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Diving Isla Cozumel, Mexico

Diving Isla Cozumel, Mexico

                                           

Arriving on the island is simple, as it has its own international airport. Flights from Miami, Montreal, and Mexico City all arrive directly at the Cozumel International Airport and are usually only 2 to 5 hours long. Visitors can also board a 20-minute connecting flight from Cancun.


Cozumel is a year-round scuba diving destination off Mexico's eastern Caribbean coast. The island is known for gentle drift dives, excellent visibility, and reefs teeming with marine life including corals, sponges, turtles, nurse sharks, and small rays. 

Cozumel is also known for its variety of dive resorts, from budget to luxury, and many of the resorts are all-inclusive. With a list of land-based activities, Cozumel is a popular travel destination for scuba divers and non-divers alike. Cozumel’s peak season typically runs from November to April and the resorts can be quite busy.

Geographically, the island is 45 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide. The dive sites are all on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which runs past Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and is the second largest barrier reef in the world. The Marine Park of Cozumel was established in 1996 and protects the southern area of the island. Diving in Cozumel is suitable for beginning divers with shallow sites and advanced divers with deeper drift dives along walls and swim-throughs. Water temperature is warm year-round. Many of the dive sites are perfectly suited to underwater photography and offer opportunities for both wide-angle and macro subjects. 


                                   

The reefs are home to more than 500 fish species and a wide variety of coral. Divers also encounter turtles, groupers, green moray eels, nurse sharks, the splendid toadfish and other colorful tropical fish. Shore diving from resorts offers macro critters on the artificial reefs and the sandy bottom. Currents are minimal at these sites, providing ample opportunity to shoot anemone shrimp, juvenile drumfish, spotted moray eels, stingrays, trumpetfish and more. Night dives bring out more critters, including curious squid. And while rarer, divers should always be on the lookout for seahorses.

                                   

Some of the best dive sites around Cozumel include:

·      Santa Rosa Wall, one of the most popular deep dive sites. The wall begins at around 15 meters and extends deep into the abyss. 

·      Colombia wall, over 30 meters high and is home to a stunning cave, tunnel and cavern systems. 

·      Palancar Reef is the perfect first dive site for individuals not confident in their skill set. The reef extends over 5 kilometers and is home to huge coral clusters. 

·      Palancar Horseshoe is named after the U-shaped protrusion on the wall. This site is home to tunnels and swim-throughs carved into the reef. 

·      Punta Tunich offers swift currents and drift dives. Diving this location starts at around 20 meters where the sand bottom leads to extended ridges of coral. 

·      Barracuda Reef offers divers crazy currents and abundant marine life including hammerheads, black-tip reef sharks, eagle rays and barracuda. This is a northern dive site and a limited number of dive shops travel there.


                                       

Many travelers visit Cozumel from Caribbean cruises, typically just for a day. However, divers often spend their entire vacation on the island. With warm temperatures year-round, it is almost always a great time to dive in Cozumel. May to September has the warmest, calmest waters that are perfect for any level of diver. November to March is most popular for those hoping to spot bull sharks. While the waters are generally calm, they do tend to get rougher in between seasons. However, the more advanced waters typically allow for sightings of sharks and eagle rays. The waters are usually full of colorful reef fish and corals, but stingrays, nurse sharks, lobsters, turtles, and groupers can also be seen by lucky divers. 


                                       

The island itself has a rich history that is kept alive by the Mayan ruins scattered throughout the island. Visitors often take tours to the areas due to their remote locations on the island, but the venture is worth it in order to be immersed into a world that once was. Some of the most popular historical sites include San Gervasio and Cedral. In addition to the ruins, the island has plenty of stunning natural structures to explore. The island has what is known as a karst topography due to its foundation being made of limestone. Guests can choose to explore this as the limestone base results in cenotes, which are sinkholes filled with water. These are usually done through tours as well. 

 

Exploring downtown is a great way to experience the culture in Cozumel. With countless restaurants and shops, there is so much to discover. By nightfall, all of the tourists visiting from cruises will be gone, and the nightlife begins to vibrantly take over the island. Since most visitors are gone by this time, nightlife in Cozumel is mostly spent with locals, taking away the touristy feel and replacing it with a more authentic vibe. There are plenty of bars along the coast of the island, and there is often plenty of live music to dance to. 

 

Cozumel is a unique, vibrant island that provides many experiences. No matter who is visiting, they will be able to fall in love with some part of the island. Whether it be its history, the sandy beaches, the lively Caribbean waters, or the unique landscape, there is truly something for everyone. 

Awesome Drift Dive Destinations

Awesome Drift Dive Destinations

                                     

 

For many of our fellow dive buddies, there’s nothing like a dive with wild current. Coral heads flying by, schools of fish and critters all doing their best to fight the flow and find shelter from the current in a coral head. Drift diving is one of the most exhilarating types of diving in the underwater world and there are some great dive destinations where you can jump in and enjoy the ride. No matter where you decide to experience drift dives, remember, Dive Safe! Whether you are an expert or a novice drift diver, safety comes first. Here are some rules to follow for a safe and fun drift dive:
– make sure you carry and use an SMB;
– streamline your gear to avoid damaging the reef;
– be properly weighted and neutrally buoyant;
– concentrate on your surroundings and changing conditions;
– do not fight current, work with it not against it.

 

Cozumel, Mexico

 

When planning a dive trip to Cozumel, you should prepare yourself for some great drift dives. Cozumel is a renowned destination for divers with a whole lot to offer. Cozumel is known for drift diving as well as other amazing reef dive sites. With its combination of great visibility, generally calm surface conditions, and strong currents, divers can experience drift diving at its best. Whether you’re an experienced diver, a beginner, looking to add drift diving to your skill set. Some amazing drift dives to try when diving Cozumel include Santa Rosa Wall, Pun ta Tunich, Palancar Reef, and Columbia Wall.

Santa Rosa Wall - Divers come back from Cozumel unable to stop talking about the Santa Rosa Wall, and for good reason. It is one of the deeper dive sites you will do when diving Cozumel, it is worth getting down there to see the fantastic coral formations, barrel sponges, and the incredible marine life. You can see sea turtles, huge groupers, and majestic eagle rays gliding through the waters here.

Punta Tunich is another great site. With coral ridges rising up from the sandy base at 70 feet, you’ll see schools of grunt and snapper, as well as large sea fans, bright, beautiful sponges and intricate corals. 

Planacar Reef offers three miles of reef and is suitable even for the beginning scuba diver. If you are diving Cozumel as a newly qualified diver and want an experience that lets you use the skills you learned, Palancar reef is easy and rewarding, with its hugely diverse sea life population and coral formations. The gentle currents and temperate water allow you to drift comfortably as you enjoy the surrounding world of colourful fish, sponges, coral and sea fans. This is also a really good dive site if you are an underwater photographer.

                                    

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the best dive experiences in the world, thanks to the large marine critters and unique wildlife found at these special islands. There is no shortage of currents at the Galapagos Islands, which attract pelagic species to top sites such as Wolf and Darwin Islands. Jump in, go with the flow and enjoy the schools of hammerheads and rays that pass you by.

 

The Cabo Douglas dive site is located on the North West side of Fernandina Island. One of the central Galapagos islands, Fernandina has an active shield volcano 'La Cumbre', which has been subject to eruptions within the last ten years. Fernandina is one of the most unspoiled environments in the world and one of the few places in the Galapagos which has never suffered any kind of invasive species. Many of the animals on Fernandina exist only on the Galapagos Islands. Marine iguanas have also evolved to survive on these islands making them completely distinctive to the region. The island is also home to a great number of sea lions, turtles, pelicans and Galapagos penguins. The dive sites at Cabo Douglas don’t cover a very large area but offer the opportunity to see so many rare species that it is thrilling diving.

Red Sea, Egypt

Elphinstone Reef in Southern Egypt is a long sausage-shaped reef that sits in the open ocean and is perfect for drift diving. The walls of the reef drop thousands of meters to the inky depths and are covered in hard and soft corals and filled with marine critters. The currents will take you along the walls at ripping speeds of up to 2 knots, with no diving effort needed at all on the right day. Diving Elphinstone is definitely one to add to the bucket list for experienced divers looking for adventurous dives. The ‘Simply the Best’ itinerary offered by Emperor Divers includes the Elphinstone Reef. This cruise offers some of the best Red Sea drift diving sites, including Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus and the Brothers. Divers enjoy the colourful corals and critters and the occasional passing oceanic whitetip shark.


                                      

Palau, Micronesia

Drift diving in Palau is often compared to hang gliding. Instead of riding winds, you are riding the marine currents maintaining neutral buoyancy and perfect trim. Many of the techniques of drift diving were developed in Palau, including the reef hook. Using a reef hook is the bit different than a typical drift dive. The waters of Micronesia are known for the abundant marine life and amazing currents. The dive spots of Palau, like German Channel, Ulong Channel and Blue Corner will wow you and have you flying through the sites full of colorful soft corals, turtles, sharks, manta rays, and tons of other fish.



                                   

Maldives, Indian Ocean

 

The Maldives offers plenty of drift dives to those lucky enough to visit. Teeming with life, many species of sharks are commonly seen as well as sea turtles, schools of fish, manta rays, and whale sharks. Add Lhaviyani Atoll, Noonoo Atoll, and South Ari Atoll to the top of your dive list here. Most of the liveaboards in the Maldives offers itineraries that include some fantastic drift diving.

Cozumel is Open for Diving - Aldora Divers & Villa Aldora

Cozumel is Open for Diving
Let's Get to the Reef
Villa Adlora and Aldora Divers
Get Our 10% "Back to Diving" Agent Discount


The town of Cozumel is quiet but the diving is great, the people friendly, and the food tasty! We have some great packages with accommodation at Villa Aldora and premier dive services by Aldora Divers.

The Villas vary in cost from $95 per night to $295 per night for either of the two largest villas. The Aldora and Norte Suites can accommodate full families and feature full kitchens. All suites offer free guest parking, a private beach, free Wi-Fi and internet, TV, direct-dial phones, laundry facilities, kitchens, and a great outdoor Bar-B-Q. Bicycles are available for guest use. All rooms are airconditioned. 


Aldora Divers offers typical dive packages with two morning dives for $95 per person and also offers exclusive long-range trips for $200 per person. Aldora divers discovered five large coral heads way to the north of Cozumel in which large Caribbean reef sharks can be found sleeping in a somewhat catatonic state. This is the place where the fabled Isla Mujeres Sleeping sharks ran and hid. Not only the sharks, but the pristine coral formations with squadrons of eagle rays and other pelagic abound there. Long range, full day, 3 tanks dive trip to the North of Cozumel, depart at 7:30am from the Aldora dock.

Cozumel Closes Marine Park Southern Portion

* * * Cozumel Closes Marine Park Southern Portion * * *

The southern part of Cozumel Marine Park will be closed beginning October 7 until at least January, seriously limiting where dive boats can go. If you’re thinking about a trip to Cozumel, you may wish to reconsider. If you already have plans, you may wish to contact your dive operator to see how the closures will affect your diving.

The Marine Park includes the southwest quadrant of the island’s coast. The harder-to-reach northern and eastern sites will still be open, but, because of strong currents, only experienced divers prepared to make what can be lengthy and arduous boat journeys in rough water should consider diving these sites. These include the sites from El Mirador on the more exposed east coast, to Baja de Molas at the most northerly point.

The areas where most diving in Cozumel occurs -- from Palancar Gardens (on Cozumel’s southwest quadrant) to Maracaibo, and Playa Bosh in the extreme south (including dive sites Columbia, Punta Sur, and El Cielo) will be closed so government scientists may investigate the causes of ‘white syndrome’ affecting hard corals there and gauge the amounts and effects of pollution discharged by the large hotels that border the marine park.

Local dive operators say popular sites that can still be accessed by dive boats include Barracuda Reef on the extreme northwest coast, the wreck of the C-52, Tormentos Reef, San Francisco Reef, Santa Rosa, El Cedral, and Punta Delila on the west coast.

White syndrome starts with the coral showing well-defined areas of whitening, which then expand and, apparently spread to all other coral colonies by contact, mainly through divers touching infected coral during dives. Otherwise known as stony coral tissue loss disease, it’s affecting reefs in Florida too.

Cozumel

Cozumel is Mexico's largest Caribbean island located off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Originally inhabited by the Mayans as far back as 300 AD, the island now has a population of about 75,000. Many of the island's residents are employed in the tourism sector which is now the prevalent industry. A television show in the the 1960s documented by Jaques Cousteau raised awareness of the reefs surrounding Cozumel and since then scuba diving in Cozumel has done nothing but grow. Cozumel welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors every year..!  

What was once a small village that attracted adventuresome travellers from the glitzy hotels at Cancun, Cozumel has grown into its own destination famous for the suburb scuba diving. Cozumel now is a port of call for cruise ships and the passengers enjoy the shopping, restaurants, ancient ruins, beach clubs and ocean activities…an of course, diving. The all-inclusive resorts like the Occidental Grand, the Allegro, the Aura and other dotting the island's West coast take full advantage of beautiful sand beaches providing families fantastic vacation opportunities. Besides large all-inclusive resorts there are a number of resorts that cater specifically to the scuba dive crowd. These resorts often feature their own dive operation, underwater photography, and PADI or SSI training facilities. 

There are more than forty (40) major dive sites around the island with the majority on the West side. The dive sites range in experience level offering spectacular diving for the novice diver as well as the highly experienced. Well-known to divers are Maracaibo, Columbia Deep, Palancar, Santa Rosa Wall, Tormentos, and Devil's Throat. These sites are all part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest reef system in the Americas. Some of the dive sites like Tormentos offer exciting strong current drift dives on occasion.

With temperatures ranging from the mid-80s in the summer to mid-70s in the winters, the climate attracts beach lovers all year around. Water temperatures range from 77 to 82 F and underwater visibility is usually excellent.

Wildlife is plentiful with iguanas, tree frogs, crocodiles, frigate birds, brown pelicans, cormorants, and other sea birds. Underwater you will find the reefs teeming with vibrant sea life, tropical fish, turtles, eels, eagle rays, queen angelfish, and the illusive magnificent toadfish. More than 250 species inhabit Cozumel's reefs. And on the less inhabited East side, endangered sea turtles nest and baby turtles can be found in their mad dash to the ocean in hatching season.

In 1966 the Mexican government recognized the importance and fragility of the island's reefs and lagoons and declared much of the area area as "Arrecifes de Cozumel" National Park. Government biologist constantly monitor dive sites to determine if diving is impacting specific areas, and if so, certain sites are temporarily closed allowing fish populations and corals to recover.

Our scuba diver recommendations:

Don't dive with gloves or knives.

Maintain your buoyancy control; stay above the corals and reef; watch where your fins are kicking.

Use a non-oily biodegradable sun block

Blue Angel Resort - Cozumel

Always a favourite of divers from the US and Canada, San Miguel de Cozumel, or just plain Cozumel attracts divers year round. Reefs in excellent condition, dive sites rated for experienced and novice divers alike, friendly people, good food, and a wide selection of airlines flying to "Coz" make this an easy choice. Many resorts are focused on the dive crowd and Blue Angel Resort is no exception. But Blue Angel is exceptional…!

We have a great package at Blue Angel to start 2014 off with a splash. Book one of the ocean front rooms, and remember all the rooms at Blue Angel are ocean front, and get 7 nights accommodations, breakfast, and 5 days of 2-tank boat dives for $1524 total for two divers based on double occupancy. Get free Wi-Fi and you can use the Magic Jack to call the US and Canada for FREE. Contact us for availability. 

 

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