Cozumel - Where Beach Paradise Meets Underwater Paradise!

Our lovely Lydia tells us all about her 10-night stay at the Allegro Resort on the stunning island of Cozumel, Mexico, enjoying the best of life above and below water...

  • Viva Mexico!

    I love travelling, and I am in a very fortunate position where I am exposed daily to some of the best diving locations and resorts in the world - if I could, I would visit them all - but sadly I can’t, so I choose very carefully each year what the next year’s destination will be.

    I’m a huge lover of Asia, North, South & East Africa, but it was time we did something different. I wanted a holiday with diving, not just a diving holiday, somewhere I could wear girlie shoes if I wanted, choose where to eat, and drink cocktails by a pool, but I also had to consider he who is not a fan of girlie shoes, and generally is happy to eat what’s put in front of him, so we came up with Mexico!

    Fast forward and we’ve checked in with our direct BA flight to Cancun… 13hrs later, we’re off the plane, in a van and on our way to Playa Del Carmen to catch the ferry to our destination for the next 10 nights, Cozumel.

    After we checked in at the Allegro Cozumel, we were led to our room - they are clean, bright, airy rooms, lovely white cotton bedding, good mattress, good pillows, plenty of space. Bathroom was a good size, nice big shower cubical etc, plenty of towels, some toiletries. There was plenty of storage, and the wardrobe was in a small room, which also had a seat, iron and ironing board, and again, space to store the bags from unpacking the luggage, keeping the main room nice and tidy.

    Fast forward again, it’s now around 5am local time, I’m up, already sitting outside watching the staff getting the hotel ready for the day and listening to the birds. We took the first day as a chill day, check in at the dive centre in the afternoon, but mostly to rest up and explore what was around us a little. A nice touch is that each room comes with its own coffee machine and packs of coffee that’s replenished daily, and a mini bar with a few beers that do the same, so coffee made it was now getting close to breakfast, I was starving!

    There is a choice of pools to use at Allegro, and probably the most beautiful beach on the island, San Francisco Beach. This morning was going to be a little sea dip and beach stroll, then after lunch a few drinks around the pool - OMG I was in heaven, this was totally ticking my boxes already!

  • When we checked in at the dive centre, we booked the first day’s diving as 2 afternoon dives, have a little lay in, a late long brekkie rather than rushed a lunch, and it worked perfectly… by 2pm, we were on the boat and about 20 mins away from our first dive of the trip, a very gentle drift on Palancar Reef, which didn’t disappoint - excellent vis, great marine life, healthy coral, much more colourful than I had expected. I was beginning to think I had underestimated what the waters around Cozumel actually had to offer, and I had.

    Over the course of our dive package, we alternated between morning and afternoon dives, so we could fit in the holiday part - it worked really, really well - don’t get me wrong, you can take 4 dives a day if you wanted, and there were certainly enough good sites for the 9 days. Palancar Caves I have to say I think was my favourite - it was almost theatrical, lots of swim throughs and overhangs, beautiful natural light, eagle rays, a couple of turtles, and as you move up the reef, its teeming with reef fish and a mix of hard and soft corals. Sadly I didn’t find the splendid toadfish that can be found in Cozumel only, but others seemed to be more eagle-eyed than me.

    Santa Rosa Wall is another must! This one started at around 30m, slowly working your way up, kind of reminded me of Elphinstone, water was stunningly clear, and as you looked down you just stared into a deep blue abyss. We had a very gentle drift, although I was told that some days the current can be pretty exciting, we did 2 dives on the wall that morning at different depths (started next at 20m and took it real slow).

    Another reef that really sticks in my mind is Paseo El Cedral, and the morning we hit it, we got some great current and a few sharks! It’s not a deep dive, we dropped in at 18m maybe, but we certainly covered a lot of ground in our 60 minutes. As well as the nurse sharks, we had a few good-sized moray, and a couple of turtles - I was told it’s also great for the small stuff, but we were moving just a bit too quick to catch it, this was a superb chilled out lazy drift.

    There is plenty of wildlife on the island too, it’s not all underwater, including in resort! They have beautiful birds, including a tiny bright green hummingbird that’s so fast you can struggle to catch a glimpse unless it’s feeding. Plenty of lizards too, some of the biggest iguanas I’ve seen, a few tortoises, and they also have resident coati (pronounced quati) that are super cheeky racoon-like animals - harmless and hilarious. Not on resort, but certainly on the island, you get good old-fashioned racoons too, proper little cheeky trash pandas.

  • We managed to fit a lot into our 10 nights, we had travelled with friends so we rented a jeep a couple of times and explored the wild coast (it’s really wild!), Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, even a couple of small Mayan ruins - you can’t go all that way and not! We ate local, not just in the hotel, and tried a few bars, looking back its surprising how much we squeezed in.

    I loved Mexico I have to say, and Mexico loved us, especially at Allegro, they are mad for an English accent, they don’t get many, everyone just seemed to have so much time for us.

    All in all, we had a great time, and yes, we would definitely go back, especially as I never put those bloody 2 pairs of shoes on that I took with me ??

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