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Timeshare in Cozumel, Mexico



Enter into a discussion with the folks at the table next to you on the beach regarding timeshare, and you will either hear how great they are or how bad they are…but in either case, everybody agrees that the timeshare tour pitches on the streets of Cozumel can get WAY out of hand. More on this particular topic below (or click HERE), but let’s start with a brief look at the principals of timesharing.

Timesharing is pitched as a way of ‘owning’ your vacation. Rather than ‘paying rent’ as you normally do when you get a hotel, you ‘own’ the rights to a particular property. The sales pitch is that you own your room or condo at a particular resort for a particular week every year, and it’s yours to use every year, or to rent out, or you can allow friends to use it.

 

Additionally, there are options allowing you to exchange your timeshare for a different destination. Participation in an exchange company allows you to exchange your week in Cozumel, for example, with somebody who owns a week in Cancun that wants to spend this year’s vacation in Cozumel

 

Timeshare has passed its infancy and is now joined by some of the most respected names in the hospitality business, including Sheraton, Marriott, Disney, and more. The industry has matured and fly-by-night operators are considerably fewer and far between. You may encounter other travelers who own one or as many as 20 timeshare weeks, and many of them love the concept.

 

Recently the industry has begun offering ‘fractional ownership’ options on not only hotel and condo units, but entire free-standing houses and villas which allow you to buy an entire month, or (for example) a 1/8 share of a condo or villa.

 

For some people, timeshare and fractional ownership makes sense. For others, it does not. Here are some key points to consider if thinking about timesharing in Cozumel:

 

Location: If you like the kind of vacation where you spend a majority of your time at the resort, hanging out at the pool or beach, and in general ‘un-winding’ from your normally stressful life, then nearly any location in Cozumel can fill the bill. Locations further out from "the Golden Zone" will offer even more relaxation and ‘peaceful isolation’. If, however, you like to spend more time out and about, shopping, trying new restaurants, taking in tours and activities, then consider a location close to the places you like to visit.

 

Annual Maintenance Fees: Carefully consider the cost of annual maintenance in addition to the purchase price, and check to see that there is a cap on the possible annual increases to this fee. Nobody should expect a maintenance fee to remain the same forever regardless of inflation and rising costs, but it should not out-pace these increases.

 

Fixed or Floating Week: Are you able to take your vacation on the exact same week every year? If so, a fixed week could be fine. Floating weeks offer more flexibility, but may still require booking your desired vacation week far in advance.

 

Exchange Options: There are two major exchange companies, and each charge an annual membership fee plus another fee when you actually succeed in exchanging your week. Considering the amortized price of your timeshare, plus maintenance fees, plus exchange membership and exchange fees, you might be better off finding a good hotel deal on the internet rather than having to fuss with making exchanges. If you plan to use your timeshare yourselves at the resort where you purchased it, then disregard this, and don’t waste your money even bothering to join an exchange company.

 

Typical Traveling Group: Do you have children or typically travel with friends? The price of a timeshare and annual maintenance fees can often represent a great value when compared to the cost of multiple hotel rooms in Cozumel. Many timeshares are condo-style, complete with kitchen, so your timeshare is truly your ‘vacation home’.

 

Investment Value: There is NO investment value to a typical timeshare, and your purchase of a timeshare should not be predicated on the idea that it will provide positive cash-flow or an increase in value with age. IMMEDIATELY walk away from any timeshare pitch that tries to show you how much money you can make with your timeshare. This statement is backed up by the timeshare industry’s board of conduct.

If you are truly looking for an investment, the real estate climate in Cozumel has been very attractive for the past several years, and shows no signs of letting up. The purchase of a full-ownership condo or house here presents a more expensive, but infinitely more lucrative opportunity for a vacation residence with positive investment and cash-flow value.

 

It is presumed that the investment value on fractional ownership of free-standing houses and villas might be positive, since these are typically titled-and-deeded for perpetuity. However this portion of the industry is too young to be able to offer any conclusive facts.

 

If you love Cozumel, and typically vacation here at least once a year: Timesharing is probably a excellent option for you. If you have found one particular area or resort that you especially enjoy, this is the place to look for a timeshare opportunity for you. There are many fine and reputable timeshare and fractional ownership options here, and it will be worth your time to check them out.

Now, about those pesky timeshare ‘sharks’ on the streets of Cozumel: Yes, they can be annoying and obnoxious, and they sometimes seem to be. There are many ‘stores’ that are actual timeshare ‘fronts’. Everybody, locals and tourists alike, lament their numbers and tactics, but the industry has strong ties to government and it must be successful or they wouldn’t remain.

 

Here are a few of the typical ‘shout outs’ from the ‘sharks’:

“Hey, you guys on your Honeymoon?”
“Where are you going, to the Flea Market?”
“What kind of tours are you looking for today?”
“You want a free jeep rental?”
“Are you from California?” (or any other place, given a clue by your S.F. Giants hat or Denver Broncos T-shirt)

 

All of these are designed to elicit ANY reply so that you get sucked into a ‘friendly’ conversation, which soon turns into a high-pressure pitch to attend a timeshare presentation in exchange for free dinners, tours, or even cash. Most visitors, being friendly and not wanting to appear rude in a foreign country, get caught up and find they can’t get away.

 

Even trying to simply ignore them doesn’t work. As you walk by ignoring the man’s questions, he may retort “What, you’re too good to talk to a Mexican?” taking a last stab at roping you in. And once you’ve been roped, forget what he tells you about a 90-minute presentation. Yes, you’ll see a beautiful resort and get fed a good breakfast, but the hard-sell tactics do not end on the street. There are hundreds of reports (easily found on the internet) about hard-sell presentations lasting hours and hours, where even the slightest appearance of interest on your part keeps you bound to your seats no matter how many times you say “thank you, but NO” while trying to escape and collect your “free gift” of a tour or dinners.

 

BEST ADVICE: If you want to look at timeshare, either go to the resort you might be interested in, or at least utilize a reputable agency to set up a tour. Regarding the street sharks, simply ignore them. You do NOT need to feel you are being rude…don’t respond, just keep walking. It’s your VACATION, and you don’t need to feel any guilt whatsoever by avoiding their pitch.

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