Pros: Great value, very clean, beautiful beach, great service
Cons: Too crowded (probably because of the great price)
I recently visited Cozumel, Mexico as a port of call on my Western Caribbean cruise vacation. I opted out of the excursions that the ship offered and went to Paradise Beach because of a friend's referral.
Paradise Beach is free beach with amenities such as free changing facilities, bathrooms, showers, umbrellas and chairs. They also have activities such as an inflatable water park, trampoline, parasailing, jetski, kayak, float mat, and snorkel equipment rental. All of those activities are available for separate prices, but they also have a great combination deal called the fun pass. You can have unlimited use of their inflatable water park, trampoline, kayaks, float mats, and snorkel equipment for $8.00 US dollars per person.
When we arrived in Cozumel, we took a cab to Paradise Beach. It was only $3.50 US per person one way. We were assured by the driver that there would be plenty of cabs waiting for us when we were done to take us back to our cruise ship. It was about a 10 minute drive to Paradise Beach. When we got there, I was really impressed. A lot of the island still shows the effects of Hurricane Wilma, but Paradise Beach is beautiful. When we first arrived, we were led to their changing facilities and bathrooms. They are plentiful and very clean. As a matter of fact, the whole time I was there, I saw a person constantly mopping and cleaning the facilities.
Then after we finished changing, we entered the beach area. We were greeted by a waiter that offered to explain to us how Paradise Beach worked. He said that we could pay for everything separately or buy the fun pass. I already knew what the fun pass was because of my friend's referral, so we opted for that. We paid him our $8.00 per person, and he gave us these little blue bracelets that gave us our fun pass benefits. Then he offered to find us some beach chairs and an umbrella, and we accepted. He found a good location and put up our umbrella for us, so we offered to tip him. He actually refused the tip (can you believe that!) and said that the best way we could take care of him was to order drinks and food from him throughout the day. We said ok, and he left.
So we settled into our beach chairs and proceeded to take advantage of the beautiful beach. We took advantage of the snorkeling and floating beach mats. Both were very fun, but it was a bit too crowded for me. I kept on bumping into people while I was floating, and because of the amount of people in the water, my husband complained that he could not see a lot of stuff underwater while snorkeling due to the sand everyone was kicking up. Although these things were annoying, it wasn't to the point that we wanted to get out of the water or leave the beach.
We were in the water for a couple of hours until we got hungry. We went back to our beach chairs, and our waiter came up almost immediately to check on us. We ordered a couple of drinks and nachos. Everything was extremely good. As we were sitting there, our waiter kept on coming back to make sure we were ok. He was attentive without being annoying, which I really appreciated.
After resting a bit after eating, we went back out into the water and floated in the sun. It was really relaxing. It started to get late, so we opted to get ready to leave so we could get back to the ship on time. We paid our tab at the beach bar, and gave our waiter a generous tip (this time he did not refuse). We thanked him for his hospitality and went back to the changing facilities. Although it was late in the day, they were still as clean as when we first arrived. We took showers and changed and went to get a cab.
As promised earlier, there were plenty of cabs waiting outside. We got into one, and we were whisked back to the ship just as quickly as we had gotten there earlier. It was still only $3.50 per person and we were very pleased with that.
Overall, I loved Cozumel because of Paradise Beach. Although it was crowded, the facility was a great for the price paid.