A lot of people associate Cancun with romantic honeymooners or retirees living a laid back beach lifestyle. While it's true these groups do make up a large portion of the people visiting this area of mexico each year, there is also a thriving community of scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts that is quickly growing thanks to the beautiful conditions found in Cancun and the surrounding waters of Cozumel, a fun island just off shore. Our team recently took a 3 week trip to Mexico, looking for some awesome local dive sites and we were not disappointed. It also happened to be whale shark season...
Live the Island Life and Experience Fantastic Dive Sites on Cozumel
Cozumel is considered hands down one of the best places to scuba dive in Mexico, an is only a quick ferry ride away from the dock at Cancun. The ticket price is fairly cheap, we managed to find one for about $15 return. The ride across to the island itself is pretty quick and the ferry sets sail multiple times a day, usually on the hour.
The island itself has a good mix of party people and those looking to relax on the beach while sipping cocktails, so there tends to be something for everyone. The food found at most of the restaurants on Cozumel is pretty amazing, especially the seafood, given the surrounding waters are teeming with fresh fish to catch and enjoy. The best part about staying on the island itself is the fact that most of the dive sites are a 10-15 minute boat ride away, which makes getting in the water quick and easy. But lets get down to the reason you are probably on this page...Cozumel diving! How is it? What are the conditions like? What will you see?
Lets start with the conditions. The Caribbean waters that surround Cozumel and Cancun are beautiful year round. The water temperature is fairly consistent at around 85 degrees during the hotter summer months and dropping down a bit to around 75 during the winter. Visibility is almost always spectacular, ranging from 80-100 feet on average thanks to the calmer waters. This makes for some great scuba diving and snorkeling all year long.
As for variety, there are so many different dives offered by most of the local dive shops you will be hard pressed to not find an adventure you will enjoy. There are plenty of deep wall dives teeming with life, shipwrecks to explore, or for those who like to go with the flow, tons of fun drift dives to cruise along the currents in. As for the sights...there are tons of corals to enjoy, large sea fans, friendly nurse sharks swimming about almost everywhere you look, sea turtles and many different types of rays chilling on the sandy bottom or sea grass. And for those that love large schools of tropical fish, you are in luck! On every Cozumel diving trip so far we experienced massive schools swimming around us.
Our favorite Cozumel dive site:
Palancar Reef is hands down one of the best places to scuba dive if you are visiting this island paradise. It is a large reef with a ton of features to explore and check out, which can easily take a few dives. There are several caves and overhands to look for more cautious species of marine life, a drop off for those that like to explore deeper depths and shallower coral gardens that are teeming with reef fish. The variety of wildlife on display here is great, from large fish and rays to small crabs and cleaner fish. Combined with the wide variety of corals, this is one of the most popular Cozumel diving sites.
Where to go snorkeling in Cozumel
There are plenty of dive shops and local tours all over the island that will be happy to sign you up for a fun snorkeling day trip, where they will take you by boat to explore some of the local reefs, but if you just want to grab your snorkeling equipment and head out on your own then we would recommend checking out Playas las Casitas. There are several interesting things to see, including 2 shipwrecks just off shore. From the shore in front of the Love Cafe, swim out to the yellow buoy and then about 100 feet or so past it you will find a PT boat below in about 30 feet of water.
It is a bit far out so you need to be a strong swimmer, but there is also some large chunks of concrete that has created an artificial reef that you can snorkel around and explore, with lots of fish and even some lobsters to see if your freediving skills are on point! The only thing to be aware of when snorkeling in Cozumel is the currents that surround the island, so ask at the dive shop and as with scuba diving, snorkeling with a buddy is always a good idea.
Scuba Diving In Cancun: Everything You Need To Know
If you are opting for a more relaxing trip or are on your honeymoon and want to get some diving in, then Cancun is probably your port of call when visiting mexico. Luckily there are some really cool spots to scuba dive in the area. The nearby Isla Mujeres is a backpacker island covered in dive shops, and chances are if you are diving from Cancun, you will be visiting the same dive sites as those frequented by those on Isla Mujeres, so the boat ride to the site might take an extra 30 minutes or so. If you stay on the island the boat ride to most of the interesting dive sites is 10-15 minutes. So if a laid back backpacker vibe is more your thing than a beach side resort, head over there!
More Info Coming Soon!