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Scuba Diving in Cozumel, Mexico: A Full Information for 2023

You’ll wish to add diving in Cozumel to your journey to Mexico in case you take pleasure in a little bit of underwater exploration. On this put up, we’ll take a better have a look at all issues associated to scuba diving in Cozumel.

I used to be licensed in 2008, and in 2021 I spent every week diving Cozumel with Scuba Tony. I spent greater than 12 hours underwater across the island. I met up with some native Padi Instructors and spoke with the house owners of dive retailers to ensure I had all the data right for this put up.

I’ve spent a number of time diving in Mexico, notably across the Yucatan Peninsula, and I’ve to say that (in my view) Cozumel diving is a number of the finest in Mexico.

Scuba Diving in Cozumel, Mexico: A Full Information

Scuba divers Cozumel

The island of Cozumel is unquestionably one of many finest locations for scuba diving in Mexico. Right here you may go diving within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef system.

It’s a part of a protected marine park with spectacular partitions of coral and greater than 500 species of fish. You may see turtles, sharks, and eagle rays right here along with all of the tropical fish just like the endemic splendid toadfish.

Even famend explorer Jacques Cousteau declared the island of Cozumel to be a world-class diving vacation spot when he visited again in 1961. Diving in Cozumel actually is an unimaginable expertise!

Diving is simply one of many many unimaginable issues to do in Cozumel, and in case you’re travelling to Mexico, getting underneath the water ought to positively be in your record.

Learn on for an in depth information to scuba diving on this gorgeous island within the Yucatan. I’ll cowl the most effective time to go to, common prices, typical marine life, a number of the finest dive websites, prime scuba firm and much more.

When to Go Diving in Cozumel

Scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel scuba diving is nice year-round.

I visited Cozumel within the shoulder season of late April and early Might, however you may actually come right here for diving any time of the 12 months. There actually isn’t a foul time to go scuba diving in Cozumel!

That being mentioned, some months are positively higher than others relying on what you wish to see.

The water is kind of heat and nice in all seasons, normally between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC). Whereas the water is at all times good, the temperatures on land could be downright stifling through the summer season months.

July to October can also be hurricane season right here, so it is best to take that into consideration.

The danger is decrease in the summertime months however a lot increased in September and October. One advantage of touring to Cozumel within the offseason is that costs are decrease and crowds are a lot smaller.

The height season for diving Cozumel is between December and March. Whereas it is a nice time to be on the island weather-wise, it’s additionally costly and crowded. Positively make sure to e book upfront right now, particularly between Christmas and New 12 months’s.

A candy spot for scuba diving in Cozumel is between March and April, when crowds begin to skinny out however the rain has but to reach.

The exception is Semana Santa (Holy Week) pageant, which is a mini-peak season for locals. See our information to the finest time to go to Mexico.

Cozumel Diving Seasons

January – April Might – August September – December
Sea Temperature
77°-79°F / 25°-26°C
Sea Temperature
78°-86°F / 26°-30°C
Sea Temperature
77°-84°F / 25°-28°C
January – February continues to be primarily clear skies and cooler temperatures. It begins warming in March-April.
Might and June the climate begins heating up and in the summertime you may count on fast bursts of rain.
August to October have the very best probability of hurricane, however December has nice climate.
This can be a nice season to see sharks, notably from January to March when you may also see bull sharks (nearer to Playa del Carmen).
July and August are different excessive months for shark recognizing! You received’t see bull sharks right now, however there are many reef sharks.
From November to December the bull sharks return and provide the alternative to dive with them.
Between the months of January to April, you may see essentially the most eagle rays. You at all times have a excessive probability of seeing brown stingrays within the sand.
July & August are additionally the second-best seasons to see the gorgeous eagle rays. As at all times you’ll see loads of different rays too.
September – December isn’t the most effective months to see eagle rays, however you’ll nonetheless see loads of brown noticed rays and different species.
You’ll be able to’t actually dive in Cozumel with out seeing turtles!
Might to October is Loggerhead breading season in Cozumel.
Yep. You’ll most likely nonetheless see a inexperienced turtle on each dive on this season!
Each month of the 12 months is nice for diving and seeing the unimaginable Coral formations and this season isn’t any completely different.
The coral pinnacles will nonetheless be improbable in Might-August and the ocean is heat sufficient to dive with no wetsuit.
The water begins to chill once more in October however the fish and coral stay the identical, all sensible, wholesome, and vibrant.

Greatest Dive Websites in Cozumel

Scuba diving boat in Cozumel
If it is sensible when it comes to dive websites, your non-diving vital different can tag alongside and snorkel

Cozumel scuba diving is so common as a result of there are such a lot of dive websites to select from. There are over 20 websites across the island for divers of all ranges. You might simply plan your total journey round diving on this superb island.

Cozumel dive websites usually have fairly a little bit of present, however typically you may circulation with the present (collectively together with your group) and the boat will choose you up on the different finish of the reef.

Inexperienced persons will benefit from the shallow websites that includes colourful reefs, whereas extra superior divers can go for some thrilling drift diving with swim-throughs. Even non-divers can take pleasure in the fantastic thing about the underwater world right here by tagging alongside as a snorkeler.

The dive websites right here vary in depth from 4.5 meters – 36 meters, nevertheless, the most effective ones max out at 25 meters. Divers with an Superior Open Water certification are capable of take pleasure in all the finest dive websites in Cozumel.

Listed below are a number of the finest dive websites in Cozumel which you could’t miss:

1. Palancar Reefs

  • Depth: 9 meters – 36 meters (30-120 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie-Intermediate
  • Present: Delicate-Robust

That is thought of to be the star of the diving scene in Cozumel. It’s truly divided into 4 sections — caves, bricks, horseshoe, and gardens. These completely different websites provide one thing for divers of all ranges.

Between the 4 completely different websites, you may expertise depths of between 9 meters – 36 meters (30 to 120 ft). There are many superb coral formations, colourful sponges, and plenty of fascinating marine life. You could spot sea turtles, nurse sharks, angelfish, and extra right here.

On my current journey diving Cozumel, I dove all of the websites right here and total the Palancar reefs have been most likely my favourite on the island. Significantly Palancar Caves the place you get to swim via huge caverns within the coral reef itself.

When you ask your dive store what the most effective Cozumel dive websites are, they’ll seemingly record Palancar first.

2. Columbia Wall

  • Depth: 18 meters – 36 meters (60-120 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Intermediate
  • Present: Unpredictable

Large coral pinnacles are a spotlight right here, some rising greater than 60 ft (20 meters) from the underside. You’ll be able to take pleasure in some deep swim-throughs and wall diving right here. Look out for grouper, turtles, and possibly even nurse sharks at this glorious dive website.

I dove the Columbia Wall as a twilight dive which was improbable as a result of because the solar units it displays off of the wall and creates some spectacular colours.

When you dive the Columbia Wall, I like to recommend doing it as a 2 tank evening dive, so the primary dive is on the wall for sundown, and your second dive is usually a close by evening dive (extremely really useful).

A nurse shark in Cozumel

3. San Clemente

  • Depth: 10 meters – 30 meters (30-98 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Superior
  • Present: Robust

This was my second dive of the two tank twilight and evening dive and it was improbable. You’ll be able to go all the way down to round 30 meters on this one however we stayed at about 20 because it was our second dive of the day.

I extremely suggest doing San Clemente as an evening dive. The animals come out to play on this reef and it’s a spectacular present!

We noticed 3 octopus, a nurse shark, eels, brown noticed stingrays, and better of all, a large eagle ray “flew” by us on the finish of the dive!

When you get the prospect, ask your dive store to take you on the 2-tank San Clemente and Columbia Wall twilight & evening dives. These have been a few my favorites.

Notice: Like many spots for diving in Cozumel, there’s present right here. Once I did the San Clemente evening dive it was fairly sturdy. When you’re not used to highly effective currents, let your dive store know in order that they’ll verify the circumstances earlier than taking you right here.

4. Columbia Pinnacles

  • Depth: 9 meters – 30 meters (30-98 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie-Intermediate
  • Present: Delicate

Like Palancar, there are fairly just a few dive websites throughout the Columbia Reefs. The Columbia Pinnacles have been one other one in all my favourite dive websites as a result of, like Palancar, that they had improbable coral crests jutting up from the seafloor.

There are many swim-throughs and it’s a comparatively straightforward dive.

On the day I went, there was no present in any respect and even when there was, there are many locations on the leeward facet of the pinnacles to relaxation and regroup, making it a fantastic place for inexperienced persons.

5. Columbia Shallows

  • Depth: 8 meters – 14 meters (26-50 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie
  • Present: Delicate

I dove the Columbia Pinnacles and Columbia Shallows in in the future as a part of a 2 tank dive day and it was improbable.

We had a little bit of present within the shallows nevertheless it wasn’t unhealthy and it was tremendous relaxed to only drift over the corals at a shallow depth; the right shallow dive after the deeper pinnacles.

We noticed a number of turtles on this dive, too many lobsters to rely and I discovered a small reef shark sleeping underneath a coral overhang which principally made my day on the water.

Scuba diving in Cozumel: a turtle

6. Punta Sur Reef

  • Depth: 27 meters – 39 meters (90-130 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Superior
  • Present: Unpredictable

This subsequent one is for extra superior divers. It reaches all the way down to depths of 130 ft (30 meters) and is cut up into two sections. The southern half has a tremendous chamber referred to as the Cathedral whereas the northern half encompasses a cave formation generally known as the Satan’s Throat.

7. Chankanaab Reef

  • Depth: 10 meters to fifteen meters (35-50 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie
  • Present: Delicate

This is a great spot for some diving in Cozumel for inexperienced persons. It’s a straightforward, shallow dive that’s normally accomplished as a 2nd dive on a visit.

All of the cracks and crevices within the coral right here imply a number of fascinating marine life — lobster, noticed moray eels, crab, and even the endemic splendid toadfish.

8. C-53 Shipwreck

  • Depth: 15-30 meters (50-98 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Intermediate to Superior
  • Present: Reasonable

The C-53 isn’t an infinite wreck, however it’s one in all my favourite shipwrecks I’ve performed and it’s positively the most effective (hottest) on Cozumel. What I beloved about it was that it was utterly upright, making it straightforward to navigate the darkish hallways.

That’s proper, you get to penetrate this wreck and it’s superb!

When you’re a newbie to an intermediate diver, you’ll solely be capable to enter the higher stage of the ship which sits at about 20 meters (65ft), however for superior deepwater divers, you may go a stage deeper into the vessel at round 30 meters (98ft).

When you’re scuba diving Cozumel and also you wish to go to a wreck dive, the C-53 ought to be on the prime of your record.

9. Paradise Reef

  • Depth: 10-18 meters (32-59 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie
  • Present:  Reasonable

This was the second dive that I did proper after the C-53 Wreck and it’s one of the vital common dive websites in Cozumel due to the shallow, easy-to-follow reef system right here.

For my part, Paradise Reef has a few of Cozumel’s finest delicate coral formations with vibrant colours and plenty of sea life. Examine underneath each little nook and cranny to search out hiding fish, lobsters, and typically nurse sharks.

10. Tormentos

  • Depth: 15-18 meters (50-60 ft)
  • Expertise Degree: Intermediate-Superior
  • Present: Robust

Tormentos is one other one of the vital common dive websites in Cozumel due to its vibrant colourful coral and abundance of turtles snacking on the reef. I believe we noticed 3 turtles throughout my dive at Tormentos.

Out of all the dive guides I talked to, fairly just a few of them mentioned that Tormentos was their favourite chilled dive website and I might see why. Most agree that Palancar is the most effective total, however Tormentos usually comes as a detailed second.

The present could be fairly sturdy right here, so be ready for that, however once I visited it was fairly calm that day.

If it’s too sturdy and you end up getting pushed forward of your group, simply discover one of many many coral mounts and conceal behind it to keep away from the present till your group catches up with you.

Hold your eye out for black grouper, huge barracuda, and the occasional nurse shark which will grace you with its presence at Tormentos.

Price of Diving in Cozumel

Parrot fish in Cozumel, Mexico

When scuba diving in Cozumel, 2-tank morning dives or afternoon dives are the usual. You’ll be able to hop on a 2-tank enjoyable dive journey for about $90 if staying on the island or a bit extra if staying in close by Playa del Carmen.

It’s potential to search out single-tank dives, however these are uncommon through the day. Most dive retailers in Cozumel provide a single-tank evening dive journey for round $60-65. These normally solely run between October and February.

You too can join particular 2-tank twilight dives throughout sure instances of the 12 months for round $100. These usually don’t run within the winter months. It’s finest to ask the dive store that you just join with if they’ve such a visit out there once you’ll be on the island.

It’s typical for dive retailers right here to supply the fundamentals (masks, snorkel and fins) without cost however cost additional for gear rental.

You will get a full set of substances for $20-25 a day or get a reduction if diving for a number of days. Most retailers provide Nitrox tanks for an extra $8-10.

Need to seize your expertise diving in Cozumel? Many retailers lease out GoPros for round $40 in case you don’t have your personal. Some even provide videography companies so you may allow them to do the work of documenting the dive so you may simply take pleasure in it.

When you’re not but licensed to dive, Cozumel is a good place to verify that off your record. You are able to do a Uncover Scuba course for as little as $80 from the seashore or $140-150 from a ship.

You’ll be able to full your Open Water coaching in Cozumel for $430-450 or $340-380 in case you select the e-learning choice. Many retailers additionally provide Superior Open Water for slightly below $400 and Rescue Diver programs for $380-410.

With so many superb dive websites to select from, it’s price it to enroll in a number of days of diving. Sticking with the identical store at some point of your journey will certainly get you a very good low cost on the diving and rental gear.

For instance, some retailers provide 5 days of diving for $80/day versus their regular price of $90. That’s $50 extra that you just’ll have for fish tacos and margaritas on the seashore once you get again from diving!

Many dive retailers may also prepare keep & dive packages with inns and resorts. This can be a wonderful means to avoid wasting cash and care for your diving and lodging in Cozumel in a single fell swoop.

Scuba diving Cozumel isn’t at all times low cost, however consider me… it’s price each penny.

How Deep Are the Dive Websites in Cozumel?

15-30 meters (50 – 100 ft)

Most dive websites in Cozumel vary from 15-30 meters (50 – 100 ft) with some being as shallow as 8 meters (26 ft). This makes Cozumel nice for all ranges of divers, from absolute inexperienced persons doning scuba gear for the primary time, all the way in which to superior divers with 100+ dives.

The place to Keep When Diving in Cozumel

You’ll be able to keep just about anyplace in case you’re a diver. Nonetheless, in case you keep central, you’ll be capable to rapidly get to the dive retailers for a morning underneath the water. When you keep across the marine park, many dive corporations will even choose you up at your lodge’s jetty.

We stayed 5 nights at Stingray Villa in centro Cozumel and spent 2 nights on the Landmark Lodge within the south. Be taught extra about the place to remain in Cozumel in our full information.

Cozumel Dive Retailers

For a small island, there are a number of selections of dive retailers in Cozumel. You’ll be able to join day journeys, evening dives, and PADI programs at most dive retailers on the island.

Since diving is such an enormous a part of life on the island, there are a number of dive retailers right here on Cozumel. That being mentioned, they positively vary in high quality. That is true for dive retailers in Mexico and every other nation the place diving is common.

Many of the dive retailers in Cozumel are situated on the west coast of the island. Some have an precise store whereas others don’t and simply take reservations on-line. General, the dive facilities right here provide nice worth and high quality.

Listed below are a number of the finest:

⭐️ Scuba Tony (My Decide)

That is the dive store I went with and I extremely suggest it. Whereas I was working with them on this journey to assist them promote the gorgeous diving in Cozumel, that doesn’t imply that I’d suggest them if I didn’t suppose they have been a fantastic store.

Selecting the most effective dive store in Cozumel is unquestionably subjective, however in my expertise and from what I heard on the island, Scuba Tony is the most effective round.

I beloved diving with each member of the workforce right here, notably with Martin and Pedro. Additionally, Carlos (aka “Paco”) was a fantastic boat captain and such a hilarious character.

Scuba diving Cozumel boat and dive guide
Dive information Martin from Scuba Tony giving the security briefing on the boat

Tony has been operating his dive store on the island for over 15 years and has earned the status of being top-of-the-line. He and his workforce have near-perfect opinions all throughout the online, so that they’re positively doing one thing proper.

They don’t even have a store and simply deal with reservations on-line, which truly works fairly effectively in my expertise. I didn’t get to fulfill with Tony (he was off-island), however I met with the brand new part-owner and supervisor Adam and he’s a fantastic man.

Scuba Tony affords their divers a “rent-to-own” dive gear mannequin which helps be sure that their gear is at all times new. On daily basis on the water I had a model new BCD, nice regulator, a superb masks and fins, and a dive pc.

As a bonus, in addition they provide pickups by boat from most of the jetties on Cozumel!

Scuba diving in Cozumel with Scuba Tony
What service! Scuba Tony picked us up proper at our jetty

General, it is a well-run dive store and can go down as one in all my favourite dive experiences I’ve ever had. When you’re on the lookout for a fantastic store in Cozumel, look no additional.

Scuba Life Cozumel

This 5-star PADI dive middle makes security and luxury their prime priorities. They’re all about hassle-free diving right here and care for all the pieces so you may simply take pleasure in your journey.

Maple Leaf Scuba

When you choose small teams, it is a nice dive store to go together with. They restrict teams to 6 per divemaster and typically carry two alongside if the group isn’t so skilled. They’ll additionally assist you to prepare an underwater proposal.

Visit Cozumel on a day trip from Playa del Carmen

Find out how to Get to Cozumel

Though many individuals fly to Cancun, you may fly on to Cozumel through the island’s worldwide airport.

There are just a few choices for direct flights from the US and Canada year-round and a number of other extra in excessive season (December-March). Simply keep in mind that it’s really useful to attend a minimum of 24 hours after diving to take a flight.

The island can also be a very talked-about vacation spot for cruise ships.

Whilst you don’t get a number of time there throughout a cease, it’s sufficient to take pleasure in some Cozumel scuba diving. Many dive retailers are pleased to accommodate cruise ship passengers. Simply make sure to e book this tour upfront to keep away from disappointment.

Most guests to Cozumel fly into Cancun Worldwide Airport first. From there, you can also make your approach all the way down to Playa del Carmen. Be sure you learn our information on how you can get from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen as there are a number of choices.

Cozumel is just a few miles offshore from Playa del Carmen and is well reached by ferry.

At the moment, there are two completely different corporations operating ferries from the pier and there are round 9 sailings a day. One-way tickets value 250 pesos ($12.50) for adults and 200 ($10) for kids. Go to Winjet and Ultramar to get the present costs and departure instances.

Diving in Cozumel from Playa del Carmen

Basing your self on Cozumel will assist you to spend extra time within the water and fewer cash in your dives than if staying in Playa.

Nonetheless, many individuals select to base in Playa for a wide range of causes. There are extra choices for issues to see and do, lodging, eating, and nightlife, and it’s additionally simpler to succeed in the cenotes within the space.

Dive retailers in Playa del Carmen arrange dives in Cozumel too. You’ll take the ferry by your self, and your dive information will meet you on the Cozumel ferry terminal. Then after your dive, you’ll take the ferry again.

Most dive retailers suggest a morning dive so that you received’t have to fret about taking the final ferry of the day again to Playa. Which means after your dive you’ll have the afternoon free to discover Cozumel and get one thing to eat there.

So, diving in Cozumel from Playa del Carmen is principally the identical expertise within the water as once you keep on Cozumel, besides you’ll must rise up early to catch the ferry. (It’s a few 1-hour experience.) It’s a very good choice in case you’re staying in Playa del Carmen anyway and solely have time for one dive on Cozumel.

There are lots of dive retailers in Playa del Carmen, they usually all prepare dives in Cozumel. I went with Phantom Divers and extremely suggest them.

Hyperbaric Chambers in Cozumel

Diving is a secure sport, however issues can and do go mistaken.

Fortunately, there are hyperbaric chambers on the island in case of an emergency. The Cozumel Hyperbaric Chamber and Clinic is part of the Cozumel Worldwide Hospital and is the place to go when you’ve got a diving-related emergency.

They’ve a workers of full-time professionals right here prepared that can assist you take care of points like Decompression Illness (DCS) and Arterial Gasoline Embolism (AGE). They use a multi-place decompression chamber that permits the technician to go in our out with out interrupting remedy.

These sorts of therapies actually aren’t low cost, so it’s essential to be sure to have the proper sort of insurance coverage when diving in Cozumel (or anyplace, for that matter).

The DAN (Divers Alert Community) comes extremely really useful. Click on right here to be taught extra about their insurance policies.

FAQs About Diving in Cozumel

Have a fast query about scuba diving in Cozumel? Learn on for some FAQs.

Does Cozumel have good scuba diving?

Completely! And in case you don’t consider me, then take heed to Jacques Cousteau, who mentioned that Cozumel was one of many prime ten dive websites on the planet.

What are the most effective months to go scuba diving in Cozumel?

Diving in Cozumel is sweet all 12 months. November to March is finest for seeing sharks and eagle rays, but additionally these months even have essentially the most vacationers. There are fewer vacationers in summer season but additionally the prospect of hurricanes.

The place is the most effective place to dive in Cozumel?

The reefs off of the southwest shore of the island have the most effective diving in Cozumel. A number of the prime dive websites are Palancar and the Columbia Wall. The C-53 shipwreck can also be glorious.

Is it higher to dive in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen?

The diving is unquestionably higher in Cozumel, with massive partitions and deeper dives. You’ll be able to keep in Playa del Carmen and dive in Cozumel, nevertheless, by taking the ferry. Additionally, in case you’re a newbie or intermediate diver, Playa del Carmen does gave good diving too.

Is diving higher in Belize or Cozumel?

Though I beloved diving in Belize, and the Blue Gap is superb, I’ve to say I appreciated Cozumel higher. It’s a lot simpler to get to the dive websites. In Belize typically the boat rides have been a number of hours lengthy. They’re as quick as 10 minutes in Cozumel.

Able to Go Diving in Cozumel?

I’ve been scuba diving in Isla Mujeres, Playa Del Carmen, and all up and down the Yucatan Peninsula, and unquestionably, my favourite diving in Mexico was on Cozumel.

The coral right here is so extremely wholesome. It’s no marvel why Cozumel steadily makes the highest of the record of the finest diving on the planet.

One of the best diving in Cozumel might be across the Columbia and Palancar reefs, however actually you possibly can go to any dive website on the island and be amazed by the coral and sea life.

Only a few locations on the planet have been capable of shield such huge towers of colourful reefs. Whereas there aren’t as many fish like another elements of the world, in case you’re an individual who loves wholesome coral and nice visibility then Cozumel is the place to come back.

Scuba diver in Cozumel, Mexico
I actually loved my 12 dives on Cozumel island with Scuba Tony

Come right here in December – March and have an opportunity to dive with Bull Sharks, in the summertime months there are a great deal of Eagle Rays and all year long you may spot numerous turtles, stingrays, and eels.

When you’re an avid scuba diver, Cozumel ought to positively be excessive in your record. This gorgeous island within the Yucatan Peninsula is palms down one of many prime diving locations in North America.

With over 20 distinctive websites for divers of all ranges and an abundance of marine life, Cozumel actually is a tremendous place to go to for scuba divers.

Better of all, after an enormous day of diving, you may chill in your chair on a number of the finest seashores in Mexico and revel in some tasty delicacies with a chilly cerveza or margarita!

Some photographs on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock, a web site for sourcing royalty-free movies and pictures on-line. Be taught extra right here

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