Summertime travel is in full swing and there's nothing like a vacation to a tropical island. Cozumel fits the bill and is close enough to the states that you can be there in time for happy hour. You convince yourself that this is a great idea and start looking into booking your stay. This time is going to be different. The all-inclusive resorts have become somewhat passe. After awhile the food becomes unexciting, the weak drinks get old and you get bored being in the same place every day. You are ready to go out and explore and really see what the island is all about. You want to stay someplace local, relatively nice but you don't want to break the bank.
Here is a list of 5 budget hotels in Cozumel. The prices typically range between $45 to $65 per night for 2 people. Lisa and I have stayed at all 5 and come with our recommendations.
Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel
The Villablanca is located 3 kilometers outside of town. It is basically a divers hotel because of its proximity to the reefs on the south side of the island. It is located right across the street from the water. Beach access is somewhat limited but you can find some places to get in and swim and snorkel. The grounds themselves are very nice. There is a nice pool next to a small bar and restaurant run by Arturo. Arturo, a really pleasant fellow, can answer any questions you may have about the island. There is an ambient temperature hot tub and even a tennis court. The property has 50 rooms with a/c, fans and refrigerators. There is wifi but depending and where you are it can be sketchy, usually decent signal by the pool and bar. There are plenty of dive operators right there. Recently opened, That's Amore an Italian restaurant is right across the street. Just south of there is Turquiose Beach Club, a trendy mixology bar with great sunsets. You also have Papa Hogs and Blu Bistro right around the corner.
The Barracuda is on the water just as you are going south out of town. This property is also a divers hotel with an onsite dive shop. This hotel has a restaurant and a pool with a swim up bar. The Barracuda also has a sports bar. It's easy to get into the water to swim and snorkel. The rooms themselves are pretty basic but almost all of them face the ocean. While we weren't that impressed with the restaurant you are right next to Jeannie's Restaurant which has very good food and specializes in breakfast. You are also very close to the Rock 'n Java Caribbean Bar and Grill. Right across the street there is Mega, the newest and largest Grocery on the island. Think Super Target.
Hotel Vista del Mar
The Vista del Mar bills itself as a Boutique Hotel. It was a basic budget hotel that now has all of its 20 rooms updated. The accommodations are very nice with half of the rooms facing the water. All rooms come with wifi and have a/c and a mini fridge. There is a pool and a continental breakfast in the morning. The hotel is in town right on the Malecon close to one of the cruise ship piers. You are in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Cozumel. There will be cruisers constantly going by. Senor Frogs is just to the south of the hotel so it can get a little crazy. You are, however close to everything. Keep this in mind if you decide to book this hotel.
Plaza Cozumel is on 2 norte 1/2 block from the Malecon and around the corner from the town square. The location can't be beat and the price is right. The rooms are basic but very clean. There is wifi and a/c in the rooms and the hotel even has an elevator. There is a rooftop pool with exceptional views. The Plaza has a complementary breakfast that is downstairs in the lobby which is really pretty good (very tasty coffee). Depending on the room, you may get the smell of fresh baked bread from the panaderia right next door. The Green House Cigar Bar is across the street and carries authentic Cubans.
The Flamingo Hotel
The Flamingo is on 6 norte 1/2 block from the Malecon. The rooms are simple but elegant. It is nice and quiet here, yet you are only 2 1/2 blocks from the square. There is wifi and a complementary breakfast. The Maple Bakehouse is next door for fresh pastries and an Argentinian steakhouse is on the corner for your grilled meat fix. Although you are in close proximity to many really nice bars the bar in the hotel is actually our favorite on the island (we are there most nights that we are in town). Ivan, the bartender, is one of the coolest people you will ever meet. He has a laid back style and a genuinely friendly manner about him. He speaks 3 languages and is knowledgeable about all things Cozumel. That, and the fact that he makes the best Margarita on Cozumel makes this our go to bar.
This is our list. As always, when booking, check several different booking sites and compare prices. Prices are subject to seasonal demands but will always be competitive with higher end hotels.