Which Are Cozumel’s island Top Dive Spots?
Covering an area of just 478 km² this small, flat and largely undeveloped Caribbean gem belies an electrifying energy. The inconspicuous Cozumel offers a tranquil island getaway with much of the action occurring at submarine levels.
Exotic, white sandy beaches, waving palm trees and calm crystalline blue waters hide a lively ecosystem beneath the calm exterior. Cozumel is home to the best and most diverse diving spots in the world with a staggering 27 spots to choose from. The coasts of Cozumel are home to the Meso-American reef system (one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world) where you’ll find astonishing underwater topography. Beginner divers will find their feet in the Palancar Reef, but this multi-level drift dive spot has something for everyone. If you are not scuba certified then Cozumel is the perfect training ground due to its lucid calm where you can practice in shallow waters.
Palancar Gardens Reef
This spectacularly colourful and unique reef is the closest thing to an underwater garden. The coral formations rise to amazing heights housing all kinds of visible and hidden aquatic life which will evoke your adventurous spirit. Sea turtles are popular in the shallow waters, which makes for great snorkelling.
Regardless of whether you like to dive deep or savour shallow waters, there is magic happening at every level of this coral reef with its swim-throughs and tunnels located on the southwest of the island. It is separated into four parts: (i) Palancar Bricks; (ii) Palancar Caves (526m from Palancar Bricks); (iii) Palancar Horseshoe (1400m from Palancar Bricks) and (iv) Palancar Gardens (756m from Palancar Caves).
Santa Rosa Wall
This deep diving spot is best-suited for divers at an intermediate to advanced level due to its strong currents. Starting at 50 feet, the coral wall plummets to over 3000 feet! It’s common to meet turtles, spotted eagle rays, parrot fish, nurse sharks and toadfish, but to name but a few. Plenty of caves and swim-throughs offer a spellbinding experience where enormous sponges, fire coral, caves, ledges and colourful aquatic life will infiltrate your dreams long after you’ve bid the waters goodbye.
Not for the faint of heart, this enormous coral formation towers over 30 metres high and is another deep diver’s haven. The underwater landscape will dizzy even the most seasoned divers with its twists and turns in the form of caves, caverns and tunnels.
Punta Sur Reef
This reef in the south of Cozumel is strictly for advanced divers only. A number of swim-throughs, tunnels and caves give way to the infamous Devil’s Throat, a narrow tunnel lined with wire coral and bright red sponge. The name says it all, so prepare yourself for an exceptionally deep dive that can be quite scary at times.
As the name suggests, Barracuda are a common resident of this rather dangerous reef located at the northern end of the island. You will be hard-pressed to find a dive master willing to take you to dive this foreboding reef. Here tourist dives are limited due to fast currents and severe conditions and group diving is practised with caution. A few overhangs offer resting spots and you have to be extra vigilant if you want to spot any of the marine life this area has to offer, such as turtles and the green moray eels who dwell in the underwater caves.