Cozumel is a Mexican island located off the coast of Mexico surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Cozumel is consistently rated as one of the best locations for scuba diving throughout the world, so we felt that it should have a post all to itself.
Located in the Caribbean Sea, just off the Yucatan Peninsula, the Mexican government have done an amazing job of protecting its reefs, with over 85% of these dive sites protected within the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park.
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From stunning coral reefs to spectacular marine life including, sea horses, turtles, nurse sharks and numerous other reef fish, diving in Cozumel is unparalleled. Here are some of the top dive sites found in Cozumel
Santa Rosa Wall
Santa Rosa Wall is one of the most popular deep dive sites. The wall begins at around 15 meters and extends deeper into the blue Caribbean abyss. Santa Rosa Wall has so much to offer divers including, enormous sponges, caves, swim-through tunnels, and overhangs of stony coral. If you are looking for stunning marine life, sea turtles, eagle rays, and large grouper have been seen there on a regular basis. This dive site is more for intermediate level divers, as the currents can be strong.
Colombia wall is over 30 meters high and is home to a stunning cave, tunnel and cavern systems. When diving at this site, you can expect to see giant coral pillars, some of which tower over 20 meters tall. Large barracuda are often seen here within the surrounding Caribbean waters, as well as large sea turtles, eagle rays, and beautiful reef fish. Keep your eyes open for the Blue Tang, also known as surgeon-fish, with their scalpel-sharp tail appendages. If you are a budding photographer, the shallows of this site are perfect for capturing stunning images. This site is definitely not to be missed if you’re planning a trip to Cozumel.
If you are a newbie to diving and have set off on your first diving holiday, then Palancar Reef is the perfect first dive site for individuals not totally confident in their skill set. It can also be an enjoyable ‘easy’ dive for those experienced divers out there too. Palancar Reef stretches for over 3.5 miles and is home to huge coral clusters where there are thousands of different coral species, all of which are interspersed with purple and orange sponges. The sea surrounding this reef is calm and can provide a number of gorgeous photo opportunities. Found in Palancar Reef are a number of deep crevices, which are great to hover over and observe the life hiding within. This spot provides a great feeling of adventure with new things to see, hiding within the deep gaps throughout the coral structure.
Named after its U-shaped protrusion on the wall, this site is home to stunning tunnels and swim-throughs, which have been carved into the reef, meaning that you can explore this reef from the inside out. Its tall heads of a star, sheet and brain coral come together to form a ‘city skyline’ effect. On this dive you should expect to see alcoves filled with blue and brown Chromis, as well as schools of glassy sweepers shimmering throughout the blue waters. This site is a definite ‘MUST-SEE’ for all levels of scuba divers visiting Cozumel.
If you’re looking for swift currents and drift dives, then Punta Tunich is the site for you. Diving in this location starts at around 20 metres where the beautiful white sandy bottom introduces long extended ridges of coral, which rise between 12 -18 meters from the sand dunes. Stunning sea fans, gorgonians and whips are in abundance at this dive site. Beneath the coral overhangs you will find sponges and resident fish including grunt and snapper. This incredible dive site should not be missed.
Barracuda Reef is really the stuff that myths are made from. With its crazy currents and magnificent marine life, which includes Hammerheads, black-tip reef sharks, eagle rays and of course barracuda, this is definitely a dive site not to be missed. This is certainly a dive for advanced divers and finding a reputable dive center that will be willing to take you out to this northern dive site might not be an easy feat, however it is well worth some research and some asking around.
If you enjoy beach diving, then this dive site is the site for you. Not only can you dive this site during the day, but it is also an amazing experience to do a night dive at this location. Located just north of Caleta, there are number of dive shops and centers found in this area and this dive site is regularly used for certification dives. Do not be put off by the number of people diving this site or the vast amounts of equipment lined up on the beach. If you are fledgling diver, then this would be a great introduction for diving in Cozumel. Within the beautiful, crystal clear waters, lies stunning reefs, which provide plenty of crustaceans, angelfish and other brightly colored tropical marine species.
Aerolito de Paraiso
Aerolito de Paraiso is one of the three Cenotes (sacred sinkholes) in the Cueva Aerolito system found on the island of Cozumel. In a previous post we spoke about how many incredible cenotes and cavern systems that are found on the main island of Mexico, however not many people know about the three found on Cozumel itself. Aerolito de Paraiso (Paradise Crater) is only 5 minutes south of the main town and is home to some amazing marine life including juvenile barracuda, sea stars and lobster. You enter this cenote via an emerald lagoon and slide through a small crack to explore the sun filled passageways. This cenote can be enjoyed by divers and cavers alike, as there is so much to see and explore.