Ranked no. 1 by PADI as a top dive destination and featuring on almost every divers must-dive destination list, the island of Cozumel off the Mayan Coast of Mexico is a feast for eyes. Both a luxury resort destination coupled with fantastic diving, Cozumel draw divers to the island by the thousands with its stunning visibility and good diving infrastructure.
Located just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is the largest island in the Caribbean. The island is a mere 28 miles / 9 meters long and 10 miles / 2 meters wide and is surrounded by gorgeous reefs and pristine clear waters. Cozumel is actually a conglomeration of many different coral formations and personalities, as a series of separate reefs make up the over 20 highly popular diving areas of Cozumel, including a labyrinth of tunnels, dramatic swim through’s and canyons lying amidst the towering coral plateaus teeming with marine life.
The two main coral reef systems surrounding Cozumel are the Colombia and Palancar reefs which house many of the islands favorite dive sites. Easily accessible with plateaus beginning in waters only 30 feet (9 meters) deep, Cozumel reefs boast of abundant underwater sea life and brilliant colors, often referred to by many scuba divers as some of the best Scuba diving of their lives. Famous for its drift diving, currents range from gentle 1/2 knots near some dive sites to fast, strong currents only for experienced adventurous drift divers. The night diving here too is incredible.
For beginners to intermediate divers, the Chankanaab Lagoon is one of the most popular sites on the island. Divers and snorkelers can observe small coral and limestone formations at just 6 to 30 feet (2 to 9 meters). A unique experience is the mixing of cold fresh water that flows out of the limestone caves called cenotes on top as you can still feel the warm salt water below. A very popular spot for night diving. Other novice dive sites include- Paradise Reef, Las Palmas Wall, Balones of Chancanab, Shallow Palancar and more.
For divers who like a little challenge, Cozumel has a host of dive sites suitable for the experienced. Popular for it’s impressive wall dives with brilliant colors and sea life that have people raving about it, there are some stunning drop-off worth fighting the currents to see.The Wall at the Santa Rosa Reef begins at 50 feet and drops straight away into the deep blue. A brisk current accompanies you as you spot great beds of tunicates, immense sponges, huge overhangs of stony corals and impressive caves and tunnels. Easily one of the most popular deep drift dives of the Island, eagle rays and turtles are often spotted here as well as large groupers. Another of Cozumel’s most popular deep dives is the Palancar Caves because of its deep buttresses, tunnels, caves and big caverns that sit along the edge of a sloping wall. The currents are usually mild, but marine life is abundant.
The “Punta Sur” dive site is particularly popular among experienced divers and especially underwater photographers for its incredible topography. Due to the site’s southern location tot he island the conditions can be rough with fast running midwater currents that can cause one to miss the dive site entirely! The most famous section of this site called the “Devil’s Throat”, starts inside a coral swim through. After descending into the opening of a dark narrow tunnel at 90 feet you are suddenly welcomed into a sunlit opening at 130 feet on the wall overlooking the abyss. The ‘Columbia Deep’, ‘Maracaibo Wall’, ‘Punta Tunich’, ‘Yucab (Virgin) Wall’, ‘Barracuda’s Wall’ and the “Mountains” of San Juan are other challenging sites for advanced divers.
Cozumel even offers a Wreck Dive – the C-53 Xicotencatl. Sunk in the year 2000 just outside of Balones de Chankanaab, on a sandy plain between Tormentos & Chankanaab,the C-53 is 184 feet long & 33 feet wide and consists of 4 decks.
Touted as one of the “best dive locations in the world”, a variety of underwater wonders awaits you at Cozumel, home to the only inland coral reef formation in the world. A Scuba divers mecca, Cozumel has the best diving the Caribbean has to offer and will not disappoint, that we assure!