This dive site is home to a deep wall, punctuated with intricate caverns and fissures. Tec divers can enter one and follow it 27 m (90 ft), where a fascinating cave complex awaits.
With around 6000 cenotes, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and its extensive subterranean waterways are ideal for experimenting with cavern diving. The popular Cenote Dos Ojos is accessible to most divers.
From November to March, get up close and personal with majestic bull sharks as they arrive in Playa del Carmen for breeding season.
10 km (six miles) off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula lies Cozumel, the “Island of the Swallows.” Barely 50 x 16 km in size, this diminutive island has become a popular scuba diving destination. Cozumel has all the ingredients for a great dive getaway – friendly locals, good food, lively nightspots, towering coral formations, warm water, great underwater visibility and white sandy beaches.
Cozumel is famous among the diving community for its lush walls and high-voltage drifts. The reef system around the island is a part of the Mesoamerican reef system and is protected by the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. As such, it is extremely healthy for a Caribbean reef and is home to 26 coral species and more than 500 species of fish.
Cozumel is suitable for all levels of diver from beginners to Tec divers. In particular, Cozumel is currently ranked as one of the top ten places for advanced diving. This is due to the deep walls and visibility that require extra vigilance. Diving in Cozumel can be completed by speedboat or from shore, depending on your preference.
There is no bad time to dive in Cozumel. In fact, the water temperatures remain constant year-round and cool only slightly during the winter months, meaning it’s possible to dive approximately 300 days of the year. December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico and therefore is the most popular time to visit Cozumel. Because the winter months constitute high season, you should make sure to book as early as possible in order to secure the best rate. November to March in particular are the best months for bull shark sightings in Playa del Carmen. On average, water temperatures vary between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC) in Cancun.
May to September brings warm waters, uncrowded dive sites and generally calm conditions. This is the best time to dive Cozumel if you prefer warmer conditions. Also note that diving in the Caribbean is possible year-round. Simply keep an eye on the forecast during the summer and early fall. As an added bonus, the summer months are low season throughout Mexico. At this time, you’ll find the best deals on diving and accommodation. If you enjoy uncrowded, Caribbean dive sites, travel to Mexico between May and September.
Punta Sur Reef – This is a fascinating, ethereal dive consisting of a deep wall with caverns and fissures. The appropriately qualified may enter one of the larger cavern systems and follow it down a sand chute to 27 m/90 ft where there’s a complex system of coral tunnels and caverns that are absolutely bursting with life.
The Devil’s Throat – This site is best enjoyed with an experienced local divemaster. The deeper walls have whip corals spiraling out into the depths, and large black corals. There are also small, brightly colored gorgonian sea fans and sea whips, including the devil’s sea whip.
Palancar Garden – Divers of all levels will enjoy the slight-to-moderate current that carries them along while exploring the many finger coral formations here. This strip reef is about 20 m/66 ft wide and dissected by many fissures and caverns. Within the many sheltered areas, divers can spot huge stovepipe sponges stretching out from the reef and black coral in the deeper areas. Fish such as juvenile yellow head wrasse hide in the deep yellow tubes at night for protection and sightings of butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish and damselfish are frequent.
Santa Rosa Wall – This is a high voltage drift dive along a sheer wall. The wall begins at about 15 m/50 ft and the current carries divers past ledges, overhangs, massive sponges and fire coral. Divers regularly encounter large pelagic fish, turtles and spotted eagle rays.
Columbia Wall – This is a relatively remote site which divers frequently share with eagle rays, turtles and large barracuda. A healthy coral reef crowns a steep drop off, and massive coral pinnacles rise 15 m/50 ft from the bottom. Nurse sharks prowl the reefs and walls, which seem to drop straight down to the infinite depths.
With the heavy currents that produce the area's excellent drift dives, divers regularly spot a plethora of pelagic species. Be careful not to lose your regulator as you gape at the menagerie of animals that will pass you by. One of the major attractions in the area are the bull sharks that are attracted to the Playa del Carmen’s crystalline waters between November and March annually. These sites are an easy day trip from Cozumel.
Eagle rays are another common addition to log books after visiting Cozumel. There’s also a chance of spotting green turtles, loggerhead turtles, whale sharks and sailfish during their respective migrations. The healthy Cozumel reefs also play host to a variety of tropical species. Vigilant divers may spot lobsters, groupers, stingrays, sergeant majors as well as hundreds of colorful fish.
For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.