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Home > Member Reviews > chris4311's Port Reviews of Cozumel, Progreso

chris4311's Port Reviews of Cozumel, Progreso
Carnival Triumph cruise in December 2013
Member Name: chris4311
Cruise Date: December 2013
Embarkation: Galveston
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: chris4311's Carnival Triumph Review
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

This is about our 10th trip to Cozumel. We've done the ruins, the glass bottom boat, and the beach tour.
This time, we opted to just take a cab ride into town, shop, have lunch and chill. The cab to town costs $8 but you can split it. Actually, I like Cozumel - it's on an island which makes it (theoretically at least) safer than the mainland of Mexico. One local cop I was able to speak with (yeah, that's rare I know, they don't call Mexican cops the 'mordidas' - aka "biters" - for nothing) frankly told me there is quite a bit of crime that is not reported by the newspapers. Hmm. A corrupt media. Can you believe it? But there are a number of places to go, tourism really is the only game in town and the locals know it.

BUT. Please. For all that is Holy. Please. This all started at the public square in Cozumel. If you have someone offer you a free hotel tour, (Hint:Park Royal) a free bottle of booze, blanket and 3-4 days free stay in one of 3 resorts? And we'll pay your cab fare there and back? And no it's not a time share presentation?
DON'T DO IT!! NO! NIEN! NYET! Unless you're bored, of course. We fell for the hustle. Took the cab ride, we did. Fortunately you can see the ship from the place. Nevertheless, is it a time share? No. Well, not technically, because you don't really own anything. But a rose by any other name is still.. It's a fairly elaborate points system. You have to buy "points" every year, at about $1200/year. That supposedly gives you 3-4 weeks, depending upon the hotel. That part actually didn't sound so bad: here's the kicker. You have to pay a "One Time Fee" of something along the order of $480 PER MONTH. Doing that math, amortized over 15 YEARS that comes out to around $36,000 - NOT including INTEREST! Some one time fee, huh? Well, we told our sales guy at the hotel NO. That put us at the second level. This fellow was more aggressive, I'm starting to get a little more miffed, dude #2 says, ok, let me let you get with #3, he will get you on your way. As it turns out, #3 was the most aggressive of all, he was borderline insulting and I said, I'd had enough, and his 90 minutes were up. He said, "no, they aren't really, you arrived at xx:xx, and it's xy:xy, and you still have 13 minutes." I couldn't believe they micromanaged my visit to this extent - but we left his cubicle anyways at that point. Well, we got our 'Mexican package' alright, admittedly much higher quality than I might have originally thought. We had a difficult time getting them to live up to the 'ride back into town' part (we could have just walked to the ship I suppose, but it was still early) but in the end we were persistent and did get them to honor the cab ride. On their nickel, of course.

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Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+

Without Carnival, I am not certain this town would even exist.

We have been here before, in the past we have taken the tour bus to Merida, an absolutely lovely city, perhaps the oldest and maybe the nicest in Mexico. We've also been the the Chichen Itza and flamingo tours. I would recommend one of these of you are going to Progreso. Unfortunately we opted to stay close to port and shop.

The ship's port is probably a 10-15 minute bone-jarring bus ride to town. The bus ride is free, though there is a tip jar or more correctly tip bowl as you enter or exit. The bus takes you to town, to a parking lot adjacent to a make-shift "mercado." There are tours available from there as well: from the same company Carnival contracts with. Hmm. Conflict of interest? Who knows. It is, after all, Mexico.

I've been to Jamaica. The street vendors are really, really bad there. Progreso at times would give all others a run for the silver medal. The closer you are to the bus depot and to the mercado a few short blocks south the worse it seems to be. They completely invade your space, won't take just no for an answer, and even on a few occasions put their hands on you (a definite no-no in my book at least!) I have to chuckle a but here but one fellow took things a little far, and I wheeled around and snapped at him, "No me toque!" (in English--> "Don't touch me!) - dude looked at me like he was the Grinch with his hands caught in the cookie jar. Many of the Mexicans take great delight in pretending they don't know English when they really do: It's really fun to return the favor sometimes. Anywhat, they were super aggressive, and I hope this gets back to them too because it honestly works against them. I was much less inclined to buy anything, and in fact we arrived back on the Triumph showing little in the way of souvenirs. (I'll have this in my head awhile - "Hey Lady, take a look, I'll give you a special price just for you..")

There is one bright spot, about a block east of the bus depot on Calle 23 - called the Naked Frog. It was there we indulged in lunch, couple of drinks and a Wi-Fi e-mail catch-up. It was a short, relaxing respite from the haranguing commonly found on the streets of this town. A woman from Nebraska (Pam, maybe??) was either the owner or the manager. She was really a lot of fun to talk to, and perhaps the one highlight of our Progreso experience.

NOTE: If you've never been there, write down the street where you are dropped off. Should be calles 23 & 78. If you ask the locals where the bus station is, they will likely direct you somewhere else, this is NOT the main bus station. Oh, and the "Calles" (streets) are all numbered, making it easier than you might think getting around. All odd numbered streets run east-west, all even numbered streets run north-south.

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