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


You’ll need to add diving in Cozumel to your journey to Mexico when you get pleasure from a little bit of underwater exploration. On this publish, we’ll take a better take 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 verify I had the entire data appropriate for this publish.

I’ve spent a whole lot of time diving in Mexico, significantly across the Yucatan Peninsula, and I’ve to say that (for my part) Cozumel diving is a few 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 unbelievable expertise!

Diving is simply one of many many unbelievable issues to do in Cozumel, and when you’re travelling to Mexico, getting beneath the water ought to undoubtedly be in your listing.

Learn on for an in depth information to scuba diving on this beautiful island within the Yucatan. I’ll cowl the perfect time to go to, common prices, typical marine life, a few 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 Could, however you may actually come right here for diving any time of the yr. There actually isn’t a foul time to go scuba diving in Cozumel!

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

The water is sort 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 might be downright stifling throughout the summer season months.

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

The chance is decrease in the summertime months however a lot greater in September and October. One good thing about 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 this can be a nice time to be on the island weather-wise, it’s additionally costly and crowded. Positively you’ll want to guide prematurely presently, 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) competition, which is a mini-peak season for locals. See our information to the finest time to go to Mexico.

Cozumel Diving Seasons

January – April Could – 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
Climate
January – February continues to be primarily clear skies and cooler temperatures. It begins warming in March-April.
Climate
Could and June the climate begins heating up and in the summertime you may anticipate fast bursts of rain.
Climate
August to October have the very best probability of hurricane, however December has nice climate.
Sharks
This can be a nice season to see sharks, significantly from January to March when it’s also possible to see bull sharks (nearer to Playa del Carmen).
Sharks
July and August are different excessive months for shark recognizing! You gained’t see bull sharks presently, however there are many reef sharks.
Sharks
From November to December the bull sharks return and provide the alternative to dive with them.
Rays
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.
Rays
July & August are additionally the second-best seasons to see the attractive eagle rays. As at all times you’ll see loads of different rays too.
Rays
September – December isn’t the perfect months to see eagle rays, however you’ll nonetheless see loads of brown noticed rays and different species.
Turtles
You may’t actually dive in Cozumel with out seeing turtles!
Turtles
Could to October is Loggerhead breading season in Cozumel.
Turtles
Yep. You’ll in all probability nonetheless see a inexperienced turtle on each dive on this season!
Coral
Each month of the yr is nice for diving and seeing the unbelievable Coral formations and this season is not any completely different.
Coral
The coral pinnacles will nonetheless be improbable in Could-August and the ocean is heat sufficient to dive and not using a wetsuit.
Coral
The water begins to chill once more in October however the fish and coral stay the identical, all sensible, wholesome, and vibrant.

Finest 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 standard 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 complete journey round diving on this superb island.

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

Newbies 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 get pleasure from 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, nonetheless, the perfect ones max out at 25 meters. Divers with an Superior Open Water certification are capable of get pleasure from the entire finest dive websites in Cozumel.

Listed here are a few of the finest dive websites in Cozumel that you would be able to’t miss:

1. Palancar Reefs

  • Depth: 9 meters – 36 meters (30-120 toes)
  • Expertise Degree: Newbie-Intermediate
  • Present: Gentle-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 supply 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 toes). There are many superb coral formations, colourful sponges, and many 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 general the Palancar reefs have been in all probability my favourite on the island. Notably Palancar Caves the place you get to swim by way of huge caverns within the coral reef itself.

When you ask your dive store what the perfect Cozumel dive websites are, they’ll doubtless listing Palancar first.

2. Columbia Wall

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

Big coral pinnacles are a spotlight right here, some rising greater than 60 toes (20 meters) from the underside. You may get pleasure from some deep swim-throughs and wall diving right here. Look out for grouper, turtles, and perhaps even nurse sharks at this wonderful 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 night time dive, so the primary dive is on the wall for sundown, and your second dive generally is a close by night time dive (extremely really useful).

A nurse shark in Cozumel

3. San Clemente

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

This was my second dive of the two tank twilight and night time dive and it was improbable. You may 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 advocate 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 possibility, ask your dive store to take you on the 2-tank San Clemente and Columbia Wall twilight & night time dives. These have been a few my favorites.

Be aware: Like many spots for diving in Cozumel, there may be present right here. After I did the San Clemente night time 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 situations earlier than taking you right here.

4. Columbia Pinnacles

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

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, they’d 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 an important place for newcomers.

5. Columbia Shallows

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

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

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

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

Scuba diving in Cozumel: a turtle

6. Punta Sur Reef

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

This subsequent one is for extra superior divers. It reaches all the way down to depths of 130 toes (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 includes a cave formation often known as the Satan’s Throat.

7. Chankanaab Reef

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

This is a great spot for some diving in Cozumel for newcomers. 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 toes)
  • Expertise Degree: Intermediate to Superior
  • Present: Reasonable

The C-53 isn’t an unlimited wreck, however it’s one in all my favourite shipwrecks I’ve achieved and it’s undoubtedly the perfect (hottest) on Cozumel. What I cherished 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 of 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 need to go to a wreck dive, the C-53 needs to be on the prime of your listing.

9. Paradise Reef

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

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

For my part, Paradise Reef has a few of Cozumel’s finest gentle coral formations with vibrant colours and many sea life. Verify beneath each little nook and cranny to seek out hiding fish, lobsters, and typically nurse sharks.

10. Tormentos

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

Tormentos is one other probably the most standard dive websites in Cozumel because of its vibrant colourful coral and abundance of turtles snacking on the reef. I feel we noticed 3 turtles throughout my dive at Tormentos.

Out of the entire 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 perfect general, however Tormentos typically comes as a detailed second.

The present might 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.

Preserve your eye out for black grouper, large 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 may 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 seek out single-tank dives, however these are uncommon throughout the day. Most dive retailers in Cozumel supply a single-tank night time 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 yr for round $100. These sometimes don’t run within the winter months. It’s finest to ask the dive store that you simply enroll 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 further 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 supply Nitrox tanks for a further $8-10.

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

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

You may full your Open Water coaching in Cozumel for $430-450 or $340-380 when you select the e-learning choice. Many retailers additionally supply Superior Open Water for just below $400 and Rescue Diver programs for $380-410.

With so many superb dive websites to select from, it’s value it to enroll in a number of days of diving. Sticking with the identical store throughout your journey will certainly get you an excellent low cost on the diving and rental gear.

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

Many dive retailers may also organize keep & dive packages with resorts and resorts. This can be a smart way to avoid wasting cash and handle 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 value each penny.

How Deep Are the Dive Websites in Cozumel?

15-30 meters (50 – 100 toes)

Most dive websites in Cozumel vary from 15-30 meters (50 – 100 toes) with some being as shallow as 8 meters (26 toes). This makes Cozumel nice for all ranges of divers, from absolute newcomers 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 may keep just about anyplace when you’re a diver. Nevertheless, when you keep central, you’ll be capable of shortly get to the dive retailers for a morning beneath the water. When you keep across the marine park, many dive firms will even decide you up at your resort’s jetty.

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

Cozumel Dive Retailers

For a small island, there are a number of decisions of dive retailers in Cozumel. You may join day journeys, night time dives, and PADI programs at most dive retailers on the island.

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

A lot 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 supply nice worth and high quality.

Listed here are a few of the finest:

⭐️ Scuba Tony (My Decide)

That is the dive store I went with and I extremely advocate it. Whereas I was working with them on this journey to assist them promote the attractive diving in Cozumel, that doesn’t imply that I’d advocate them if I didn’t assume they have been an important store.

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

I cherished diving with each member of the staff right here, significantly with Martin and Pedro. Additionally, Carlos (aka “Paco”) was an important 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 working his dive store on the island for over 15 years and has earned the fame of being probably the greatest. He and his staff have near-perfect opinions all throughout the net, so that they’re undoubtedly 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 satisfy with Tony (he was off-island), however I met with the brand new part-owner and supervisor Adam and he’s an important man.

Scuba Tony provides their divers a “rent-to-own” dive gear mannequin which helps be certain that their gear is at all times new. Day by day on the water I had a model new BCD, nice regulator, a wonderful masks and fins, and a dive laptop.

As a bonus, additionally they supply pickups by boat from lots of the jetties on Cozumel!

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

General, this can be 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 an important store in Cozumel, look no additional.

Scuba Life Cozumel

This 5-star PADI dive heart makes security and luxury their prime priorities. They’re all about hassle-free diving right here and handle all the pieces so you may simply get pleasure from your journey.

Maple Leaf Scuba

When you choose small teams, this can be a nice dive store to go along 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 organize an underwater proposal.

Visit Cozumel on a day trip from Playa del Carmen

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.

When you don’t get a whole lot of time there throughout a cease, it’s sufficient to get pleasure from some Cozumel scuba diving. Many dive retailers are joyful to accommodate cruise ship passengers. Simply you’ll want to guide this tour prematurely to keep away from disappointment.

Most guests to Cozumel fly into Cancun Worldwide Airport first. From there, you can also make your means all the way down to Playa del Carmen. You should definitely 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 only some miles offshore from Playa del Carmen and is definitely reached by ferry.

At present, there are two completely different firms working ferries from the pier and there are round 9 sailings a day. One-way tickets price 250 pesos ($12.50) for adults and 200 ($10) for youngsters. 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 can help you spend extra time within the water and fewer cash in your dives than if staying in Playa.

Nevertheless, 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 manage 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 advocate a morning dive so that you gained’t have to fret about taking the final ferry of the day again to Playa. Meaning 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 mainly the identical expertise within the water as once you keep on Cozumel, besides you’ll need to stand up early to catch the ferry. (It’s a couple of 1-hour journey.) It’s an excellent choice when you’re staying in Playa del Carmen anyway and solely have time for one dive on Cozumel.

There are various dive retailers in Playa del Carmen, and so they all organize dives in Cozumel. I went with Phantom Divers and extremely advocate them.

Hyperbaric Chambers in Cozumel

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

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 employees of full-time professionals right here prepared that will help you cope with points like Decompression Illness (DCS) and Arterial Fuel Embolism (AGE). They use a multi-place decompression chamber that enables 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 ensure you have the fitting kind 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 when 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 earth.

What are the perfect months to go scuba diving in Cozumel?

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

The place is the perfect place to dive in Cozumel?

The reefs off of the southwest shore of the island have the perfect diving in Cozumel. Among the prime dive websites are Palancar and the Columbia Wall. The C-53 shipwreck can also be wonderful.

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

The diving is unquestionably higher in Cozumel, with large partitions and deeper dives. You may keep in Playa del Carmen and dive in Cozumel, nonetheless, by taking the ferry. Additionally, when you’re a newbie or intermediate diver, Playa del Carmen does gave good diving too.

Is diving higher in Belize or Cozumel?

Though I cherished diving in Belize, and the Blue Gap is superb, I’ve to say I preferred 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 undoubtedly, 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 listing of the finest diving on the earth.

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

Only a few locations on the earth have been capable of defend such huge towers of colourful reefs. Whereas there aren’t as many fish like another components of the world, when 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 undoubtedly be excessive in your listing. This beautiful island within the Yucatan Peninsula is arms 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 a giant day of diving, you may sit back in your chair on a few of the finest seashores in Mexico and revel in some tasty delicacies with a chilly cerveza or margarita!

Some pictures on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock, an internet site for sourcing royalty-free movies and pictures on-line. Study extra right here

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