Trying to plan my Central America trip, I wanted to dive Mexico, but couldn’t decide where?! Hearing great things about diving in Mexico I couldn’t narrow the destination. My research wasn’t letting on whether Playa del Carmen or Cozumel would be better. From the moment I called to inquire at a local dive shop I was pumped. The dive instructor on the other end of the phone had me so excited. I found myself dancing around my living room, excited to be diving in Mexico in a weeks time. There was no question about it, Cozumel was where I would do my diving for its various reefs, drop offs and abundant wildlife.
Where is Cozumel?
Cozumel is off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula in the Caribbean coast, a region best known for its’ Mayan culture, warm climate and a favourite for tourism.
Flying into Cancun International Airport is the best way to reach the Yucatan peninsula. From Cancun you can take a bus, private transfer or drive the hour and 15 minutes to Playa del Carmen. From Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is about an hour on the ferry.
It’s time to dive!
Once I arrived in Playa del Carmen, I met up with my dive instructor (the same person I spoke to on the phone). We got chatting about diving and when would be best to take a dive. Deciding on a few days time, we took the 8am ferry to Cozumel and met up with a group going out for the day. We met with the local group at about 9.30 and got our diving briefing.
Cozumel dive 1
Once we hit the Del Cedra Wall dive spot we saw a coral wall which would be our drift dive, meaning we would be drifting with the current for this dive. The reef was filled with coral and an abundance of fish. About 15 minutes into the dive we spotted a hawksbill turtle sitting in a bed of coral, munching away at her lunch. We got up within 30 centimetres of her, it was amazing watching her lift her head to watch us every now and then.
After leaving our turtle friend we continued to dive and came across spiny lobster, a splendid toadfish (only found in Cozumel), drumfish, rainbow parrot fish, southern stingways and a nurse shark sleeping under a small cave. Coming towards the end of the dive we saw another grey nurse shark which swam by us, followed by a hawksbill turtle and huge loggerhead turtle covered in barnacles. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was incredible to have seen these beautiful sights in these waters. As we started our safety stop for 5 minutes, just metres from the surface we saw a turtle sitting on the water’s surface. He then starting swimming towards us and dove under the water, gliding right by us. I was on a high!
Getting back into the boat, I could feel my face beaming, it was truly a remarkable experience.
Cozumel dive 2
After taking a short break on shore, we returned to the boat for our second dive which would be at Chankanab reef. This was a nice easy dive, and by this point I was feeling very comfortable being back in the water. During this dive we weaved our way by coral formations and what looked like caves within the reef. In amongst the coral on this dive we saw more a lot of sea life. From spiny lobsters, a spider crab, a flamingo tongue, a painted elessia nudi branch and a lion fish. Lion fish are native to the Indo-pacific region and were introduced off the coast of Miami. These fish have no natural predators and reproduce 4 times a year laying 20,000 eggs at one time. One of the dive masters speared the lion fish given the harm they are placing on the reef.
Should you dive Mexico?!
Absolutely! Everything about my day diving Cozumel was perfect. From the marine life, the weather conditions, my re-introduction to diving and my diving instructor, it was a perfect day. The experience made me feel prepared and ready for the rest of my dives through Central America. Diving Cozumel was not only amazing because of the reef but my dive instructor was pretty incredible too.
I couldn’t recommend this Mexico dive site enough! Dive Mexico and you won’t regret it!
Read more about scuba diving sites here.