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Diving and Snorkeling in Cozumel Waters...


Diving and Snorkeling in Cozumel Waters...Summary: If you have ever had the desire to explore the depths, or if you are an accomplished diver, the opportunities you will find in Mexico are probably some of the best you will ever have. Coral reefs, underwater caves, ancient wrecks...And hundreds of different kinds of exotic tropical fish. They are all waiting for you to discover off the shores of Mexico.
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    Diving and Snorkeling in Cozumel Waters...

    Coral reefs, underwater caves, ancient wrecks and hundreds of different kinds of exotic tropical fish. The dive sites are all waiting for you to discover off the shores of Cozumel.  If you have ever had the desire to explore the depths, or even if you are an accomplished diver, the opportunities you will find in Mexico are probably some of the best you will ever have. Virtually every beach destination features scuba diving and snorkeling to some extent. Several offer spectacular adventure. And one is considered the finest dive destination in the Western Hemisphere. 

    Cozumel's reefs are nestled along the leeward west shore of the island, lining a vertical drop-off into the 12-mile-wide Yucatan Channel. With a steady northward current blowing through this deep trench, drift diving here is as effortless as an afternoon siesta. Shallow patch reefs and narrow coral ridges run parallel to the drop-off, home to a 'Who's Who' of Caribbean reef fish, including the splendid toadfish, found in no other region of the world. Closer to the edge of the wall, rolling hills of medium-sized corals shelter the biggest marine life: NFL-sized black grouper and six-foot green moray eels.

    Cancun, and nearby Akumal, present an overwhelming variety of undersea life, plus sunken Spanish galleons and several reefs. You can even try fresh water diving in the area's 'cenotes', where underground rivers have carved fascinating underwater formations. There are also boat excursions to Isla Mujeres and Yelapa Island. And for beginning snorkelers, the aquarium-like lagoons of Xel-Ha, just outside of Tulum, offer a beautiful introduction to the sport.

    There are some 20 miles (32.2 km) of reef, including the second longest in the world, The Gama Reef. More than 200 species of neon-bright tropical fish. Undersea limestone caves and tunnels. A sunken aircraft wreck. And if you dive in the right spots, you will even get to see some rare black coral. Please note that divers are expected to leave the natural environment intact.
     
    Many hotels have snorkeling equipment for rent. And dive shops abound in most locations. (U.S. standard equipment is used.) There are even complete dive vacation packages available. Generally speaking, you will find that diving is more affordable in Mexico than most other locations around the world. You will need to have either national or international certification to make the more challenging dives, but many destinations offer 'resort courses' that will allow you to make limited, supervised dives. Again, check with your travel agent for details. Then take the plunge. You will find that the water is indeed very fine. 
     
    Cozumel itself was a sleepy little fishing community until 1961, when a Frenchman by the name of Jacques Cousteau declared us one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas of the world. Since that time Cozumel has become an underwater marine park to protect the delicate balance of it's dazzling coral reefs and abundant variety of tropical fish. The underwater wildlife is absolutely amazing here & due to the clarity of the water ( 100 - 200 ft visibility,depending on the season ), you do not have to be a diver to enjoy it. Simply put on a mask & snorkle and jump in & you will feel like you have been dropped into a tropical fish tank !!

    In addition to the spectacular open water diving, the region of Cozumel and Akumal are well-known for the underground rivers that honycomb the porous limestone of the Yucatan which provide some of the most beautiful cave and cavern or 'cenote' diving in the world. Many of these caves are highly decorated and are like floating through the finest dry cave you have ever seen, simply filled with water that is as clear as air. Because they are supported and protected by their water filled enviornment, they are pristine and each has its own particular marine life, unique to a cave enviornment.

    Cozumel Dive Sites:

    Paradise Reef
    Depth: 20 to 50 feet
    Skill Level: Novice
    Even though it's become an environmental battleground, Paradise Reef is one of Cozumel's most popular second-tank and night dives, full of shallow patch reefs and a medium-depth ridge of brain corals, sea fans and sponges. At night, look for octopuses, spotted eels and endemic toadfish.


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    Chankanaab Caves
    Depth: 35 feet
    Skill Level: Novice
    Just south of the beach at Chanka-naab Park, cold fresh water flows out of an L-shaped cave in the limestone coast. Stay in ambient light as you elbow your way past big tarpon and through mobs of glassy sweepers beneath the "green mirror," a halocline band of salt water riding on a clear layer of fresh water.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tormentos
    Depth: 50 to 70 feet
    Skill Level: Intermediate
    Ride Cozumel's fastest currents on a speed dive over coral pinnacles topped with brain and whip corals. Joining you on the flight are snapper, grunts and beefy grouper. Drop down into a lee behind a coral head and you'll find plenty of macro subjects.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Punta Tunich
    Depth: 50 to 130 feet
    Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
    From a sand bottom at 70 feet, a rolling ridge of corals rises from snowy-white sand dunes at the top of the wall. Big grouper, playful green moray eels and lobster populate ledges and overhangs.


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    Santa Rosa Wall
    Depth: 30 to 130 feet
    Skill Level: Intermediate
    Sail over a jagged fence of coral heads, down the lip of the wall and into the deep blue chasm. Ride the current until you reach a series of swim-throughs at the northern end. Keep an eye on the channel where pelagic eagle rays and turtles occasionally swim by.


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    Cedar Pass
    Depth: 35 to 60 feet
    Skill Level: Novice to Intermediate
    Massive black groupers mob you the second you enter the water. It's a fast drift over coral heads that boast swim-through tunnels jammed with glassy sweepers and ledges sheltering large green moray eels.


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    Palancar Horseshoe and Gardens
    Depth: 25 to 130 feet
    Skill Level: Intermediate
    Tall heads of brain, star and sheet corals line the wall like sentry towers. As you head over the wall, gorgonians branch out like fishing nets and bush-like green and black corals grow in abundance.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Punta Sur
    Depth: 80 to 130 feet
    Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
    With wide tunnels and cavernous rooms lit by natural skylights, Punta Sur is a favorite dive of Cozumel veterans. Devil's Throat is the famous underwater subway tunnel that takes you from the top of the wall at 80 feet through a sun-dappled ballroom and deposits you in the channel at 130 feet where eagle rays and sharks occasionally cruise.


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    Maracaibo Deep
    Depth: 90 to 150 feet
    Skill Level: Advanced to Expert This southernmost reef is exposed to current and topside surf and is a favorite of advanced divers. The wall starts at 90 feet and is covered with black corals, orange elephant ear sponges and broad sheet corals, sharks, rays and loggerhead turtles cruise the channel.

    Check out http://www.cozumeldivemap.com to order a dive site map of Cozumel.




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