Cozumel in a Nutshell - Cozumel is a year-round dive destination known for easy drift diving with stellar visibility, vibrantly colored sponges and marine life like turtles, nurse sharks and rays. It also has good nightlife and a mix between luxury and inexpensive dive resorts.
Cozumel is home to over 500 fish species and a wide variety of corals. On a typical trip divers will see turtles, groupers, green moray eels, nurse sharks, the endemic splended toadfish and lots of colorful tropical fish. Divers will often see eagle rays in the distance during winter months while the summer brings more blacktip and reef sharks. The southernmost deeper reefs feature massive coral heads covered with vase, tube, rope, elephant ear and many other vibrantly colored sponges. The coral heads create a network of fun channels, swim-throughs and wall drifts above steep drop-offs. The depth and rich color make a dive light very useful in viewing the rich colors and for peering into nooks and crannies looking for a spendid toadfish or dog-sized lobsters.
The shallower reefs further north boast many small fish and inverts. It's here that divers will often see hawksbill turtles, eagle rays and small schools of jacks, barracuda and other open water fish.
Searching beneath and behind the coral heads will reward divers with nurse sharks, moray eels, lobsters and more. Afternoon and night boat dives are done on these shallower reefs as well.
Shore diving from resorts offers a chance macro subjects on artificial reefs and the sandy bottom. The current is minimal at these sites, prividing ample opportunity to shoot anemone shrimp, juvenile drumfish, spotted moray eels, stingrays, trumpetfish and more. Diving at dusk into night will bring out more critters, including some curious squid. And while more rare, divers should always be on the lookout for seahorses
Water Temperature: Averages 25°C/77°F in the winter and 29°C/85°F in summer.
Visibility: Consistently 80-100 feet (24-30 meters
Depth Range: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)
Typical Cozumel Dive
There are many dive operators in Cozumel - some independent and some attached to resorts. Diving is done from a variety of boats, from spacious 20-diver boats to fast twin-outboard pangas for 4-6 divers. Two-tank morning dives are standard, picking up divers at resort docks anywhere between 7:30-8:30am, returning by 12 or 1pm in time for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Single-tank afternoon dives, night dives and resort beach dives are also available.
Because of the currents (running south to north), dive boats make live drops and follow divers as they drift along the reef before ascending right next the boat. Some operations will drop a big group with several guides and some will space out small groups with one guide each. Guides always deploy an SMB before ascending to a safety stop.
Those diving several days will experience a great variety in dive sites.
Advanced divers will start with deeper (70-80ft) dives along the famous Punta Sur, Colombia and Palancar Reefs followed by a surface interval and second dive further north at shallower reefs like Paso Del Cedral, Tormentos, Chankanaab or several others. The deeper reefs feature massive coral heads with a maze of swim-throughs and walls decorated with colorful sponges of all shapes and sizes. The dives will generally start in shallower water for a quick bouyancy check and then drop over the ledge into deeper water for the majority of the dive. Towards the end, divers will work their way up the slope into the 30-40ft range before rising for a mid-water safety stop. The shallower reefs are colorful with more natural light as divers drift over exotic coral, sponges and marine life - perfect as a second dive.
Columbia Deep – For huge coral formations.
Panancar reef – Big structure with many tunnels and swim throughs
Chankanaab Reef – Aan amazing night dive that has an abundance of marine life.
Barracuda Reef – Northwest of the island, a deep hog back reef with strong currents, a great place to see pelagics; an advanced dive.
C-53 – Wreck of an old mine sweeper, put down as an artificial reef.
Topside & Non-Diving Activities - Cozumel offers many activities for non-divers and divers who want to relax after diving in the morning. The nightlife is rich with a variety of entertainment to choose from. There are restaurants offering nice romantic dining, casual family dinners, latenight clubs and everything in-between. There is shopping, parasailing, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and many more activities. The wide range of resorts allows divers to choose from exceptional spa facilities, hammocks to tuck away and read a book, tennis courts and pools with swim-up bars. Those who are more adventurous can ride horses, take a tequila tasting tour, join eco jungle and lagoon tours or venture inland to explore ancient Mayan ruins.
Currency: Mexican Peso
Language: Spanish is the official language in Mexico but most people today learn English as a second language
Main Airport Code: CZM
Time Zone: UTC-5
Electricity: 127 V 60 Hz
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