Cozumel, Mexico is located 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and is Mexico’s largest island. Renowned for its dazzling beaches, friendly hospitality, beautiful and tranquil waters and a diverse selection of ideal dive locations scattered about Cozumel. Cozumel was known as a quaint fishing island until 1961 when a renowned Frenchman named Jacques Cousteau declared Cozumel, Mexico as one of the best dive locals in the world. Since then, as is the case more and more with many islands or water parks, they have become protected and recognized as underwater marine parks to help protect and maintain the delicate equilibrium evident with coral reefs. Whether or not your desire or idea of fun is to snorkel or scuba dive, Cozumel will afford anyone with the intent of exploring this undersea realm, a brilliant opportunity to witness this spectacular and enjoyable destination.
One feature that is very unique to Cozumel, Mexico is the abundance of natural underground waterways that cut through the porous limestone rock creating spectacular caves and cavern and offering awesome breathtaking diving and unique marine life not replicated anywhere else in the world. Similar to caves found on land, the only exception being that these caves and caverns are filled with water instead of air offering a pristine environment and a unique diving experience that shouldn’t be missed.
It is difficult to choose between scuba diving and snorkeling as they are basically two sides of the same coin and are very different from each other if not the exact opposite. For swimmers, there is no difference as they find both of them equally enthralling and enjoyable and are more interested to shop snorkel masks and diving equipments than waste their time on futile comparisons, which only leads to heated arguments and friction in relationships.
Cozumel, Mexico is just 28 miles long and 10 miles wide, however, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up in its dive locations, flora and fauna. If transportation is a concern, Cozumel offers their ferry system or “Mexico Water Jets” to transport you from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen or other parts of Cozumel for you to explore and enjoy. Their use to be a ferry that ran from Cozumel to Cancun, however, it has since been terminated.
So now onto the fun part of becoming informed as to what Cozumel can truly offer the diving enthusiast!
I personally, through my experiencing these reefs first hand while vacationing in Cozumel as part of a port of call on many a cruise ship, am partial to Palancar and Columbia Reefs. These areas a perfect for the novice and expert diver alike and offer a diverse amount of thrills, spectacular tranquility and beauty like no other. Ranging from 30 to 90 feet in depth, both the scuba or snorkel enthusiast will encounter passing Eagle Rays and an occasional Green Sea Turtle. The “aquascape” portrayed in these dive locations are as diverse as they come. From caves to coral overhangs and drop-offs, you won’t be disappointed with the biotope and abundance of marine life evident there. These fascinating dive spots offer gentle currents, plant life as well as a myriad of life. Velvet Damselfish and Sargent Major’s darting and rocking to and fro with the rhythm of the current combined with many types of Acropora and Brain corals, gorgonians and towering sponges can be seen. Schools Blue Tangs, Grunts, Jacks, Parrotfish and French Angelfish can also be seen combing the reefs for food. Shrimp, Sea Stars, worms, crabs and even the majestic Green Giant Moray can occasionally be seen taking up residence in the confines of the corals and live rock.
Paseo De Cedral offers a different type of dive as the current is more dramatic, hard to find but is definitely worth the efforts in trying to get there. Larger fish can be seen in this dive location such as Grouper, huge eels, Snook, Barracuda, Snapper, Triggerfish and impressive Stoplight and Princess Parrotfish are commonly found at this dive destination.
Chancanab, San Francisco, Paradise, Tormentos, Yucab, Villa Blanca Wall and Punta Tunich are other favorite diving areas offering an abundance of color and marine life. Paradise and Chancanab reefs offer intense and unique night diving plus Chancanab reef offers a rare dive that allows you to dive from north to south due to the unique current flow not found anywhere else. Most of these dive spots are anywhere from 30′ to 100′ in depth and visibility associated with these diving locals is exceptional. You never know what you may encounter as marine life changes from minute to minute and dive to dive. Shark is not out of the question, so be on the lookout for this once in a lifetime opportunity to see a shark up close and personal! Usually Nurse shark or a Reef Shark that aren’t aggressive unless provoked, so you need not worry about being attacked as these sharks are often times more afraid of you than you are of them.
So if water is your game and snorkeling and diving are you intent, Cozumel, Mexico is the place for you. Plenty of hotels, resorts and restaurants to offer the all the comforts of home while enabling you to be close to the action as you explore these awesome dive destinations and the myriad of marine life associated with these dive locals…what else do you need?
Enjoy all the glamor, splendor and protected beauty that is Cozumel, just be cautious of changing conditions, and don’t touch the marine life as some can harm you and can be poisonous on top of that. Be conscientious of our diverse and delicate reef ecosystem and don’t carelessly harm, collect or damage the reefs there so that Cozumel can be discovered, appreciated and explored by our kids and their kids as well…