Diving in Cozumel
is renowned as one of the greatest diving destinations in the world.
Most of the diving and snorkeling activity on Cozumel is focused
on the reefs and shallow coral formations that extend from the southern
tip of the island to just south of San Miguel on the west coast.
Scuba diving is the premier attraction. Palancar Reef, the second
largest in the world and a national park, was hailed by the French
oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as one of the world's best diving
sites. There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelers to enjoy
this underwater world. Both Colombia and Palancar reefs have plateaus
in less than 30 feet of water. At Chankanaab Lagoon, divers and
snorkelers can observe small coral and limestone formations at 6
to 30 feet. Yucab Reef, just south of Chankanaab Lagoon, has colorful
coral formations in only 15 feet of water. Except for those at Chankanaab
Lagoon and those just off the hotel beaches, the major dive sites
can be reached only by boat. The easiest way to get to Cozumel's
reefs is to take a dive trip. These range form one and two tank
dives to half and full day trips, and the longer trips usually include
lunch. You often have a choice of a fast boat, which gets you to
the reefs quickly, or a cruising boat, which lets you take in the
sights along the way.
can sign up for special trips that go to shallower parts of the
reefs; the boat usually makes three to four stops. At Chankanaab
Lagoon and Playa San Francisco, there are several dive shops that
offer equipment rentals. With the possible exception of the bay
at Chen Rio, diving and snorkeling are not recommended on the east
coast due to the size of the waves and the strength of the invisible
for Easier Diving
you're new to Cozumel diving, you're probably already aware that
they use a "live boat" drift diving technique exclusively. No, you
won't have the security of an anchor line. Yes, you will be expected
to keep up with the group and everything does move rather quickly
when the time comes to make that giant stride or back roll off the
boat. If all this tends to give you the jitters, STOP! There is
something you can do to assure yourself a very pleasant first experience.
Once you've boarded the boat and it is underway, tell your divemaster
that you're new to Cozumel and ask him to give you your tank, NOW.
Then proceed to get "set up. Now you can take your time. So what
if you make a ton of mistakes. Better now than at the last minute.
Once you've made all those adjustments, ask your divemaster about
the exit procedures. Should he tell you to just wait and see, insist,
or seek advice form a more Cozumel experienced diver aboard. When
the time does come to take the plunge, you will have eliminated
that horrible "peer pressure" and 90% of the stress which causes
those stupid little life threatening mistakes.
most important time to equalize pressure (clear your ears) is on
the surface immediately prior to descent. This assures you open
and receptive U-tubes and makes subsequent equalizations much easier.
Until you develop the skill of "equalizing" you might want to make
it habit to pinch and blow on every exhalation for the first 40
feet or so.
Peace of Mind
Drift Diving is the easy form of diving once you get the knack of
it. But for many, the first time jumping off the boat and descending
in a current without the security of an anchor line (not to mention
having to keep up with the rest of the group) can be a bit taxing.
If you're a new diver or out of practice or feel jittery for any
reason you should be accompanied by your own private divemaster.
Special Guide Service is available for 1 or 2 persons at US$ 35.
Utilizing this service, you won't have to worry about "keeping up
with the group" as you will have your own in-water divemaster/lifeguard
to introduce you to Cozumel's unique drift diving techniques and
assure that your first experience is an enjoyable one.
island of Cozumel now has over sixty diving operators. It is estimated
that they have as many as fifteen hundred divers a day! Cozumel
is proud to let the visiting divers know that there are three recompression
chambers on the island. All are staffed with hyperbaric certified
physicians waiting to respond to the medical needs of divers. Divers
are encouraged and welcome to visit the chambers