Some of the most spectacular diving in Mexico is just off the coast of the Riviera Maya on the reefs of Isla Cozumel. Part of the second largest barrier reef in the world (the Mesoamerican Reef), the world-class dive sites of Cozumel are a favorite of advanced divers as well as newbies.
What can you see when diving in Cozumel?
From deep walls and mazes of swim-throughs to lazy shallow drifts, the diving in Cozumel is simply mind-blowing from start to finish. You can expect to see different species of turtles, nurse and blacktip reef sharks, migrating eagle rays, schooling fish behind each overhang and a real jungle of hard and soft corals, entangled with sponges in every color you can imagine.
If you are an avid underwater photographer, pack your wide-angle lens for the gorgeous seascapes as well as your macro lens for the pretty slugs and pipehorses.
Make sure to check the cracks in the rocks at the sandy bottom – that’s where you will find the splendid toadfish, which is an endemic species of Cozumel. And while you’re on the boat, keep an eye out for the playful bottlenose dolphins!
Where is the best diving around Cozumel?
The south-west part of Cozumel is a protected marine area and that’s where you will find the best diving on the island. The corals are healthy and have grown into massive blocks full of caves, caverns, and tunnels, which are richly ornated with bright-colored rope sponges. This unique topography, combined with the translucent waters make the diving in the marine park an absolute dream.
If you have a chance to stay on Cozumel you can easily dive two to five tanks a day without getting bored or repeating a dive site throughout your holiday. There are so many excellent places and none of them disappoints! If, however, you can dive the reefs of Cozumel only for a day, here are the two things you don’t want to miss: the drifts and the swim-throughs. (Note: We recommend to go with a small dive operator, as they are more flexible with the time and tend to ask the divers which dive site they want to visit)
Drift diving in Cozumel
Because of the prevailing currents, most of the diving around the island is a drift. As the current flows constantly from south to north and all the dive sites are “connected” you practically can’t get lost or lose the reef. The currents change daily and even throughout the day and it is an unforgettable experience to hop on this water express and cover literally miles of the reef in just one dive.
Depending on your level, you can opt for a laid back lazy drift or a high-voltage ride. Here are some of the best drift dive sites in Cozumel – Tormentos, Yucab, Punta Tunich, and San Clemente.
Swim-throughs of Cozumel
The second unmatched aspect of the diving in Cozumel is the swim-throughs. Snowwhite sand beds and coral blocks as tall as towers. The caverns and tunnels formed between the rocks will leave you in awe. Some are narrow and intertwined, others have big chambers. You can spend a whole dive zigzagging through the most impressive formations and enjoy the fantastic illumination from the cracks.
The top dive sites in Cozumel with swim-throughs are Dalila, Palancar Gardens, Palancar Horseshoe, Palancar Caves, Palancar Bricks, Colombia shallows and the famous Punta Sur (Cathedral and Devil’s Throat, which are for advanced divers only).
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