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Trip Report Island House (rental) & AquaSafari

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Kimela

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We wanted to get to know the local community a little, so we decided to rent a house in the Corpus Christi area. There were pros and cons – and some hiccups that I couldn’t/didn’t predict.

First lesson learned: if you take allergy medication, even if you think you don’t really rely on it (like me), make sure you continue to take it and guard it closely so you don’t misplace it. I lost 3 days of diving to a really bad hay fever attack. I guess my body didn’t like the palm pollen I got especially close to when taking pictures of bees. On day 2 of feeling awful I went to the Cozumel International Hospital for a walk-in with a really, really young doctor (good doc). The hospital was great – the receptionist’s English was very good – the place was like any other hospital in the states, as far as I could tell. Very good treatment. The appt was $65 and the meds were about the same. (I found my own meds after I went back to the house).

Covid test at Cozumel International Hospital: easy peasy – I think it was $40 (we paid in pesos and I don’t remember). If you are flying American they require a printed copy of the test so you will have to go back for a printout (even though they never actually ask for it – you have to ‘agree’ in the Verifly app that you have a printed copy). We got tested at 3:20 and our results were emailed to us by 4:00. You could go for a drink or a snack and come back for the printout after you get the email. The hospital is about 2 blocks from Thirsty Cougar and Pepe’s. Just make sure you set aside time to come back for the printout. Here’s a listing of other places you could get the test.

Island House: Renting a house is unpredictable – just like home ownership – except you don’t have the ability to ‘fix’ things like you would in your own home. We lost water on three days, for a couple of hours. We had to bring buckets of water in from the pool to flush the toilets. We had some difficulty getting the pool cleaned properly – it may have been related to the water outage as it worked fine after they fixed the water issue the second time around (brought in pvc to fix something, so it was a house issue and not an island issue). Btw, the third day we lost water was the day we were leaving – I managed to get a shower before the water completely ran dry, but it was dribbling by the end. I texted the rental manager and he had a guy out there within 15 minutes, but by then Roger had already decided to skip it.

This house is interesting – the gardens are gorgeous. The master bedroom/bath is in a completely separate building than the rest of the house. The other part of the house has the kitchen, living room, three other bedrooms and two baths. It was a lot of house. And when I was down for 3 days, sleeping and trying to feel better, Roger was happy to have the other house to get away from me!!! The shower head in the master desperately needs to be replaced – and the water pressure isn’t very good, making that issue worse. The cleaning service was top notch. The response time from the manager assigned to the house was great (Victor).

My obvious error: we live in Missouri, and we’ve already had temps in the 90’s and high humidity. I thought temps in the high 80’s would be fine. I was wrong. Each morning we walked about 11 minutes to Cozumel Palace to dive with AquaSafari – which was fine. The walk back after the dive was not so fine. By 1 or 2 the sun is blazing, and because I have had skin cancers I have to cover up as much as possible, so I was wearing a hat, mask (covid), long sleeved shirt (very light, but still hot), and was a wee bit cooked. I don’t think we’ll rent a place so far from our dive op again in this kind of heat.

Food and drink: I stumbled onto a vendor on the morning commute who sells fresh juices and homemade sandwiches. The OJ was so yummy - and 25 pesos (about $1.25). Another diver told us about a wonderful restaurant tucked in the middle of town called Kondesa. It had great food, calm atmosphere, and super reasonable prices. We became regulars at Jeanie’s (for breakfast I loved Motuleños) and Rock N Java (best cheesecake around – and the caramel mocchiato coffee is really good). Roger is a huge fan of Rock N Java for coffee and desserts - their food is consistently good. We also went to Rolandi's on the waterfront. Good food and service, and a great place to watch the sunset. I also picked up some Bee Friendly honey from La Cuisine (sort of a health food store/restaurant) for 200 pesos - and I got some local honey in a water bottle (yes, a water bottle) from the municipal market for 60 pesos (has a nice flavor). I haven't opened my Bee Friendly honey yet - but it's in a really nice jar with a cork top and has the honeycomb in it so I'm sure it's superior!!! :wink:

Mega (grocery): if you want to get pastries you’ll need to go get a metal tray and tongs from the counter, put your pastries on the tray and take it up to the counter for the staff to bag and tag. To wash veggies and fruits, get some Microdyn or Bacdyn to add to some water just to rinse things with (it’s sold near the produce). The Microdyn has to sit in the water for 20 minutes – so plan for that. The water coming out of the faucet is not potable - this house had water coolers in the master bath and in the kitchen, with extra 5 gallon jugs on hand if we ran out.

Oops: We intended to go to Casa Mission but accidentally went to La Mission. La Mission is down by the waterfront where all the cruisers arrive. The food was overpriced and not so awesome (IMO). I got the pollo en mole, and I honestly think the local Mexican restaurant in my home town’s is far superior. We paid at least double what we paid at Kondesa or anywhere else. I actually said to the waiter “this was really expensive” because I thought I was seeing things incorrectly – and the amount for pesos was actually $5 MORE than for US dollars equivalent. I’m still not sure something wasn’t strange there. When I looked at my credit card statement it shows about $20 more than I remember paying. Overall, won’t go back there – and will try to avoid the touristy places.

AquaSafari was wonderful again. Many people don’t like those long boat rides out – and when we went down to Palancar or Columbia it was a 1.5 hour ride. But there’s a marine head and the crew is great and the boat is comfortable. Maybe it’s just because we’ve gotten to know the staff so we prefer them. I don’t see me on a boat like Tres Pelicanos or Papa Hogs where there’s very little shade (and no marine head). If we start out down south, and the boat ride is 10-15 minutes, I’m fine on a small boat (like a 6 pack). Personal preference.

Airport: they took THREE allen wrenches from me on the way out of the Cozumel airport! What do they think a 60 year old woman is going to do with allen wrenches on a moving airplane? I'm not freakin' MacGuyver!!! Roger had one in his bag and he didn't get hassled!

The diving was typical Cozumel – and I love diving there. The currents were a bit stiff at times, which seems to be more common in July. Learning how to stay closer to the bottom and hide behind reef heads is very helpful. There was one day the current was super strong and there was no stopping to take pictures or drop behind a coral head – if you did, you’d lose the group. That particular day I saw a huge sponge break in half. There was nobody near it. The closest guy to it was about 10 feet to the side, and he looked at me and made hand gestures indicating “It wasn’t me!”. I’d never seen anything like that before. Maybe it had gotten kicked or run into by an earlier diver and finally broke in the current?

Again, love Cozumel!
 

MMM

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You were staying across the street from our house (the orange 2 storey). The owner of Island House is getting elderly and hardly spends any time on the island since his wife died. I asked if he was interested in selling it last year as a friend was looking. Nope.
 
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Kimela

Kimela

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You were staying across the street from our house (the orange 2 storey). The owner of Island House is getting elderly and hardly spends any time on the island since his wife died. I asked if he was interested in selling it last year as a friend was looking. Nope.

Wow! I imagine it will be a pricey house when it goes on the market. Lots of space and really pretty property. Were you on the island when we were?

Can you tell me if Mi Esquinita would have been a good place to grab lunch - there was a line there every morning? And how about the guy who rides his bike down the street around 6 every night? Is he selling enchiladas or something yummy? Do you recommend street vendors or no? I forgot to mention it was nice to have that little Oxxo around the corner for small items too.
 

MMM

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The sandwich place on the corner is known all over the island as "the cheap torta place". Hence the long line ups of locals. Basic tortas for 10 - 15 pesos and they usually sell out by mid-afternoon. We frequently buy sandwiches there to take to the beach or airport. The guy on the bike is selling pastries as far as I know. Have never bought one as we don't eat much sweets. However, the churro guy comes by regularly and my husband always buys one or two of those. We buy from street vendors who have line-ups for their food. There used to be a family around the corner (on 9th, down by the cemetery) who sold tamales on Sunday evenings who we patronized. Not sure if they are still doing so. The juice lady around the corner on 11 is a regular stop for me (and my sister-in-law who is a runner). There is a neat little mom and pop cafe with about 3 tables (mom waits tables, dad grills the food) up on 20th and about 5 (on the north-east corner) that sells great, cheap anjohitos (sp?) which we also eat at regularly. Closes late afternoon. There is a family-owned convenience store attached to the cafe where I sometimes pick up tortillas. We don't patronize the Oxxo much on principle...it took away a lot of business from Mi Esquinita which used to be a convenience store. It used to be part of the property next door to us but the owners got a messy divorce, divided and sub-divided the land (which was easily as big as the place you were renting), selling part of it to the strip mall where the Oxxo was built. Now you know some of the local history!

I too have had allen keys confiscated...I think it was in a US airport however. I don't bother with the microdyne but my sister-in-law likes to use it mainly for lettuce. I just wash with tap water. We always put chlorine pucks in our cistern.

Regretfully, we have been stuck in Canada waiting out covid. Tickets booked for Cozumel in November now that airlines are starting to resume international flights and we are fully vaccinated.
 

wmperry

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@MMM is it still Xavier selling the Churros? I tried to find him last week to no avail. My son and I loved his daily stops by our rental house just around the corner when we lived on the island.
 

jonhall

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Thanks for the wonderful report! Glad you had another great time.
 

BoundForElsewhere

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So when are you buying a place and just getting it over with?
 

MMM

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@MMM is it still Xavier selling the Churros? I tried to find him last week to no avail. My son and I loved his daily stops by our rental house just around the corner when we lived on the island.
Yes he is but he had some major surgery recently and probably took some the me off.
 
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Kimela

Kimela

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