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Cozumel Scuba Diving
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Cozumel is recognized as one of the top diving areas in the world, offering miles of coral reefs that are ideal for snorkeling and divers from novices to the most advanced. It has breathtaking drop-offs for the experienced diver.
Diving is best in summer when visibility often exceeds 200 feet.
While diving is suggested for the qualified, snorkeling is recommended for everyone who can swim.
French Angel Fish in Cozumel Scuba Diving in Cozumel Scuba Diver signals



Paraiso Reef North: There are a series of three inshore reefs which lie just north of the International Pier and run parallel to the shore. They are approximately 200 yards off the beach and can be reached either by boat or by swimming from the shore. Diving depths range from 30 to 50 feet and these lovely reefs are loaded with star corals, brain corals, gorgonians, seafans, sponges, and myriad fish.

Plane Wreck: Located 100 yards directly out from the La Ceiba Hotel Pier is a 40-passenger Convair airliner lying upside down on a white sand bottom. You can see the entire plane from the surface. The wreck is situated at the north of the Paraiso Reef formations. Be careful not to get snagged in one of the several ropes and lines attached to the plane.

Chankanaab Reef: Several hundred yards offshore and slightly south of Chankanaab Lagoon lies a medium-depth reef sometimes called Outer Chankanaab. Diving depths at this site range from 25 to 55 feet. The coral formations and marine life are similar to Paraiso reef and this spot is considered to be an excellent location for night diving.

San Francisco Reef: Located directly out from San Francisco Beach is a quarter-mile-long coral reef which runs parallel to shore. It is a good half mile out and does require the use of a dive boat.

Palancar Reef: The reef most identified with Cozumel is actually a conglomeration of many different coral formations stretching for a distance of three miles. It's renowned for its towering buttresses. It lies about a mile offshore and has such a variety of profiles that it defies description. The north end of Palancar is generally shallow with the tip of the wall starting at 50 feet. The face of the wall is more of a slope. Excellent areas for diving include The Horseshoe and Palancar Gardens. Local divers have recently installed a large religious statue on the bottom of Palancar. To really see Palancar, you'll need to take many, many dives there. You'll really enjoy it.

Colombia Reef: It's one of the great coral buttress areas located along the lip of the dropoff toward the southern end of the island. There are canyons, deep ravines, huge overhangs, and tall pinnacles. Many creatures, especially the larger ones such as sea turtles, groupers, and big jacks are often seen. The three-dimensional relief of Colombia is second to none in the world.

Maracaibo Reef: Situated off the southern tip of Cozumel, Maracaibo Reef is considered Cozumel's most challenging and most exciting reef. Strong currents on the surface make this a drift dive.

Santa Rosa Wall: Regarded as the second-most popular reef, the wall has a drop-off that begins at 70 feet and drops straight away into the abyss. There are huge overhangs of stony corals along the top of the reef which are beautifully decorated with translucent vase sponges, elegant tube sponges, and other types of colorful sponge growth. There are many additional reefs that will prove fascinating to you.

All are considered excellent dive sites by Caribbean standards (which are among the highest in the world). Most important of all is the fact that all of the reefs are now protected by Mexican Law and will be preserved forever . . . Divers are reminded that coral is protected in Cozumel and should not be collected. Spear gun fishing is prohibited as well. It's a beautiful world down there. Let's keep it that way.



The following photographs are by Miguel Angel Reyes
Cozumel fish
This is Miguel's story: I came to Cozumel 5 and half years ago, from Queretaro, Qro. I became interested in videography the very first time I went snorkeling here. I was in Chankanaab and saw a spotted eagle ray and right then I knew I wanted to video it. Photography just entered my life few months ago, when a friend gave me a still camera and I started picturing the underwater world. All my education has been here, all around this beautiful country. The most important thing I have learned was to be able to share with everyone and have friendship with everyone. I got certified as a diver as soon as I came to Cozumel. I knew that was what I wanted to do, and I knew I wanted to do underwater video too, thus my friend Dan Yearout(RIP) took care of my open water certification. For me, it is a great opportunity to do what I like the most, and at the same time, it provides me the means to live in this beautiful place.
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Message from the Scuba Divers Association of Cozumel

The diving association of Cozumel, in conjunction with government authorities, notify that by law it is forbidden to dive any closer to the reef than one meter. In order to prevent irreparable damage, do not break coral structures, kick or grab gorgonians, or drag gauges. Control your bouyancy! Please help the reefs survive our generation. Pass the word
!

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Visit Miguel's gallery

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Facts of Cozumel Reefs
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Paradise Reef
Depth: 20 to 50 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is a popular spot for snorklers as well as night dives and second-tank shallow dives. There are many shallow patch reefs, large brain coral, sea fans and sponges. Also a good chance of finding Cozumel's Splendid Toadfish.

Balones of Chankanaab
Depth: 60 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
A series of ballon - shaped coral heads. Colorful, abundant marine life, lobster and crab.

Chankanaab Caves
Depth: 35 feet max
Skill level: Novice
This is an interesting dive at the south end of Chankanaab park. Excellent beach dive that can be reached either from Chankanaab park itself or by entering south of the park towards Corona beach where there is no park entrance fee.Cold fresh water flows out of limestone caves called cenotes. Large Tarpan can be found swimming around in the entrance to the caves. Stay in the ambient light and do not venture far back.Interesting mixing of cold fresh water on the top layer with the warm salt water below.

Tormentos Reef
Depth: 50 to 70 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Some of the fastest currents can be found here. Many large coral pinnacles covered with brain and whip corals. Eels, angelfish,groupers, grunts and snapper are common as well as smaller reef fish.

Yucab Reef
Depth: 45 to 60 feet
Skill level: Novice
Excellent 2nd dive. Dense reef full of color and marine life including lobster, eels and crab.

Punta Tunich
Depth: 50 to 130 feet
Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
Often swift current. From a sand bottom at 70 feet, a long ridge of coral rises from the sand dunes between 40 to 60 feet. Big grouper and playful green moaray eels.

San Francisco Reef
Depth: 35 to 50 feet
Skill level: Intemediate
One of the shallowest wall dives. Vey rich with marine life. Excellent 2nd dive.

Santa Maria Reef
Depth: 40 to 60 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Many large schools of angelfish.

Santa Rosa Wall
Depth: 40 to 130 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Popular deep dive. Drift dive over huge coral heads that rise up from the deep blue. Impressive overhangs and colorful sponges. At the northern end are a series of swim through tunnels that the divemaster will lead you through. Keep your eye open towards the deep channel where you may spot eagle rays and turtles.

Paso de Cedral
Depth: 35 to 60 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Popular spot for feeding the locals! Massive black groupers will follow you once you enter the water. Do not feed the fish though. Let the divemasters feed the eels and groupers here as they have more experience. Spectacular cavern, tunnel and swim through diving.

Cedral Wall
Depth: 50 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Usually strong current present. Fairly flat but full of color and marine life.

Little Caves
Depth: 50 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is an interesting dive with many colorful canyons, deep ravines and crevices.

Palancar Horseshoe
Depth: 25 to 125 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Towers of brain, star and sheet coral heads protrude within 20 feet of the surface. Excellent dive spot.

Palancar Gardens
Depth: 40 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is a great 2nd dive after diving Palancar Caves. Beautiful dive with plenty of color and many nice caverns.

Palancar Caves
Depth: 60 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Excellent tunnels and caves to swim through. Abundant marine life. Very popular deep dive

Columbia Wall
Depth: 60 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
One of my favorite dives. Not as many divers come here due to the distance. Huge coral pinnacles and a very impressive drop off. You can often see large marine life such as eagle rays, turtles and large baracuda.

Columbia Shallow
Depth: 35 feet max
Skill level: Novice
This is one of the best shallow dives on the island in my opinion. huge variety of marine life and many coral heads. Usually 2nd dive only for those divers who have just finished the first dive at either Columbia Wall or Punta Sur due to the location.

Punta Sur
Depth: 90 to 130 feet
Skill level: Advanced
This is diving for the experienced at it's best. Home to the famous "Devil's Throat" which starts at the opening of a dark narrow tunnel at 90 feet and takes you out into a sunlite opening at 130 feet on the wall. Eagle rays and sharks are occasionally spoted here. Other spots include the cathedral, which is a large cave opening with giant sponges that form a cross in the ceiling of the cave where light passes through.

Maracaibo Deep
Depth: 90 to 140 feet
Skill level: Expert
This is the southernmost reef on the island and is very exposed to current and topside surf. Wall starts at 90 feet and is covered with large orange elephant ear sponges, black coral and sheet coral. Sharks, rays and loggerhead turtles swim through the channel.

Baracuda Reef
Depth: 80 to 100 feet
Skill level: Expert
Baracuda lies on the north side of the island. This dive site is rarely visited due to rough conditions, even in good weather. The current runs 2 to 3 knots and downcurrents are not uncommon. For the truly adventurous diver, it is a rewarding challenge though and you can often site large schools of fish, turtles, and even hammerhead sharks have been sighted here in the past.



    From North to South, you get a choice of all these reefs:
    1. Barracuda Wall (90'-120'+)
    2. Barracuda (90-120'+)
    3. San Juan (40'-50')
    4. Villa Blanca Wall (50'-60')
    5. Paraiso Reef (40'-70')
    6. Paraiso Wall (60'-120')
    7. Chankanaab (35'-40')
    8. Bolones de Chankanaab (40'-70')
    9. Tormentos (50'-60')
    10. Yucab Wall (80'-120')
    11. Yucab (40'-50')
    12. Punta Tunish Wall (50'-120'+)
    13. Cordona
    14. Cordona Deep (50'-60')
    15. San Francisco Wall (45'-120')
    16. Santa Rosa Shallows (40'-50')
    17. Santa Rosa Wall (50' - 120+)
    18. Paso del Cedral (50'-60')
    19. Cedral Wall (60'-120')
    20. Palancar: La Francesca (30'-60')
    21. Palancar: Big Horseshoe (35'-120')
    22. Palancar: Gardens (30'-80')
    23. Palancar: Little Horseshoe (50'-90')
    24. Palancar: Palancar Caves (50'-120'+)
    25. Columbia (60'-120')
    26. Punta Sur (90'-120')
    27. Chun Cha Cab (80'-120'+)
    28. Maracaibo Shallows (70'-90')
    29. Maracaibo (120+)
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Adventure Discovery. Aldora Divers. Aqua Safari. Aquaworld. Atlantis Submarine. Blue Angel Divers. Blue Bubble Diver. Blue Note. Blue XT Sea Diving. Bottom Time Divers. Caballito del Caribe. Caribbean Divers. Careyitos. Cozumel Equalizers. Cozumel Sports. Deep Blue Cozumel. Deep Exposure Dive Center. Deportes Acuaticos. Del Mar Aquatics. Dimi Scuba Tours. Dive House. Dive Palancar. Dive Paradise. Dive with Martin. Diving Adventures. Dive House. Dressel Divers. Eagle Ray Divers. Emerald Dolphin Dive Service. Liquid Blue Divers. Manta Raya Divers. Mike Beasley's Undersea Adventures. Ocean Tours. Papa Hogs. Pepe Scuba. Sand Dollar Sports. Scuba Club Cozumel. Scuba Cozumel. Scuba Du. Scuba Tony. Scuba With Alison. Sea Urchin Dive. Techs-Mex Divers.



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