Trip Report Nov. 3 - 7, 2002
We have been to Cozumel in July, 2000 for our honeymoon and stayed at the Club Cozumel Caribe and April, 2002 stayed at the Days Inn Villa Iguana Cozumel (this was due to a Carnival Cruise that went bad), and Playa Del Carmen in August, 2001 at El Dorado Resort and Spa. This was our first trip to Cancun.
We drove 5 hours in the rain to San Antonio, TX on Nov. 2 to make our flight on the 3rd. Flew Allegro Airlines for the first time. Was skeptical due to bad reviews of flights not being on-time, but we did not have any problems. Our flight was on-time both ways. Service was fine. Based on this experience, wouldn't hesitate to fly them again.
Costa Real Resort and Suites is the nicest hotel we have stayed at thus far. We had a pool view on the 5th floor. Could see a little bit of the beach area and both restaurants. We had a studio room with small kitchenette, dining table, refrigerator and king-size bed. The bathroom was a nice size and the shower was HUGE. No tub, but you could fit 6 people in the shower it was that large. Large terrace with 2 chairs and a table. Really enjoyed it. The room was nice and clean and the maids did a great job keeping it that way. It took us a minute to figure out you had to put your key card in this slot by the door to turn the electricity on as they didn't tell us that when checking in.
The swimming pool was very big and nice. It had a sunbathing island in the middle with chairs. It never got crowded and plenty of room to sit out or swim. We liked the way the pool was in the center with the hotel surrounded around it and then a few steps to the beach and restaurants. At night, the hotel gift shop would set out merchandise to sell and during the day they had a fashion show.
On Monday night there were no after dinner activities. Tuesday was Karaoke night. Lots of people watching, but not many participants. Wednesday they had a Marachi show, but we didn't stay to watch it. They also provided free shuttle service to a different in-town bar/night club every night with discount prices on drinks. Tuesday at 5:00 pm they offered a free shuttle to the Kukulcan Plaza Mall.
The beach was small, but we really like it. It also didn't get crowded and their was plenty of chairs and papalas to use. A hotel staff member would set chairs up for you. The water was clear and much warmer than the pool. A small beach bar was connected outside of the sit-down restaurant. Though there was supposed to be beach service for the bar, we were served once all afternoon. However, it was a quick short walk to go get your own. The swimming area is roped off due to it being close to a boat docking area, but it was plenty big enough to swim and the water was pretty deep close to the ropes. We wore water shoes as getting in was somewhat rocky. We really enjoyed the pool and beach area the most.
Food and Drinks:
The food was a major disappointment. We've had much better at the other hotels we have stayed at. The sit-down restaurant had the better food, but the menu was the same everyday. The service in this restaurant was terrible. You would wait forever for the staff to take your order and get the food to you. If you wanted something else, drink refills or dessert you had to flag the waiter down to get it. Since this was the better tasting food though, we ate here mostly. We ended up eating a lot of the chicken and rice soup and tomatoes with cheese. The buffet was OK for breakfast. We ate the cooked to order omelets twice with refried beans. DH tried the pancakes and sausage the first day and was not impressed. We tried to stay away from fresh fruit and salad as last year in Playa del Carmen we ended up with Salmonella from the hotel's food. We tried the buffet on Italian night, but nothing was appealing so we went to the sit-down restaurant. We did eat the buffet on Mexican night as they had chalupas and tamales, which was pretty good.
We mostly drank Corona and bottled water. Corona is one of my favorite beers and this is the only hotel we've stayed at that served it. Drank Pina Coladas one day and didn't taste watered down. We got them from the lobby bar and saw the guy make them. They were quite good with plenty of alcohol, but if you need more just ask and they'll provided it.
Activities and Entertainment:
We went to Aqua World and did the Sub See Exployer semi sub, Jet Ski Jungle Tour with snorkeling and the Sky Rider parasailing. All was very enjoyable. The Sky Rider scared me to death. I just new we were going to fall. Will not try parasailing again.
Took an ATV tour and Speed Boat Tour at Maroma Beach in Playa del Carmen. We did ATV's last year in Playa del Carmen and had such a blast we had to do it again. This one was great. We rode through the jungle for about 45 minutes and then on the beach for about 15 minutes, then you got into the speed boat and drove for about an hour. Afterwards they gave us complimentary soda, water, and Dos XX beer with bean and cheese and tuna and cheese nacho appetizers. You could also order other alcoholic drinks for $1 and food for $3. We ordered nachos with pico and guacamole and 3 pina coladas, which only cost us $6 and it was very good. Also had 4 free beers and two plates of the appetizers and was quite full.
Went to Sr. Frogs and had a great time. DH got picked for the "Play That Funky Music White Boy" contest. There were 5 contestants and they had to get on stage and dance and the audience picked the winner. He came in 4th. It was hilarious to watch and he had a ball doing it. Went shopping at a Mexican market next to TGIFridays. Got all the souvenirs and gifts we needed at a decent price. Apparently sales had been slow the day we came and the merchants were ready to bargain. Had planned to go to the Interactive Aquarium at the La Isla Mall, but ran out of time.
I have a major problem with hotels being overcrowded with no place to sit at the pool, beach or bars with screaming kids everywhere and we did not experience any of that at this hotel. We really enjoyed our stay even with the questionable food. We loved the beach and pool area. Though the location could have been better. The bus was convenient and cheap, but very hot with no air conditioning and quite crowded at all times of the day. If we ever decide to go to Cancun again, we would like to stay somewhere closer in the hotel zone so that walking would be an easier way to get around. Though we never stay at the same hotel twice since there are so many to experience, we would recommend this hotel. We are considering another trip sometime next year and would like to stay at their sister hotel - Gran Porto Real in Playa del Carmen and see the Mayan ruins.