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Diving in Cozumel, everything you need to know

By Tribune Travel

May 15, 2023

Cozumel, an island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a world-renowned destination for diving enthusiasts. The clear, warm waters and diverse marine life make Cozumel one of the best places in the world for diving. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, Cozumel has something to offer everyone.

The island of Cozumel is surrounded by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. This reef system stretches over 1,000 kilometers from the Yucatan Peninsula to Honduras, making it home to over 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk, and over 500 species of fish. The coral formations are stunning, and the waters are home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, rays, nurse sharks, and schools of colorful fish.

Diving in Cozumel is a unique experience, as the currents in the surrounding waters can be strong, providing an adrenaline rush for even the most experienced divers. However, the strong currents also mean that diving in Cozumel requires some level of experience and expertise. That being said, there are plenty of diving schools and instructors on the island that can guide you through the waters, no matter what your level of experience is.


diver in Cozumel sea

Recommended Cozumel Dive Sites

Divers of all experience levels can find great dive sites in Cozumel. There are many breathtaking dive sites for beginning divers to explore due to the clear water and numerous reefs.

You are in for a treat if you are an expert diver, underwater photographer, or filmmaker. Just the drift dives will astound you. The swim-throughs and walls are magnificent. No matter how many amazing places you’ve dived before, diving in Cozumel will quickly make your top ten list. If you’re an experienced diver, you’ll be able to talk to your local divemaster about what you hope to see and do on each dive. Your Cozumel dives will then be customized based on that information.

With your open water certification, you can visit the stunning dive sites listed below.

Beginner – intermediate level

  • Columbia Shallows

The shallows of the well-known Columbia Reef, where there are relatively few divers, offer stunning coral and a wealth of marine life. Divers can explore and encounter sea turtles, angelfish, barracuda, moray eels, octopus, grouper, and even the occasional spotted eagle ray or nurse shark thanks to good visibility and a gentle drift current.

  • Chankanaab Reef

Thanks to its shallow depths and gentle currents, this reef in front of Chankanaab Park is among the best dive sites in Cozumel for beginners. You can see tons of vibrant coral, the Cozumel Toadfish, rays, lobster, and a wide variety of colorful fish species.

  • Paradise Reef

This reef is frequently used for open water certification dives because of its excellent visibility and gentle currents. A fantastic Cozumel diving location where you can work on your buoyancy and see some gorgeous marine life.

  • Santa Rosa Shallows

This spot is a fantastic place for beginners to unwind and discover their new favorite activity. Mild current, depths of 10 to 18 meters, and a great time to visit is in the late afternoon when the sun is reflecting off the magnificent corals.

Cozumel is also home to several shipwrecks that are popular diving spots. One of the most famous is the C-53 Felipe Xicotencatl, a Mexican navy ship that was sunk in 2000 to create an artificial reef. The wreck now serves as a habitat for a variety of marine life, including barracudas, groupers, and snappers.

Expert level

  • Punta Tunich

Punta Tunich is one of the best drift dives in Cozumel, which are well-known worldwide. Along this quick sand dune, gorgeous coral overhangs, sea fans, whips, sponges, snapper, and more are abundant.

  • Colombia Wall

Colombia Wall is one of the best diving sites in Cozumel. The wall itself rises more than 30 meters. Divers with experience can see enormous coral pillars, some of which are over 20 meters tall. Along with large sea turtles, eagle rays, and gorgeous reef fish, large barracuda and other fish are frequently seen here. Watch out for the Blue Tang, also known as the surgeon-fish due to its tail’s scalpel-sharp tips. This location’s shallow waters are ideal for teaching beginning underwater photographers how to take beautiful pictures.

  • Santa Rosa Wall

One of the most recognized deep dive locations is Santa Rosa Wall. The breathtaking wall starts at about 20 meters and quickly descends further into the ocean. It is simple to see why the Santa Rosa Wall is so well-known. You might never want to surface given the abundance of attractions available, such as huge sponges, caves, overhangs, swim-through tunnels, colorful fans, and beds of tunicates. The abundant marine life in this area will enthrall you as well. Sharks, grouper, eagle rays, and enormous sea turtles have all been frequently spotted. Due to the potential for strong currents, this dive site is considered intermediate.


Dive Shops & Operators in Cozumel

Cozumel is home to plenty of dive operators and dive shops. Most provide affordable dive packages and services of the highest caliber. These are a few of the island’s top dive companies.

  • Blue Project Cozumel
  • Scuba Life Cozumel
  • Ray Diving Cozumel
  • Cozudive
  • Go Divers
  • Cozumel H2O

Dive Schools in Cozumel

You have made a wise decision if you are traveling to Cozumel to begin your scuba diving adventure by becoming certified. There are numerous dive shops in this area that can certify you in just two to three days. Not to mention that as a novice diver, you get the honor of diving in one of the most breathtaking locations on the planet! Since other sites might not live up to your first experience here, it might actually ruin you for them.

Here are a few of Cozumel’s top dive schools!

  • AquAdventures at Chankanaab
  • Cozumel Dive Academy
  • Dive Resorts in Cozumel


Dive Resorts in Cozumel

There are a lot of dive resorts to pick from because diving is so popular in Cozumel. Many of the more upscale resorts have in-house dive shops that are eager to assist you in organizing the trip of a lifetime. Most dive shops offer 3- to 7-day packages that include two to three dives daily.

  • Blue Angel Resort – Just south of the city is this reasonably priced boutique hotel with a dive shop.
  • Casa Del Mar Cozumel Hotel and Dive Resort – An inexpensive mini-resort option with a dive shop located south of the city.
  • Coral Princess Golf & Dive Resort – This inexpensive hotel is close to the city and has a dive shop on the premises. Currently, the golf course is closed.

Please remember that sunscreen—even brands that are reef-safe—is not permitted in the Mexican Caribbean waters because it destroys the reef and marine life. Please keep this in mind when diving in Cozumel and pack towels, sarongs, and hats to protect your skin when you are not wearing a wetsuit. You will feel wonderful as you take in the beauty of the sea knowing that your presence isn’t endangering it.

Cozumel is a world-class diving destination that offers something for everyone, from experienced divers to beginners. With its stunning coral formations, diverse marine life, and challenging currents, Cozumel is a must-visit destination for any diving enthusiast. So, pack your bags, grab your scuba gear, and head to Cozumel for an unforgettable diving experience.





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