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Scuba Diving In Cozumel
Scuba diving in Cozumel offers us some of the best dive sites in coral reefs available in the world. It is home to a great variety of marine life and has a range of dive locations that are appropriate to all experience levels, from shallow reefs to walls that drop off into great blue depths. Cozumel island is located in about 20 km off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and it is - a dream divers and botanists. Local water is so clear that we may see ocean bottom in some places near the coast on the 70-meter depth. Jacques Cousteau, who shot several documentaries about the underwater treasures of the island visited island quite a few times. The main town on the island is San Miguel.
Scuba Diving In Cozumel - Underwater Life At Palancar Reef
Coastline of the island is almost completely covered by white sand beaches, and the central - by lush vegetation. Cozumel was quickly chosen as a perfect diving area. The water is amazingly clear, thanks to the unusual coral sand. The resort was opened in 1950, and since then, its territory got covered with few dozen modern hotels. Each of them has its own beach, a network of restaurants and shops.
Scuba diving in Cozumel: General Information
Scuba diving in Cozumel is offered by many diving schools and a variety of companies with experienced dive instructors (www.deepbluecozumel.com, www.cozumelmycozumel.com). So if you come to Cozumel to dive, you should immediately contact local divers. Average cost per dive is about USD70, and the most visited dive spots: Palancar Reef (depths 15-35 meters), Devil's Throat in an underwater cave formation located offshore at Punta Sur and Santa Rosa Wall, Barracuda reef, and Maracaibo Deep. Also, if you don't wish to get wet - take a look at the underwater world in submarine Sub See Explorer.
The Marine Park of Cozumel, created in 1996, has 26 types of corals with more than 100 subspecies. In park there are also approximately 500 fish species, including the endemic splendid toadfish. Due to marine life protection programs, divers can also often see loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles. Scuba diving in Cozumel has a variety of different types of dive sites. From shallow dives featuring abundant coral and tropical fish life to challenging drift, wall dives, Cozumel has something for everybody - whether you are experienced diver or only a starter. For the most part, it's all live boat diving.
Scuba diving in Cozumel: Diving Conditions
Scuba diving in Cozumel: Marine Flora & Fauna
Scuba Diving In Cozumel: Several Scuba Diving Centres
Scuba diving in Cozumel: The Best Scuba Diving Locations
Cozumel reefs boast abundant underwater sea life and brilliant colors, and is often referred by many scuba divers as some of the best scuba diving locations in the world. Among them are Punta Sur, Palancar, Paradise, Santa Rosa reefs...
Scuba Diving In Cozumel - The Most Popular Dive Sites Map
Cozumel counts more than 30 excellent dive sites, but we hihlight here only few the most popular of them.
When you're coming to scuba diving in Cozumel, you should know that Chancanaab is one of the most visited dive sites on the island, where divers and snorkelers can observe small coral and limestone formations at 2 to 9 meters deep. So it can be a bit overcrowded by the divers. Chancanaab Reef is just south of Parque Chancanaab and about 320 meters offshore. Maximum depth is about 15 meters. The coral formations and marine life are similar to, but a little less populated than at Paradise reef. But, anyway, you will meet sea turtles, rays, groupers, amberjacks and more at this dive site. Chancanaab is another good location for night diving.
Columbia reef is located between Palancar and Punta Sur. If you are a beginner in diving and seeking get certified - Columbia dive site is, probably, one of the first places where you will be diving with Palancar and Punta Sur following. Columbia Shallow is one of the best shallow dives on the island whether you came scuba diving in Cozumel or snorkeling. Divers will enjoy swimming along rich coral formations and vast coral heads that are densely populated with almost every fish species common to Cozumel. Columbia Shallow is also an excellent dive site for spotting southern rays and large loggerhead turtles, as well as a plentiful gathering of queen triggers, thanks to its shallow depths and surrounding sandy areas. There may be light to moderate underwater currents, diving depth is no more than 10 meters.
This dive site is intended only for experienced divers, due to the unpredictable currents. and it is very exposed to topside surf. Maracaibo Reef wall starts at 28 meters and is covered with large orange elephant ear sponges, black and sheet corals. Sharks, rays and loggerhead turtles can be spotted at this area. So, if you are underwater photographer - use wide-angle lens! While descending down the reef down the terraces, you should keep position closer to reef itself, or there is a chance to be swept away from your planned position on the reef. The best diving depths are at range between 18-35 meters with average visibility more than 30 meters.
When you came to scuba diving in Cozumel - Palancar reef is one of the dive sites of the greatest interest! Palancar reef is the most identified with Cozumel and it is actually a conglomeration of many different coral formations and marine life species. Stretching over 5.5 km, this huge reef lies about a mile off shore and tops a sloping wall which descends to a maximum depth of over 900 m. There may be current flowing over the reef, but there are so many sheltered areas and shallow water that it never causes problems. Palancar offers such a wide variety of marine life characters that could not be seen even after you dove 20 or 30 times. Within the many sheltered areas, divers can spot huge stovepipe sponges stretching out from the reef and black coral in the deeper areas. Fish like juveniles yellowhead wrasses hide in the deep yellow tube at night for protection and you'll always see butterfly fish nearby with angelfish, parrot fish and damselfish. Diving depths - 5-21 m, and visibility is more than 20 m.
Paradise Reef is located between Villa Blanca & Las Palmas reefs. It is one of few reefs that are accessible to beach divers. Maximum depth is about 15 meters. Expect to see crabs, lobsters and abundance of multicolored tropical fish. If you bring some food to treat them - you'll be surrounded by angels, tangs and yellowtails. Look closely under ledges and in holes and you're likely to see toadfish, which is assumed to live nowhere in the world other than Cozumel. Paradise reef is the island's most popular night diving location.
Punta Sur Reef is one of the most popular dive locations when scuba diving in Cozumel. This dive site is highly dependent on weather, so it can be visited only with its permission! Divers enter the larger of the cave systems down a sand channel at 27 m, where is a superb complex of coral tunnels and caverns with lush marine life.
One of the larger caves, called the Devil's Throat, opens up into an underwater room with four passageways, one of which leads to the Cathedral, a vast cavern with another three passageways, all interconnecting. Eagle rays and sharks are occasionally spotted here.
This dive site is supposed for only experienced divers and any diver intending to explore this underwater city should be accompanied by a dive master or instructor. There are not as much marine life can be spotted here as at other dive sites, but the usual angelfish and butterfly fish can always be seen swimming in pairs along the reef edge. To see black and whip corals you need to dive deeper down the walls. There are also brightly colored small sea fans and sea whips, including the devil's sea whip, can be found at greater depths.
Depth ranges from 21 to 40 meters with visibility more than 30 meters.
Santa Rosa Wall
It's Cozumel's second most visited dive site. Wall begins at 15 m and drops straight into the deep. There is usually an active current, but there is always shelter when you reach the reef. Santa Rosa offers great beds of tunicates, immense sponges, huge overhangs of stony corals and impressive caves and tunnels, which completely cut through the reef crest, and the most northerly section of the reef has tunnels, caves, overhangs and under-hangs and some sections of wall becoming so steep that they are near-vertical. Many species of hermit crab can be found and there appear to be thousands of tiny gobies and blennies flitting in bursts over the corals and sponges. Barracuda and large specimens of the back grouper which shelter under the overhangs above the reef crest, can always be observed here. Stoplight parrot fish seem to blend into the multi-coloured reef.
Villa Blanca sloping wall is dominated by huge sponges, gorgonians, and big schools of jacks and angelfish. You should keep in mind, when scuba diving in Cozumel, that Villa Blanca dive site is rated as one for experienced divers only. Beginners in diving can dive with instructors only and it is recommended that novices make this one from a boat, but if you are experienced diver - you may access this dive site from the beach. If you dive from shore, make certain before you start that the current is running from the south to the north, as this will give you the chance to make an easier exit if you do get swept away. The currents can be quite strong and you do not get much chance to view the marine life unless it is swimming alongside you. It is only suitable for wide-angle photography. Working depths - 20-30 m and average visibility - more than 30 m.
Yucab reef is a series of low profile, dense groups of coral structures that are separated by sand valleys and it's located not far away from Chancanaab reef. This reef is populated by groupers, moray eels and barracudas with depths to 20 meters and swift currents. Yucab - a variety of corals and sponges in a sand bottom, with an abundant marine life that includes morays, grouper, lobsters and crabs. There are also large numbers of squirrel fish, angel and buttefly fish. Numerous parrot fish can be found browsing on the live coral and you can quite clearly hear their crunching under water. It is one of few very distinctive dive sites for scuba diving in Cozumel, thanks to its wide biodiversity. Excellent for night diving. Working depths - 10-20 m and visibility more than 20 m.
Scuba diving in Cozumel is famous for a variety of dive sites - from shallow coral reefs at intermediate depths and vertical reef walls to underwater cave formations. Cozumel dive centers offer highest quality service and have long list of excellent dive sites, which bring to any diver unforgettable underwater experiences. With its rich marine life Cozumel is considered to be one of the most popular diving destinations. All of Cozumel's reefs are considered excellent by Caribbean norms. When coming scuba diving in Cozumel, keep in mind that the drift diving technique utilized on the reefs is the easiest type of diving by any standards. From the conservation and preservation point of view, it is very important to us all that these reefs are now protected by Mexican law and will be preserved forever.