Cozumel is home to the largest reef system in the Western Hemisphere. It continually has been rated among the Caribbean's top dive destinations for decades.
Cozumel is known for its marine life, healthy marine environment, exceptional wall diving and remarkable sponge formations.
Divers can visit roughly 40 different dive sites in Cozumel, explore over 20 miles of coral reefs (including uncommon black coral formations) and a 1000 ton, 40-foot tall, Mexican minesweeper that was sunk off the island's coast.
Cozumel provides divers with an ideal dive environment with water temperatures averaging between 77 to 82 degrees year-round and visibility levels of up to 200 feet.
Cozumel offers an unusually varied selection of dive boats. The traditional, slow-moving motor-sailer is still the preference of those who want to savor their time on the water.
These boats depart around
9 a.m., do a deep dive, then take a shore break for lunch,
volleyball and snorkeling. Following the afternoon's shallow dive, the
motor-sailers return between 3-4 p.m.
For divers who prefer small groups, Cozumel has numerous "six-packs:" Small, fast boats which carry only six divers.
The best reefs are well offshore at the southern end of the island. They must be reached by boat. The most famous is the 3-mile long Palancar Reef.
Riddled with tunnels, caves and ledges, the Palancar has 7 popular sites that vary from 35 to over 80 feet deep.
Nearby Colombia Reef holds large schools of grunts and snappers, while at Punta Sur divers explore an exciting network of deep caves. At one part of Punta Sur you can stay as shallow as 100 feet.
Another section called "the devil's throat" you’ll sink to 123 feet for a truly phenomenal dive, drifting/swimming through a series of caverns loaded with marine life.
Santa Rosa Reef is noted for its huge coral mounds as tall as small buildings. In many places, big grouper hoping to be hand-fed readily approach divers.
On a drift dive, you float above colorful coral mounds. The current is too fast to stop, even for a quick photograph, unless you find a wall to hide behind or a cave to duck into.
Since Cozumel's reefs are part of a marine sanctuary, spearing and the taking of coral and live shells are prohibited.
Good buoyancy control
is stressed so divers will stay at least 3 feet above the corals to
avoid touching the fragile reefs with their fins and other equipment.