Well, it’s that time of the year here in Cozumel, Mexico. It’s the slow season. Now that doesn’t mean that we roll up the carpets and shut our doors; there is still much to do. But, for those folks who enjoy lots of our livelier activities such as Carnaval, The Iron Man Competition, or the fun and frenzy of spring break, this simply isn’t the time. This is when we kick back on the beach, put our feet up, and enjoy the tranquility. We have fewer cruise ships that come into port, less tourists wandering through el centro, and more time to get to know our neighbors.
And that is what I will use as the segue into what I’ve decided to focus on this summer. As an expat who likes to share her experiences, I was scratching my head over what I could write about when the days are warm and slow. In fact, I was sitting on my deck with a cup of coffee thinking about exactly that while watching one of my next door neighbors do a little work. We’d become friendly over this past year and, on several occasions, I’d had the pleasure of seeing the inside of their neighborhood inn. It’s just lovely. I’d even mentioned to his wife that I wish I’d known about such places when I first came to Cozumel. And that was when it hit me! Why not let others know about a few of the many options we have here? The island of Cozumel has a great selection of what I like to call “hidden gems.” They are charming and affordable alternatives to the large resorts and folks just might not be aware that they exist. I know I wasn’t before I moved here. So, I walked over and asked Leona and Jerry, the live-in owners, what they thought and they bravely agreed to let me write about their place (I’ve never done this before hence the need for courage on their part). Now, with that in mind, let me introduce the first in the four part series “Gettin’ Cozy in Cozumel,” that will include an inn, a B&B, a weekly rental apartment, and a small group of villas, all within close proximity of the place that I call home. If you are like me, budget conscious with high standards, then this might be the series for you.
Before I go any further, however, please keep in mind that I am absolutely not a professional photographer, which means that there are no tricks in these shots. In fact, I will probably owe Leona and Jerry an apology for their picture. The two of them patiently sat on the steps of their inn facing into the sun for my shot. And, yes, that’s them on the right. Oh, and one last thing, not only am I not a professional photographer, obviously, I do not receive compensation for these pieces, ever. This is just my way of giving back to the island as well as giving out some information. Okay, enough with the introductions, let’s go inside the Coral Reef Inn.
The Coral Reef was built in 2005 by an American couple who’d insisted that it be built to the highest standards and that emphasis is evident as soon as you walk in. You are immediately greeted by just one of the sitting areas and you can clearly see the care that Leona, an avid gardener, takes with the multitude of plants and artwork that can be found everywhere you look. She, and her husband, Jerry, had decided to partner with the original owners and they now live on the premises, which also makes them able to help their guests with any needs that come about. But, since moving in, they have continued to add those little touches that make you know you are on a special vacation.
The inn is located on Avenida 15 just a few blocks from the ocean as well as several large stores where a vacationer can purchase just about anything they’d need. It also caters to divers and can offer discounted packages with Dive Paradise, which is just minutes away. Apparently, while Leona focuses on the artwork, plants, and other homey touches, Jerry likes to spend his time diving, or swapping stories with other like-minded folk (although he does do quite a bit of work around the place too, I’ve seen him). As a result, the inn also has all the rinse tanks and equipment storage necessary to accommodate the sport, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
The rooms are super clean, airy, and come with air conditioning, televisions and refrigerators. They are painted in bright, tropical colors and are decorated with local art and gorgeous mosaic tiled mirrors. Each room comes with it’s own bathroom, of course, and those bathrooms also have very large showers with hot water and great water pressure, something that I’m a bit envious about. We’d joked about the fact that I wouldn’t mind borrowing them on occasion and we all laughed, but they don’t know how serious I just might be.
The views from the rooms are either of the Corpus Christi neighborhood (so named for the large church just across the road), or of the gardens that are filled with tropical foliage. You can see one of those examples on your left. That is what you see as soon as you walk out of one of their downstairs rooms. Not bad, yes?
Now, when you walk upstairs you will find one of the perks of the inn. On the third floor is yet another deck complete with chairs, tables, lots of sun and, yes, more plants. Personally, I can’t get enough of the foliage we have down here and to sit with a view of the city while enjoying an unblocked breeze surrounded by the lush offerings of Mexico is just perfect. And I know of what I speak because I’ve done it, quite nice. Oh, and one can also lean over and say hello to my dogs who might be wandering on my own deck. Remember when I said they are my neighbors? But, beware, they just love to see someone leaning their head over and will make sure to greet you enthusiastically with their tails wagging.
But, neither of those things are the “perk” I was talking about, no. At the Coral Reef Inn, on the top floor, they have a large, open air kitchen complete with anything one would need to fix a dinner under a palapa roof after a day of exploring. Complete with a full sized refrigerator and stove, plenty of plates and cutlery, and the obligatory coffee pot, you can enjoy the sounds of the island until well into the evening, first thing in the morning, or anytime you’d like. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never cooked with a view like that.
Okay, this all brings me to the all important issue of price. How does $50 usd a night sound for the low season? Or, if you prefer the more livelier time here on the island, you will be asked for $60 a night (unless you pay by credit card in which case there will be a small tax). I have a feeling you can now understand why I wish I’d known about this when I was still just visiting. With those kinds of prices I would have been able to visit a lot more often. If this looks like a place you’d be interested in too, check out their website online. Just type in Coral Reef Inn, Cozumel and see what’s available, and what it looks like when a professional takes the pictures.
So, as I’d mentioned, this was the first in my short series about affordable options here. In about a week, or two, I will be writing about another great place, an apartment you can rent for the week that is just down the road from me. And, keep an eye out for the B&B option as well as the villas that I will be featuring. Lots of great choices that just might help you to plan a trip sooner than you thought possible. Meanwhile, I have a party to go to this Saturday and I hope you will come along. See you then……… Salud!
p.s. I thought I’d include a pic I took of the last so-called “super moon.” Since I couldn’t get a shot, Jerry and Leona let me take one from their place where the view was unobstructed. Did I mention how nice they are? Thanks guys!