around dinner hour…………everyone in a hurry to get home, ….lol no different then anywhere else, the resort was hit with the herricane, but they have everything up and running and it is all new, the only way you could tell is the tress…….still working on getting back the grounds but in no way is it run down, my husband and i are planning our next trip for november and yes it is going to be cozumel, if you go you will not be disappointed, the shows at nite are great also the kids shows, all in all i highly recommend this resort, if you are thinking about going and have questions please feel free to contact me at irene62dave@sympatico.ca

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Iberostar Cozumel Tanya and Sheri ~ Kingston Ontario Canada

February 2006

Check-in is at 3pm but the rooms were available earlier around 1pm. We got our bracelets and towel cards before the rooms were ready so you can start enjoying as soon as you get there.

The entire hotel is pretty much all brand new. The rooms are the same buildings but new paint and fixtures inside. There are one and two story villas throughout the resort. Building 83 and 84 are nice because they overlook the pool and face the beach or 21 is close to the beach. They have in-room safes with an electronic touch pad so no key is needed and you make up your own six digit pass.

There is a shallow pool area where they have chairs in the water and there are two large pools. One is for activities and one is for the scuba training. Swim up bar is in the middle of both pools and you can get a drink at either side. The water is a little cool but refreshing when the weather is so hot. As usual you need to get there by 8 or 9 to get a chair.

The food is great. You can either have your regular Americanized foods as hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, eat or enjoy the food of Mexico. Very well displayed with beautiful watermelon cut-outs and such. There is a Mexican and Steakhouse a la cart restaurant with 3 sittings per room per week.

The drinks are not watered down and Tequila is plenty. You can also drink white and red wine anytime throughout the day. It is not the greatest though. They also have champagne available all day long too and it is pretty good. Some mornings at the large buffet they have mimosa (champagne and O.J.) for you as you enter for breakfast.

The evening shows are very well done. They like other resorts have a lot of audience participation. They have many games to participate in throughout the day but they don’t seem to come down to the beach to get you for games …only around the pool area.

The beach is not good for swimming. There is rock and coral at the water line that you have to get over before being able to swim. The beach is nice to lie on though. They have water sandals to borrow at the towel booth. Walking the beach is also so-so but still suggest sandals.

Towards the beach and walk right there is an open air beach restaurant/bar. There is a girl there who does braids but she is not that great but there is nowhere else to get them unless you go into the city. There are no vender huts or people on the beach doing selling. There is one booth beside the pool that have things to buy but he is very expensive and not pushy or really very helpful.

The city is nice to go into. A taxi is about $17 US one way for 2 people. We rented a Jeep for 24 hours from the resort and with unlimited mileage and taxes and FULL insurance was $73 US. We have been told by a local resident that owns a restaurant there and was from Toronto to next time call Less Pay they are only about $35 US including insurance and will bring it to the resort for you. You should call and reserve early because he is very busy. Gas prices are about the same as here.

The hotel was only half full when we were there because they were still working on opening the other buildings (no loud pounding or anything and should be done by March 1st). So it was a nice busy when we were there but it may become a little less accommodating as it gets fuller. We had pool waiters and lobby waiters available all the time and they were very efficient.

There is a fog man. He comes out around 5-5:30pm and goes around with a loud leaf looking fog machine and fogs everyone into there rooms. He is fogging for the evening bugs. There are sand flea bugs that bite and are itchy. They seem to only affect some people. I got a few bites and so did my friend but some people reacted to the bites with big red welts and some just little freckle sized bites and some got none. So depends on the person I guess.

I would recommend this resort. It is absolutely beautiful because it is brand newish. But if you are going to enjoy swimming in the ocean not so good. Other places with better beaches. We mainly stuck around the pool because of the activities and action. They are trying to save some of the trees and are doing lots of planting to replace the devastation of the hurricanes. Considering the time they have had to do it, it is amazing what has been accomplished.

Snorkelling is available at the resort and they will take you out to the reefs for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours for about $25 US. There is also a lot of scuba diving available from the resort too.

This seems to be mostly a couples resort but kids are welcome and they do have kids activities just were not many there when we were there. Not many singles either. It is not a singles party resort it is a couples party or relax resort. You can choose.

Iberostar has more than 80 resorts around the world and they have comments cards that they have filled out every 15 days. They take the comments very seriously and are striving to keep with a high rating. This resort has been rated as a 4 to 41/2 star but it was being evaluated while we were there for a 5 star. After all there upgrading from the hurricanes and I am sure they received it.

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Iberostar Cozumel Lynn, Gerry, Julie & Dan ~ Ont. Canada

February 2006

We stayed at the Iberostar Cozumel week of Feb. 4-11. Had a wonderful vacation even though we were the first group there after the hurricanes. These people worked extremely hard to prepare for re-opening. Rooms were very clean and cute. There is purified water, a mini fridge, safe, plenty of towels, hair dryer, shampoo, soap, facecloths. We didnt go without anything and could get what you need upon requesting. We did the snorkel tour by boat $40 us/person, was okay. We also did Xelha and Tulum, which is a must $124 us/person. What an amazing place. Catamarans, in pool dive lesson, swimming with dolphins were also done. The food was great and plentiful ,we never did without. We actually all gained a few pounds. The waiters, bartenders, dancers were wonderful people and made you feel welcomed. The beach really isnt a beach to run into and swim due to the coral, but further down the beach you can swim. The pool water was a bit cool but refreshing, so was the swim up bar. We would recommend this place to anyone wanting a fun and relaxing vacation… remember, it’s what you make of it. Go with no expectations and you wont be disappointed.

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Iberostar Cozumel Kurt and Claudette ~ Port Moody BC.

March 2005

We spent one week at Iberostar resort (four star all-inclusive) the second week of March. The trip from Cancun to the hotel in Cozumel is a little long. About two hours if they don’t offer the flight option. Besides that the hotel is great. Good food and fun entertainment. And the people working there is very friendly and helpful like most people in Mexico usually are. It’s almost like living in a botanical-zoological garden. Beautiful landscaping and lot’s of birds and other animals (friendly) on the resort.

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Iberostar Cozumel Dayle ~ Canada

February 2005

We just arrived home on Feb 20th from the Iberostar Cozumel. We went with a group of 3 couples and we all had a good time. We had read the reviews on this website previous to going and I was a little nervous about some of the comments yet went with an open mind and didn’t have too much trouble. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and very well kept and manicured daily. The iguanas and pink flamingos are a very nice touch too. Yes there is a sewage odour and we seemed to notice it most by the theatre , tennis courts and lobby which makes sense as the main bathroom is between those items. Some days it was not so bad…others it was.

Check in was ok, we had to wait for a room but only a few hours which was better compared to one group of 40 that had to spend another night at the occidental grand as the iberostar was overbooked. The staff was especially helpful and the star friends worked very hard and long days. The rooms were a little musty but you become accustomed to it very fast and it did not bother us much after the first day. We did take and odor sponge with us and a candle but never used the candles at all. The room is not huge but for two people it was fine. The bar was in the closet and it was always stocked for us You could hang up your clothes in the closet but there was no dresser which for us is not a biggie as we usually leave the folded items in our suitcase anyhow. There is an electronic safe and there is no charge….very useful. The maids were awesome and the room was always clean. I heard of other people saying they flower petals and design towels on the bed everyday yet we never once had that and we tipped $2 a day so one never knows what you will get. Our friends bed had rose petals and a heart towel valentines day and they said it was lovely.

Yes the beds were hard but we like a hard bed. Our friend did enquire about getting a mattress pad twice from the front desk yet one never showed up so I guess you have to be persistent for that.

The food was ok , not the best Ive had at an all inclusive and we did have one night of stomach problems due to some seafood which we have never experienced before but all in all it was pretty good with something for everyone. You should not go hungry, especially if you like breads and pastries, they were plentiful and good!!

The pools were very nice and clean and the pool bar was great to sit at and get a drink.

We met very many friendly and fun people from all over! The waiters around the bar were excellent and were always there just when your glass seemed to be empty!

The beach itself, was ok, yet very rocky which we knew. Normally we are beach people yet never sat on it one day this vacation. We did snorkel a few times and that was very cool and yes we did receive some bites and im sure they were from the sand fleas at dusk and dawn. We rented a jeep one day and toured the island , stopping at Coconuts and all the bars along the coast!!! Coconuts had a HUGE photo album of all the women who had flashed their chest for a free tequila which the guys found quite interesting. J We ate at Senor Iguanas and have to say that was the best food we had had all week.! We ended in San Miguel with shopping and found a few deals yet there were five cruise ships in that day so it was very busy. The jeep cost us $104.00 US dollars and it was brand new and in great shape. We rented it in the main lobby of the hotel.

The shows at night were ok and we only saw 2 of them. The disco was ok with it being enclosed and air conditioned. The music was a mix of everything.

All in all the experience was a good one and I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a laid back relaxing holiday in a jungle atmosphere. HAVE FUNJ

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Iberostar Cozumel Sandy ~ Ontario Canada

February 2005

Iberostar Cozumel – Great vacation for the those that like good food, good drinks and a back-to-nature atomosphere !!

My husband and I, along with another couple returned for a second year in a row to the Iberostar Cozumel from Jan 29 – Feb 4. After reveiwing many other reviews from other hotels, we decided to play it safe and go back to where we knew the food, drinks, rooms and service would be great…and we were not disappointed.

Here are some of the details of our trip that I hope will help you in planning your next vacation – after all we all work hard for our vacations and should get the most out of them !! The reveiw is leanthly as I did not want to leave anthing out, but I tried to use subheadings and give you tips along the way…If you are pressed for time here is a summary : 4 star resort with a great variety of foods and drinks. The tropical jungle like setting is great if that is what you like. The beach is great for tanning and relaxing but not great for running into the water for a cool off becasue of the coral. The resort has a very friendly atomosphere and the service is top notch. They need more lounge chairs so you do not have to get up at 6 :00 am to reserve one. They need to do something about the fowl smell that often lingers in the air.

The Flight
We flew out of Toronto direct to Cozumel on West Jet. The flight down was on time and uneventful. There was no movie or even head phones offered however we did have a in flight meal and there was a cash bar. The flight attendants did a great job to make everyone comfortable. We had lots of leg room and got 4 seats together. Our agent was World of Vacations. We booked in Dec just after xmas and paid about $1300.00 each.

The Airport in Cozmel During the flight you are given a tourist card that you need to complete – one per person. These need to be given to the customs person at the airport. This process was very slick and we got through very quickly. There was only our plane there while we were getting processed… We had our guards down, as this was our second trip here, so when a Time Share agent called us over…we fell hook line and sinker !!! We thought it was our travel rep. « Jesus » asked us where we were staying and what we were planning on doing. He offered us free trasportation to Play Del Carman and free ferry ride as well as WV convertible rental for a day for onyl $10.00. All we had to do was go to the Mayan Palace for a visit on the Wed …we had to give hime $25.00 each that we would get back when we got to the resort….We fell for it…..gave him the $100.00 and said we would see him on wed…He said that the travel people would tell us not to do business with them as they are competing for buisness – when we got outside out travel agent Paula told us it was a Time Share scame and that we would be stuck at the Mayan Palace for a presentation for 4 hrs….we instantly went back in to get out money back, which he gave us willingly. They do not tell you on the plane about the Time Share peopel in the airport – they look all official but they are a scam !!!

TIP # 1 : When you are through customs – go straight outside and find your travel agent – do not stop to talk to the Time Share people. If you see anyone with MAYAN PALACE on their shirt..do not stop to talk to them, even in Cozumel or Play del Carmen.

The Check In Went very smooth – although there was a line up we headed for the bar and got a drink while we waited. The waiters will come around and give you drinks as well while you wait. They are very well organized and all of the front desk staff spoke English very well. I had emailed 2 weeks before our departure to ask for a room near the pool and we got 8113 and 8313 which both overlook the pool….we were very happy !!

TIP # 2 – Email ahead if you want a specific room – most people that did this got what they wanted. IF you are a diver – ask for the rooms by the dive shop. Stay away from the rooms by the tennis courts as there tends to be an odour there.

The Rooms One and Two story huts are scattered throughout the resort in well marked sections. We got a top storey overlooking the pool. Each hut has a hamock on the balcony or porch and most have 2 chairs and a table on the balcony. Because we were on the 2nd storey we had a thatched roof with cathedral-like ceiling. There is a smell when you first walk in, but you soom get used to it. We had a wonderful king sized bed that was not hard at all(last year the bed seemed harder – or maybe we drank more this year !!??). The bathroom was very clean and always stocked with plenty of towels, toilet paper, bottled water, shower gel, shampoo, wash clothes, etc etc. There was plenty of hot water. There is a room safe which is free of charge and a bar fridge that is stocked daily with water, mineral water, pop, beer (they do have coke-light which is diet coke). If you need anything specific, just leave a note for the maid. There is a TV, 2 night stands, a closet that was big enough for all our clothes, hangers, dressing table with mirror, small table with 2 chairs.

Be prepared to have the occasional visit from a gecko – they are more scared of you than you are of them and are harmless.

TIP # 3 – Bring a flashlight – the rooms do not have the greatest lighting so if you are looking in the closet at night a flashlight would help. Also – the power did not go off this year, but did last year so we were thankful for a flashlight

TIP #4 – Bring air freshener or scented candles for the room. There are candles in the room that you can light as well.

TIP #5 – Because of the tropical setting and the chance that you may get visitors • Do not leave your doors open as this would be easy access for geckos, snakes frogs etc…

• Do not leave food in open containers or unwrapped – this also invites ants, bugs and other creatures. (The couple we were with left licorise in an open bag beside the night stand and one night were awakend by a gecko who was trying to get a taste !!)

Maid Service
We are early risers – (6 :00 am ) so our rooms were the first to be cleaned – usually by 8 :00 am. Bar was stocked, clean towels available, beds made at some days sheets replaced. She swept/mopped the floor evey day – the rooms were spottless. We left her a tip everyday.

Lounger and beach chairs
Here is where the resort needs some improvement. Every morning we played the « save the chair ‘ game….I do not like to do this and they tell you that you are not suppose to..but honestly..if you do not get out to the beach by 7 :00 am you will not get a seat i the sun. By 9 :00 you will not get a chair period !! in the sun or shade on the beach or around the pool. THEY NEED MORE CHAIRS !! there is not enough chairs to accommodate the people staying there. There were many days people complained about the lack of chairs, people putting towels out at 3:00, 4:00 and 5 :00 am and the towels going missing (all were on the same 6 chairs the same morning) . I was up every morning at 6 :00 am and watched this unfold(remember..our room overlooked the pool).

There were also people that reverved chais at 6 :00 and then went into town until 3 :0 pm and did not use them….this I do not agree with.
We spent a day over at the Mayan at the Iberostar Pariso del Mar and they had plenty of extra chairs there – at 12 :00 noon there were over 100 chairs unused. People that visited the Iberostar Cozmel mid day were forced to sit on the cement around the pool or at the swim up bar.

TIP # 6 – If you want a chair in the sun and are going to use it all day – reserve it by 6 :00 am. If you want a chair by the pool or on the beach reserve it by 9 :00am or you will be out of luck. Unless the resort gets more chairs (there is lots of room on the beach for more chairs) this will continue to be a negative aspect of the vacation.

The Bars and the Drinks There are a number of bars where you can wet your whistle !! The lobby bar is open 24 hrs and has a great assortment of drinks including, cappaccino, Miami Vice, Dirty Monkey, champange, white and red wine, bloody Mary, Coco Loco, etc etc. the waites will come around in the evening and servie you if you are relaxing in the lobby. Marco, Wilder or Jorge will do their best to serve you. The swim up bar is open from 11 :00 am to 7 :00 pm and serves the same sort of drinks. The waiters will come around and serve you by the pool and beach. Candelabra and Rueben will make sure you do not go dry !! The snack bar is located near the pool and is open for the same drinks from 10 :00 am to 10 :00 pm – They also serve soft ice dream in sugar cones here. The Theatre Bar – is open in the evening for the shows….has all drinks even Irish Cream. The Disco Bar – is open from 11 :00 to 2 :00….great waiters here that have alot of fun….

The drinks at this resort are top notch..not watered down. They have name brand liquor that you can ask for. The blender style drinks are wonderful and always made fresh.

Tip # 6 – Miami Vice is a mixture of ½ strawberry daqurie and ½ pina colada. You can get it with rum opr vodka or no booze. Very refreshing.
TIP # 7 – The Dirty Monkeys are like drinking a Choc shake and these sneak up on you. They are made with a real banana, vodka, Kalhoa and milk. They also go by the name of Funky Monkey, Sexy Monkey and Horny Monkey.

The Restaurants and the Food There is always alot of variety in the food – something for everyone.

The Breakfast Buffet (main dining room) – open from 7 :00am to 10 :30 am for an assortment of breakfast items including bacon, eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, cereal, custom made omletts, freshly grilled eggs to your liking, an assortment of fruti smoothies including banana and pinapple. Food can not be taken from here and you need to have shoes and a shirt on to eat here. The Breakfast Buffet – (Pool side dining room) – open from 10:00 to 11 :30 am and has most of the same items as above – but you can eat here in your bathing suit with no shoes or take it out to the pool.

The Lunch Buffet (main dinign room) – not sure of the times as we never ate lunch here. We always ate by the pool for lunch. There are the typical lunch items and more variety than the pool

The Lunch Buffet (pool side dining room) – lunch is serves from 12 :00 to 4 :00 and includes a variety of lunch items such as hamburgers and hot dogs, BBQ chicken, nochos and cheese, assorted salades, onion rings, wedges, tortillas and stuffing etc… There is alway ice cream available.

The Dinner Buffet – (main dining area) – Dinner is served from 6 :30 to 9 :30 and includes an assortment of grilled meats, mexican style vegetables, carved meats , assorted fish and seafood, assorted desserts, assorted pastas, breads and soups. Sat night they has surf and turf that was amazing.

A La Carte Restaurants – these need to be reserved in advance at the front desk in the am – see your travel rep for details The Steakhouse – served a buffet style salades and appetizers, bloomin onion , your choice of steak served to your liking. The poolside dining room is used as the steakhouse in the evening with 2 sittings at 6 :30 and 8 :30. The Mexican – served a buffet style salades and appetizies with your choice of soups, and main cousre of mexican food.

TIP # 8 – If you are a fussy eater, stick to the buffet. There is lots of variety. The A La Carte’s are Ok but the secltion is limited. Many did not like the selection of steak that they were served. The entre selcetion at the Mexican is limited, but the apetizers in the Mexican buffet will fill you up.

The Beach and Activities This really is another downfall of this resort so if you go here knowing that there is not a sandy bottomed beach that will invite you to run full tilt into the water..then you will be Ok. There is a lovely sandy beach that is scattered with beauiful tropical trees and foilage, with lounge chairs, however, the coral is at the waters edge which makes it difficult to walk into the water. The water in the ocean was warmer than the pool and was great once you got in past the coral. Snorkeling – There is great snorkling off the pier which is right in front of the resort. You will see hundreds of fish right under the pier. Just go to the dive shop to sign out snorkel equipment and you can have it for . Sea Kayak and Catamaran – can also be signed out at the dive shop for 1 hr. You need to pay $2.00 for a coastal fee when renting these out.

Diving – Dive shop is on site. We do not dive but lots of people come here to dive.

TIP #9 – Snorkel off the pier or in the pool before you spend $$ to book a snorle trip to a reef.
The Towels – Each person gets a towel card that can be exchanged a the towel hut as many times throughout the day as needed. We exchanged them every night for fresh ones. When we went over to the Iberostar in the Mayan we got our cards back and took them for towels over there. If you loose the towel you will need to pay $10.00. There were problems with the towels going missing ie. People saving chairs at 3 :00am and the towels are not here in the am, people just taking towels off of chairs that were not theres OR people taking towels off of balconies at night.

The Grounds
Absolutely amazing !!! Tropical jungle -like setting with pink flamingos and peacocks roaming the resort. Iguana and geckos also roam the resort freely. The grounds keepers are constantly raking ans sweeping and picking up garbage. The plants and foilage are like I have never seen before.

The Pool – seemed to be colder than last year…could have been warmer but it was refreshing. Basically one big pool with different sections that included kiddy pool, lounging pool(where the loungers actually sit in the pool) activity pool and quiet pool. The swim up bar was the focal point of the pool with seats on each side of the bar in the water for easy access. They had waterpolo, water basket ball, water arobics etc in the pool every day.

The Evening Entertainment and Activities Staff – Star Friends You will see the Star Friends around the pool/beach during the day and the same people doing the evening entertainment. They will keep you busy during the day with rifle shooting, water polo, beach volleyball, bingo, spanish lessons, braclet making, step aroebics, yoga etc etc. There is a kids club that caters to the smaller kids as well. The kids have a mini show at night form 8 :00 to 9 :00. The Star Friend encourage you to participate as if you win you get a certificate at the show at night. After 5 certificates you get a Star Friends shirt.

The nightly shows change every night and are mostly well done with dancing, acting etc as the main enterainment. At times they have audience participation night which is very funny. They ask you to come up for the Miss or Mr Iberostar or the Couples contest….Drink heavily before you offer to do this

The Check Out
Our plane did not leave until 7 :00 so we were at the resort until 4 :00, however we needed to get out of our room by 12 :00 noon. So we checked out at noon and kept out bags a the front desk. There is a shower by the theate that we used to clean up before we left . We could keep out towel cards until we left as well. If you want your rooms past 12 :00 there is a $10.00 an hr fee which some people did.

The Airport Departure
Again the departure was very organized and we got through with no issues. We got seats all together. There was no issues with bags or weight or searching..no bags for West Jet were searched. We had lots of time to shop

TIP # 10 – There is great shopping at the airport for silver, perfume, booze and jewlery, but if you are looking for snack food or pop/water..it is very expensive ie. $3.50US for a coke and $5.00 for Pringles .

TIP # 11 – Take an insulated mug with a lid you for your drinks.

TIP # 12 – Take a small air matress with you for floating in the pool. The dive shop can blow it up for you.

TIP #13 – Tip where you think the service is good….you will not be disappointed. We tipped for good bar service and service in the dining room at night and they remember you.

TIP #14 – If you are in the sun all day and drinking make sure you also drink lots of water. Last year none of us were sick, however, this year we all had a day or so of stomach issues and I attribute it to the sun and not enough fluids during the day. Also make sure you have a good sunblock as the sun is very hot.

Last year we were not bothered by the bugs at all, however, this year us and many others did get bites. Small misquito type bugs that yu can hardly see will be out at dusk and at dawn. This year the resort sprayed every second day at 7 :00 am and 5 :00 pm for bugs.

TIP # 15 – If you plan to watch the sun set or go to the show in the evening, spay on some bug spray or wear long pants/shirt. The first couple days we did not notice anything, but I think it takes a day or so for the bites to come out.

I have a ton of pictures that I can show you if you are interested in seeing the resort or if you have more questions please free to email me at NHECKERT@AOL.

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Iberostar Cozumel Amy and Rob from Sherwood Park, Canada

December 2004

My husband and I just got back from two weeks in Mexico. We went with Signature vacations which allows you to do a 2-in-1 vacation with one week on the Mayan Riviera and one week in Cozumel. We chose the Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar in the Mayan Riviera and the Iberostar Cozumel. We expected the two resorts to be different – and they were! The only problem was that the food was exactly the same. Two weeks of almost identical buffets got boring. I expected theme buffets with entirely different selections. Even the menus for the a la carte restaurants were the same.

We’ve previously been to Sandals Antigua, Sandals Grande St. Lucia and on a Princess Cruise of the Western Caribbean. We’re both in our early 30s and this was our first trip to Mexico (although the cruise did stop in Cozumel for 1 day).

Iberostar Cozumel
The resort itself is much smaller (300 rooms). I was originally disappointed in our room 8503. It was much smaller and not in as good of shape as the Iberostar del Mar. Our room had a musty smell (which we got used to after a few days). We were lucky not to have any sewar smell (stay away from the rooms close to the theatre).

The buffets (although smaller) were the same in food quality as the Iberostar del Mar. For a la carte they have Mexican and Steakhouse which were about equal in quality. I think I’d lean towards favouring the Mexican since nothing is ever as good as Alberta beef! If you are doing the 2-in-1 vacation, note that the menus are identical (so you might want to try the other restaurants while on the Mayan Riviera).

I eventually warmed to the resort. It is a lot more laid back and less busy than del Mar – in fact, if we had stayed here first I probably would have loved it right away. The beach is not at all sandy, but they do provide shoes if you ask (take your own aqua socks). There are ladders off the peer to bypass most of the rocks, but it is still hard to find a sandy area to stand in the water. The good news there is actually fish to look at. We even saw a baracuda while snorkelling about 20 ft from shore!

We’re both divers and were not disappointed with Cozumel. You can go directly with the dive company offered by the resort (Dressel), but their boats look like they take out about 20 people at a time. We choose to go with Diving with Alison (www.scubawithalison.com). We e-mailed her in advance and she paired us up with others at about the same ability. She picked us up right at the resort. The boat was smaller, but the most we had was 7 divers. The price was cheaper ($70 US each for a 2 tank which included a reg and BCD) and she throws in a wetsuit if you pay with cash or travellers cheques. I’d highly recommend her to anyone. The Iberostar is located right in front of the reef, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes to get to any of our dive spots. We did 3 days of 2 tank dives (Santa Rosa wall and shallow, Palancar Horseshoe, Dehlia, and Cedral Pass). Note that Cozumel is all drift diving and there is no ropes to descend. Our stongest current was at Santa Rosa shallow (but this also had the best sea life including huge turtles, moray eels, eagle rays, and parrot fish). Alison keeps a close eye on you and if you let her know you’re not comfortable with the current, she can pick other spots.

Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar
Although this is advertised as a 386 room resort, it shares the same services (buffets, a la cartes, pool, beach, night shows, etc.) with the Paraiso Beach. So it is really a 800 room resort. It’s by far the biggest we’ve ever stayed at and if you like a more persoanl experience, this is not the place for you.

That said, the resort was beautiful. From the grounds to the room to the pool we found everything met our expectations. The waiters were polite but not overly friendly unless you tipped (which we did for only exceptional service). Our room was 1646 which is nicely in the middle between the beach and the restaurants (with the size of this resort, it is a pain to go back to your room for anything). We were originally put into a room with 2 double beds, but they moved us the next day to a king room in the same building.

For restaurants they have Mexican, Mediteranean, Tropical, Brazilean, Steakhouse, and Japanese. We reviewed the menus (available at the front desk) and settled on the first 3. We ate at the Mediteranean last; it is all seafood and was our favorite. We like variety, but this restaurant was so much better than the other 2, that I’d suggest eating there 3 times.

While on the Mayan Riveria, we only took the free shuttle to Playa del Carmen once to buy Tequila (cheaper than resort). We also arranged through our signature rep for tours to Chichen Itza ($77 US each) and Xel-Ha ($83 US each). Chichen Itza was amazing and well worth the 2.5 hour bus ride each way. Of course you don’t get enough time to explore the ruins (~3hours), but just to learn about the history and to climb the pyramid is well worth the full day. Unless you have small kids or a non-swimmer, my advice is to skip Xel-Ha. The fresh and salt water mixing makes for very poor visibility (don’t believe the brochure pictures). There is absolutely no coral. The good thing is that it is protected from the ocean surf and in most places you can stand up when in the water. If you want a good snorkelling experience, take the ferry ($18 US each roundtrip) accross to Cozumel.

Overall I think that Iberostar met the majority of our expectations and that we got what we paid for (there are higher stars out there!). I wish they would mix the variety up more on the buffets. The food was not great, but it was good and neither of us got sick. We talked to another couple from Vancouver that managed to do a 2-in-1 with El Dorado and Occidental (this is not advertised in the brochure). For anyone booking now, I would suggest you try to get the Iberostar del Mar and the Cozumel Occidental. The Occidental is right beside the Iberostar (still close to the dive sites) and it sounded much nicer than our Cozumel resort when we compared experiences on our way back to the airport.

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February 2004

Justreturned from Iberostar in Cozumel, one of the friendliest hotel I,ve encountered. The bungalos are damp but they are uniquely placed in a tropical jungle setting, each with its own hammock on the patio. Perfect for a diver because the reef is right in front of you, no wasted time. Food was good not great but not nything too complain about. Rooms were kept perfectly clean, the swimming is abit rocky but move down the beach an noproblem. I,m a diver anused Seascuba and was disappointed they did not follow-up on what they promised. Said one thing an did another. If you use GWV don,t do what I did, we lost 3/4 of the first day,an all of the last day.Had too leave the hotel 8 am. to catch a plane 950 too sit in Cancun airport till 310. I blame GWVinability too organize flights out of Cozumel. Other than these last issues our trip was fun. Hope this helps!!

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