SCUBA Diving

Underwater Adventure

Scuba Diving: Dive Site Information

Hotel Flamingo and Flamingo Divers Video

Much has been said about Cozumel's diving over the years since the 1960s when Jacques Cousteau first explored the reefs and declared Palancar as one of the largest and most diverse living reefs in the world. Today, Cozumel is one of the top dive destinations in the world. Divers continue returning due to the unique drift diving and consistently good conditions. Also, Cozumel has managed to maintain a small town charm over the years that are reflected in the warmth of its people towards visitors.

Cozumel's reefs lie along the leeward west shore of the island near a vertical drop off into the 12 mile-wide Yucatan channel. Waters are kept crystal clear by a strong northward current that also provides a steady flow of nutrients for a multitude of marine life including the splendid toadfish which is found in no other region of the world. It is also this same current that makes diving in Cozumel so exciting for divers.

All diving in Cozumel is drift diving where divers are dropped off in a group at the reef and the boat follows the bubble trail and at the end of the dive and picks up the divers when they surface. The diving is almost effortless as you glide past the "Wall" which consists of large Coral spires and pinnacles that form a maze of fixtures and caverns. Giant sponges, Gorgonians and hundreds of different species of reef fish reside here. Visibility is consistently good with a range of 100 to 200 feet and water temperatures from 75 F in the winter to 85 F in the summer.

Paradise Reef

Depth: 20 to 50 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is a popular spot for snorkelers as well as night dives and second-tank shallow dives. There are many shallow patch reefs, large brain coral, sea fans and sponges. Also a good chance of finding Cozumel's Splendid Toadfish.

Balones of Chankanaab

Depth: 60 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
A series of balloon - shaped coral heads. Colorful, abundant marine life, lobster and crab.

Chankanaab Caves

Depth: 35 feet max
Skill level: Novice
This is an interesting dive at the south end of Chankanaab park. Excellent beach dive that can be reached either from Chankanaab park itself or by entering south of the park towards Corona beach where there is no park entrance fee. Cold fresh water flows out of limestone caves called cenotes. Large Tarpon can be found swimming around in the entrance to the caves. Stay in the ambient light and do not venture far back. Interesting mixing of cold fresh water on the top layer with the warm salt water below.

Tormentos Reef

Depth: 50 to 70 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Some of the fastest currents can be found here. Many large coral pinnacles covered with brain and whip corals. Eels, angelfish,groupers, grunts and snapper are common as well as smaller reef fish.

Yucab Reef

Depth: 45 to 60 feet
Skill level: Novice
Excellent 2nd dive. Dense reef full of color and marine life including lobster, eels and crab.

Punta Tunich

Depth: 50 to 130 feet
Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
Often swift current. From a sand bottom at 70 feet, a long ridge of coral rises from the sand dunes between 40 to 60 feet. Big grouper and playful green moray eels.

San Francisco Reef

Depth: 35 to 50 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
One of the shallowest wall dives. Very rich with marine life. Excellent 2nd dive.

Santa Maria Reef

Depth: 40 to 60 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Many large schools of angelfish.

Santa Rosa Wall

Depth: 40 to 130 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Popular deep dive. Drift dive over huge coral heads that rise up from the deep blue. Impressive overhangs and colorful sponges. At the northern end are a series of swim through tunnels that the dive master will lead you through. Keep your eye open towards the deep channel where you may spot eagle rays and turtles.

Paso de Cedral

Depth: 35 to 60 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Popular spot for feeding the locals! Massive black groupers will follow you once you enter the water. Do not feed the fish though. Let the dive masters feed the eels and groupers here as they have more experience. Spectacular cavern, tunnel and swim through diving.

Cedral Wall

Depth: 50 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Usually strong current present. Fairly flat but full of color and marine life.

Little Caves

Depth: 50 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is an interesting dive with many colorful canyons, deep ravines and crevices.

Palancar Horseshoe

Depth: 25 to 125 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Towers of brain, star and sheet coral heads protrude within 20 feet of the surface. Excellent dive spot.

Palancar Gardens

Depth: 40 to 70 feet
Skill level: Novice
This is a great 2nd dive after diving Palancar Caves. Beautiful dive with plenty of color and many nice caverns.

Palancar Caves

Depth: 60 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
Excellent tunnels and caves to swim through. Abundant marine life. Very popular deep dive.

Columbia Wall

Depth: 60 to 90 feet
Skill level: Intermediate
One of my favorite dives. Not as many divers come here due to the distance. Huge coral pinnacles and a very impressive drop off. You can often see large marine life such as eagle rays, turtles and large barracuda.

Columbia Shallow

Depth: 35 feet max
Skill level: Novice
This is one of the best shallow dives on the island in my opinion. huge variety of marine life and many coral heads. Usually 2nd dive only for those divers who have just finished the first dive at either Columbia Wall or Punta Sur due to the location.

Punta Sur

Depth: 90 to 130 feet
Skill level: Advanced
This is diving for the experienced at its best. Home to the famous "Devil's Throat" which starts at the opening of a dark narrow tunnel at 90 feet and takes you out into a sunlit opening at 130 feet on the wall. Eagle rays and sharks are occasionally spotted here. Other spots include the cathedral, which is a large cave opening with giant sponges that form a cross in the ceiling of the cave where light passes through.

Maracaibo Deep

Depth: 90 to 140 feet
Skill level: Expert
This is the southernmost reef on the island and is very exposed to current and topside surf. Wall starts at 90 feet and is covered with large orange elephant ear sponges, black coral and sheet coral. Sharks, rays and loggerhead turtles swim through the channel.

Barracuda Reef

Depth: 80 to 100 feet
Skill level: Expert
Barracuda lies on the north side of the island. This dive site is rarely visited due to rough conditions, even in good weather. The current runs 2 to 3 knots and down currents are not uncommon. For the truly adventurous diver, it is a rewarding challenge though and you can often site large schools of fish, turtles, and even hammerhead sharks have been sighted here in the past.