Dive Locations

Barracuda Reef
Depth:
45′ – 110′
Skill level: Expert
Located on the north end of the island, this wall and reef area can be especially treacherous since the strong drift is typically north and there is no island beyond the end of this reef area ~ just open sea. Not uncommon to drift several miles on this dive so it is safest to dive only with small groups of experienced, drift/current divers and properly equipped dive operators. Because of the severity of conditions, the Port Captain monitors and restricts tourist diving in this area heavily.Rough conditions both topside and below at reef levels are not conducive to recreational divers on a regular basis. Even in good weather, the current runs 2 to 3 knots and down-currents along the wall are not uncommon. These ocean conditions attract large pelagics like reef sharks and eagle rays looking for converging currents.
San Juan Reef
Depth: 40′ – 80′
Skill level: Expert
Located on the north end of the island, this reef area can be dangerous to dive if current is running fast. Because of the severity of conditions, the Port Captain monitors and restricts tourist diving in this area heavily. Rough conditions both topside and below at reef levels are not conducive to recreational divers on a regular basis. The coral here is beautiful and the big barrel sponges oddly shaped reflecting the continual swift current. Lots of reef fish to be seen on a drift dive if the current will allow gazing!
Villa Blanca Shallows
Depth: 15′ – 40′
Skill level: Novice
This is a great beach dive (day or night) accessible in front of Villa Blanca Hotel. The best area to dive is to the south of the piers. The gentle sloping entry makes this a great dive for beginners and the sunlight of the shallows coupled with the abundant coral and reef fish also makes this an excellent photographer’s dive as well. Many of the elusive, spotted golden-tail eels call these coral heads home along with a green moray, squirrel fish and lots of sea fans.
Villa Blanca Wall
Depth: 50′ – 60′
Skill level: Intermediate
Wall dives like this provide the best of both worlds: the chance to skim along the top of the wall and view both shallow water marine life and to possibly glimpse a large pelagic gliding by in the deeper waters along the wall. Not uncommon to see spotted eagle rays in this area.
Paradise Reef
Depth: 40′ – 50′
Skill level: Novice
A series of three separate reefs running parallel to shore approximately 200 yards out. This is one of the few reef areas accessible to beach divers. All three sections have abundant marine life including octopi and the reclusive Splendid Toad Fish which lives only in Cozumel waters. Most popular spot for night dives.
Las Palmas Wall
Depth: 50′ – 70′
Skill level: Novice to Intermediate
Relatively calm currents prevail at this site popular for finding bat fish, seahorses, and Splendid Toads. Superb night dive for those comfortable with wall diving at night.
Chankanaab Balones
Depth: 60′ – 70′
Skill level: Novice
A large series of balloon-shaped coral heads teaming with all sorts of marine critters. The limestone shoreline of this are is very porous and often fresh water run off will diminish visibility especially after heavy rains. Still worth diving regularly due to abundance of crab and lobster. Excellent night dive. Also the spot to see the Atlantis Submarine!
Virgin Wall
Depth: 40′ – 130′
Skill level: Expert
Strong currents typically prevent local divemasters from bringing in large groups of inexperienced divers. As a result, the sheer vertical wall has been left pristine and lush. Several dives are needed to fully absorb the site. Excellent multilevel computer dive.
Punta Tunich
Depth: 50′ – 130′
Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
Rock and roll in this swift current on a daily basis and just go along for the drift. From a sand bottom at 70 feet, a long ridge of coral rises from the sand dunes between 40 to 60 feet. Often turtles hide in the seagrass. Photo buffs will really work on this dive. Good option is to leave the camera on the boat and just enjoy the ride!
San Francisco Reef/Wall
Depth: 35′ – 50′
Skill level: Intermediate
Begins on the Southern end of Old San Francisco Beach. This half mile reef is broken into three sections, separated by about 60 yards of sand. This is one of the shallowest wall dives and is loaded with life. Skim along between 35 and 50 feet and enjoy the big grouper and playful green moray eels.
Santa Rosa Shallows
Depth: 20′ – 50′
Skill level: Intermediate
Exploring these healthy patches of coral teeming with fish and sponges is an excellent way to end a deep wall dive or to do as shallow second dive. Drift over the pure white sandy bottom from area to area in a relatively mild current since the large formations along the wall provide some protection to the coral patches in the shallows. Sponges are abundant as well as a variety of hard corals, angel fish, box fish, snapper and lots of trigger fish populate this area. Very photogenic area with the light reflecting off of the sandy bottom.
Santa Rosa Wall
Depth: 50′ – 130′
Skill level: Intermediate
One of Cozumel’s most popular deep dives simply because it never disappoints. The wall starts at 50 feet and drops straight into the deep! Immense sponges, huge overhangs of stony coral and lots of caves and swim through tunnels. Eagle rays and turtles are often spotted here as well as large grouper and turtles. Excellent multilevel computer dive.
Paseo del Cedral Reef (Cedar Pass)
Depth: 35′ – 60′
Skill level: Intermediate
A series of ribbon reefs with expansive low profile caverns interspersed and used as swim throughs. Prior to enforcement of Marine Park “no feed” regulations, this was THE place to find green morays and spotted morays. There are still plenty of eels in the area but are more difficult to spot now unless accompanied by an experienced guide. One swim through often filled with glassy silver sides. Lots of snapper and grunts for excellent photos. Perfect second dive.
Paseo del Cedral Wall
Depth: 50′ – 90′
Skill level: Intermediate
Usually a very swift current that allows you to “fly” along the wall so expect a good ride. Enjoy the view as you glide over the flat wall top gazing at both coral marine life and large critters passing by at depth over the wall. Lots of big barrel sponges formed sideways by prevailing currents.
Punta Dalila
Depth: 25′ – 80′
Skill level: Intermediate
A healthy reef strip populated by angel fish, squirrel fish and schools of grunts. There are a lot of out croppings and overhangs of coral on the outer edge of this reef closest to the wall which are home to crabs and green moray eels. Good variety of corals and sponges along with the typically mild current makes this a good choice for photographers and it also makes a good second dive of the day.
Palancar Gardens (Shallows)
Depth: 40′ – 70′
Skill level: Novice
An excellent first dive for those not yet confident in their dive skills or perhaps some one who’s been a few years without diving. These coral formations are very colorful and have literally hundreds of species of coral jammed together with purple and orange sponges interspersed. Calm currents typically prevail allowing maximum photo opportunities. Lots of crevices with colorful reef fish and banded cleaner shrimp.
Palancar Horseshoe
Depth: 25′ – 125′
Skill level: Intermediate
A series of tightly packed giant coral heads rise from 100 feet to within 20 feet of the surface. A spectacular view for camera lenses pointing up for profile type shots. One of Cozumel’s busiest deep dives since currents are usually slow running and visibility stays around 200 feet minimum.
Palancar Caves
Depth: 60′ – 90′
Skill level: Intermediate
Another of Cozumel’s most popular deep dives because of its deep buttresses, tunnels, caves and big caverns that sit along the edge of a sloping wall. Currents are usually mild and marine life is abundant. Turtle, shark and eagle ray sightings are very common.
Palancar Bricks
Depth: 60′ – 90′
Skill level: Intermediate
Another section of Cozumel’s most spectacular reef and an excellent deep dive. Large coral formations rise up from the brilliant white sandy bottom which easily slopes off into the blue abyss. Divers can wind in and around the large coral formations where marine life flourishes. But the stunning blue color of the abyss contrasted with the sandy bottom is what mesmerizes most divers visiting this area. Currents are usually mild and turtle, shark and eagle ray sightings are very common. Normally excellent visibility makes this a photographer’s dream dive for those breathtaking “upward views”.
Columbia Shallows
Depth: 15′ – 35′
Skill level: Novice
To go any deeper one needs a shovel. This is the perfect dive for photographers wanting maximum bottom time. This seemingly never ending sea garden is a popular second dive full of schooling snapper and grunts. Barracuda lurk around divers as they concentrate on the colorful reef fish that populate the site.
Columbia Deep
Depth: 60′ – 90′
Skill level: Intermediate
Impressive drop off at 60 to 80 feet. Deep diving at its finest, at least as spectacular as any part of the Palancar. A series of gigantic coral pinnacles, most over 90 feet, marked with caves, tunnels and caverns. Large marine life such as eagle rays, turtles and large barracuda often seen.
Punta Sur
Depth: 90′ – 130′
Skill level: Advanced
An excellent multilevel dive for experienced divers only. Due to its southern location and exposure to prevailing trade winds, topside conditions can be rough. This coupled with fast running midwater currents that can cause one to miss the dive site entirely, makes this NOT a dive for those who cannot descend relatively problem free. This site has two distinct sections and the air usage capability of the divers will determine if you can see both in one dive.The most famous section, “Devil’s Throat,” starts inside a coral swim through. Divers descend into the opening of a dark narrow tunnel that begins at 90 feet and takes you out into a sunlit opening at 130 feet on the wall overlooking the abyss. Eagle rays and sharks are occasionally spotted here. The other section of this site, “The Cathedral,” is a large cave opening with giant sponges that form a cross in the ceiling of the cave where light passes through. Very impressive photo if divers refrain from kicking up the sand.
Chun Chacaab Reef
Depth: 50′ – 100′
Skill level: Advanced
Often overlooked in favour of the surrounding well known sites on the southern tip of the island, this area has an excellent variety of sponges and sea fans in the flats which gently slope down to an eventual wall. The top of the wall here runs around 100 ft. Drifting along the wall, it is not uncommon to spot larger pelagics which seem to love the unpredictable currents that converge in this area.
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