This is the first reef when entering the Marine Park of Cozumel. The dive usually starts across from the entrance of the Marina Fonatur and drifts north.
Villa Blanca Wall
This dive site presents a steeply sloping wall, although it is not recommended to attempt it from the shore. The swim from the shore to reach the site takes approximately 15 minutes, resulting in a relatively short overall dive experience. Due to the high current activity, the reef structure remains relatively low in profile. However, the sponges and coral exhibit excellent health and condition. Throughout the dive, you can expect to encounter numerous barrel sponges, basket sponges, and gorgonian fans.
Situated across from Chankanaab Park, this dive spot offers a straightforward and shallow experience. However, it's important to note that the visibility at this site may not be as clear as in other dive locations due to occasional runoff from the nearby lagoon. The terrain consists of sand with small coral formations.
Ship Wreck C-53
The sunken wreck, located in close proximity to Chankanaab Park, is an excellent dive site in Cozumel. The barge was intentionally submerged several years ago and has since become adorned with an abundance of marine organisms, creating a captivating sight. The barge itself spans a length of 154 feet, a width of 33 feet, and reaches a height of 40 feet. Resting upright on the seabed, it offers an intriguing exploration opportunity.
This particular dive location showcases a vibrant and thriving reef. The reef formations rise to heights of 20 to 30 feet, creating a visually striking landscape with sandy valleys and dunes shaped by prevailing currents. Within this enchanting setting, divers can expect to encounter an array of marine life, including turtles, groupers, snappers, nurse sharks, and angel fish.
It boasts an abundance of marine creatures that inhabit the entirety of the reef. Sponges of various colors can be found in every direction. The reef's sand-scoured overhangs provide safe havens for lobsters, banded coral shrimps, and the arrow crab. Moreover, there is an impressive population of squirrelfish, angel fish, and butterflyfish, frequently seen swimming in pairs.
This dive site's northern section holds the greatest allure, particularly when a south-to-north current prevails. The wall on this end is nearly perpendicular, featuring an abundance of caves and crevices. Within this area, squirrelfish and pairs of angelfish can be observed in great numbers. Additionally, numerous sizable green moray eels can be spotted along the reef.
The sandy and coral rubble seabed gradually slopes downward, culminating in a minor drop-off where the reef crest reaches a height of 12m. Beyond this point, the slope becomes steeper and scattered with coral debris. The coral reef itself consists of sizable clusters of brain coral, adorned with sea fans and plumes. Throughout the reef, pink vase sponges are scattered, while small groups of creole wrasse and bluehead wrasse thrive in the ever-flowing waters along the reef.
Santa Rosa Wall
Descending from approximately 14 meter, the wall plunges into the depths, offering an exceptional wall diving experience that consistently leaves divers satisfied. This site frequently presents sightings of eagle rays, turtles, and groupers. Notably, there are substantial tunnels that penetrate through the reef crest, while the northernmost section boasts an array of tunnels. Some portions of the wall become so steep that they approach near-vertical angles.
Paso del Cedral
That was the dive site of Cozumel for the nurse shark. It consistently presents numerous chances to capture stunning images of schooling fish. Among the abundant marine life, large gatherings of grunt and snapper, including the bluestriped grunt and schoolmaster, are frequently encountered. While the coral formations are relatively low-lying, they host captivating small coral species.
Stretching along the seabed is a substantial expanse of coral, interspersed with clusters of coral heads boasting a diverse range of vibrant sponges and gorgonians. For photography enthusiasts, this dive site is a treasure trove, showcasing splendid subjects such as toadfish, butterflyfish, and grouper. As you explore the sandy areas, you'll encounter southern stingrays, peacock flounders, and various mollusks. The site is teeming with high-quality corals and an abundance of fish and invertebrates, making it a captivating underwater scene to behold.
This dive site provides a wonderful opportunity to admire vibrant coral formations comprising a diverse array of coral species, intricately intertwined with orange and purple sponges. Missing out on this dive would be a regrettable oversight, as it offers an unforgettable underwater experience.
Palancar Horseshoe derives its name from the distinctive U-shaped amphitheater formation that is visible from above. This dive site bears resemblance to other Palancar dive sites and is typically explored as a multi-level dive, culminating at the reef's pinnacle around 8m deep. While renowned for its remarkable coral and sponge formations, it may not boast an abundance of fish compared to the standards of Cozumel. Nonetheless, the presence of numerous swim-throughs adds an element of excitement and enjoyment to the dive experience.
This Palancar dive site is highly favored by divers due to its impressive features, including deep buttresses, tunnels, caves, and expansive caverns that line the edge of a sloping wall. Along this stretch of reef, there are numerous caves and canyons to explore, and even after multiple dives, it would be impossible to discover them all.
This particular area offers a remarkable opportunity for deep diving. Immense coral formations emerge from the pristine white sandy bottom, gradually leading divers into the mesmerizing blue abyss. However, it is the striking contrast between the vivid blue hue of the abyss and the sandy floor that captivates the hearts of most divers exploring this region. With generally mild currents, sightings of turtles, sharks, and eagle rays are commonplace.
This huge dive site is suited for experienced divers seeking a deep-water exploration. While snorkeling in the shallows offers delightful experiences, be prepared for potential challenges due to considerable surface swell. Nonetheless, the remarkable water clarity compensates for any discomfort. The dive site is strewn with fragments of coral and substantial coral blocks, gradually transforming into prominent coral buttresses as you venture towards the edge of the wall.
SOUTH DIVING SITE COZUMEL
The southernmost sites are fabulous and awe-inspiring, you usually have to contact special dive shops that offer these expeditions. It important to be an advanced diver as the currents and conditions can be dangerous at times.
Devil's Throat and Punta Sur
This site offers an exceptional multilevel dive experience strictly reserved for experienced divers. However, it's important to note that due to its southern location and exposure to prevailing trade winds, surface conditions can be rough. Additionally, fast midwater currents are known to occur, which may result in missing the dive site altogether. The ability of divers to manage their air consumption will determine if both sections of the site can be explored within a single dive.
The renowned "Devil's Throat" section begins with a coral swim-through. Divers descend into a narrow, dark tunnel at a depth of 25m, eventually emerging into a sunlit opening at 36m, overlooking the abyss. Occasional sightings of eagle rays and sharks add to the allure of this section. The other part of the site, known as "The Cathedral," features a large cave opening adorned with magnificent giant sponges that create a cross-shaped pattern on the cave ceiling, allowing sunlight to filter through.
Situated at the southernmost point of the island, this dive site caters to recreational divers but is highly exposed to strong currents and surface turbulence due to its location. As the southern end of the island gradually descends, Maracaibo offers a wall dive experience, albeit a significantly deep one.
NORTH DIVING SITE COZUMEL
These are less accessible sites, are offered to advanced divers since the currents are very powerful.
This dive site, situated at the northernmost point, remains relatively unexplored by divers. It features a flat strip reef with sandy areas gradually descending into deeper waters. The main highlight of this site is the opportunity to encounter large pelagic species, including barracuda, jacks, eagle rays, turtles, and sharks.
Of Course for this site, you can go deeper than this towards the drop off. The underwater landscape is characterized by the presence of massive finger coral, lettuce coral, and sponges, creating a visually captivating environment. Exploring the site reveals various ledges and overhangs, providing shelter for french grunts and schoolmasters. Moreover, the reef is teeming with a multitude of damselfish and vibrant red seaweed.
Cantarel (Eagle Ray Wall)
This site attracts greater attention when the migratory route of Eagle Rays passes through Cozumel. This phenomenon typically occurs from mid-January to the beginning of March. It is a wall dive that is best approached from the shallow depths. During certain periods, fortunate divers may witness the breathtaking sight of up to 15-20 rays.