Cozumel Mexico is one of the great dive spots in the world and only 6 hours from Seattle. I have vacationed in the Yucatan a few times, primarily Cancun, but had never taken the ferry from Playa Del Carmen across the bay to Cozumel Island, an easy 40 minute trip. Cozumel is just off the east coast of the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is Mexico’s largest island, around 300 square miles. The town has less than 100,000 residents and may receive as many as four million visitors each year. Unlike Cancun, Cozumel is not a touristy location. In recent years many tourist shops have sprung up to feed the hunger of the cruise ship guests, but travel two blocks from the town center and you’re in a very quaint area filled with wonderful old world charm.
The beach is the main attraction in Cozumel. The clear warm waters of the Caribbean are perfect for a wide range of aquatic activities from swimming, to snorkeling, to sport fishing, and scuba diving. Cozumel is also home to the second largest coral reef in the world which attracts divers from all over the world, and with amazing beautiful blue rich water with 100 feet of visibility on an average day anyone will cherish diving in Cozumel. Snorkeling is a popular activity and small underwater scooters are available for rent to help you cover the miles of reef which make Cozumel famous. There are also numerous opportunities to swim with Dolphins, Manatees or Sea Lions. The jungles of Cozumel can be a fun way to spend a day also. Whether guided tour by jeep or a rugged ATV on your own. Also there is much to see in the Jade Caverns. You will encounter dramatic waterfalls and cool lagoons for swimming as well as ruins from the Mayan civilization.
Most of the dive sites are rocky reefs with plenty of rich, beautiful Coral. Large and small sea fans are present everywhere and the area is home to more than 200 species of tropical fish representing every color in the rainbow. It simply teems with huge schools of fish; Turtles, large Surgeonfish, Barracuda, Blue and Gold Snapper, Triggerfish, Moorish Idols, Butterfly Fish, and huge Parrotfish. I was very fortunate to get a shot of a passing Dolphin on my first visit, which is rare. I also captured shots of Morays; Green, Jewel and Striped. A very appealing time to dive in Cozumel is twilight. Many of the nocturnal creatures begin to hunt and present themselves for great photographic splendor. I took many shots on night dives of small to large octopus, lobster and varieties of crab.
This was my first dive trip to Cozumel and for future trips I will only dive with Aldora Divers. Aldora Dive Charter company has earned the reputation of being the most professional and has the most knowledgeable dive masters. They also provide steel 120 tanks on each dive, larger tanks than a typical dive company. Everyone from Memo Aldora (owner - operator), to Steve who manages the Villa, to the Dive Master’s like Javier, Raul and Liang will take you to the best dive spots.
Palencar Reef is the main attraction on the south west side of the island. Most other dive companies will only dive a few of the more shallow areas repeatedly. Aldora Dive Master’s are very familiar with the reef; they know where to dive, even if it’s just a few hundred feet north or south of where the other dive charters go. They want their guests to explore the less traveled, and more interesting areas. I cannot speak highly enough about Aldora, they are simply the best dive company providing wonderful professional and safe diving in a beautiful place to dive.
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Drew Collins professional underwater photographer and environmentalist living and diving primarily in the beautiful Emerald green waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.