BAY AREA DIVERS
The 'Get Wet' Club!
www.bayareadivers.org



 

About Hotel Cozumel & Resort  - click here
About Tipping In Cozumel - click here

About Health Concerns in Cozumel - click here

 

Bill Jones 2008 Cozumel Liability Release Form - click here
 

 

7th Annual Bill Jones COZUMEL Vacations

 

 

Information on how to buy tickets for the Bill Jones' Cozumel  Travel Packages. 


 

 

Bill JonesBill Jones                     a padi Master Instructor
   How to buy tickets for
2008  Cozumel Vacation Package

  © Copyright 2008    Bill Jones    World Rights Reserve     Request 'add/delete' from our eMail list at mr.bill.jones@comcast.net

 

A Valid PASSPORT is REQUIRED that has at least four blank visa pages and will not expire within six months of the travel dates.
A Signed LIABILITY RELEASE is REQUIRED
CAUTION!  Your ticket is non-transferable and non-refundable.  Air Fare, Ground Transportation, Hotel Accommodations are included. Diving is not included.  "Group Diving Deal" and diving discount is subject to availability.  US International Departure & Arrival Taxes, 9/11 Security Fee, US Immigration Fees, US Animal/Plant Health Inspection Fees, Hotel Taxes, Package Sales Tax, and Mexico Departure Taxes are included.  International Fuel Surcharge is  included.  All tipping at the resort is included.  Divemaster tips are not included.  Meals, lavish buffets, and free-flowing, unlimited, soft drinks, beer, wine, recognizable-brand mixed drinks, high balls, umbrella drinks, and cocktails are all included in the Bill Jones Cozumel Package.

CAUTION: As soon as your tickets are purchased, your tickets are "non-transferable" and "non-refundable".  Failure to show up on-time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your non-refundable loss of that portion of the travel package.  Failure to provide a current passport that has at least four blank visa pages and will not expire within six months of the travel dates will result in your being denied boarding and loss of that leg of the travel package.  Failure to check-in for the flight at least 1 hour prior to departure will result in your seat being made available for resale to another passenger.  This is an international flight and 2-hour early check-ins are standard practice.  There is no expressed or implied warranty concerning flight delays with this package.

How to buy your tickets:

If you know you want to go, you should purchase your tickets a.s.a.p. but not until you are very sure you can go.  I do not reserve, save, or hold tickets or reservations, and I do not accept or want a deposit for the Bill Jones' Cozumel 2007 Travel Packages.  I need the entire amount.  When the tickets are sold-out, the trip is full.  The trip could be sold-out tomorrow or they can sell out weeks before we leave.  The trip has always sold-out in advance in previous years!  The longer you wait to buy your tickets, the more likely that the trip will be sold-out.  Last year, we had 6 people want to buy tickets after it had sold-out.  In years past, we usually have about 30-40 people in the group.

If you want me to find a roommate for you (pricing is based on double occupancy), it makes sense to send me your check a.s.a.p.  You are placed in line for a roommate in the order I receive your check.  If I have 3 people needing a roommate, I take the first two people and buy their tickets.  The third person waits for the next person needing a roommate.

To purchase tickets for the Bill Jones' Cozumel 2007 Travel Packages, you must do the following 5 things before I purchase your tickets:

1.  Send me a check for the entire amount, I do not want or accept a partial payment.  Note on your check the traveler's names.  Make the check payable to: "Bill Jones".  Tickets will not be purchased until I have your check with entire amount.  No credit cards are accepted.
July 28
, 2008 for 5 Days, 4 Nights $749 pp, dbl occ, tax incl
July 28, 2008 for 8 Days, 7 Nights $949 pp, dbl occ, tax incl

2.  Attach a note (print clearly) telling me the exact names (exactly the same as passport) as they will appear on the ticket AND indicate who rooms with whom.  Tickets will not be purchased until exact names are provided.  Since this is double occupancy, tickets will not be purchased until 2 roommates are assigned to each other.

3.  Print a Liability Release (attached to this eMail) for each traveler.   Tickets will not be purchased until completed Liability Releases have been received.

4.  Enclose your check, your note from item 2, and the Liability Releases from item 3 and mail all of this stuff to Bill Jones, POB 59-1592, Houston Tx  77259-1592.

5.  EMail me and tell me what you have mailed to the POB.

Within 24 hours after I deposit your check, I will try to purchase your tickets.  If the trip is sold-out, I will email you and ask where to mail you a full refund.  If the tickets are purchased, the tickets are immediately "non-transferable" and "non-refundable".  As soon as I have a confirmed ticket number, I will eMail you a Cozumel Update that will include travelers names and your E-Ticket number with exact travel information.  This will be updated weekly until the trip.


CAUTION!  Your ticket is non-transferable and non-refundable.  Air Fare, Ground Transportation, Hotel Accommodations are included.  Diving is not included.  "Group Diving Deal" and diving discount is subject to availability.  US International Departure & Arrival Taxes, 9/11 Security Fee, US Immigration Fees, US Animal/Plant Health Inspection Fees, Hotel Taxes, Package Sales Tax, and Mexico Departure Taxes are included.  International Fuel Surcharge is  included.  All tipping at the resort is included.  Divemaster tips are not included.  Meals, lavish buffets, and free-flowing, unlimited, soft drinks, beer, wine, recognizable-brand mixed drinks, high balls, umbrella drinks, and cocktails are all included in the Bill Jones Cozumel Package.  A PASSPORT with at least four blank visa pages that will not expire within six months of the travel dates IS REQUIRED.

If you are going to do your Adventures in Diving (Advanced Open Water Diver) Class  this summer, you can do the Deep Dive and some of the other dives on the Cozumel trip and may be able to complete the AOW requirements.  You could earn your Enriched Air Nitrox certification.  If you are considering your MASTER SCUBA DIVER certification, you may be able to complete that on this trip!  Check with me for more details.

The picture on the right is the Hotel Cozumel & Resort.  Yes, the water really looks like that.  It is like diving in a "living swimming pool"!  If you look carefully, you can see some tiny reef growth underwater.  The water is about 12 to 20ft deep there.  Just above the waterline, you can see some lounge chairs and to the right of the chairs is a small swimming pool.  The beach bar is in the building with the red roof just above the chairs and the pool.  To the left of the bar is the Dive Paradise, the on-site PADI 5-Star Gold Palm dive center.  The resort's big swimming pool and hot tub are between the two 3-story buildings at the top and are not visible in this photo.
Cozumel, the largest inhabited island in the Mexican Caribbean, is located 12 miles off the coast of the eastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the State of Quintana Roo about 15 miles east of the mainland and east of the world famous Cancun resort area.  Cozumel Island is approximately 30 miles long and 10 miles wide.  The island creates a barrier  from the open Caribbean Sea sheltering the leeward reefs resulting in a sanctuary of protected reefs that are fantastic to dive.  The vast majority of the island is dense, subtropical jungle. 
Surrounded by pristine white beaches and the beautiful turquoise-blue water of the Mexican Caribbean, Hotel Cozumel & Resort provides the ideal combination of fun and relaxation plus the largest swimming pool in Cozumel.  It's a unique doorway to a mystical relationship with Cozumel's ancient Mayan past and modern-day adventure and hospitality.

Passport Requirements:  Valid, current passport that has at least four blank visa pages and will not expire within six months of the travel dates.  Non-U.S. citizens must carry a passport.  If you are not a natural born U.S. citizen, you must visit the Mexican Consulate in-person before travel.  Even if you are a resident alien, a Visa and/or national passport may be required. Minors must travel with a parent and hold a notarized letter of consent from any absent other legal parent.  All minors must have a birth certificate or valid non-expired passport.  Married or divorced women traveling under any name other than what is printed on their documentation must also provide a marriage license / divorce decree.
Signed Release of Liability:  Required prior to the purchase of your ticket.
Diver Proof of Certification:  C-Card required.  Log book or else a pool demonstration may be required for proof of experience
Specialty Certification Requirements:  Passport-size photo, proof of pre-reqs, log book, and filing/handling fee.


The Bill Jones Cozumel 2008 Travel Package Itinerary and much more:
Note:  Cozumel Time and Houston Daylight Time are the same.  When it's 8:00a in Houston, it's 8:00a in Cozumel.

28 JULY 2008 Monday
CAUTION:  Failure to show up on-time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your non-refundable loss of that portion of the travel package.  
Failure to provide a current passport that has at least four blank visa pages and will not expire within six months of the travel dates will result in your being denied boarding and your loss of that leg of the travel package.  Failure to check-in for the flight at least 1 hour prior to departure will result in your seat being made available for resale to another passenger.  This is an international flight and 2-hour early check-ins are standard practice.  There is no expressed or implied warranty concerning flight delays with this package.

ARRIVE  approximately  5:00a Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH/KIAH) Terminal D, Passenger Check-In Level, find me standing near the ticket counter next to the escalators, very easy to do.  This is "ticketless travel".  All you will need is your Passport to check-in.  I have reserved the first seven rows of the aircraft for our group.  You may select one of these seats or if you prefer to sit somewhere else on the airplane, that's ok too.
Don't worry about anything until you get back to Houston.  After checking-in, I will
pass thru security and stop for coffee and something to eat (not included) before going to the departure gate.  You should begin meeting the people you are going to spend the week with and start having fun there at the airport!  Introduce yourself to others in our group, be nice, get in the mood.

DEPART  approximately  7:00a Houston from Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH/KIAH)
Flight XX-XXXX
Non-Stop (included)  We are having fun now!
This is a private charter flight and it may not appear on the airline's website.  In past trips, this has been a Boeing 737, 757, and MD-80, I will tell you the exact airline, flight number, and aircraft type closer to the departure date.
You may contact 800-xxx-xxxx on day of departure for confirmation of flight time

Complimentary Soft Drinks (included).  Beer/Wine/Cocktails approximately $5 ea (not included).  No Complimentary Food Service.
Meet fellow travelers during the flight and have fun!
16930 JFK Boulevard, Houston TX 77032, Tel: +1 281-233-3000, +1 281-230-3000, Fax: +1 281-233-1874, Customs Tel: +1-281 233-3600
Airport Data:  Position 29°58´55"N, 095°20´45"W,
Operating 24-hours/day, Time Zone: GMT-5/10 Central Daylight Time, 5 Passenger Terminals, 1 Cargo Terminal, Navigational Aids: VORTAC, VASI, ILWAS (CAT III, II, I),  Lighting: MAL SF II, HIRL, CL, TDZ, THLD, MALSI RAIL, HS, MIRL, THLD, VASI, Max Runway: 12,004ft

ARRIVE  approximately  9:15a  Cozumel International Airport (CZM/MMCZ).  We will clear immigration, claim our luggage, and clear customs.  Meet fellow travelers at the airport while in lines and picking up your luggage.  We are having more fun now!  Notice and enjoy the similarities and differences of this airport compared to our airports in the U.S.  You will be issued a Tourist Card.  I suggest you keep the stamped Tourist Card inside your Passport throughout the vacation.  You will need the card when you check-in at the airport for departure back to the U.S.
Follow me to the airport's front doors and exit.  You are responsible for moving your luggage from customs to airport limo, less than 300 feet.
Carretera Aeropuerto Int´l
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico  CP 77600, Business Language: Spanish, Tel: +52 (987) 2-04-85   Fax: +52 (987) 2-40-88
Airport Data:  Position 20°31´21"N, 086°55´32"W, Elevation 5m (16ft), Operating hours 1300-0300, Time Zone: GMT-6/8 Same as Central Daylight Time / Houston Daylight Time, Navigational Aids: VOR-DME, NDB Runway 1: Heading 05/23, Max Runway: 10,164ft, 48/F/B/X/U, No ILS

DEPART approximately  10:00a  Follow me to our already reserved ground transportation specially for the Bill Jones group (included) We will be picked up very close to the airport's front door.  Have fun and enjoy the local sites as we make the short ride directly to our hotel.

ARRIVE  approximately  10:15a  Hotel Cozumel & Resort (included) - All Inclusive -- Run of the House -- Double Room
I have Pre-approved Early Check-In for the Bill Jones Travelers at hotel
(included, but early room occupancy subject to availability).  We are here early and having a great time!
Carretera Costera Sur KM 17
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico  CP 77600
U.S. Phone  011-52-987-872-2900  Outlets are wired for 110vac, 60 cycles.  The 180 room Hotel Cozumel & Resort has the largest swimming pool in Cozumel.  The pool is so large that the Chan Kanab Underwater Park's Dolphinarium uses it as a hurricane shelter for its dolphins during the tropical hurricane season. Its open-air Jacuzzi, multiple walkways to the rooms and pathways through the hotel's lush gardens help create the multicolored tropical charm of Hotel Cozumel & Resort.

When we arrive at the Hotel Cozumel & Resort . . .
The rules are for my dive trips: "There are no rules".  I have made a lot of suggestions in this eMail, but you do whatever you want to do and have fun!

I will check-in and make sure that each of you has no problems checking-in and getting into your room.  While the group is checking-in, this is a good time to chat and meet fellow travelers right there in the lobby and grab a welcome beverage (included) at the bar.  It would be nice if someone brought a Pińa Colada or a Dirty Banana  to me there in the lobby (optional) while I am making sure everyone is getting checked-in.

I will then go to my room, un-pack, and change clothes.  That will take me about 30 minutes.  I will then grab my dive bag and take the underground tunnel from the hotel lobby to the Dive Paradise dive center and make arrangements with the hotel's PADI 5-Star Gold Palm dive operator.  This is a good time to joke with Lucy at Dive Paradise.  If you are diving with the Dive Paradise dive center, join me and I will make sure you get our group discount (included, but subject to availability) and let you know my diving schedule for the week.

If you are not a diver or you are diving with a dive operator other than Dive Paradise, have fun, you are on your own.  This is a good time to check on available group day trips (not-included) and make plans.   I can put you onto a good competitive tour operator (not-included).  You may want to have lunch or a snack (included), go shopping in San Miguel (not-included), go swimming (included), or just look at the beautiful Caribbean water (included).  This may be a good time to meet with your favorite dive operator and buy some or all of your diving (not-included).  You may use any dive center you wish (not-included).

After I've bought my diving for the week, I will get a tank and weights, gear up, and do a shore dive (included if making dive purchases from Dive Paradise, but subject to availability) right then.  This is a great time to make sure you are weighted-out properly for the week's dives.  There are some things to see on this shore dive and the water is beautiful of course.  After that, I will wash my gear at one of the two cleaning stands and relax in the beach bar and have something to eat (included).

Everyone in our group is very welcome to just hang out with me at anytime and I am usually very easy to find (included).  I enjoy having a drink and chatting with everyone on the trip.  Always feel free to ask me anything about this trip, Scuba questions of any kind, or how to solve the problems of the world (included).  You may want to chat with me about doing Specialty Certifications, Nitrox, Advanced Open Water, or the prestigious Master Scuba Diver certification (some restrictions & fees apply but they do not interfere with your vacation time).

Start making plans for meeting each other for dinner (included) or whatever you want to do.  Feel free to join each other at the tables in the dining room, don't wait to be asked, just grab a chair.  Everyone in this group is friendly.  If you are not diving today, check out the bar (included).  Meals, lavish buffets, and free-flowing, unlimited, soft drinks, beer, wine, recognizable-brand mixed drinks, high balls, umbrella drinks, and cocktails are all included in the Bill Jones Cozumel Package.  Read the "New Traveler Information" below for more information.

Check with Wendy or me about our two planned group night-excursions by cab to local eateries (not included).  The excursions will be "Dutch Treat".  These places are for the more "adventureous eaters".  Those that are more careful about what they eat will find the hotel's buffet lines easy to find things they like to eat.  The eateries will be selected restaurants that the locals go to when they go out to eat.  The food is generally good, inexpensive, and little English is spoken.  These will not be tourist restaurants such as "Carlos'nCharlie's" or "Senior Frogs" but are likely to be local taquerias with lots of local atmosphere.  I will carry lots of $1 and $5 bills for tipping, cab rides, and for Wendy's evening dinner excursions (these places do not accept credit cards).   There are those in the group that will be going to tourist clubs and tourist restaurants in town, so check with your fellow travelers about their plans.  It's fun and safer to travel in groups.

These are the problems you are responsible for and should worry about this week:  Do I want to go dive now?  Do I want to sleep now?  Do I want to eat now.  Do I want to go to the bar?  Do I want to lay on the beach?  Do I want to get in the pool?  Do I want to go shopping.  Do I want take a day trip?

01 Aug 2008 Friday 5-day trip  -OR-  04 Aug 2008 Monday 8-day trip

DEPART  approximately 8:00a  Hotel Cozumel & Resort.  Check with me in Cozumel about the exact time we will meet in the lobby of the hotel for ground transportation (included) back to airport.  I will be eating breakfast at the hotel restaurant just before we meet.  You will be responsible for bringing your luggage to the lobby for loading on limo.  Be sure to check your room carefully to see if you left anything behind.  Check the lockers at the pier to be sure you have removed all of your dive gear.  Last year, one of our travelers left his car keys in his room safe.  Failure to show up on-time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your non-refundable loss of that portion of the travel package.  Enjoy the local sites as we take the short ride directly to the airport.  We are still having fun!

ARRIVE approximately 8:30a  Cozumel International Airport (CZM/MMCZ)
Enter the front doors and follow me to "International Check-In".
  You are responsible for moving your luggage from our limo to Check-In, less than 200 feet.  Have fun, we are still on vacation!  You will need your Passport and the stamped Tourist Card issued to you when you went through immigration upon arrival.  After we check-in
 (Mexico exit taxes are included and have been pre-paid for you) , we can do some shopping at the airport (reasonable prices here, not included) and meet for coffee in the airport coffee shop (optional, not included).  The vacation isn't over yet, have fun!  I will be shopping, drinking coffee in the coffee bar, or sitting in one of the chairs near our departure gate.  This is one big area that you can wonder around and everyone will be easy to find.  Most travelers pick up about three specialties each on the trip.  This is a good time to check with Wendy or me even if you are not sure you have what you need or you need to send me things later to take advantage of the Specialty Deal offered as a part of the Bill Jones Cozumel Vacation Package.

DEPART approximately  10:15a  Cozumel International Airport (CZM/MMCZ)
Flight XX-XXXX
Non-Stop (included)
Complimentary Soft Drinks (included).  Beer/Wine/Cocktails approximately $5 ea (not included).  No Complimentary Food Service.
If you want to qualify for Specialties and haven't checked with me yet, I will be working on that paperwork on the flight back to Houston.  Most travelers pick up about three specialties on the trip.  Check with Wendy or me even if you are not sure you have what you need or you need to send me things later.
We are still on vacation.  Have fun on the return flight.

ARRIVE approximately  12:30p  Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH/KIAH) Terminal E, clear immigration, claim luggage, clear customs.  Say goodbye to your new friends.  You can stop having fun now.  You will have to wait to go back to Cozumel with us next year to have fun again.
This is a private charter flight and it may not appear on airline's website.  If you have someone picking you up at the airport, they may contact 800-xxx-xxxx on day of departure for confirmation of flight time


Earn your Specialty, Nitrox, Advanced, and Master Scuba Diver Certifications while on vacation in Cozumel.  The Bill Jones' Cozumel 2008 Travel Package includes one PADI Specialty Diving Certification (included, non-transferable, some restrictions & fees apply).  You may want to chat with me about doing Specialty Certifications, Advanced Open Water, or the prestigious Master Scuba Diver (some restrictions & fees apply but they do not interfere with your vacation time). If you plan to take advantage of the included diving Specialty Certification, you must have proof of required pre-requisites, provide an acceptable photo (print your name on the back), log the required dives, and have me sign the log, and pay the $39 filing and handling fee (payable to: Bill Jones) for the PADI paperwork.  There is only one included specialty per participant, non-transferable.  Specialty certifications count toward the five Specialties needed to qualify for the prestigious Master Scuba Diver certification.  Additional specialties for every traveler are no problem for $50 each during this trip only and are a considerable savings over specialty fees in Cozumel and Houston.  Boat, Drift, Deep, Wreck, Photography, Videography, Fish ID, Underwater Naturalist, Coral Reef Conservation, Project Aware, Multilevel Diver, and many others are easy to earn and appropriate for this type of diving without spending any extra of your vacation time.  Last year, most travelers took advantage of doing 3 Specialties each.  Enriched Air Nitrox specialty is available for an additional fee (you should eMail me and ask me to get you the appropriate books and tables and I will loan you the required video).  You may also qualify for your Advanced Open Water and the prestigious Master Scuba Diver certifications on the trip.  Check with Wendy or me for details.  I will accept and prefer your personal check for your certifications in Mexico.  Bring a passport-like photo just in case you decide to take advantage of this great offer.


Group Diving Deal:  The Bill Jones' Cozumel 2007 Travel Package includes a "Group Diving Deal" with the PADI 5-Star Gold Palm Dive Paradise Dive Center that is located on-site at our resort hotel.  YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO USE THIS DIVE CENTER.  Our deal this trip includes 20% off all posted rates ("Deal" included, but subject to availability, diving fees are not included), a $15 afternoon 1-tank boat dive ("Deal" included, but subject to availability, diving fees are not included), a complimentary "welcome tank" to get weighted out in a shore dive (included, but subject to availability and restrictions), and some other perks.  Additional shore diving is available for a nominal charge per tank.  This translates into less than $50 per morning 2-tank boat dive which may be charged on your major credit card.  There is a mandatory $2 per day park fee (that must be paid in cash) that goes toward law enforcement of the park rules.  The reefs we want to dive are all inside the park boundaries.

Buceo Medico Mexicano is a state-of-the-art decompression chamber facility in Cozumel.  Dive Paradise makes a one dollar per diver per dive trip donation to the chamber.  This donation supports the efforts of the hyperbaric facility in maintaining high quality standards of equipment and service.  The donation also supports the training and education of the Dive Paradise staff in emergency procedures for dive accidents.  The facility is very close to our hotel in San Miguel at Calle 5 Sur 21-B, phone 872-2387 or 872-1430,  24 hours.

You may use any dive center you wish (not included) and make as many or few dives as you wish.  No dive trip could be more tailored to your exact diving needs and desires.  I have checked with 4 other operators including Careyitos Advanced Divers, Red Sail Sports, Scuba Du, and Dive Palancar.  Each of these operators offer slightly different dives for slightly different fees.  Cozumel has nearly 100 dive operators and stores, most of which are a short cab-ride (not included) from our centralized resort hotel.  You are under no obligation to use the on-site dive center or any part of our group diving deal.  This means that Bill Jones Cozumel Trip uses your favorite dive operator by definition!  So have a good time and make reservations with your favorite dive center.  You can make them in advance or the Concierge in our resort lobby will be happy to make the arrangements for you.  I like being able to have breakfast at our hotel and walk out of the restaurant to our boat just a few minutes before it departs.


Tipping:  The Bill Jones' Cozumel 2008 Travel Package includes tips at the resort.  If someone gives you extraordinary service, you may feel an additional tip is appropriate (an example would be the bar tender leaves the bar to bring you several drinks on the other side of the pool).  Beware that these employee's can be fired for accepting a tip under certain circumstances, but they will usually accept your tip anyway.  Just be very discrete when tipping.  In spite of this, you may see a "tip jar".  The jar may appear and disappear depending where hotel management is at any given time.  Something also to think about, if you tip in a "no-tipping" resort, you can probably expect to have some really great service.

DiveMaster tipping, even at the on-site dive center, is not included.  An appropriate tip is about $1 U.S. Dollar per dive per person, but no more than about $3 per 2-tank dive per person.  The tip is normally discretely passed to the head DiveMaster as you exit the boat and before you leave the pier.  The head DiveMaster will divide the tips up among the boat DiveMasters and the boat mate and the captain.  If you have required extraordinary service for some reason, an additional tip is appropriate but not required.  In some circumstances, the additional portion of the tip may be separately passed to the DiveMaster that performed the extraordinary service for you but don't be surprised if that DiveMaster passes your tip to the head DiveMaster for redistribution with all of the other tips.  You should carry a little money (your wallet should be locked in the safe in your room) in a dry bag inside your dive bag for this purpose.  When a group leader is involved (that's me), the group leader is expected to tip a little more.  I will carry lots of $1 and $5 bills for tipping, cab rides, and for Wendy's evening dinner excursions (these places do not accept credit cards).  Note:  I do not act as professional Divemaster at anytime on the trip, but I am a fellow traveler that is happy to be of assistance to you at anytime.  One of our travelers thought I was soliciting a tip in this paragraph.  I don't want your tip for anything, thank you.  I will have done nothing on the entire trip to have earned a tip.  I am a traveler on vacation just like you.

The contractor that we will be using for ground transportation to the hotel and then back to the airport has already been "tipped"  in our contract deal.  However, it is mostly the case that the driver will have his "hand-out" as he unloads your luggage anyway.  If you feel you must tip this guy again, a $1 U.S. dollar tip per "double occupancy pair" is more than enough.  The guy knows he has already been tipped.

"Over-tipping" (yes, there is such a thing) in Mexico is generally laughed-at behind your back by locals, not really additionally appreciated although accepted, and you are considered either an idiot or a "future mark" by the guy you give the tip to.  Locals want your tip, but are proud people, and the tip should always be handed to the person in a discrete manner.  A tip that is slightly more than expected is better appreciated than over-tipping.  At off-resort restaurants, a 10%-15% tip is appropriate (unless already included in the bill) and larger tips are often considered over-tipping by locals.  Having said all of this, tip as you think is appropriate.  I've traveled extensively in Mexico and these are my general impressions.  I generally tip 15% unless the service is pretty bad.  I might tip up to 20% if the service was extraordinary and memorable, and something so great that I would be telling people about the place for years to come.


New Traveler Information and Travel Package Information:  I get questions that experienced travelers probably already understand.  As I get asked these questions, I will include them as additional information in this section.

Stuff NOT INCLUDED in the Package:  The Bill Jones' Cozumel 2007 Travel Package is an "all inclusive" travel package.  However, I cannot foresee everything that non-experienced travelers may think is or is not included in an "all inclusive" travel package.  But in general, it can be said that gift shop items, spa services, telephone calls, laundry services, in-room dining, motorized sports, Scuba services and equipment, special requests of the hotel such as room upgrades/downgrades or changes,  modifying this Bill Jones Cozumel 2007 travel package in any way, and doing anything off the resort, you may assume is not included.  There are some things included in the price that I haven't mentioned, but I will let you find these on the trip as a bonus.

The package does not include unforeseen additional charges that may be added by one of the package vendors.  An example would be a "fuel surcharge" made by the airline.  While I haven't seen charges like this for years, auto fuel in Houston pushed over $3.00 per gallon this year.  At the time of this email, there is no hint that there might be an airline fuel surcharge, but airlines have made last-minute fuel surcharges during high priced fuel times in the past.   An International Fuel Surcharge is  included in The Bill Jones Vacation Package price, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be another fuel surcharge added.  Years ago, I remember paying an additional $10 per segment on some flights I was taking.  The Bill Jones Vacation Packages HAVE NEVER BEEN ASSESSED a fuel surcharge OR ANY OTHER ADDITIONAL CHARGES IN THE PAST, but carry a credit card with you and be prepared just in case.  This is a co-op trip and no extra money has been added in your price for charges that "could happen".

You must use the service the group travel package provides.  You will not be reimbursed for anything.  An example would be if you take a cab from the airport to the hotel instead of using the provided ground transportation, you will pay for it.  You must use the ground transportation the package provides.  Seems reasonable, you can't use just any airplane you find that happens to be going to Cozumel either unless you want to pay for it.

All services provided in our group package are subject to availability.  Examples would be if the hotel doesn't have your favorite drink or serve your favorite food.  The group diving deal is full.  In these cases, then you don't get these items as a part of the package.  If you arrive on time, you are guaranteed a seat on the airplane, a seat on the ground transportation, food, drinks, and a hotel room.  CAUTION!  Your ticket is non-transferable and non-refundable.  Diving is not included.  "Group Diving Deal" and diving discount is subject to availability.  Air Fare, Ground Transportation, Hotel Accommodations are included. US International Departure & Arrival Taxes, 9/11 Security Fee, US Immigration Fees, US Animal/Plant Health Inspection Fees, Hotel Taxes, Package Sales Tax, and Mexico Departure Taxes are included.  International Fuel Surcharge is  included.  All tipping at the resort is included.  Divemaster tips are not included.  Meals, lavish buffets, and free-flowing, unlimited, soft drinks, beer, wine, recognizable-brand mixed drinks, high balls, umbrella drinks, and cocktails are all included in the Bill Jones Cozumel Package.

A major credit card will be required by the hotel at check-in to extend your credit and insure that any charges you may make on your room are covered.  You should be prepared to provide a major credit card at check-in.  This is a very standard practice even with "all inclusive" travel packages.  While eating at the resort, you will be asked what room number you are in from time to time.  They are not going to bill anything to your room but they are checking to be sure you are a registered guest and part of the Bill Jones' Cozumel 2008 "All-Inclusive" Travel Package.  Just give them your room number and don't be concerned.  When checking-out, I will be available if you have questions about your bill.  You will have no charges to your credit card unless you have specifically charged something to your room.

You will need extra money for things you may wish to do in addition to the travel package, be prepared.  Some credit cards and some cash is reasonable for unforeseen expenses and for doing extra things beyond the package such as diving, buying souvenirs, eating in town, going to Playa Del Carmen, tipping, and if you require medical care.  Most businesses accept major credit cards with a reasonable to small exchange-rate penalty.  Do not carry loads of extra credit cards, piles of cash, expensive jewelry, watches, or electronics.  This hotel has a small wall-mounted safe in each room (deposit required for key & may be placed on a credit card) but it just makes sense not to carry too much of this stuff.  I will accept and prefer your personal check in Cozumel for any certifications you want to do.

$1 U.S. Dollar converts to almost $11 Mexican Pesos in July 2007, so a Peso is almost a U.S. dime.  Everyone accepts U.S. Dollars in Cozumel and will give you change in Mexican Pesos (Cozumel's legal tender), but there is some extra exchange-rate penalty.  If you don't plan to use a lot of cash (instead of credit cards) away from the resort or you don't plan to leave the resort, there is no huge need to exchange any of your U.S. Dollars.  Exchanging money at banks yield the least  exchange-rate penalty while exchanging money at airports and cash purchases at most Mexican merchants yields the largest exchange-rate penalty.  Credit Card purchases yield a reasonable to small exchange-rate penalty.  I will not bother to exchange any U.S. money for Pesos.  I will carry lots of $1 and $5 bills for tipping, cab rides, and for Wendy's evening dinner excursions (these places do not accept credit cards).

Failure to show up on-time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your non-refundable loss of that portion of the travel package.  Failure to check-in for the flight at least 1 hour prior to departure will result in your seat being made available for resale to another passenger and at  that point you will need to find another airline (not included).  I suggest you be there about 2 hours before check-in.  This is an international flight and 2-hour early check-ins are normal.  Plan on relaxing and meeting other travelers in the coffee bar after you check-in.  Failure to provide a current PASSPORT with at least four blank visa pages that will not expire within six months of the travel dates on any leg of the trip will result in your being denied boarding and your non-refundable loss of that portion of the travel package.  All disputes concerning loss of any transportation will be between you, the airline or ground transportation carrier, and the wholesaler.  I will have no involvement in this sort of dispute.  If you like to be fashionably late for things, you will have problems with the Bill Jones Cozumel Travel package. 

There is no expressed or implied warranty concerning flight delays with this package.  I have made every effort to make this a vacation that is delay-free and problem-free so that you can just spend your time enjoying the trip.  I cannot control the exact time the aircraft will leave or arrive.  I cannot control how long it takes for your luggage to arrive at the baggage-claim area.  I cannot control what Customs or Immigration does or how long that will take.  I cannot control the weather.  While we have never had any serious delays on previous trips, just know that I will experience any delays that might occur just as you do.

1 carry-on and 2 suitcases of normal weight and size per person is acceptable luggage and is included in the package.  There may be additional charges for excessive weight, size, and quantity of luggage (not included).  Industry standard would suggest approximately $50 per suitcase (not included) and be subject to space availability.  Be prepared to pay.  No traveler has ever been required to pay an additional luggage fee in the past on The Bill Jones Vacation Packages.

This year, the Bill Jones' Cozumel 2007 Travel Package travelers will be allowed (per passenger) 2 checked bags having a linear dimension no greater than 62” and 55” and a maximum total weight of 70 pounds for both checked bags.  1 additional piece to be carried onboard no greater than 8”x13”x22" with a maximum total weight of 18 pounds for carry-on items.  While the airline has been very good about slightly overweight bags, be prepared to pay a luggage fee if you are overweight.

This is a beach and diving vacation.  Extra swim suits, sun block / tan lotion, and T-shirts should be your focus.  The hotel provides loads of towels.  Ask me to eMail you a copy of my  Cozumel Travelers Suggested Diver Check List.  Experienced travelers know it makes a lot of sense to pack lightly.  Tip:  I like to carry a regulator case as a carry-on.  Inside is my computer/regulators, my mask, my swimsuit and T-shirt.  Computers & regulators are the expensive stuff and I like to keep a close eye on this case.  In the event that my luggage is delayed, I am ready to dive with a little help from the dive center.    Be sure to label your luggage obviously and securely in multiple locations on and in the bag.  Expect your bags to be opened and searched both in and out of your view or knowledge.

Do not take TANKS, WEIGHTS, KNIVES, or GLOVES.  Expect to pay additional charges to airlines and customs if you bring tanks or weights.  Tanks and weights are supplied by dive operators at no-charge as a part of your dive purchases.  The reefs and wrecks that we will be diving are Mexican national parks and knives and gloves are not allowed. Dive knives and airports don't mix these days.

Take all of your other diving gear including an empty weight belt and a dive sausage.  Ask me to eMail you a copy of my  Cozumel Travelers Suggested Diver Check List.  Dive gear is available in Cozumel for purchase and rent but don't expect every shop to be stocked like your favorite local dive center in Houston.  Give serious consideration to having the battery in your dive computer replaced before you leave.  I suggest you purchase things you need in Houston and carry these things with you.  This will save time, transportation costs, and frustration that may occur looking for these items in Cozumel.

Seriously consider purchasing diver insurance before you leave for Cozumel (not included).  PADI, DAN, and DiveAssure offer competitive dive accident medical care, decompression chamber, and evacuation insurance.   Polices provide top coverage but I would suggest you compare the coverage and rates and see what might best suit your needs.  DAN also offers Vacation Cancellation & Interruption Coverage.  Contact PADI sponsored insurance at http://www.diveinsurance.com/dp/DP-index.htm or 800-223-9998.  Contact DAN at http://www.diversalertnetwork.org or 800-446-2671.  Contact DiveAssure http://www.diveassure.com/new/usa/  866-898-0921.  CAUTION: DAN has recently delayed payment or refused to pay some charges at one of the recompression facilities in Cozumel.  When purchasing diver insurance, I would suggest you be sure that the coverage you intend to purchase includes medical facilities located in the area of your dive destination.  I have no involvement in your decisions on diver protection insurance purchases.

Dive boats often look very chaotic just minutes before they leave the dock.  You should not try to get onboard until instructed to do so by a DiveMaster.  Things are being loaded and unloaded and it looks like it will take forever before they get organized.  In spite of this, they generally leave on time or even minutes before.  These guys want to get back and "go home from work".  The DiveMasters do this every day and know exactly what they are doing.  What seems to look like it will take them 15 minutes to straighten out often only takes a minute or so and the boat leaves.  The point is that if you leave the dock to go get something, be sure to check with the head DiveMaster first.  Some of our travelers have had divers left on the dock on recent trips because they ran back to their room to get something.  Getting on a dive boat is not something you want to be fashionably late for.  Years ago in Cayman, the boat left without me while I was shopping in the dive center that operated the boat.

The DiveMaster briefing is for your safety and information and often allows you to better enjoy many dives.  It also could help you to make vital decisions in an emergency.   Please listen to the briefings.  Tip:  DiveMasters tend to like groups that pay attention and interact, resulting in them taking you to better dives.  It's true!  It makes sense, if the DiveMasters are having fun with you, they are going to take better care of you.  Have fun with our group AND have fun and interact with the DiveMasters.  Even though there will probably be a language barrier, be polite and respectful and treat DiveMasters as friends.  Tips are expected on dive boats (not included).  Read more about tipping in this eMail where I talk about TIPPING.

If you don't have a dive buddy or you would like to switch dive buddies including your spouse, its no problem, don't worry about it.  Just tell me or Wendy and we will find you a new buddy either before or as we begin the dive.  We are very experienced doing this politely and discretely.  If your buddy is doing something that is making you uncomfortable, tell us.  This is another of the many reasons its fun to travel in groups.  No problem man.  Wendy nor I or anyone else traveling with us will act as professional Divemasters on the trip, but we are fellow travelers that are happy to be of assistance.

Legal Issues:  You will be a guest in a foreign country.  Do not expect to have the same "legal rights" you enjoy in the United States.  Do not carry illegal items in or out of the country.  Do not participate in any illegal activity.  Other than prescription drugs in their original prescription containers, do not carry drugs or weapons of any kind.  Any conflict you are a part of in Mexico, you can assume you will be considered the guilty party and that you will be detained.  Remember, failure to show up in time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your loss of that portion of the travel package. Carry extra copies of your Passport separately from your actual Passport.  It's always a good idea to maintain your "Tourist" status while outside of the U.S.  In general, Cozumel is a low crime and "safe" Mexico / Caribbean destination, but common sense still applies.

Local Transportation:  I do not recommend that you rent an automobile (approx. $45 U.S./day, not included) or a motor scooter (approx. $25 U.S./day and very popular, not included).  If you are driving and are involved in an accident or traffic violation, you can assume that you will be considered the guilty party and that you will be detained.  Remember, failure to show up in time for transportation on any leg of the trip will result in your loss of that portion of the travel package.  I suggest that you take a cab (not included) if you decide to leave the resort.  If you are involved in an accident while riding in a cab, you can continue on in another cab.  Cabs are inexpensive for the most part, but be sure to negotiate the cab fare before you get into the cab.  In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a fare lower than the posted rate.  If you get into the cab before you agree to a rate, you may obligate yourself to fares higher than the posted rate.  Expect Cozumel Police to side with the cab driver on fare disputes.  I can put you onto a very competitive tour operator (not included) that will eliminate these kinds of transportation concerns.


Your Travel Health:  I am not a doctor.  I don't use or recommend any medications when traveling and diving, but I have been receiving a few questions.  I suggest you see your doctor before the trip if you are concerned.
The most common Scuba Diver health issues on Bill Jones travel packages are: Heartburn, Headaches, Sun Burn, and Mosquito Bytes.  Bring Antacids, Aspirin/Pain Relievers, Sun Block, and Bug Repellants with you.

If you are predisposed to Motion Sickness / SEA SICKNESS (airplanes/boats), ask your doctor about prescribing (Rx) the Reglan® or Trans-derm Scopolamine® patches or similar.  Non-prescription / Over the counter, there are products  called Bonnine®, Dimenhydrate® (Original Dramamine®), and Meclizine® (all cause significant drowsiness).  Motion sickness is caused by a sensory conflict. The brain receives conflicting information about body motion from visual and vestibular (inner ear) receptors.  Studies show we can adapt or "get used to" this motion with repeated exposures and symptoms will gradually improve or disappear. Emetrol®, a sweet syrup available over the counter, can also help nausea.  Slow deep breathing (inhale for 4 or 5 seconds then exhale for 4 or 5 seconds- for a total of 6 to 7 breaths per minute) stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and settles the stomach.
    There is a sea sickness bracelet such as "Sea Bands"®, a wristband placed with the pressure button over the middle of the inner wrist in the soft area of the lower arm just off the wrist bones.  A lot of people claim these eliminate sea sickness.
    Home remedies include ginger root in the form of candies, capsules or as a tea.  Nibble on ginger cookies and plain saltine crackers.  Drink apricot juice, carrot juice, peppermint tea and Coke-a-cola.
    Six  tricks to avoid or treat motion sickness include:
    1. Eat a light carbohydrate meal no less than 2-3 hours before exposure.  Avoid dairy products and foods high in protein, calories or sodium before exposure.
    2. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and disagreeable odors.  Open vents to increase exposure to cool, fresh air, sit out on the deck of a boat.
    3. Adjust the temperature inside so you are not overheated.
    4. Focus on a stable horizon or external object.  Limit head movements (e.g. press head into headrest)
    5. Try to keep tasks such as reading, table calculations, and logging to short periods at a time.
    6. Keep a plastic bag with you and keep it handy.  If you are feeling the least bit funny, don’t hesitate to open the bag and have it ready.  If you are going to vomit, seal the bag over your mouth with both hands while leaving your nose exposed for fresh air. In this way, all fluids and odors will be contained and there is less chance of spillage.

If you are concerned about Montezuma's Revenge, consider seeing your doctor about a product such as Doxycycline®, Atridox®, Doryx®, Doxy®, Monodox®, Periostat®, or Vibramycin®.  These products are tetracycline-like antibiotics and are used to treat a wide variety of infections and to prevent "traveler’s diarrhea".   Over the counter loperamides such as  Immodium AD® are of use after diarrhea has begun.

My experience in Cozumel is that these products are largely unnecessary.   Montezuma's Revenge is more associated with areas of Mexico that are much less "Americanized" than Cozumel.  Cozumel has reasonable water systems.  You should not have a problem.  Use common sense and stay away from street vendor food and drinks and places that just don't seem safe.  See your doctor if you are concerned.

 Join our eMail list for more detailed Vacation and Scuba Class Information, Contact Bill Jones:  Bjones@houston.rr.com

Read about our recent Cozumel Vacation

Prices, Dates, & Specifications are subject to change until purchased
Tickets ON-SALE now
 

7th Annual Bill Jones COZUMEL Vacations

Departing from HOUSTON's BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT  IAH

July 28, 2008 for 5 Days, 4 Nights for only $749 pp, dbl occ, tax incl

We arrive early enough on Monday to get weighted-out and dive.  We leave late enough on Friday to make 2 dives Thursday morning.

OR
July 28, 2008 for 8 Days, 7 Nights for only
$949 pp, dbl occ, tax incl

We arrive early enough on Monday to get weighted-out and dive.  We leave late enough on Monday to make 2 dives Sunday morning.

 staying at the fabulous Hotel Cozumel & Resort


The Bill Jones Cozumel Group Package Price Includes:

Air Fare, Ground Transportation, Hotel Accommodations

ALL YOU CAN EAT AND DRINK

Including Soft Drinks, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Mixed Drinks, Umbrella Drinks, Specialty Drinks, Shots, and High Balls

All Taxes, Exit Fees, and Gratuities

Including Mexican Government Taxes, US International Departure & Arrival Taxes, 9/11 Security Fee, US Immigration Fees, US Animal/Plant Health Inspection Fees

One PADI Specialty Diving Certification  (non-transferable, some restrictions & fees apply)

 Group Diving Deal with Dive Paradise, the on-site PADI Gold Palm Dive Center,  BUT DIVING IS NOT INCLUDED
Group Diving Deal (some rules apply) includes a free shore dive, 2-tank morning boat dives for $49, afternoon boat dives for $15


Travelers must be at least 21 unless accompanied by Parents

Ticket price based on Double Occupancy, Non-Transferable & Non-refundable

Prices and Specifications Subject to Change until Purchased, Tickets Subject to Availability

Diving is Not Required.  Divers Must Show Proof of Certification & Experience

Passport and Signed Liability Release Required

Cozumel, the largest inhabited island in the Mexican Caribbean, is located 12 miles off the coast of the eastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the State of Quintana Roo. 30 miles east of the mainland and east of the world famous Cancun resort area.  Cozumel Island is approximately 30 miles long and 10 miles wide. The vast majority of land is dense, subtropical jungle.  Surrounded by pristine white beaches and the beautiful turquoise-blue water of the Mexican Caribbean, Hotel Cozumel & Resort provides the ideal combination of fun and relaxation.  A unique doorway to a mystical relationship with Cozumel's ancient Mayan past and modern-day adventure and hospitality.

For Detailed Information, Contact Bill Jones:  Bjones@houston.rr.com

 


IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO ON ANY OF THESE TRIPS, YOU SHOULD Apply for a Passport NOW.
Passport processing now has major delays because of the huge demand caused by the new 9/11 travel rules.
Most Passport applications are returned at least once because of application errors  which doubles processing time.

All passengers on the Bill Jones' 2008 Co-op SCUBA VACATIONS will be required to present a current passport.   If you don't have a passport and you plan to join us on any of our trips in 2008, I would suggest that you file for your passport today! Apply for a Passport or Renew a Passport  My experience with passport applications includes delays and re-submissions.  Expect extra delays for passport issuance in Spring 2007 as more travelers begin to understand the new rules required by the United States Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.  The passport application process normally takes several months if everything goes smoothly.  It will take some additional time for you to put together the documents necessary for the application.  Most passport applications are returned at least once because of application errors,  which doubles the processing time.  An expedited passport application is available for a considerable additional fee.  A passport is current for 10 years.  Download the passport application form and start working on your passport application right now!

Note:  Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip and/or have two to four blank visa/stamp pages.  Some airlines will not allow you to board if these requirements are not met.

We are a group of Scuba Divers and non-scuba diving travelers in the Houston area that want to do up-scale vacations for rock-bottom prices.  Compare these travel costs and vacation quality to any other offer in Houston and I know you will be impressed.  If you can find a cheaper, equal quality Cozumel package from Houston, let me know and I will go with you.  Note:  Bill Jones earns no commissions, everyone pays their share of their actual vacation costs.  Co-op (shared cost) group buying power makes these vacations possible.  Bill Jones is a Houston area, current and insured PADI Master Instructor.  ANYONE INTERESTED or if you know someone that should be on my email list, let me know mr.bill.jones@comcast.net or please forward this eMail to them.