Next stop on our whirlwind trip to Cozumel is Hotel Playa Azul (http://www.playa-azul.com/), our home base for the weekend. Located just a few minutes ride from the airport and town, in the quiet north section of the island, it is the perfect place for us.
[Note: Click on any photo to view a larger version]
We were dropped off last by the shared airport van, so we got a peek at the Melia Cozumel Hotel, and El Cozumeleno Hotel which we had not seen before. Both hotels seemed busy with a lot of guests, and both are high rises. Not our style, we prefer smaller properties. Playa Azul fits exactly what we are looking for. It is a small property, so any room you get will be a mere steps to the beach. Can’t beat that! As I like to say, the less steps to the sand, the better. Oh, and you don’t have to play the beach lounger game of having to get up before the crack of dawn to reserve your spot. Even at almost full capacity, there are ample beach loungers for the guests.
The rooms all have fantastic views of the ocean. You can sit on your patio and be mesmerized by the different hues of blue water. Ahhhh, stress be gone!
Check-in took about 5 minutes, and soon our luggage was being whisked away to room 408. The room itself is spacious, equipped with a coffee maker and a supply of local coffee which is actually really good, an in-room safe, a small tv, a hairdryer, and nice bath toiletries. The decor and furnishings are a bit dated, but the linens were fresh.
Housekeeping does a great job of keeping the rooms clean. The housekeeper even gave us a cute surprise each day, fashioning the handtowels to a cute animal shape to greet us. Adorable! She also put my small stuffed animal kitty in a cute sleeping position on top of the little pillow that I travel with, everytime she made the bed (even though we do make our bed in the mornings… I guess it’s not up to snuff with the way they have to do it). LOL. Yeah yeah, I travel with a little stuffed animal kitty. 🙂
There is good wifi access from the room and on the beach, very important for us. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be on vacation… but what can I say, I gotta have my internet. From what I could tell, there is no way to do a wired connection so you can’t create your own wifi network, which I usually prefer to do to keep our devices secure. Oh well, as long as I have connectivity, all is good in Moosie’s world! Wifi is free, unlike other hotels where they charge a daily fee. Yeah! Another plus for Playa Azul. As a side note, there is little or no wifi signal at the restaurant…
If there is one thing I would like to see the hotel add, I would love it if they provided convenient access to more electrical outlets in the room. Or at least provide a power strip that is easily accessible. With everyone traveling with all sorts of gadgets these days and needing to juice up, it would be great to be able to easily plug in without having to reach behind or move furniture to get to an outlet.
Ok, enough of the inside stuff. Time to get out of the room, hit the sand, and let Moosie’s snorkelpalooza begin!
That’s right, another reason we love this hotel is because there is some great snorkeling to be had along the front just off the beach. Lots of fish to see, both the usual suspects like sergeant majors, grunts, and parrotfish, as well as some that I get really excited about seeing, like stingrays, flounders, and angelfish.
Oh how I could stay out in the water for hours until my fingers are all wrinkled and pruney! Last year I had two “first sightings” of marine critters I have not seen in all of the snorkeling we’ve done in many islands. I saw my first ever sighting of a batfish. Wow! How lucky I was to have seen this strange creature. The other was an electric ray. So awesome!! Although I did not see any of these during this trip, overall it was still quite a successful snorkeling experience, having multiple sightings of yellow stingrays. They seem to be in abundance in this area.
[Bonus photos… Since I was a slacker and did not do a report on last year’s trip to Cozumel, I am including a link to photos taken while snorkeling in front of Hotel Playa Azul in May 2011.]
Yes siree, there is some great snorkeling to be had right in front of Hotel Playa Azul! Just keep your eyes open and always scan the sandy bottom as there could be interesting things perfectly camouflaged and hard to detect. I’m usually good at spotting the stingrays and flounders as I really pay attention to anything that might be moving or an eye blinking.
Tip: The best way to enter is via the small sandy area in between the hotel and the Playa Azul Beach Club. There used to be sandbags heading out to the water last year, but noticed they were no longer there this past March. Still, I’ve found it to be the best spot to launch yourself as it is sandy enough that you don’t need water shoes.
A few more photos from this year (March 2012)
Click on the photo above to see a video clip of this traveling duo!