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Scuba diving in Cozumel

The sunny island of Cozumel is home to lush walls, protected reefs and some of the speediest drifts in the world, perfect for every level of diver.
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Highlights

The Caverns of Punta Sur Reef

This dive site is home to a deep wall dotted with caverns and fissures. Tec divers can enter one and follow it 90 ft. (27m) where a cave complex awaits.

Cenote Diving in Yucatan

Hundreds of crystal clear cenotes (caves) can be found throughout Mexico. Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum is the most famous and is easily accessible to most divers.

Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen

From November to March, large bull shark females arrive in Playa del Carmen in order to breed. Get up close and personal with these amazing sharks.

Diving in Cozumel

Quick facts

Cozumel is famous among the diving community for its lush walls and high-voltage drifts. The reef system around the island is a part of the Mesoamerican reef system and is protected by the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. As such, it is extremely healthy for a Caribbean reef and is home to 26 coral species and more than 500 species of fish.

Cozumel is suitable for all levels of diver from beginners to tec divers. In particular, Cozumel is currently ranked as one of the top ten places for advanced diving. This is due to the deep walls and too-clear visibility that require extra vigilance.

Diving in Cozumel can be completed by speedboat or from shore, depending on your preference. A 16% tax is levied on all diving activities in Mexico.

When to go

It's possible to visit Cozumel throughout the year. For uncrowded sites, book between May and November. For Bull Shark sightings, consider November to March.

December to April

There is no bad time to dive in Cozumel. In fact, the water temperatures remain constant year-round and cool only slightly during the winter months, meaning it’s possible to dive approximately 300 days of the year.<br><br>December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico and therefore is the most popular time to visit Cozumel. Because the winter months constitute high season, you should make sure to book as early as possible in order to secure the best rate.<br><br>November to March in particular are the best months for Bull Shark sightings in Playa del Carmen.<br><br>On average, water temperatures vary between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC) in Cancun.

May to November

May to September brings warm waters, uncrowded dive sites and generally calm conditions. This is the best time to dive Cozumel if you prefer warmer conditions.<br><br>Also note that diving in the Caribbean is possible year-round. Simply keep an eye on the forecast during the summer and early fall. These seasons do see the occasional hurricane. When there isn’t a hurricane, the weather during the summer is hot and humid with the occasional rain shower.<br><br>As an added bonus, the summer months are low season throughout Mexico. At this time, you’ll find the best deals on diving and accommodation. If you enjoy uncrowded, Caribbean dive sites, travel to Mexico between May and September.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

Cozumel’s sites are off its western shore. Novice divers can dive the shallow northeastern sites while advanced divers should go south to the deep walls.

    USD 399Per night
    USD 135Per night
    USD 45Per dive
    USD 43Per dive

    Snorkeling in Cozumel

    Snorkeling is essential to any vacation in Cozumel. From shore, you’ll be able to access the the island’s lush walls and reefs. Just be mindful of the currents. Local guides will be happy to assist you with a snorkeling expedition by boat into the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. There are also trips to the deep sea for snorkeling with sailfish that may interest the adventurers among us.
    Most of the dive sites in Cozumel are concentrated along the island’s west side except for a few very advanced sites found on its northeastern tip. Novice divers should concentrate on the lively yet shallow sites along the northwest side of the island. These include Chankanaab Reef, Yucab Reef, Shallow Palancar and Shallow Columbia. Intermediate divers will also find plenty of drifts along the western wall such as Paradise Reef, Paso El Cedral and Santa Maria Reef. Further south, still along the west coast, deep wall dives attract advanced divers. If you are ready for a deep wall adventure, check out Maracaibo Reef, Deep Palancar, San Juan Reefs and Virgin Wall.

    What to see

    With the heavy currents that produce the excellent drift dives in the area, divers regularly spot a plethora of pelagic species. Be careful not to loose your regulator as you gape at the menagerie of animals that will pass you by. 

    One of the major attractions in the area are the Bull Sharks that are attracted to the Playa del Carmen’s crystalline waters between November and March annually. These sites are an easy day trip from Cozumel. Eagle rays are another common addition to log books after visiting Cozumel. There’s also a chance of spotting Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles, whale sharks and sailfish during their respective migrations.

    The healthy Cozumel reefs also play host to a variety of tropical species. Vigilant divers may spot lobsters, groupers, stingrays, sergeant majors as well as hundreds of colorful fish.

    Calendar

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    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
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