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Trip Report May 17-31, Fiesta Am/Coz Palace, Scuba w/Alison/AquaSafari

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Kimela

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I don’t know if this should be referred to as a trip report or an odyssey! The night before our 9:30 a.m. flight we got a message from American Airlines that our flight had been delayed by THREE hours. (Flight crew needed to meet minimum federal safety rest period before flying again – I think it was weather related). AA got me on a 6 a.m. flight and Roger on a 7:30 flight. When they changed my STL to DFW flight they also changed my DFW to CZM seat assignment (without my knowledge - no reason to change it as I was on the same flight), resulting in me sitting in the wrong spot and not knowing it while some poor woman walked around the aircraft saying ‘but my ticket says I’m in 10B’. She was very kind about it – and when I realized my error I was very apologetic. Btw, for that flight we were allowed onto the plane using facial recognition - no ticket. I was assuming my seat assigned on my phone wallet was still correct – never even looked at the paper ticket.

This time we stayed at Fiesta Americana the first week and dove with Scuba with Alison. Great food, diving, comfortable room. We are Hilton Grand Vacations members and when we book at FA we get the one bedroom suite. It is really large and has two bathrooms – very nice. We were on the 5th floor and had a nice view.

The first day of diving was nice – got some great pictures – and then the odyssey began. We decided to do a night dive on the first day – and after the travel fiasco we probably should have waited a couple of days for my brain to return to normal functioning. When I did my back roll into the water my mask strap came off. No biggie. I used both hands to secure my mask and then did my sweep for my TG6. Not there. I hadn’t attached it to my BC. It’s gone. We did a search the next morning at 6:30 – nothing (please don't bother to offer advice at this point - it's all on the other thread!!!). It was lost in the sandy part of Paradise – we should have been able to find it. I put out a $200 reward to everyone under the sun and it hasn’t found its way back to me. I may write a post on what I learned not using a camera for two weeks. Short story – both the boat I dove with initially AND the boat folks I dove with at AquaSafari were looking for it and very kind. We did at least 5 dedicated 'search and recovery' dives with no luck. Some person or octopus has my camera and is getting some great photos!

Second week at Cozumel Palace and AquaSafari. Again, good food and great diving. But here’s what we noticed this time around. The Cozumel Palace property is just smaller and noisier. When we were in our room at FA we never heard any noise from neighbors or people walking in the hall (except when the cleaning staff cleaned the room above us once). At CP we could hear people walking up and down the halls, toilets flushing, and staff delivering room service and cleaning. The rooms at FA are just better insulated (I think). And I continue to be impressed with the quality of food at FA over the Palace. Palace food is good, but FA has more veggies, more healthy options, and more outside, shaded seating. If you want to eat lunch in the shade outside at Palace you need to get there at noon because there are only 5 tables under the big tent.

The staff at the Palace is second to none though. They really take the time to get to know you and remember you – but we’ve been there a lot, so they know us better than some others maybe?

While at the Palace we walked up to Rock N Java a few times. I had their Mediterranean salad one day (very good) and we're addicted to their desserts and coffee. It's nice to get away from the resort and walk around. We're renting a house for two weeks in July and will branch out to more restaurants.

Went to Chedraui and used my Charles Schwab debit card to get money out of the HSBC machine successfully. Got pesos. No problema. Love poking around Mega and Chedraui - forcing myself to at least read the Español on my translator to find things like 'acetone wipes' (I didn't want to buy a bottle of nail polish remover - I wanted the individually packaged wipes - they don't have those, but they had something close).

The pictures attached are from Fiesta Americana - the room, the view, and pictures of the beach area. I honestly hadn't ventured over to this little beach area and didn't realize it was there when we visited in December. It's not awesome, but if I had a toddler, I wanted to have a little beach access for it would work in a pinch. You can also see the cevicheria in one of the photos. (I think the photos uploaded twice, sorry)
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drrich2

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Appreciate the photos especially; people with little kids like to know about the beach situation, whether they could barefoot in or need some sort of 'water shoes,' etc... Enough questions come up about 'luxury' resorts in Cozumel that comparisons amongst them should be useful to others.

Sorry about the travel hassles. It's a reality of dive tourism; my main fears and anxieties revolve around getting to the destination. Not sharks or barracuda...getting to the airport and through security to the gate on time, no significant flight delays or cancellations, etc...
 

markmud

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Thanks for the report Kimela!

I am sorry you lost your camera.

Say hi to Roger!
m
 

BoundForElsewhere

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Those deck chairs look like a really good nap. Uff, can't wait until August. Not Coz but Isla and doing my DM cert so not relaxing at all but, damnit, i'm taking a nap in a deck chair.
 

rick00001967

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can you do shore diving from the FA beach area ? if you did any there, pls describe the site.
 
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Kimela

Kimela

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Hi @Kimela

Are you going to post about the diving, reefs, marine life?

If there are no pictures, it didn't happen!

Ok, I saw a lot of amazing things. One day we saw three different kinds of turtles - one was enormous (not sure if it was the hawksbill or loggerhead). I thought the reef looked really healthy - especially San Clemente. Saw tons of great stuff on Paradise - but we were there a LOT. Saw new kinds of shrimp. Here are the pics I got before losing my camera:
 

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Kimela

Kimela

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can you do shore diving from the FA beach area ? if you did any there, pls describe the site.

We never checked with Dive House. Sorry.
 
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Kimela

Kimela

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Appreciate the photos especially; people with little kids like to know about the beach situation, whether they could barefoot in or need some sort of 'water shoes,' etc... Enough questions come up about 'luxury' resorts in Cozumel that comparisons amongst them should be useful to others.

Sorry about the travel hassles. It's a reality of dive tourism; my main fears and anxieties revolve around getting to the destination. Not sharks or barracuda...getting to the airport and through security to the gate on time, no significant flight delays or cancellations, etc...

Yes, the travel is the pits - but worth it. I recommend water shoes for kids and adults for this beach. Lots of ironshore there, with some sand thrown in for the little beach.
 

morecowbells

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Thanks for posting! I always thought the Fiesta Americana looked like a great location, being far from crowds and short boat rides. I have become a big fan of flying from STL into Charlotte. Glad to know that I am not the only one fickle about noise. While I enjoyed staying at the Condos Palmar, I noticed the same noises from other units which you mentioned at the Palace. The iron clad walls and quiet rooms at the Residencias Reef were deeply missed. Good luck on the camera; as mentioned above, don't lose hope.
 
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