Sleeping and Dining, Cozumel, Mexico

Villas El Encanto

In a destination where the all-inclusive is king, finding lodging that met our criteria proved to be difficult. We wanted to walk to local restaurants but be able to prepare a simple breakfast in our room before early dive departures.

Villas El Encanto was one of the few places that had a kitchenette and was a reasonable walking distance to town, about 25 minutes. Located on the south edge of town, it is a 10 minute drive to Marina Fornatur, the meeting point for Scuba Tony (See the previous post for more information on diving with Scuba Tony).

Set in a garden with clear pools and pleasant shaded areas for lounging, the small complex is quiet despite the number of well-behaved dogs that roam the property.

Our upstairs villa type suite had two bedrooms connected by a small kitchenette area and a bathroom. The main bedroom, a sizable space, had a queen sized bed and sufficient storage for a short stay. The second bedroom had 3 single beds with no storage.

The bathroom had a sink outside the toilet and shower room. The shower was sizable but the water pressure was very irregular.

The kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and cooktop was adequate for preparing breakfast and simple meals. There is also a coffee and tea service. The property has a bigger communal kitchen in another building available for guests.  The only table in the villa for eating is a small one on the front porch. For more space you need to go to the guest kitchen.

They have a few parking spaces inside the gate.

The restaurants in town are about a 25 minute walk from the complex.

Getting to the Marina Fonatur

With taxi service unreliable at 7 in the morning, for early dive departures it is better to have a rental car for the 10 minute drive to the marina. We ordered a taxi the night before our first day of diving and it never showed up. One of the Villa’s employees was kind enough to run one down for us. Later in the day there are plenty of taxis that cruise up and down the main street, Rafael E. Melgar.



Kondesa’s quiet pretty garden setting in the shade of large trees has generously spaced tables. The two tops are smaller than they should be for the space but otherwise it’s a pleasant setting with friendly service. The garden had just a few tables occupied on a Wednesday evening.

The moderately upscale menu focuses on Mexican fish and seafood preparations. There are also a few traditional meat options such as hamburger and steak.

We started with the lionfish cakes. With well-balanced flavor but light on fish, the freshly fried cakes were crispy on the outside and moist in the center.

For mains we tried two of their catch of the day – fresh snapper – preparations. The pepita (seeds) was served with a zucchini sauce, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, pepita, and huitlaccoche rice – a black rice made with a local fungus.

The zuma is served with sweeter tastes – a corn sauce and sides of a esquites, a type of corn preparation – this one quite sour, and a fried plantain cake that was greasier than it should have been. The fish filets, however, were well cooked generous portions and of good quality.

Cielito Lindo Bistro

Cielito Lindo Bistro has street side dining on a not too busy corner – maybe an occasional motor bike – with a screen of greenery to help define a more intimate space.

The menu offers Mexican seafood, fish and seafood specialties.

To start we shared the fish ceviche, a simple yet well prepared dish of fresh fish, lime and chili.

For mains we deviated from our usual choice of fish and tried the poblano chili stuffed with a meat mixture sweetened with pineapple and covered in creamy nut sauce – a lovely tropical blend of flavors with just a touch of heat from the poblano chili.

Our second main, the pork marinated with Yucatecan spices and served with tortillas, pickled onions, and habaneros was a beautifully flavored dish but not as luscious as you might expect of a long slow cooked pork dish.

December 3-5, 2019

For links to all the posts in this series see the Yucatan Peninsula page.