Hurricane Wilma is History

Cozumel is now doing fine. These reports are archived from 2005/2006

Learn about the new Cozumel here:

Situation Update / Better than Ever -- Cozumel has completely bounced back from October 2005's Hurricane Wilma. Electricity and water have been 100% restored. The streets of San Miguel are back to normal, and cruise ship arrivals have resumed completely. All road repairs have been completed. Passenger ferries between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen are fully operational. All hotels and resorts are open now, most with major renovations that have rendered them better than ever.

Cozumel as of December 7, 2005 - Photo by Bill Horn of Aqua Safari

How Can We Help? -- At Island Dreams, we have been inundated with inquiries about the status of various hotels, favorite dive operations, and about how Cozumel fares after Hurricane Wilma. We've also heard about, and share, your feelings on how special this Island is in the hearts of so many of us.

We can help by going back soon! With our continued interest and patronage this wonderful little island will again flourish. By lodging in the hotels, shopping in the stores, dining at the restaurants, and enjoying the great scuba diving; we can play a special part in rebuilding Cozumel... and have a great time while doing it!

Read Susan Shea's remarkable report:

* Hurricane in Cozumel...A Survivor's Story *

Reports are Coming In -- Latest News Posted First

Please note: This web page is offered as a public service -- to you the traveler, and to our many friends and associates in Isla Cozumel. All new data is posted immediately as it is received. If you do not find a specific hotel referenced here, that is because we have not yet had a confirmed report. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

Availability Updated Daily --- Cozumel Hotel Association

The following dates and information were supplied by the Cozumel Hotel Association. While are updating this table daily with subsequent reports, we at Island Dreams have not independently confirmed all of this data. Please understand that all dates and information are subject to change.

Hotel Name Scheduled Re-Open Date
  Casa del Mar Open Now
  Casa Mexicana Open Now
  Coral Princess Open Now
  Condumel Open Now
  Cozumel Palace Open Now
  Days Inn Open Now
  El Cozumeleño Open Now
  El Cid la Ceiba Open Now
  Fiesta Americana Cozumel Open Now
  Flamingo Open Now
  Hacienda San Miguel Open Now
  Hotel Cozumel Resort Open Now
  Iberostar Resort Open Now
  Melia Cozumel Open Now
  Occidental Allegro Open Now
  Occidental Grand Open Now
  Park Royal Open Now
  Playa Azul Open Now
  Presidente InterContinental Open Now
  Reef Club Open Now
  Safari Inn Open Now
  Scuba Club Cozumel Open Now
  Sol Cabañas del Caribe Open Now
  Suites Bahia Open Now
  Suites Colonial Open Now
  Villablanca Open Now
  Vista del Mar Open Now

Thursday, February 2, 5:00 p.m. CST --- Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort
"Located only a few minutes away from Palancar, Cozumel's most famous dive site, Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort has been completely remodeled and updated after the passing of Hurricane Wilma. The hotel reopened today with 168 rooms. Considerable restoration efforts have been completed, including all public areas and fine gardening details. The Tropical Forest Restaurant has changed its architectural design to allow our guests to enjoy gastronomic delicacies presented in unbelievable buffets. The beach zone and club were expanded for greater enjoyment. We now have a brand new beach bar, new decoration and furniture in the Reef Restaurant, and our dive dock is now entirely new. We are still in the process of remodeling the 56 ecological cottages nested in the most romantic tropical jungle. But today, in a big celebration, we have received our first group of divers, who took part of the pier opening!" Rita Morales, Fiesta Americana

Friday, January 27, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Cozumel Reef Condition Report
The following is from Donna Mena of Aqua Safari Cozumel: "Hi Ken. In response to your query, here is the scoop in a nutshell. The deeper reefs sustained very little damage. The shallow reefs did sustain some damage with loss of sponges and the more fragile corals. There is sand on some of the reefs which our currents will gradually sweep off. Divers repeatedly report seeing more, and bigger, fish than before the hurricane so they are coming back happy. Average visibility in the water is back to our normal 100+ feet. Regards, Donna"

Thursday, January 26, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Iberostar Resort Cozumel
"Iberostar Hotels is proud to announce the grand re-opening of the Iberostar Cozumel on February 3, 2006. A premier property - secluded and upscale, Iberostar Cozumel is one of the island's best. We are located about 12 miles south of Cozumel's downtown area on a beautiful sandy beach, and just minutes from Cozumel's most popular dive sites. See you soon at Iberostar Cozumel!"

Friday, January 6, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Clients Ray & Lori Kern, recent guests of Hotel Cozumel
"Our trip was great. Hotel Cozumel was in great shape considering. The food was good, the staff went out of their way for us. Martin, the pool waiter, was the best. He worked his rear end off, tip or no tip. The beer was good and cold, great after a dive. The Island was in great shape but a lot of work still needs to be done. San Miguel almost looks like nothing happened. The trees are coming back, and fast. We saw growth in just the few days we where there. Aqua Safari was also great! They took us to some great diving and lots of sea life. We saw turtles, sharks, rays, eels, lots of fish, and the reefs look great! Got to will hear from us again soon. Thanks, Ray & Lori"

Friday, January 6, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Katie Crouch, Casa del Mar Hotel
"With the comfort and well-being of our mutual clients in mind, Hotel Casa del Mar, Cozumel, has decided to push back our official opening date in order to complete improvements to our property. Our new reopening date is February 16, 2006. We request that all reservations made from the first half of February please be rebooked after February 16, 2006. Thank you, Katie Crouch, Sales Manager"

Thursday, December 29, 3:00 p.m. CST --- Katie Crouch, Casa del Mar Hotel
"Greetings from Cozumel. This is just an update on the progress of the hotels repairs and improvements. Most services will be ready and available on January 26,2006. We would like to make clear the status of the hotel on the reopening date. As of this writing, the following services are fully expected to be available:

  • 106 rooms with telephone, Air-conditioning, cable T.V. and 1 King or 2 double beds.
  • Coral Reef Restaurant From 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Full service
  • Our swimming pool ad hot tub will be available
  • Lobby area
  • Internet services
  • Game Room
  • Tennis courts
  • Garden Areas
  • Nachi Cocom Beach Club
  • The beach are in front of the hotel will be accessible to our guests with beach lounge chairs, access to the ocean and a boardwalk. We will also offer scheduled transportation to our Beach Club Nachi Cocom exclusively for the guests of Casa del Mar. All services will be provided and our guests have a 20% discount on consumption at the Club.
  • Del Mar Aquatics is fully operational at this time. They are using there office across the street for classes and dive trips. They have access to the Atlantis pier for all dive trips.

One of our policies is to keep you our valued guest informed of our progress at the hotel. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. Thank you, Katie Crouch, Sales Manager"

Thursday, December 23, 2:00 p.m. CST --- Occidental Resorts
After extensive repairs and upgrades following hurricane Wilma, Occidental Hotels & Resorts, one of the largest all-inclusive resort chains in the Americas, is pleased to announced that its Mexican properties will reopen in the first quarter of 2006. "We will enter 2006 on the right foot," said Jorn Kaee, senior vice president of sales and marketing, North America, Occidental Hotels & Resorts. "We have made a great deal of effort to bring the properties back to where they were prior to Hurricane Wilma and in the case of the Royal Hideaway Playacar, it will be even better."

"Occidental Grand Cozumel -- This beachfront resort has been completely restored to its original condition. It is located on the southwest part of Cozumel Island, on the beautiful San Francisco beach. There are 251 rooms distributed among 11 Colonial style buildings, with 24 charming rooms per building. Ideal for divers and those who enjoy aquatic sports, the resort is just a five-minute boat ride away from the legendary Palancar Reef. It is also a favorite for honeymoons and weddings." Occidental Grand Cozumel is scheduled to reopen on January 31, 2006.

"Allegro Cozumel - The 296-room resort is situated on the southwest part of the island of Cozumel, overlooking the magnificent San Francisco Beach, only 20 minutes from the Cozumel Airport. As part of its rejuvenation, all of the rooms have been refurbished, in addition to the resort's palapa roofs and corridors between the villas. There is a newly renovated air conditioned buffet restaurant, a renovated Italian Trattoria à la carte restaurant and a theater for nightly entertainment. Enjoy endless sports and activities for the entire family, or walk to the onsite dive shop and snorkel or dive at the world famous Palancar reef, only minutes away by boat." Allegro Cozumel is scheduled to reopen on January 31, 2006.

Thursday, December 22, 3:00 p.m. CST --- Occidental Allegro Resort
"We are pleased to announce that the re-opening of our resorts in Cozumel and the Riviera Maya are proceeding on schedule. In addition to returning to normal operations, exciting changes will deliver even better vacation experiences. At Allegro Cozumel (re-opening January 31, 2006), guests will enjoy completely renovated tropical-themed rooms, a newly renovated air-conditioned buffet restaurant, a newly renovated Italian Trattoria style al la carte restaurant, and a newly renovated theater for nightly entertainment."

Monday, December 12, 7:00 p.m. CST --- Palace Resorts
Palace Resorts is pleased to announce that Cozumel Palace is scheduled to re-open on April 1, 2006.

Monday, December 5, 3:00 p.m. CST --- Cozumel Hotel Association


General information:

  • Electricity and water is now restored to 100 percent of the island.
  • Cosmetic improvements are drastic, including the replacement of mature palm trees that adorn the main tourist thoroughfare.
  • Cruise ships returned to Cozumel on Nov. 14, 2005 and continue daily arrivals.
  • All Cozumel roads are clear and open except for a small strip between Coconuts and Rastas restaurant on the east side of the island, which is estimated to open Dec.15.
Island Attractions and Activities:
  • East coast beaches are in excellent condition and are actually wider as a result of the storm.
  • The island's certified dive shops are open and operating.
  • Snorkeling tours have resumed normal operations.
  • The Cozumel Country Club is set to reopen for play on December 1, 2005. Limited food and beverage service will be available until the restaurant and golf shop repairs are completed, which is expected to be by January 1, 2006.
  • More than 60 of the 70 island excursions are currently available including horseback riding tours, jeep excursions, all-terrain vehicle tours, fishing, etc...
  • The Atlantis Submarine attraction will reopen on December 15, 2005
  • 90 percent of Cozumel shops and restaurants have reopened at this time
  • Coconuts bar, Rastas Bar and Mezcalitos have reopened on the eastern side of the island.
  • The Mayan ruins at San Gervasio are in good condition and the site is now open.
Reef Report from the Officials of Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park:
  • Visitors can expect the excellent water clarity with optimum visibility.
  • New opportunities are being discovered in the wake of the storm. The shifting of sand has actually revealed new sites for exploration, including newly-revealed caves at Palancar.
  • Among other marine life, barracudas, rays, groupers, sharks, surgeon fishes, parrot fishes, etc., are still abundant within their natural environment.
  • Six cenote diving caverns are now open including Cenote C-1, Cenote Aerolito, Cenote C-3, Cueva Quebrada (Chankanaab), Cenote 3 Potrillos and Cenote Roca Bomba.
  • According to Robert Cudney, director for Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, "The reef system has had some time to rest during the last several weeks, but as all dive and snorkeling enthusiasts understand, the habitat will be in a constant state of natural recovery over time."
  • "We owe a debt of gratitude to the entire dive community -- including dive operators, park management and our many visitors. Because the dive community has so vigilantly protected this beautiful natural resource over the past years, the reefs were strong and as such, are expected to recover beautifully."

Tuesday, November 30, 3:00 p.m. CST --- Chris Manning, Bryan, Texas
(This valued Island Dreams' client was in Cozumel Nov. 23-28. He stayed at Hotel Cozumel and dived with Aqua Safari)
"Hi Christy. Got back from Cozumel late on Monday. I had a great time. It really is amazing the amount of work that has been done since Wilma. There's still a long ways to go, but progress is being made and in short order. It seemed that most of the new construction suffered the most damage while the old buildings fared the best. Hotel Cozumel is pretty close to being at 100%. They are still repairing some superficial damage to some rooms and replacing windows. The beach club should be fully operational in couple of weeks (my best guess). The staff was very glad to see us arrive and they treated us like kings. The diving was very good. This was my second time to dive Cozumel, and compared to last year you could definitely tell that a hurricane had been through. Most of the reefs are intact though and damage was less severe the deeper you got. We dove Palancar, Tormentos, Paso de Cedral, Chan Kanaab, Santa Rosa Wall, Fransesca Wall, Paradise (the hardest hit in my estimation), and Punta Tunich. There was plenty of sea life. We saw several sea turtles, both small and large (Honda Civic-sized), several eagle rays, three nurse sharks, several large morays, puffers, octopi, a splendid toadfish, yellow hooded jawfish, and the other usual suspects. The most striking difference for me from last year was the absence of sea urchins, and the presence of several large crab, and tons of lobster! The reef is definitely not the same, however that should not be taken in a derogatory sense. Its different, but Cozumel is still a great dive. Chris"

Tuesday, November 30, 9:00 a.m. CST --- El Cid La Ceiba Hotel
A fully renovated El Cid La Ceiba Beach Hotel will open its doors, March 15, 2006, in Cozumel. "The El Cid La Ceiba will be remodeled entirely, using the highest standards of excellence," says Carlos Berdegue, CEO of El Cid Resorts. His announcement followed comprehensive evaluation by El Cid Construction Company of hurricane-related damages. All hotel common areas-including the pools, restaurants, and beaches-will be rebuilt from scratch, according to Berdegue. Room interiors will be refurbished as well, with brand new appliances and luxurious furnishings. "I'm confident that guests will see and feel the difference immediately," Berdegue notes. "We'll actually be going up a notch in quality, with no expense spared. All this will come at no additional cost to our guests." Cozumel city officials have joined forces to restore tourist services as quickly as possible. Water and electricity have been fully restored to the island, and airport service has increased steadily. In addition, many cruise ships have resumed service to the island. Numerous dive sites have reopened too, and the majority of island-certified dive operators are back in business. "Our goal is to come back stronger than ever," Berdegue asserts. "We can't wait to present the new face of El Cid La Ceiba. The magnificent new hotel-combined with the great hospitality and service of our employees-will enable us to remain a top choice of our guests." El Cid owns and operates four hotels, a 27-hole golf course, fully equipped marina and destination management company, all in Mazatlan, Mexico. Additionally, the company will open the El Cid Marina Beach Hotel in the Riviera Maya - a luxury, oceanfront all-inclusive resort - in February, 2006. El Cid also owns and operates construction and real estate companies affiliated with Century 21.

Tuesday, November 29, 1:00 p.m. CST --- Katie Crouch, Casa del Mar Hotel
"Greetings from Cozumel. Casa del Mar Cozumel is excited to announce that due to the rapid advance in repairs of the hotel due to Hurricane Wilma, we will be reopening our doors to all of our beloved guests new and old, earlier than first expected. Our new official reopening date will now be January 26, 2006. At that time the hotel will be fully operational. We will continue taking reservations for this date and onward. We look forward to your continued support for the upcoming season. Thank you for your patience during this critical moment. Katie"

Monday, November 28, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Andres Pan De Soraluce, Occidental Hotels
"Dear Friends. As promised, we would like to officially inform you on the status of each one of our hotels in Cancun, Playacar and Cozumel:

  • Occidental Grand Cozumel - Will reopen fully operational on January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Allegro Cozumel - Will reopen fully operational on January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Allegro Playacar - Will reopen fully operational on January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Grand Xcaret - Will reopen fully operational on January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Royal Hideaway Playacar - Will reopen fully operational on March 1, 2006
  • Occidental Caribbean Village Cancun - Will reopen during the last quarter of 2006. We will inform you on the exact reopening date at a later time, with additional details on the changes that we are making to this resort.

Thank you for you usual support and cooperation to Occidental Hotels and Resorts."

Monday, November 28, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Nick Macelletti, Farmington, CT
"Reef Condition Report -- Two other divers and I dove with Aqua Safari from Nov 15-22. We stayed at the Safari Inn, which was great. Everyone, including Bill Horn the owner, was very gracious and appreciative. We did 16 dives on a variety of reefs. We three divers, and a three-man crew, were on an Aqua Safari boat that has a capacity of 28 passengers. For the first three days there were no other boats in sight. Weather good, current mild. We left from the Puerto de Abrigo Harbor since Aqua Safari's downtown pier was gone. First of all, the reefs are still there, both shallow and deep. (We didn't see the snorkeling reefs but they probably suffered more severe damage.) The visibility was about 50 to 60 feet at the beginning of the week but improved to 90-100 feet by the end of the week. I know that this is not what you are used to but it looked like it would be back to normal before long. The main difference was that the soft corals, tube and rope sponges, fans, and even barrel sponges were 90% gone. If you haven't dived here frequently you might not even notice since there were no remnants other that the occasional broken purple vase sponge forlornly rolling around on the bottom. (I tried to replant some of these by sticking them in a convenient hole in the reef.) I am told that these corals regenerate very quickly. However, in the meantime you can enjoy the hard corals and the abundance of large fish. Spotted Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Large Barracuda, Large Groupers, a 3-foot Porcupine Fish, Lobster, Crab, and Supermale Rainbow Parrots were seen on almost every dive for the first four days. On five or six of our dives we saw all of them on each dive. Also, we were able to get extremely close to them, especially the Eagle Rays and Turtles, because there were no other divers and the fish seemed unafraid. The hard corals in the 40 to 60 foot range did have sand on them. Hopefully the current will sweep this off in the coming weeks and months. The deeper reefs, especially the walls at 80 to 100 feet were intact and mostly clean of sand although every now and then you would come upon a massive piece of the wall that had fallen to the sand below from the force of unimaginably powerful surge. On one dive to Palancar Gardens we came upon a section on the bottom at 90 feet where the sand had been swept from the base of the pinnacles for a depth of about 15 feet exposing coral that the divemaster/instructor said had been covered for tens if not hundreds of years. It was kind of spooky and I expected to see a dinosaur bone sticking out of the coral. Anyway, that's the story. San Miguel is 95% open and eager for visitors. I stayed at the Safari Inn and had a great time with buckets of six beers in the square going for $5 and all the restaurants open and almost no cruise ships. By weeks end they were up to four cruise ships with passengers being tendered in on smaller boats since the piers were unusable. In closing let me state what we all know. It's up the diving community to help the island natives in this time of their need. They have been without a steady income for over four weeks and are really hurting. I would like to return soon if for no other reason than to help the island recover. Of course, visitors will also have a great time on Cozumel's equally uncrowded reefs and streets."

Wednesday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. CST --- Tim Boelter, Carlsbad, CA
"I was the first tourist to return to Safari Inn and Aqua Safari after Hurricane Wilma. They went out of their way to accommodate me, unbelievably running a fully staffed hotel and dive operation for just one person, me! The owner, Bill Horn, took me out to breakfast three times, and refused to let me pay. I didn't expect to be spoiled like this...but I really do appreciate it. Aqua Safari is awesome!"

Monday, November 21, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Tim Massimino, Scuba Club Cozumel
"Exactly 21 days after Wilma, Scuba Club Cozumel welcomed our first guests back to the resort. For this special occasion we hired a Mariachi band to welcome them. One of the comments we received was " either the storm didn't harm you very much or you have been working very hard." We are proud to say that all of the employees worked nonstop to ready the resort for the 12th of November. We still have a lot of work to do but it has all been going well and every one has been cooperating. Sunday November 13th, Scuba Cozumel took its first group of 13 people out diving. The group came back happy after diving Palancar gardens and Tormentos reefs. It was nice to get back to what we do best, and that is catering to divers. There were smiles on both the employees and guests' faces at the end of the day. We are pleased to report the following progress: Our courtyard is green with new plants and the garden is looking great. Our pool is full and clean. The downstairs restaurant bar has been completed and will be opening this week. We have sand on our beach and all of the walkways are finished. Our famous hammock palapa is framed and should be thatched soon. Once again we want to tell you we appreciate all the support from our clients and friends and are hoping to see you all soon.

PS. Just for your information. No restrictions on camera use in Cozumel. We are allowed to night dive. The wreck dive is available but at this time, and until they clear and make sure there are no dangerous edges, they don't want divers inside the wreck. Tim"

Friday, November 18, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Cozumel Hotel Association
Dear Travel Partners: Please find below the latest news on Cozumel. Thank you all for your continuous support!


COZUMEL, Mexico (Nov. 18, 2005) - Cozumel tourism officials are pleased with the progress the island has made post-hurricane Wilma and report that clean up and restoration efforts are moving faster than expected. According to Raul Marrufo, director of the Cozumel Tourism Promotion Board, "Cruise ships have started to return to the island and are now arriving daily, and the majority of Cozumel tours, attractions, dive shops, restaurants and stores have been restored and are available for travelers to enjoy." Federico Ruiz Piña, director of the Cozumel Municipal Tourism Department, has provided the following island updates:

General information:

  • Electricity and water is now restored to 100 percent of the island.
  • Cruise ships began returning to Cozumel Nov. 14, 2005 and are scheduled to continue to arrive on a daily basis.
  • All Cozumel roads are clear and open except for a small strip between Coconuts and Rastas restaurant on the east side of the island.
Island Attractions and Activities:
  • East coast beaches are reported to be in excellent condition and are actually wider as a result of the storm.
  • More than 90 percent of the island's certified dive shops are open and operating.
  • Snorkeling tours have resumed normal operations.
  • Six Cenote diving (cavern diving) sites are now open including Cenote C-1, Cenote Aerolito, Cenote C-3, Cueva Quebrada (Chankanaab), Cenote 3 Potrillos and Cenote Roca Bomba.
  • The Cozumel Country Club is set to reopen and be ready for golfers to play on December 1, 2005. Limited food and beverage service will be available until the restaurant and golf shop repairs are completed, which is expected to be by January 1, 2006.
  • More than 50 island excursions are currently available.
  • Tours to Isla de la Pasion are operating normally.
  • 90 percent of Cozumel shops and restaurants have reopened at this time
  • Coconuts bar, Rastas Bar and Mezcalitos have reopened.
  • Rancho Buenavista is open and operating.
  • The Mayan ruins at San Gervasio are in good condition and the site is now open.
  • Perlas del Mar de Cortez, Snuba, Snorkel and Seatrek tour, the underwater pearl adventure that lets visitors dive for their own pearls on a submerged farm, will return in two weeks time and will reopen with a brand new ocean front bar at their downtown location.

Hurricane Wilma October 21, 2005 - Photo courtesy of NOAA

Wednesday, November 16, 4:45 p.m. CST --- Carmen Reyes, Reef Club Cozumel
"This will confirm that Reef Club Cozumel plans to re-open on Friday, March 31, 2006. The hotel is currently closed as a result of damages sustained from Hurricane Wilma. We had originally advised a possible re-opening on Dec. 23, 2005, but after careful review and a desire to ensure that the property is totally ready for our guests we decided to delay the opening to March 31, 2006. In addition to the required renovations we will be also making many property improvements and changes to improve our facilities and services. During the next couple of months we will be updating you with the many planned improvements. Thank you for your support and patience during this challenging period. We look forward to serving you soon."

Tuesday, November 15, 5:00 p.m. CST --- Katie Crouch, Casa del Mar Hotel
"Dear Ken, Greetings from Cozumel. I am happy to announce that Casa del Mar,Cozumel will be reopening its doors to all of our beloved guests, new and old, on February 1, 2006. At that time the hotel will be fully operational. We will be taking new reservations as of today, November 15, 2005. We have established internet services and the phones are working. Our dive shop, Del Mar Aquatics, is up and running and ready to serve all of your diving needs. We look forward to your continued support for the upcoming season. Thank you for your patience during this critical moment. Katie"

Friday, November 11, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Katie Crouch, Casa del Mar Hotel
Our agent Christy just spoke with Katie from the Casa Del Mar. Katie informed us that Casa del Mar's official opening date will be on February 1, 2006. She states the damage at the resort was minor...some broken windows, and all the vegetation is a mess. The walkway over the road survived, but the steps are missing on the way down. The dive pier out front is being fixed. She said it is amazing how quickly the Island of Cozumel is being cleaned up and the facilities repaired. The debris in the road is all cleared and removed. The downtown has had full electricity restored. The first cruise ship is scheduled to arrive on November 14. (As the cruise ship piers are still in need of repair, they will tender the passengers to shore.) All in all Katie gave us a very positive report...Cozumel is on its way back!

Thursday, November 10, 5:00 p.m. CST --- Gabriela Eisele, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel
"Dear Partner. It has been some days since Wilma passed through Cozumel putting a temporary halt on the many good things that were in store for the upcoming Winter season. Nonetheless we are all doing well, with all staff working hard. It has taken us some time to get communications going. Currently we are able to send and receive emails as well as telephone calls on our existing telephone lines. We would like to take this opportunity to update you on the status of our property. Until further notice the hotel will be closed to all arrivals through May 31, 2006. We would appreciate that you relay this same information to any mutual clients and advise us if there are any refunds or deposits due in order to process these diligently. We thank you in advance for all your understanding and cooperation, looking forward to the moment we are able to welcome you and your clients back to our new and better than ever Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa. Best Regards, Gabriela Eisele, Sales and Marketing Director"

Wednesday, November 9, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Vanessa Gurza, Scuba Du Dive Shop
"Dear Friends! You will be happy to know that we are back in business and next week will again be offering our high quality dive, snorkel and fishing services. Even though the Hotel Presidente is not scheduled to re-open until June 2006, we will be operating from the Puerto de Abrigo. Five of our six dive boats are in exellent shape, and the whole Scuba Du staff is ready to welcome you back to our beautiful island. Cozumel is getting back on its feet so quickly you would be amazed! Kind Regards, Vanessa Gurza and the whole Scuba Du Staff"

Tuesday, November 8, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Cozumel Hotel Association
Dear Travel Partners: Please find below the latest news on Cozumel. Thank you all for your continuous support!

COZUMEL, MEXICO, Reports Rapid Recovery

COZUMEL, Mexico (Nov. 8, 2005) - Cozumel tourism officials report rapid progress in the post-hurricane Wilma clean up and restoration effort on the island. According to Raul Marrufo, director of the Cozumel Tourism Promotion Board, "Now that the essential services have been restored to most of the island, we have shifted our focus to prepare the island for winter visitors. We are enthusiastic about our progress and look forward to a busy tourist season starting in December."

General information:

  • Electricity and water has been restored to 90 percent of the island
  • The Cozumel Airport officially reopened on October 29, 2005. Mexicana Airlines is currently operating daily flights to Cozumel out of Mexico City. American Airlines will resume its Dallas-to-Cozumel flights on December 16, 2005, operating three flights a week, and Continental has resumed its Houston-to-Cozumel flights, operating three flights a week.
  • The first cruise ship is scheduled to arrive on November 14, 2005
  • Several dive shops are open and operating
  • Officials from the Cozumel National Marine Park are optimistic and report that many reefs along Cozumel are largely undamaged. Shallow reefs, up to 35 feet deep, were most impacted, while reefs found at greater depths are reported to be in good condition. Caverns, including Chankanaab Cavern, F1 Cavern and Aerolito Cavern did not sustain damage and are open.
  • More than 30 island excursions have been available since October 31, 2005
  • 95 percent of shops and restaurants will be open beginning November 14, 2005
  • The Cozumel Country Club will reopen the golf course, offering 9 holes, on December 1, 2005
  • The Atlantis Submarine attraction will reopen on December 15, 2005
  • Fiesta Holidays is open for snorkeling tours and car rentals
  • According to Aurelio Joaquin, director of the Foundation of Parks and Museums of Cozumel, "Though the island's parks have sustained some damage, we are thankful that the ruins at San Gervasio were not harmed. We have already begun efforts to restore the parks and will have them ready for visitors to enjoy by the winter travel season."
  • The Museum of the Island of Cozumel is now open and fully operational.
  • Punta Sur ecological park is currently open for jeep tours.
  • Reconstruction has started on Chankanaab National Park, with the tentative opening date scheduled for December 20, 2005
  • The Mayan ruins at San Gervasio were not damaged and the archaeological site will reopen on November 14, 2005.
Monday, November 7, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Ana Bravo, Hotel Cozumel
Dear Friends & Partners. Hotel Cozumel & Resort wishes to thank you for all your support and concerns about us. We are glad to inform you that the Hotel did not suffer any structural damage. We just had some broken windows. Power and water services have now been reestablished as normal. We will be re-opening for guests on November 15, with all regular services except for the Beach Club. The Beach Club did have more severe damages and will be closed for the rest of this month. We expect to have it 100% ready by December 15, 2005. Dive Paradise, dive shop at the hotel will also be open by November 15 with all services working as normal. We will keep you posted with all the information about the hotel. Thanks once again for all your support and please feel free to contact us if you need any further assistance or information. Sincerely, Ana Bravo

Thursday, November 3, 2:00 a.m. CST --- Andres Pan De Soraluce, Occidental Hotels
Dear Friends. We would like to update you on the best estimated re-opening dates for our six resorts in Cancun, Playacar and Cozumel:

  • Occidental Grand Cozumel - Reopen January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Allegro Cozumel - Reopen January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Allegro Playacar - Reopen January 31, 2006
  • Occidental Royal Hideaway Playacar - Status pending. The hotel will not reopen prior to January 31, 2006. Exact reopening date will be advised at a later time.
  • Occidental Grand Xcaret - Status pending. The hotel will not reopen prior to January 31, 2006. Exact reopening date will be advised at a later time.
  • Occidental Caribbean Village Cancun - Will reopen during the last quarter of 2006. We will inform you on the exact reopening date at a later time, with additional details on the changes that we are making to this resort.
  • Any change of reopening dates for the affected hotels will be advised immediately.

Hurricane Wilma Re-Booking Policy
  • Guests choosing to reschedule their vacation to another Occidental Hotels & Resort in the Caribbean or Costa Rica can be rebooked at the new hotel rate, subject to availability.
  • Any bookings that cancel during the periods that the hotels in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Cozumel are closed, will be honored without penalty.

Once again thanks for your support and cooperation to Occidental Hotels and Resorts. Andres Pan De Soraluce

Wednesday, November 2, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Rita Morales, Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort (FACDR)
Rita Morales, sales manager for the Fiesta Americana, just phoned from Cozumel and spoke with Island Dreams' manager Tina. Rita reported that both electricity and water have been restored at the Fiesta Americana. Full telephone service is expected to be back up in the next few days. The hotel has a total of 162 rooms that were not damaged by Wilma, and 500 workers are on the job at FACDR to get it cleaned up and ready for re-opening.

The road along the ocean between Presidente InterContinental Cozumel and the Fiesta Americana was completely destroyed. Government crews have already undertaken rebuilding that road, and they are making quick progress. The Dive House pier was also destroyed in the storm, but again rebuilding is already well under way.

Fiesta Americana plans to officially re-open on February 1, 2006. Although hotel management expects to be ready much sooner than that, the corporate offices have decided to err on the side of caution. When FACDR does reopen, both swimming pools, all rooms, suites, casita suites and all three restaurants will be fully operational.

Rebooking -- Those guests who had previously booked with the special and low season rates for Fall 2005 will be allowed to rebook, at no additional charge, April 15-December 15, 2006. Those preferring to reschedule during high season will be credited the amount previously paid, but will have to pay the additional amounts.

Finally, Rita indicated that, while reconstruction is going full steam throughout the island, only a handful of Cozumel hotels are expected to be ready to re-open in time for high season 2006.

Monday, October 31, 3:00 p.m. CST --- Dailene Erickson, Divemaster and owner of Cabrilla's Nauti Pescador in Cozumel
"The difference in how the island looks today compared to Sunday morning when we first had a look is amazing. The cleanup efforts and work completed by the electric company is to be proudly commended. Since my house and store suffered little to no damage, I, with the help of two diving videographers, decided to help the Parque Marino in the investigation of the effects of Wilma on the reefs. While these investigations are nowhere near complete, I can report, UNOFFICIALLY, that yes, there was substantial, yet not devastating, damage to the reefs. Much of the sand has gone in many of the deeper reefs, leaving them to be actually quite different! Caves, or swim throughs, are larger, and there is plenty of life to see! We are seeing more sharks, eagle rays, and sting rays. Some of the shallower reefs were hit hard in parts, and some may require restricted use for some time, but others made it ok. While I can not go into great detail, as about half of the reefs have not been researched yet (to be continued Tuesday), I can say that the reefs ARE divable. As ecologically responsible divers, we must take this into consideration and treat the reefs with even more respect than before, to allow them to regenerate. Coral reefs are intelligent creatures. They've been around forever and will regenerate to be even more beautiful. So when you return to dive with us, watch those fins and don't touch the reefs are now they are in their most fragile state...REGROWTH! But, DO come down soon! More reports later. Dailene Erickson"

Monday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Carmen Reyes Silva, Reef Club Cozumel
The Reef Club Cozumel regrets to advise that due to Hurricane Wilma it has had to temporarily close. All guests who were staying with us at the time of the storm were protected in downtown hotels. We are pleased to advise that everyone is safe and returning home. Like all hotels in Cozumel, the Mayan Riviera and Cancun, we suffered extensive damage but not major structural damage. The hotel will be closed until at least December 23. The hotel will not have telephone, direct internet access or electrical power for a three week period. We suggest that you contact us after November 15. We will advise you in a few days with further confirmation. We are receiving tremendous support from the government, banks and our insurance company in the plans to repair all of the damage and further improve our facilities. We will be in touch again to update you and your clients. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Reef Club Cozumel.

Saturday, October 29, 5:00 p.m. CST --- Hotel Cozumel & Resort
Dear Friends & Partners. Hotel Cozumel & Resort wants to thank you for all your blessings and concerns. All personnel and guests are safe, and the last guests of our hotel have returned safely home. We are glad to inform you that the hotel did not suffer any structural damage, we just had some broken windows and we are just waiting for public services (Energy & Water) to be reestablished. We are planning to reopen partially by November 15. As the beach club had more severe damage, it will be closed until December 1, 2005. We thank you all for your consideration and support. Sincerely, The Management ofHotel Cozumel & Resort

Friday, October 28, 4:30 p.m. CST --- Cancun: Yes, We Are Open!
As the result on an unprecedented federal and local response to Hurricane Wilma, the Cancun Convention & Visitor Bureau reports that recovery efforts are advancing steadily, and that normal resort operation is resuming in the coming days and weeks. The CVB reports the following advances as of October 28, 2005:

Visitor Evacuations: of the estimated 35,000 tourists that were in Cancun and the surrounding resorts when Wilma struck on October 21-22, only approximately 2,600 still remain in the area. Nearly all of these guests will have safely returned home by Saturday, October 29.

Cancun Airport Operations: The Cancun International Airport resumed operations on Tuesday, October 25. It will operate until October 30 under a recovery/evacuation status, with preferential operations for inbound supplies and passenger departures. On October 31, normal operations will resume, with carriers such as Mexicana Airlines, US Air 3000 (Apple Vacations) and others reestablishing normal service.

Cancun Hotel Zone: The majority of Cancun's 140 hotels and resorts are recovering from varying degrees of wind and water damage. Of Cancun's 27,500 lodging units, the Cancun CVB projects the following re-opening schedule:

Date Projection Number of Lodging Rooms in Operation
Nov. 4, 2005 5,200
Nov. 25, 2005 8,700
Dec. 15, 2005 15,800
Dec. 23, 2005 16,800
Jan. 15, 2006 20,900

As for beaches conditions, a detailed inventory is being prepared. At present, the area between the Riu Cancun toward the downtown/mainland (facing the Bahía de Mujeres) has actually had its beaches expanded (Presidente Inter-Continental, Oasis Viva, Ambiance Villas, Villas Tacul, Barcelo las Perlas, Blue Bay, Riu Caribe, etc.).

Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced federal recovery funds totally US$20 million for beach recovery and US$10 million for hotel zone infrastructure restorations. In order to assist small businesses (shops, restaurants, others) with recovery, NAFINSA (Mexico's government loan corporation) is providing loans totaling US$340 million. In an effort to streamline hotel recovery, the Inter-American Development Bank has announced US$500 million in reconstruction and recovery loans. This move will greatly facilitate needed repairs and upgrades. The Cancun Center convention facility will resume normal operations by November 8, 2005.

Cancun City: Clean-up efforts are underway to remove debris, open streets, reestablish telephone and electric service, and allow the city's inhabitants to continue clean-up and recovery efforts. Dozens of business are open, including banks, stores, and hospitals, with additional openings each day. Police and security services have restored order and are assisting with citizen and visitor relief efforts. As of today 20 tourist quality restaurants are open and many others will open within the next week. The Cancun Convention & Visitor Bureau

Friday, October 28, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Jolanda, Yucatek Divers and Hotel Casa del Gopala, Playa del Carmen
Attached you see a picture a picture of the hotel made just few hours ago. We are up and running and waiting for guests. We heard that they are going to close down Playacar in order to have everything ready for the high season. This does not help us, as the airlines cancelled flights. We were very surprised how fast things got done here, because they know very well how important tourism is for this region. We are ready to serve. Best regards also from Larry....Jolanda

Thursday, October 27, 2:00 p.m. CST --- Romy Carillo, Casa Mexicana Cozumel
"Hurricane Wilma has come and gone. Fortunately all Cozumel's visitors are recovering from the effects of Mother Nature, helping to clean up, and move on. Casa Mexicana Cozumel is standing proud. We have electricity supplied by our own generator and purified water provided by our desalinization plant. We are taking care of the guests and staff that stayed during the event. The management and staff along with many of our guests, prepared for, braved the hurricane, and now ready ourselves for the aftermath.

"Casa Mexicana Cozumel suffered minor cosmetic damages that will be repaired as soon as possible, we are depending on the reestablishment of municipal water and electricity as well as the crossing of cargo ferries with construction supplies. All bookings October 20 - December 15, 2005 will be rescheduled or canceled, depending on the clients' needs.

"Our thanks go out to the management and staff of Casa Mexicana Cozumel, all of our guests, and most importantly the people and city of Cozumel. Thank you very much for your prayers, e-mails, phone calls and visits. You will see that Casa Mexicana Cozumel and the beautiful Island of Cozumel will move on.

    To the people of Cozumel:

    Your courage and strength is astounding.
    Your willingness to help your friends, neighbors, your fellow store owners, and strangers is truly astonishing.
    We will not be beaten, we will prevail.
    We will rebuild, and be again the best we can be.

    May the grace and strength of God be with you all"

Romy Carrillo - Reservations Manager
Casa Mexicana Cozumel, Suites Bahia, Suites Colonial

Thursday, October 27, 1:30 p.m. CST --- Adrian Angulo Romero, Especias Restaurant Cozumel
Special thanks to client Kenneth Stroud for forwarding on this inspiring message from Adrian.

"Thank you very much for being in touch. We are all ok, family and Especias as well as the Kiteshop are ok. We have had some friends over with us and have help alot of people here in the island. It was a strong hurricane for sure, but PLEASE do not belive all of what the media is saying. Cozumel had some big damage but nothing that can not be rebuild. We have had electricity since last night and we are working really hard.

As a team, we (town people) have been cleaning up the streets since the day after the storm, to help the workers (electricity company and trash trucks) and have water and all the services back. Ocean front is only accesible to store owners and the streets are ok, and in a month, as a limit, all have to be back to business.

One pier, Puerta Maya, is gone. The International Pier is partially hurt but in use. Same for Punta Langosta and the town pier is in use already. We are expecting the first cruiseship on November 14. The tour operators are ready to work Now!! We have had this before, and we know how to get back in business. My restaurant is running already and the kiteshop as well.

Please Help. Spread the word that WE ARE OK!!! I will greatly appreciate if you forward this mail to as many people you know. Sincerely, Adrian from Especias."

Thursday, October 27, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Bill Horn, Aqua Safari Cozumel
"Public schools in Cozumel are scheduled to start up again November 14. That's a good indicator of when the situation will be stable. The power company linemen deserve medals. Aqua Safari divemaster Joaquin, living just one block away from the dive shop, already has power. Water is being pumped. Phone company crews are arriving. I'm using a friend's internet service who has a generator. Saludos from sunny Cozumel, Bill."

Thursday, October 27, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Kathy, Dive Paradise Reservations
"I was able to speak to Apple today briefly. Here's the lastest from Dive Paradise and Cozumel. Dive Paradise hopes to be operational in three months (or sooner). Hotel Barracuda is still there (contrary to other reports) and hopes to be operational in three months. Hotel Cozumel & Resort received only minor damage - the guest rooms and pool seem to be intact. Hotel Villablanca has some minor damage - but seems to be intact. Currently no electricity and few phones working. Cozumel has a lot of cleanup and repair/rebuilding to do. We are grateful for your thoughts during this rough patch - and wish to thank you for your patience and understanding. Kathy"

Thursday, October 27, 9:30 a.m. CST --- Jolanda, Yucatek Divers Playa del Carmen
We were once again very fortunate. Yucatek Dive Shop and our Casa del Gopala Hotel got away without minor damage. We had electricity and warm water just one day after the storm. The center of the city of Playa del Carmen is mainly cleaned up. There are just some difficulties to get flights down here I understand. Cozumel, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and the all-inclusive hotels in Playacar were badly hit to varying degrees. Please send us lots of divers. We are ready for them. Best regards from sunny Playa...Jolanda

Thursday, October 27, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Continental Airlines Update
Updated Rules for Flight Changes -- Continental Airlines announced that they will allow changes to travel previously ticketed to commence as late as January 15, 2006. Traveler may apply the value of their tickets toward the cost of the new ticket whether same or different itinerary. The reissue/change fee will be waived as long as the tickets are reissued on or before November 29, 2005, and travel commences on or before January 15, 2006. Tickets reissued after November 29, 2005 are subject to the reissue/change fee as well as any additional collection.
Translation: To avoid penalties, make up your mind where you want to go, and be sure to have your tickets reissued before Nov. 29. New travel must commence on or before Jan. 15, 2006. KDK

Wednesday, October 26, 12:15 p.m. CST --- Email from Bill Horn, Aqua Safari
Wilma was quite a storm... and on us for a very long time! Only one injury to report; Blondie broke two bones in his foot while moving boats last Wednesday. The sky at night now is beautiful without the lights; the way it was 28 years ago when I first moved here. Stargazers are invited. You can probably get a good deal on an undamaged room and be most welcomed to the island, though for a while you might have to come in the old long way via Merida.

The temperature is high 70's, the humidity is down to around 50%, the water has already cleared, and it will soon be time to look at the reefs. We are very proud that five colonias already have electricity and the grid is working over to the city water supply pumps. The first truck ferry is due this Friday with power company cranes, equipment and rebuilding materials. Electricity should be back within a week to ten days. Safari Inn has ten rooms available right now, and all five Aqua Safari dive boats are ready to go. As soon as we have power we can fill scuba tanks.

We are praying to be able to cover payroll through Thanksgiving and Christmas. My best guess, on the basis of living in Cozumel for almost three decades, and having been here for Hurricanes Gilbert and Keith, is that we will again be able to serve divers and hotel guests as of November 15. We will really appreciate the folks that do come in. We need you. All divers welcome! Saludos, Bill

Wednesday, October 26, 8:00 p.m. CST --- Continental Airlines Travel Agent Update

Evacuation flights from Cancun and Cozumel -- Continental is currently planning to operate two evacuation flights from Cancun and two from Cozumel on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The flights are planned to depart Cancun and Cozumel in the early afternoon. The destination for all flights is Houston. Continental will endeavor to give boarding priority to passengers who were previously ticketed on any Continental flight departing from Cancun/Cozumel, although local authorities may enforce alternate boarding priorities. Flights are not reservable and will not display on Seats will be assigned by Continental representatives at the airport.

Station updates for Cancun and Cozumel -- Both Cancun (CUN) and Cozumel, (CZM) Mexico, were flooded. The airport in CUN has dried out. Although CZM is no longer flooded, navigation aids are still out. CO plans to send to relief flights to CUN and CZM Wednesday. It is unknown when scheduled service will resume to CUN and CZM.

Tuesday, October 25, 3:45 p.m. CST --- Bill Horn, Aqua Safari Dive Shop
Bill Horn of Aqua Safari has just called us with an update from the island. Aqua Safari is the longest existing dive operation on the island, and Bill has been in Cozumel for more than 25 years. A true Cozumel expert, Bill lives at Condumel on the third floor. He said that during the height of the storm, the ocean was lapping at his storm shutters. Bill estimates the storm surge at 18 feet above normal tide levels. For all of that, Condumel came through with only some broken windows, though the beach area in front now "looks like Mars." All Aqua Safari dive boats, securely anchored in the Puerto de Abrigo nearby, survived undamaged. Some other boats were not as fortunate.

The ocean did invade Aqua Safari's downtown dive shop, located directly on the waterfront. Clean up there is already in progress. The Safari Inn, located above the shop, came through undamaged and Bill has guests there now. Bahia Hotel, Suites Colonial, and Vista del Mar, all small hotels downtown, are also in good shape. The Palace Hotel, where Aqua Safari has a second location, did not fare as well. The majority of the rooms suffered damage, and that hotel may not reopen for some months.

Bill also reported that he attended a meeting at the Cozumel Mayor's office this morning. A large car and truck ferry is being readied to bring heavy equipment and supplies to Cozumel. It is expected on Friday, Oct. 28, and the plan is land at the Municipal pier downtown. Tourist cruise ship arrivals are scheduled to resume on November 20. As most of the cruise ship piers were damaged, tourists initially will be taken ashore in tender boats. Cozumel will certainly be looking forward to the revenue of shoppers back on the streets of San Miguel. For all of the damage reports, Bill was upbeat and unruffled. As he stated, "It will take time, but Cozumel will come back better than ever."

Tuesday, October 25, 3:00 p.m. CST --- New Re-Open Dates for Fiesta Americana
Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort has just advised us that new guest arrivals will be welcomed beginning December 15. The hotel is very well constructed, across the street from the ocean, and fortunately weathered the storm better than most. The next few weeks will be occupied with cleaning and repairs, as well as allowing time for city services and supply lines to be re-established.

Eye of Hurricane Wilma directly over Cozumel Island. Photo courtesy of NOAA Tuesday, October 25, 1:00 p.m. CST --- Juan Leca, Dive House Cozumel
We've just had a follow-up phone call from Juan Leca, owner of Dive House. A web site operated by a competing Cozumel dive operator had posted an inaccurate report about Dive House's boats, incorrectly stating that they were all wrecked. Juan reports that three Dive House boats are still safely stored in his warehouse, completely unscathed. The two that were left in the water will be pulled out for maintenance and repairs. The road is being cleared so that a 60-ton crane can be moved to the caleta (cove) specifically to handle this task. Juan expects to have two dive boats in the water by tomorrow, October 26, and that all five Dive House dive boats should be operational by next week. Juan again explained that this was a very big storm, with major consequences for Cozumel. He estimated that it might be months before Cozumel is completely back to business as usual. But he also made it clear that repairs and clean up are underway, and that, slowly, things are already improving in Cozumel.

Tuesday, October 25, 12:30 p.m. CST --- Continental Airlines Travel Agent Update
Procedures apply to customers wishing to make changes to their itineraries due to Hurricane Wilma. Travel agents may make the following reservation changes and waive the change fee to tickets issued on Continental, Continental Express and Continental Connection for travel in/out or through the following cities: BZE/CUN/CZM/EYW/FLL/MIA/MCO/PBI, (and others), only if ticketed to travel between October 18 - November 1, 2005. Date window is subject to change.

Travel must be rescheduled/reissued by November 12, 2005. Final travel must be completed by validity date of the ticket. Travel agent should rebook ticket for new date, then reissue the tickets entering the waiver code 1LKT9 in the ticket designator box or tour code box of the ticket. Please note that all conditions must apply to ticket changes or a debit memo may result.

The following procedures apply to customers who wish to voluntarily change their travel dates due to Hurricane Wilma. If a customer's flight has already been cancelled due to Hurricane Wilma, and they do not wish to reschedule, please refer them to Continental Refunds. Customer Rescheduling - Customers who desire to be rescheduled in/out or through cities listed above due to Hurricane Wilma will be permitted to do so without penalty as outlined. Alternate flights to same destination must be in the same class of service. If the same class of service is not available, customers may stand by. Minimum/maximum stay requirements must be met for wholly rescheduled travel.

If customers desire an alternate destination, the $100 service fee may be waived; however any add-collect will apply. Book the applicable class of service for the new itinerary. No refunds for lower fare. Note if a customer is making a change to an alternate outbound/return city, not both, from the affected area noted above and the new city is within 200 miles, it is permissible to waive the add collect as long as the original class of service is booked.Visit. You are advised to check for further details.

Tuesday, October 25, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Continental Airlines Operations Summary
Service to Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico is suspended through October 28 due to Hurricane Wilma. Service will resume pending airport conditions. Further updates will be posted as we receive updates from these cities and the local government. You are advised to check for further details.

Tuesday, October 25, 9:00 a.m. CST --- Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel
While the condition of the Island and the property are being assessed after Hurricane Wilma, Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa will be closed to all arrivals until January 31, 2006. Cancellation penalties will be waived for all reservations scheduled to arrive through January 31, 2006. Further updates will be provided as soon as they are available.

Monday, October 24, 12:30 p.m. CST --- Brandon Baldwin, guest at FACDR
Just had a long conversation with client Brandon Baldwin, via his cell phone from Cozumel. Brandon and other Island Dreams guests safely weathered Hurricane Wilma at the Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort. Brandon likened this hotel to "a fortress during the storm." Brandon reports that Cozumel suffered major damage. The oceanfront road on both sides of Fiesta Americana is seriously damaged. Chacanab Lagoon Park "is gone." Heavy debris is scattered everywhere. Downtown, the International Cruise Ship Pier suffered major damage. At the moment, food and water are coming to be in short supply. As a result, tourists are now being encouraged to depart Cozumel, via ferry to Playa del Carmen. Brandon and his party plan to take the local bus from Playa to Chetumal. From there, we will arrange flights to Mexico City, and on for home. Considering the ordeal they just experienced, he was remarkably upbeat. Brandon...thanks for keeping such a cool head during this stressful time. It is our pleasure to serve you!

Monday, October 24, 11:00 a.m. CST --- Juan Leca, Dive House Cozumel
Island Dreams' owner Ken Knezick was able to reach Juan Leca this morning via cell phone. He, Evelyn, and Splash safely weathered the hurricane. Juan is the owner of Dive House, and a native of Cozumel. He made it clear that this was a very powerful storm, which blew at Cozumel for more than 40 hours. Juan estimates that the eye of Hurricane Wilma was stalled over Cozumel for 10 to 12 hours. There were very large waves hitting Cozumel's western shores, with substantial damage resulting. Juan's own oceanfront home suffered major damage. He reported that some of Dive House boats were impacted, but that repairs are underway. Roads around downtown San Miguel are already mostly passable. The roads that run along the seaside will require work. While cell phones are operational now, he estimates that restoring electricity and landline phone service completely may require at least a week. Oh... and Juan said that the weather today in Cozumel is beautiful!

Monday, October 24, 10:45 a.m. CST --- Scuba Club Cozumel
Scuba Club Cozumel reports no major damage but that a good deal of clean up will be required. The hotel informed us that they will re-open to receive guests on November 15.

Monday, October 24, 10:45 a.m. CST --- Client, Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort
One of our valued clients just phoned from Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort. He reported that the physical structure of the hotel stood up very well in the face of the storm. He also made a point of expressing his gratitude for the way he was treated by the staff and management at that property throughout the experience. This same gentleman reported to us that five ferryboats had already arrived on Monday morning, bringing supplies and equipment.

Monday, October 24, 10:00 a.m. CST --- Update from Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines has advised us they will resume service into Cozumel, Mexico effective Wednesday, October 26. Apparently damage to the Cancun Airport was greater, thus initially Continental Airlines will use Cozumel for all air travel in and out of the Yucatan area. Overland and ferry transportation will be arranged to connect Cozumel and Cancun. The voluntary reschedule of flights for alternate dates is still in effect, but only for those booked to travel in the October 19-25 date range. That window has not been extended. You are advised to check for further details.

Monday, October 24, 9:35 a.m. CST --- Enrique, Hotel Cozumel
Our very first communication following Wilma's departure was with Enrique from Hotel Cozumel. He reported no major damage at that property. Trees and branches are down, and sand from the beach is scattered about. They are already beginning the clean up. The hotel is currently on generator power. He hopes to have the computers connected to the generator by Tuesday, at which time internet access and email services will hopefully become available.

Our hearts go out to the people of Cozumel, and to those tourists whose holidays took an unexpected turn into an unwanted hurricane party. But the clean up has already begun, and we hope that Cozumel, with a sigh of relief, will soon be back to business as usual. Ken Knezick -- Island Dreams Travel