Scuba Diving in Cozumel, Mexico: A Complete Guide for 2023


You’ll need to add diving in Cozumel to your journey to Mexico for those who get pleasure from a little bit of underwater exploration. On this put up, we’ll take a better take a look at all issues associated to scuba diving in Cozumel.

I used to be licensed in 2008, and in 2021 I spent every week diving Cozumel with Scuba Tony. I spent greater than 12 hours underwater across the island. I met up with some native Padi Instructors and spoke with the homeowners of dive retailers to verify I had the entire data appropriate for this put up.

I’ve spent lots of time diving in Mexico, notably across the Yucatan Peninsula, and I’ve to say that (for my part) Cozumel diving is a few of the finest in Mexico.

Scuba Diving in Cozumel, Mexico: A Full Information

Scuba divers Cozumel

The island of Cozumel is certainly one of many best places for scuba diving in Mexico. Right here you’ll be able to go diving within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef system.

It’s a part of a protected marine park with spectacular partitions of coral and greater than 500 species of fish. You may see turtles, sharks, and eagle rays right here along with all of the tropical fish just like the endemic splendid toadfish.

Even famend explorer Jacques Cousteau declared the island of Cozumel to be a world-class diving vacation spot when he visited again in 1961. Diving in Cozumel actually is an unbelievable expertise!

Diving is simply one of many many incredible things to do in Cozumel, and for those who’re travelling to Mexico, getting beneath the water ought to undoubtedly be in your record.

Learn on for an in depth information to scuba diving on this beautiful island within the Yucatan. I’ll cowl the very best time to go to, common prices, typical marine life, a few of the finest dive websites, high scuba firm and much more.

When to Go Diving in Cozumel

Scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel scuba diving is nice year-round.

I visited Cozumel within the shoulder season of late April and early Might, however you’ll be able to actually come right here for diving any time of the 12 months. There actually isn’t a nasty time to go scuba diving in Cozumel!

That being stated, some months are undoubtedly higher than others relying on what you need to see.

The water is sort of heat and nice in all seasons, often between 78 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC). Whereas the water is all the time good, the temperatures on land could be downright stifling through the summer time months.

July to October can also be hurricane season right here, so you need to take that into consideration.

The danger is decrease in the summertime months however a lot increased in September and October. One advantage of touring to Cozumel within the offseason is that costs are decrease and crowds are a lot smaller.

The height season for diving Cozumel is between December and March. Whereas it is a nice time to be on the island weather-wise, it’s additionally costly and crowded. Positively make sure you ebook upfront right now, particularly between Christmas and New Yr’s.

A candy spot for scuba diving in Cozumel is between March and April, when crowds begin to skinny out however the rain has but to reach.

The exception is Semana Santa (Holy Week) festival, which is a mini-peak season for locals. See our information to the best time to visit Mexico.

Cozumel Diving Seasons

January – April Might – August September – December
Sea Temperature
77°-79°F / 25°-26°C
Sea Temperature
78°-86°F / 26°-30°C
Sea Temperature
77°-84°F / 25°-28°C
January – February remains to be primarily clear skies and cooler temperatures. It begins warming in March-April.
Might and June the climate begins heating up and in the summertime you’ll be able to count on fast bursts of rain.
August to October have the very best chance of hurricane, however December has nice climate.
This can be a nice season to see sharks, notably from January to March when you may also see bull sharks (nearer to Playa del Carmen).
July and August are different excessive months for shark recognizing! You received’t see bull sharks right now, however there are many reef sharks.
From November to December the bull sharks return and provide the alternative to dive with them.
Between the months of January to April, you’ll be able to see probably the most eagle rays. You all the time have a excessive likelihood of seeing brown stingrays within the sand.
July & August are additionally the second-best seasons to see the attractive eagle rays. As all the time you’ll see loads of different rays too.
September – December isn’t the very best months to see eagle rays, however you’ll nonetheless see loads of brown noticed rays and different species.
You possibly can’t actually dive in Cozumel with out seeing turtles!
Might to October is Loggerhead breading season in Cozumel.
Yep. You’ll in all probability nonetheless see a inexperienced turtle on each dive on this season!
Each month of the 12 months is nice for diving and seeing the unbelievable Coral formations and this season is not any completely different.
The coral pinnacles will nonetheless be unbelievable in Might-August and the ocean is heat sufficient to dive with out a wetsuit.
The water begins to chill once more in October however the fish and coral stay the identical, all sensible, wholesome, and vibrant.

Greatest Dive Websites in Cozumel

Scuba diving boat in Cozumel
If it is sensible by way of dive websites, your non-diving vital different can tag alongside and snorkel

Cozumel scuba diving is so fashionable as a result of there are such a lot of dive websites to select from. There are over 20 websites across the island for divers of all ranges. You would simply plan your complete journey round diving on this wonderful island.

Cozumel dive websites usually have fairly a little bit of present, however typically you’ll be able to move with the present (collectively along with your group) and the boat will decide you up on the different finish of the reef.

Novices will benefit from the shallow websites that includes colourful reefs, whereas extra superior divers can go for some thrilling drift diving with swim-throughs. Even non-divers can get pleasure from the great thing about the underwater world right here by tagging alongside as a snorkeler.

The dive websites right here vary in depth from 4.5 meters – 36 meters, nevertheless, the very best ones max out at 25 meters. Divers with an Superior Open Water certification are in a position to get pleasure from the entire finest dive websites in Cozumel.

Listed here are a few of the finest dive websites in Cozumel which you can’t miss:

1. Palancar Reefs

  • Depth: 9 meters – 36 meters (30-120 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Newbie-Intermediate
  • Present: Delicate-Robust

That is thought of to be the star of the diving scene in Cozumel. It’s really divided into 4 sections — caves, bricks, horseshoe, and gardens. These completely different websites provide one thing for divers of all ranges.

Between the 4 completely different websites, you’ll be able to expertise depths of between 9 meters – 36 meters (30 to 120 toes). There are many wonderful coral formations, colourful sponges, and plenty of fascinating marine life. You could spot sea turtles, nurse sharks, angelfish, and extra right here.

On my latest journey diving Cozumel, I dove all of the websites right here and general the Palancar reefs have been in all probability my favourite on the island. Notably Palancar Caves the place you get to swim by way of monumental caverns within the coral reef itself.

Should you ask your dive store what the very best Cozumel dive websites are, they’ll possible record Palancar first.

2. Columbia Wall

  • Depth: 18 meters – 36 meters (60-120 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Intermediate
  • Present: Unpredictable

Enormous coral pinnacles are a spotlight right here, some rising greater than 60 toes (20 meters) from the underside. You possibly can get pleasure from some deep swim-throughs and wall diving right here. Look out for grouper, turtles, and perhaps even nurse sharks at this glorious dive web site.

I dove the Columbia Wall as a twilight dive which was unbelievable as a result of because the solar units it displays off of the wall and creates some spectacular colours.

Should you dive the Columbia Wall, I like to recommend doing it as a 2 tank evening dive, so the primary dive is on the wall for sundown, and your second dive could be a close by evening dive (extremely advisable).

A nurse shark in Cozumel

3. San Clemente

  • Depth: 10 meters – 30 meters (30-98 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Superior
  • Present: Robust

This was my second dive of the two tank twilight and evening dive and it was unbelievable. You possibly can go right down to round 30 meters on this one however we stayed at about 20 because it was our second dive of the day.

I extremely advocate doing San Clemente as an evening dive. The animals come out to play on this reef and it’s a spectacular present!

We noticed 3 octopus, a nurse shark, eels, brown noticed stingrays, and better of all, a large eagle ray “flew” by us on the finish of the dive!

Should you get the possibility, ask your dive store to take you on the 2-tank San Clemente and Columbia Wall twilight & evening dives. These have been a few my favorites.

Observe: Like many spots for diving in Cozumel, there may be present right here. After I did the San Clemente evening dive it was fairly sturdy. Should you’re not used to highly effective currents, let your dive store know in order that they will examine the situations earlier than taking you right here.

4. Columbia Pinnacles

  • Depth: 9 meters – 30 meters (30-98 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Newbie-Intermediate
  • Present: Delicate

Like Palancar, there are fairly just a few dive websites throughout the Columbia Reefs. The Columbia Pinnacles have been one other one among my favourite dive websites as a result of, like Palancar, they’d unbelievable coral crests jutting up from the seafloor.

There are many swim-throughs and it’s a comparatively simple dive.

On the day I went, there was no present in any respect and even when there was, there are many locations on the leeward aspect of the pinnacles to relaxation and regroup, making it an excellent place for inexperienced persons.

5. Columbia Shallows

  • Depth: 8 meters – 14 meters (26-50 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Newbie
  • Present: Delicate

I dove the Columbia Pinnacles and Columbia Shallows in in the future as a part of a 2 tank dive day and it was unbelievable.

We had a little bit of present within the shallows however it wasn’t unhealthy and it was tremendous relaxed to only drift over the corals at a shallow depth; the right shallow dive after the deeper pinnacles.

We noticed numerous turtles on this dive, too many lobsters to rely and I discovered a small reef shark sleeping beneath a coral overhang which mainly made my day on the water.

Scuba diving in Cozumel: a turtle

6. Punta Sur Reef

  • Depth: 27 meters – 39 meters (90-130 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Superior
  • Present: Unpredictable

This subsequent one is for extra superior divers. It reaches right down to depths of 130 toes (30 meters) and is cut up into two sections. The southern half has an incredible chamber known as the Cathedral whereas the northern half includes a cave formation often known as the Satan’s Throat.

7. Chankanaab Reef

  • Depth: 10 meters to fifteen meters (35-50 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Newbie
  • Present: Delicate

This is a great spot for some diving in Cozumel for inexperienced persons. It’s a straightforward, shallow dive that’s often accomplished as a 2nd dive on a visit.

All of the cracks and crevices within the coral right here imply numerous attention-grabbing marine life — lobster, noticed moray eels, crab, and even the endemic splendid toadfish.

8. C-53 Shipwreck

  • Depth: 15-30 meters (50-98 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Intermediate to Superior
  • Present: Reasonable

The C-53 isn’t an unlimited wreck, however it’s one among my favourite shipwrecks I’ve carried out and it’s undoubtedly the very best (hottest) on Cozumel. What I cherished about it was that it was fully upright, making it simple to navigate the darkish hallways.

That’s proper, you get to penetrate this wreck and it’s wonderful!

Should you’re a newbie to an intermediate diver, you’ll solely be capable to enter the higher degree of the ship which sits at about 20 meters (65ft), however for superior deepwater divers, you’ll be able to go a degree deeper into the vessel at round 30 meters (98ft).

Should you’re scuba diving Cozumel and also you need to go to a wreck dive, the C-53 needs to be on the high of your record.

9. Paradise Reef

  • Depth: 10-18 meters (32-59 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Newbie
  • Present:  Reasonable

This was the second dive that I did proper after the C-53 Wreck and it’s one of the fashionable dive websites in Cozumel because of the shallow, easy-to-follow reef system right here.

For my part, Paradise Reef has a few of Cozumel’s finest tender coral formations with vibrant colours and plenty of sea life. Test beneath each little nook and cranny to search out hiding fish, lobsters, and typically nurse sharks.

10. Tormentos

  • Depth: 15-18 meters (50-60 toes)
  • Expertise Stage: Intermediate-Superior
  • Present: Robust

Tormentos is one other one of the fashionable dive websites in Cozumel because of its shiny colourful coral and abundance of turtles snacking on the reef. I believe we noticed 3 turtles throughout my dive at Tormentos.

Out of the entire dive guides I talked to, fairly just a few of them stated that Tormentos was their favourite chilled dive web site and I may see why. Most agree that Palancar is the very best general, however Tormentos usually comes as a detailed second.

The present could be fairly sturdy right here, so be ready for that, however after I visited it was fairly calm that day.

If it’s too sturdy and you end up getting pushed forward of your group, simply discover one of many many coral mounts and conceal behind it to keep away from the present till your group catches up with you.

Preserve your eye out for black grouper, large barracuda, and the occasional nurse shark that will grace you with its presence at Tormentos.

Price of Diving in Cozumel

Parrot fish in Cozumel, Mexico

When scuba diving in Cozumel, 2-tank morning dives or afternoon dives are the usual. You possibly can hop on a 2-tank enjoyable dive journey for about $90 if staying on the island or a bit extra if staying in close by Playa del Carmen.

It’s potential to search out single-tank dives, however these are uncommon through the day. Most dive retailers in Cozumel provide a single-tank evening dive journey for round $60-65. These often solely run between October and February.

You too can join particular 2-tank twilight dives throughout sure instances of the 12 months for round $100. These usually don’t run within the winter months. It’s finest to ask the dive store that you just join with if they’ve such a visit out there while you’ll be on the island.

It’s typical for dive retailers right here to supply the fundamentals (masks, snorkel and fins) without spending a dime however cost further for gear rental.

You may get a full set of substances for $20-25 a day or get a reduction if diving for a number of days. Most retailers provide Nitrox tanks for an extra $8-10.

Need to seize your expertise diving in Cozumel? Many retailers lease out GoPros for round $40 for those who don’t have your individual. Some even provide videography companies so you’ll be able to allow them to do the work of documenting the dive so you’ll be able to simply get pleasure from it.

Should you’re not but licensed to dive, Cozumel is a good place to examine that off your record. You are able to do a Uncover Scuba course for as little as $80 from the seaside or $140-150 from a ship.

You possibly can full your Open Water coaching in Cozumel for $430-450 or $340-380 for those who select the e-learning possibility. Many retailers additionally provide Advanced Open Water for just below $400 and Rescue Diver programs for $380-410.

With so many wonderful dive websites to select from, it’s value it to join a number of days of diving. Sticking with the identical store during your journey will certainly get you a great low cost on the diving and rental gear.

For instance, some retailers provide 5 days of diving for $80/day versus their regular fee of $90. That’s $50 extra that you just’ll have for fish tacos and margaritas on the seaside while you get again from diving!

Many dive retailers may also prepare keep & dive packages with accommodations and resorts. This can be a wonderful means to avoid wasting cash and care for your diving and accommodation in Cozumel in a single fell swoop.

Scuba diving Cozumel isn’t all the time low cost, however consider me… it’s value each penny.

How Deep Are the Dive Websites in Cozumel?

15-30 meters (50 – 100 toes)

Most dive websites in Cozumel vary from 15-30 meters (50 – 100 toes) with some being as shallow as 8 meters (26 toes). This makes Cozumel nice for all ranges of divers, from absolute inexperienced persons doning scuba gear for the primary time, all the way in which to superior divers with 100+ dives.

The place to Keep When Diving in Cozumel

You possibly can keep just about anyplace for those who’re a diver. Nevertheless, for those who keep central, you’ll be capable to shortly get to the dive retailers for a morning beneath the water. Should you keep across the marine park, many dive corporations will even decide you up at your resort’s jetty.

We stayed 5 nights at Stingray Villa in centro Cozumel and spent 2 nights on the Landmark Hotel within the south. Study extra about where to stay in Cozumel in our complete guide.

Cozumel Dive Retailers

For a small island, there are a number of decisions of dive retailers in Cozumel. You possibly can join day journeys, evening dives, and PADI programs at most dive retailers on the island.

Since diving is such a giant a part of life on the island, there are a number of dive retailers right here on Cozumel. That being stated, they undoubtedly vary in high quality. That is true for dive retailers in Mexico and another nation the place diving is fashionable.

Many of the dive retailers in Cozumel are positioned on the west coast of the island. Some have an precise store whereas others don’t and simply take reservations on-line. Total, the dive facilities right here provide nice worth and high quality.

Listed here are a few of the finest:

⭐️ Scuba Tony (My Decide)

That is the dive store I went with and I extremely advocate it. Whereas I was working with them on this journey to assist them promote the attractive diving in Cozumel, that doesn’t imply that I’d advocate them if I didn’t assume they have been an excellent store.

Selecting the very best dive store in Cozumel is certainly subjective, however in my expertise and from what I heard on the island, Scuba Tony is the very best round.

I cherished diving with each member of the staff right here, notably with Martin and Pedro. Additionally, Carlos (aka “Paco”) was an excellent boat captain and such a hilarious character.

Scuba diving Cozumel boat and dive guide
Dive information Martin from Scuba Tony giving the security briefing on the boat

Tony has been working his dive store on the island for over 15 years and has earned the fame of being among the best. He and his staff have near-perfect evaluations all throughout the net, so that they’re undoubtedly doing one thing proper.

They don’t even have a store and simply deal with reservations on-line, which really works fairly properly in my expertise. I didn’t get to satisfy with Tony (he was off-island), however I met with the brand new part-owner and supervisor Adam and he’s an excellent man.

Scuba Tony presents their divers a “rent-to-own” dive gear mannequin which helps make sure that their gear is all the time new. Day-after-day on the water I had a model new BCD, nice regulator, a wonderful masks and fins, and a dive laptop.

As a bonus, in addition they provide pickups by boat from lots of the jetties on Cozumel!

Scuba diving in Cozumel with Scuba Tony
What service! Scuba Tony picked us up proper at our jetty

Total, it is a well-run dive store and can go down as one among my favourite dive experiences I’ve ever had. Should you’re searching for an excellent store in Cozumel, look no additional.

Scuba Life Cozumel

This 5-star PADI dive middle makes security and luxury their high priorities. They’re all about hassle-free diving right here and care for every little thing so you’ll be able to simply get pleasure from your journey.

Maple Leaf Scuba

Should you want small teams, it is a nice dive store to go along with. They restrict teams to 6 per divemaster and typically carry two alongside if the group isn’t so skilled. They’ll additionally make it easier to prepare an underwater proposal.

Visit Cozumel on a day trip from Playa del Carmen

How you can Get to Cozumel

Though many individuals fly to Cancun, you’ll be able to fly on to Cozumel through the island’s worldwide airport.

There are just a few choices for direct flights from the US and Canada year-round and several other extra in excessive season (December-March). Simply do not forget that it’s advisable to attend at the least 24 hours after diving to take a flight.

The island can also be a very fashionable vacation spot for cruise ships.

Whilst you don’t get lots of time there throughout a cease, it’s sufficient to get pleasure from some Cozumel scuba diving. Many dive retailers are completely happy to accommodate cruise ship passengers. Simply make sure you ebook this tour upfront to keep away from disappointment.

Most guests to Cozumel fly into Cancun Worldwide Airport first. From there, you may make your approach right down to Playa del Carmen. Remember to learn our information on how to get from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen as there are a number of choices.

Cozumel is just a few miles offshore from Playa del Carmen and is well reached by ferry.

Presently, there are two completely different corporations working ferries from the pier and there are round 9 sailings a day. One-way tickets value 250 pesos ($12.50) for adults and 200 ($10) for kids. Go to Winjet and Ultramar to get the present costs and departure instances.

Diving in Cozumel from Playa del Carmen

Basing your self on Cozumel will assist you to spend extra time within the water and fewer cash in your dives than if staying in Playa.

Nevertheless, many individuals select to base in Playa for a wide range of causes. There are extra choices for things to see and do, lodging, eating, and nightlife, and it’s additionally simpler to succeed in the cenotes within the space.

Dive retailers in Playa del Carmen arrange dives in Cozumel too. You’ll take the ferry by your self, and your dive information will meet you on the Cozumel ferry terminal. Then after your dive, you’ll take the ferry again.

Most dive retailers advocate a morning dive so that you received’t have to fret about taking the final ferry of the day again to Playa. Meaning after your dive you’ll have the afternoon free to discover Cozumel and get one thing to eat there.

So, diving in Cozumel from Playa del Carmen is mainly the identical expertise within the water as while you keep on Cozumel, besides you’ll should rise up early to catch the ferry. (It’s a few 1-hour journey.) It’s a great possibility for those who’re staying in Playa del Carmen anyway and solely have time for one dive on Cozumel.

There are numerous dive retailers in Playa del Carmen, and so they all prepare dives in Cozumel. I went with Phantom Divers and extremely advocate them.

Hyperbaric Chambers in Cozumel

Diving is a secure sport, however issues can and do go incorrect.

Fortunately, there are hyperbaric chambers on the island in case of an emergency. The Cozumel Hyperbaric Chamber and Clinic is part of the Cozumel International Hospital and is the place to go if in case you have a diving-related emergency.

They’ve a workers of full-time professionals right here prepared that can assist you take care of points like Decompression Illness (DCS) and Arterial Fuel Embolism (AGE). They use a multi-place decompression chamber that permits the technician to go in our out with out interrupting remedy.

These sorts of remedies definitely aren’t low cost, so it’s necessary to be sure you have the precise sort of insurance coverage when diving in Cozumel (or anyplace, for that matter).

The DAN (Divers Alert Community) comes extremely advisable. Click here to study extra about their insurance policies.

FAQs About Diving in Cozumel

Have a fast query about scuba diving in Cozumel? Learn on for some FAQs.

Does Cozumel have good scuba diving?

Completely! And for those who don’t consider me, then hearken to Jacques Cousteau, who stated that Cozumel was one of many high ten dive websites on the earth.

What are the very best months to go scuba diving in Cozumel?

Diving in Cozumel is nice all 12 months. November to March is finest for seeing sharks and eagle rays, but additionally these months even have probably the most vacationers. There are fewer vacationers in summer time but additionally the possibility of hurricanes.

The place is the very best place to dive in Cozumel?

The reefs off of the southwest shore of the island have the very best diving in Cozumel. A few of the high dive websites are Palancar and the Columbia Wall. The C-53 shipwreck can also be glorious.

Is it higher to dive in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen?

The diving is certainly higher in Cozumel, with large partitions and deeper dives. You possibly can keep in Playa del Carmen and dive in Cozumel, nevertheless, by taking the ferry. Additionally, for those who’re a newbie or intermediate diver, Playa del Carmen does gave good diving too.

Is diving higher in Belize or Cozumel?

Though I cherished diving in Belize, and the Blue Gap is wonderful, I’ve to say I preferred Cozumel higher. It’s a lot simpler to get to the dive websites. In Belize typically the boat rides have been a number of hours lengthy. They’re as quick as 10 minutes in Cozumel.

Able to Go Diving in Cozumel?

I’ve been scuba diving in Isla Mujeres, Playa Del Carmen, and all up and down the Yucatan Peninsula, and indisputably, my favourite diving in Mexico was on Cozumel.

The coral right here is so extremely wholesome. It’s no marvel why Cozumel often makes the highest of the record of the best diving in the world.

The most effective diving in Cozumel might be across the Columbia and Palancar reefs, however actually you might go to any dive web site on the island and be amazed by the coral and sea life.

Only a few locations on the earth have been in a position to defend such monumental towers of colourful reefs. Whereas there aren’t as many fish like another components of the world, for those who’re an individual who loves wholesome coral and nice visibility then Cozumel is the place to return.

Scuba diver in Cozumel, Mexico
I actually loved my 12 dives on Cozumel island with Scuba Tony

Come right here in December – March and have an opportunity to dive with Bull Sharks, in the summertime months there are a great deal of Eagle Rays and all year long you’ll be able to spot numerous turtles, stingrays, and eels.

Should you’re an avid scuba diver, Cozumel ought to undoubtedly be excessive in your record. This beautiful island within the Yucatan Peninsula is fingers down one of many high diving locations in North America.

With over 20 distinctive websites for divers of all ranges and an abundance of marine life, Cozumel actually is an incredible place to go to for scuba divers.

Better of all, after a giant day of diving, you’ll be able to chill in your chair on a few of the best beaches in Mexico and luxuriate in some tasty delicacies with a chilly cerveza or margarita!

Some photos on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock, a web site for sourcing royalty-free movies and pictures on-line. Study extra here

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