Just one block from the central plaza, Hostelito (Av. 10 btwn Av. Benito Juárez and Calle 2 Norte, cell. tel. 987/878-5356, www.hostelcozumel.com, US$12 dorm, US$11.75–12.50 dorm with a/c [4–6 guests minimum], US$35–45 s/d with a/c, fridge, and TV) is a stylish hostel with a spacious coed dorm with orthopedic beds and fans galore; mosaic tile bathrooms have hot water 24/7, and clean sheets along with a huge locker are provided. If you’re traveling in a group, ask about the air-conditioned dorm with private bathroom, which is a steal at US$11.75–12.50 per head. Private doubles complete with air-con, minifridge, and TV are available, too—take a look at a few, though, as these vary greatly in size and comfort. A fully equipped rooftop kitchen is available for all to use, as is a great lounge and solarium with hammocks for just kicking back. Free Wi-Fi, too.
Located on the pedestrian walkway, Hotel Mary Carmen (Av. 5 Sur btwn Calles 1 and Rosado Salas, tel. 987/872-0581, www.hotelmarycarmen.com, US$50 s/d with a/c) is a simple but unexpectedly pleasant hotel. Smallish rooms have mosaic-tile headboards, good air conditioners, and cable TV; free Wi-Fi and local calls, too. Bathrooms could stand to be remodeled, but they’re functional and clean. Continental breakfast also is included every day but Sunday. Though not luxury, this is a good value in a great location.
Hotel Pepita (Av. 15 Sur btwn Calles 1 and Rosado Salas, tel. 987/872-0098, US$35 s/d with a/c) is a good value for traveler ’tweens: post-hostel but pre-B&B. The friendly owners keep the rooms very clean, though some of the beds are saggy, and the decor could use some serious updating. All have air-conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, minifridge, and two double beds. There’s also fresh coffee every morning in the long inner courtyard.
Mi Casa en Cozumel (Av. 5 btwn Calles 7 and 9, tel. 987/872-6200, www.micasaencozumel.com, US$60–75 s/d, US$95 s/d with a/c and kitchenette, US$175 penthouse) is a terrific modern boutique hotel and an architectural gem—the curves of the spiral staircase and interior walls are counterbalanced by triangular patios and angled nooks occupied by whirlpool tubs. The hotel has nine units, each slightly different in size and layout. All have gorgeous contemporary Mexican decor, a minifridge, cable TV, and come with continental breakfast served in a cozy ground-floor dining area. One unit has a kitchenette and air-conditioning; the others were designed for natural ventilation and are quite comfortable with fans only. The split-level penthouse is stunning, with full kitchen, private outdoor hot tub, front and rear patios, air-con, and great views. The hotel occupies a lofty well-located structure, though it may be difficult for guests who have trouble climbing stairs.
Tamarindo Bed and Breakfast (Calle 4 btwn Avs. 20 and 25 Norte, tel. 987/872-6190, www.tamarindocozumel.com, US$45–48 s/d with fan, US$54 s/d with a/c and minifridge, US$59 suite with a/c and kitchenette, US$69–79 s/d bungalow with a/c) is a pleasant B&B owned by a friendly French expatriate who lives on-site. The hotel has seven units bordering a large, leafy garden. Each room is different from the other, from two boxy but comfortable hotel rooms to a whimsical palapa bungalow with boho flair. All have cable TV and wireless Internet. Full breakfast is included for rooms without a kitchenette; these also have access to a small communal kitchen. Rinse tanks and storage facilities are provided for guests with dive gear. Tamarindo also rents two-bedroom apartments and bungalows (US$69–79 s/d with a/c) closer to the waterfront; each has air-conditioning, a kitchen, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and there’s even a small pool—perfect if you’re traveling with kids or planning to stay awhile.
Amaranto Bungalows & Suites (Calle 5 btwn Avs. 15 and 20 Sur, cell. tel. 987/106-6220, www.cozumel.net/bb/amaranto, US$59 s/d bungalow with a/c, US$65 s/d suite, US$75 s/d suite with a/c) offers seclusion and privacy, while still within easy walking distance from downtown. The shining stars of the place are the suites, in a three-story tower, each with a sitting area and 360-degree views; the lower unit has air-con, high ceilings, and a modern feel, while the upper one has a palapa roof with a lookout. There also are three thatch-roofed bungalows with modern bathrooms and attractive beachy decor. All the rooms have king-size beds, minifridges, microwaves, cable TV, and security boxes. Breakfast is included in all the rates. There is a plunge pool on-site—perfect for cooling off after a day in the sun—and Wi-Fi in the lounge. Amaranto doesn’t have a full-time attendant, so it’s best to call ahead to let them know when you plan to arrive.
Hotel Flamingo (Calle 6 btwn Avs. Rafael Melgar and 5 Norte, tel. 987/872-1264, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/806-1601, www.hotelflamingo.com, US$79–91 s/d with a/c, US$195 penthouse) offers renovated rooms with modern furnishings, mosaic tile bathrooms, and colorful Guatemalan decor. All have quiet air-con, in-room phone, and cable TV. Three common areas provide lots of extra outdoor space for guests—a rooftop solarium complete with lounge chairs and Jacuzzi, a shaded midlevel area with a long row of hammocks, and a garden level courtyard with tables and chairs. Those traveling with family—or looking to splurge a little—should consider the penthouse, a two-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen, private Jacuzzi, and even a rooftop grill. Book online to get breakfast included in the rate.
Located in the heart of San Miguel, Villa Escondida (Av. 10 Sur btwn Calles 3 Sur and Rosado Salas, tel. 987/869-2203, www.villaescondidacozumel.com, US$90 s/d with a/c) is an adults-only B&B with just four guest rooms. Each is modern—if a bit sparse—in style, with comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. All look onto a well-tended garden complete with an inviting swimming pool, lounge chairs, and hammocks. A full-size breakfast—from pancakes to chilaquiles—is served on the hotel terrace. Bicycles and snorkeling gear also are available to guests for free. The place is owned and operated by a Canadian Mexican family who live on-site and readily help to organize dive trips, rental cars, and more.
Vista del Mar (Av. Rafael Melgar btwn Calles 5 and 7 Sur, tel. 987/872-0545, toll-free U.S./Canada tel. 888/309-9988, www.hotelvistadelmar.com, US$78–90 s/d with a/c) is a charming hotel in the middle of a string of tacky souvenir shops. Rooms have muted earth tones, high-end decor, inlaid stone walls, and balconies (some with spectacular views of the Caribbean). All have cable TV, minifridges, safety deposit boxes, robes—even turndown service. The hotel’s patio also has lots of comfy lounge chairs as well as a hot tub with a mosaic-tile floor—a great space to hang if you don’t mind the view of the kitsch below. Continental breakfast, delivered to your room, is included.
Suites Bahía (Calle 3 btwn Avs. Rafael Melgar and 5 Sur, tel. 987/872-9090, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/277-2639, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/228-6747, www.suitesbahia.com, US$67–84 s/d with a/c) and Suites Colonial (Av. 5 Sur btwn Calles 1 and Rosado Salas, same tel., www.suitescolonial.com, US$59 s/d with a/c, US$67 suite with a/c) are sister hotels that rent unremarkable but functional rooms, most with kitchenettes. The Colonial is on the pedestrian walkway downtown and feels newer, but the rooms at the Bahía (especially the ocean-view ones) are roomier and get more natural light. Neither hotel will win any awards for charm—both look as if they’ve been untouched since the early 1980s—but the rooms are clean and reasonably comfortable, and a kitchen can definitely be nice for longer stays. Both include air-con, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and (almost best of all) buffet breakfast at Casa Mexicana hotel.
Villas Las Anclas (Av. 5 Sur btwn Calles 3 and 5, tel. 987/872-5476, www.villalasanclas.com, US$90–120 s/d with a/c) is a great option for those who want a little home away from home. Seven pleasantly decorated apartments open onto a leafy, private garden, each with a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, and a loft master bedroom up a set of spiral stairs. Using the sofas as beds, the apartments can accommodate up to four people, making a good price even better. All also have air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. The friendly owners live on-site and are very well informed on local dive shops, restaurants, and activities. Continental breakfast included, too.
Casa Mexicana (Av. Rafael Melgar btwn Calles 5 and 7, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/277-2639, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/228-6747, www.casamexicanacozumel.com, US$92.50–180 s/d with a/c) is a modern beauty with a soaring interior courtyard and gorgeous views of the Caribbean, notwithstanding the docked cruise ships and McDonald’s sign. The view is even better from the private patio of the 34 ocean-side rooms—the best are on the 5th floor. Rooms are attractive and bright, though less inspired than the building itself, with good beds, quiet air conditioners, and updated bathrooms. There is a small infinity pool in the spacious lobby; it’s a little strange to be taking a dip while watching someone check in, but it’s nice enough. Rates include a full buffet breakfast in an impressive open-air dining room. Dive packages also are available.
A long walk from town but worth every step, Casa Colonial (Av. 35 btwn Calles 8 and 10, toll-free U.S./Canada tel. 866/437-1320, www.cozumelrentalvillas.com, US$1,075 per week villa with a/c) has four fully equipped Mexican-style villas. All are two stories with two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a modern kitchen…even a washer and dryer and Wi-Fi. It’s like being home with the added bonus of daily maid service. All villas face a lush courtyard with a large pool and hot tub. Dive rinse tanks are available.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition