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SCUBA DIVING

COZUMEL

ADVENTURE TRAVEL

MEXICO

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SCUBA DIVING IN COZUMEL

There are many areas suitable for diving at the Island, and there are those north of San Miguel, which require a especial permit, three zones west of the Island, and the reefs at the southernmost part (Punta Sur, Chun Chacaab y Maracaibo), where only experienced divers are able to submerge.

Though it is the central zone that containing most of the reefs, with close to 14 formations. There are the shallow ones at 10 or 15 metres ideal for rookies and intermediate divers, while experienced divers going down to the deepest ones usually find themselves surrounded by gigantic groupers that can reach lengths of 1,5 metres.

Average sea temperatures oscillate between 28° and 30° Celsius in all the diving zones, though it some times can drop down to 26 degrees.

The reefs most sought-after by diving devotees are:
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  • Palancar: It is one of the most spectacular reefs in the world and the most popular in Cozumel. Its caves with impressive abyssal, its coral colonies, its gigantic sponges and its high variety of tropical fishes are an irresistible temptation for sportspeople. The average depth in this zone fluctuates between 20 and 30 metres, and it is two kilometres south of the Island.

  • Yucab: It is one of the most extensive reefs in America, with 1500 metres of length and 20 metres of width. Its depth oscillates between 12 and 15 metres and although snorkelling is practiced in here, you need to submerge more than once in order to visit the entire coral reef. It is a refuge for an interesting variety of sea species such as spores, crustaceous, and all sorts of corals. It is located southwest of the Island, between the Tormentos and San Francisco Reefs.

  • Paraíso: It is a tranquil reef with a great visibility, ideal for beginners and those who prefer nocturnal diving. It contains barrel and elephant's ear kind of sea sponges, which are amongst the most sought-after by submarine photographers. Immersions oscillate between depths of 15 and 30 metres. It is before the Cruisers' Pier, in the centre of Cozumel's tourist zone.

  • Chankanaak: It is a beautiful natural aquarium where you can practice snorkelling or free diving with absolute security. It is possible to discover old shipwrecks starting at 10-metre depths.

  • San Francisco: Its depth varies between 25 and 35 metres and here you can see yellow pipe sponges and huge sea species such as moray eels, cat sharks, and enormous mantle rays; the latter is found only during some seasons. The seabed in here is sheathed with seaweed.

  • Santa Rosa: Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are the main attraction in this diving area, located north of Palancar. Immersions in here can reach depths of down to 30 metres, though you can appreciate coral formations from 18 metres of depth. Due to the prevailing strong sea current experienced divers alone must explore this zone.

  • Maracaibo: It has coral structure one kilometre long located south of the Island, though it is recommendable for experts only due to the strong currents existing in the area.

  • La Herradura: Immersions here fluctuate between 10 and 30 metres deep and there are rock formations here resembling a horseshoe (herradura).

  • Punta Sur: It is recommendable for experienced divers because the range of the immersions oscillates between 27 and 37 metres deep. It has a splendid submarine setting.
Other outstanding coral reefs are Paso del Cedral and Tunich, both housing a simply marvellous flora and fauna diversity.

Some recommendations:

*You need to produce any of the following certifications in order to scuba dive in Cozumel: Professional Association OF Diving Instructors (PADI), World Confederation of Sub-aquatic Activities (CMAS) or Scuba School International (SSI), amongst others recognised worldwide.

*It is very simple to purchase or rent diving gear in Cozumel, most of the commercial establishments accept Mexican pesos, US dollars and the main credit cards, though you have to pay an extra amount when using the latter.

*It is advisable to dive with the company of a specialised guide who knows the area for safety reasons.

*Divers in Cozumel cannot use knives while diving, and it is forbidden to feed the fishes as well, be advised for the fines are pretty high.



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