I Stayed in a Dive Hostel... and Loved it
... Let me rephrase that. I stayed in a scuba diving hostel and LOVED IT. And I rarely use caps.
I was in the middle of a week-long sugar detox when I booked my trip to Cozumel, Mexico during my break at work one day. Maybe it was the lack of sugar, maybe it was the monotony of my then job, but naturally I needed to do something drastic to overcompensate. So anyway, I was on the hunt for a chill, cool and cheap hostel in the Cozumel area. What's good, Hostel World? Enter: 2Tank Dive Hostel. Mmhm sold.
Can I just address some hostel myths and stereotypes for a second… cause we’ve all seen the horror movie, Hostel right?? Ok, not all hostels are dirty and dingy and dark and a horrible place for you to get your stuff stolen and maybe die. In my experience at least, it's quite the opposite! They're clean, safe, some are very modern and most importantly, they're full of amazing people from all over the world (my favourite so far was def The Generator in Barcelona - a topic for another post!). Guys, of course it's not the Ritz here... you'll have to manage your expectations and accept that you prrrob won't be staying on a plush queen-sized bed with a chocolate and one of those towel swan things on your pillow. But hey, your experiences will out weigh all of that. Guaranteed! And with anything, there are exceptions. Just make sure you read reviews and do your research to ensure you'll enjoy your stay.
Back to my 2tank Hostel experience: this was a solo trip pour moi this time around. While I would absolutely love to share this experience with someone that I already knew, I wasn't going to let my friend's disinterest/unavailability stop me from going. Since my trip was based on snorkeling with whale sharks, I only had a small window (June-September because of their migratory patterns) to actually do it. After all, while I technically traveled alone, I was never lonely. Had I stayed in a hotel though, I think my experience would be sooo different as there are not as many opportunities to meet new travel buds!
Tip #1: download Duolingo (it's free!) and learn important words/phrases in the country's official language. When I arrived in Cozumel, I hopped in a taxi and told the driver the hostel address - smiling from ear to ear he said, "si, si senorita, I know where." Spoiler alert: he did not know where. He tried to drop me off at two different random hostels in the downtown area, ensuring me that it was the right place. Fast forward a couple of minutes of me butchering his language, which obvi made him laugh, which then made me laugh even more than him… we weren’t making much progress. I mean, not to brag or anything but I watched two seasons of Narcos buuut yeah...my Spanish is more at a Dora the Explorer level. Had he wanted to converse in only Maluma lyrics - I’m ya girl, but that wasn’t the case 😂 …Tú me partiste el corazón (ay, mi corazón)
Right where he dropped me off though, there was a pub with live music so I decided to figure out where I was over a beer. Lucky for me, the bartender knew English and more importantly, where 2Tank was located and pointed me in the proper direction = sigh of relief and cerveza #2, por favor. All of this to say that this could have been avoided had I not been so lazy and spent a little more time on Duolingo learning the basics of the country’s official language, Spanish. It’s on me to adapt and respect cultural norms of the country I’m visiting, not the other way around.
2TANK EXPERIENCE AND REVIEW
2Tank is situated in a really convenient location: 5 min walk to the ferry (routes to Playa Del Carmen, which will hook you up to Cancun and Isla Mujeres), local markets, shopping, tonnes of restaurants and about a 10-15 min drive to the airport. The only downside is that the closest beach is about a 30ish min drive away, which isn’t a huuge deal but it’s just an extra thing to plan/expense of a taxi etc. On my rest day, when I had no dives or activities planned, I just took the ferry over to Playa (30 min ride, $10-$12 USD return) and spent the day on the beach there as I liked it much better than Cozumel’s beaches.
The hostel has three different types of rooms available: basic dorm rooms, premium dorm rooms and tiny rooms. I personally stayed in the basic dorm room, so I’ll just chat about that option in this post. All their basic dorms include free WiFi, small and big safety lockers, personal electric plugs, shelves, reading lamps, privacy curtains, some double beds, air exhaust system and adjustable overnight ACs with remotes in all dorm rooms. I also met some people who booked a full premium dorm so that they could have it for themselves, which is a great idea for group travel.
The beds weren’t all that comfortable to be honest. Overall, it was a very basic accommodation situation as it provided everything you needed, but no frills and nothing extra. But it was fine with me because I was out from 6-7am to all hours of the night, so I just needed a place to sleep basically. There’s a kitchen area available to store and cook your own food and a nice lounge area with hammocks and couches for you to hang out in as well as a TV and an in-house computer for use.
Scuba Diving Packages
I bought my diving packages directly from 2Tank - they either take you out diving themselves or book you with a third-party dive shop. There are discounts available and lots of package options for you to choose from. But the general rule is: the more nights/dives you book, the bigger discount you’ll get… no shocker there. The divemaster was great - he described each dive site and let us pick where to go as a group, which isn’t always the case with other divemasters/dive shops.
I really enjoyed the overall vibe of the hostel; colourful, nice and informative front desk staff, amazing guests. According to their website, 2Tank got an 8.3 rating based on 233 reviews on booking.com which is pretty awesome.
LIKE MINDEDNESS & SHARED INTERESTS = GAME CHANGER
I think part of the reason why it's so easy to meet people in hostels is because of the like-mindedness. Especially if it's catering to a specific hobby or activity (i.e scuba diving) so right away, you know that everyone shares that common interest.
In my experience at least, people are generally very chill, kind, fun, open-minded and since solo travel is super common for both guys and girls (of allll ages), everyone is looking to meet new adventure pals. This also puts you in a position to step outside of your comfort zone a little bit and have a conversation with someone new. And let me tell you, I was not always this social. Not even close. I was very shy in high school (except around my close friends, of course) and it was only when I started traveling that I really stepped out of my shell and basically said eff it... and slowly accumulated more confidence over time. Meeting new international friends is great not only because of the extra company, but also the different perspectives you gain from the other person's experiences and cultural background. Looove.
Ok, before I ramble tooo much, I'm gonna end the post here. I'll be addressing other solo-travel related topics (and why you can 100% do it too) in future posts, so keep checking back! As always, any questions/comments/experiences you wanna share please do by commenting below or messaging me directly!