Ten kilometres/six miles off the coast of Mexicos Yucatan Peninsula lies Cozumel, the "Island of the Swallows." Barely 50 by 16 kilometres/30 by 10 miles, this diminutive island has become a popular scuba diving destination. Cozumel has all the ingredients for a great dive getaway -friendly locals, good food, lively nightspots, towering coral formations, warm water, great underwater visibility and white sandy beaches. Most dive sites are found within the boundaries of Riviera Maya Reefs National Marine Park, which protects much of the second largest barrier reef system in the world, the Meso-American reef system. Created in 1996, the park is home to some 26 types of corals with more than 100 subspecies. More than 500 fish species live in the park, including the endemic splendid toadfish. Due to marine life protection programs, divers can also often see loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles. From shallow sheltered shore dives to secluded, seldom visited, current-swept drift dives, theres a dive in Cozumel for everyone.
This is a fascinating, ethereal dive consisting of a deep wall with caverns and fissures. The appropriately qualified may enter one of the larger cavern systems and follow it down a sand chute to 27 metres/90 feet where there's a complex of coral tunnels and caverns that are absolutely bursting with life.
This site is best enjoyed with an experienced local divemaster. The deeper walls have whip corals spiraling out into the depths and large black corals. There are also small, brightly colored gorgonian sea fans and sea whips, including the devifs sea whip.
Divers of all levels will enjoy the slight-to-moderate current that carries them along while exploring the many finger coral formations here. This strip ree f is about 20 metres/66 feet wide and dissected by many fissures and caverns. Within the many sheltered areas, divers can spot huge stovepipe sponges stretching out from the reef and black coral in the deeper areas. Fish such as juvenile yellow head wrasse hide in the deep yellow tubes at night for protection and sightings of butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish and damselfish are frequent.
This is a high voltage drift dive along a sheer wall. The wall begins at about 15 metres/50 feet and the current carries divers past ledges, overhangs, massive sponges and fire coral. Divers regularly encounter large pelagic fish, turtles and spotted eagle rays.
This is a relatively remote site which divers frequently share with eagle rays, turtles and large barracuda. A healthy coral reef crowns a steep drop off and massive coral pinnacles rise 15 metres/50 feet from the bottom. Nurse sharks prowl the reefs and walls, which seem to drop straight down to the infinite depths.
The clear water has visibility that ranges from 24-30 metres/80-100 feet.
The water temperature averages 25o C/77oF in the winter and 29oC/85oF in summer.
Riviera Maya has a subtropical climate. The average temperature is about 21-29o C/70-85o F. Humidity is usually high, around 90 percent, but it's often breezy too. Rainfall is rare apart from the rainy season (September November) when showers can be frequent.
Splendid toadfish, eagle rays, grunts, snapper, angelfish, parrotfish, moray eels, grouper, hawksbill turtles, trumpet fish, wrasse, hogfish, spotted drum fish, amberjacks, lobster, octopus and even long snout seahorses.
Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Spanish is spoken everywhere in Riviera Maya. Due to tourism, English is also widely spoken. Some locals speak Mayan.
Mexican pesos. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
Riviera Maya International Airport receives international flights from the United States and domestic flights from mainland Mexico.
110 volt, 60 Hz. Internet is widely available.
Rent a car and visit Mayan ruins and remote beaches. Trek the jungle or simply enjoy your time and take it easy at your hotel or resort.