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scubanut75

Who to use in Cozumel?

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I've dove exclusively in Grand Cayman and I'm looking to head over to Cozumel for diving. The only thing I need is a bed and some great diving. If anyone has any recommendations it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

 

Ryan

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There are nearly 100 dive operators on Cozumel, some good, some unbelievably horrible. Where are you staying, or if you do not have a hotel, what is your budget? What is your experience level as a diver. Some operations offer more hand holding or supervision, others little or none for VERY, VERY experienced divers. I lived down there for many years, and will be back in January, perhaps I can help out.

 

Doug

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I'm a certified rescue diver looking for 3 dives a day hoping to take some good video. I haven't booked anything yet; we are looking to go in March. It is a last minute deal. Regarding budget, $1300-1500 for the week? Again, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Ryan

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Hey Ryan:

 

Check out Dive Paradise's website @:

 

http://www.diveparadise.com/packages.htm#magicsunset

 

They have basic and all inclusive (meals included) packages from $500 - $1000 per 7 nights / 5 days boat diving + shore dives. They are the on site operator for a dozen hotels. I like the Fiesta Americana, it's south of town about 5 miles by Palancar reef, so it's close to the dive site, boats hold 6-12 divers, and I've known the owner "Apple" an american ex-pat for many years.

 

Good Luck

 

Doug

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I use a guy named Dario. His outfit is called Xtabay Divers We've dived with him for many years.

 

He doesn't do that much business. So 3 dives/day may be difficult.

 

Another small op is Blue XT Sea

 

Christie provides great service.

 

Another op getting rave reviews is Liquid Blue Divers They have 120cf tanks.

 

I have dived with Dive Paradise many times. Although you can get a decent package with them, they use big, slow boats, packed with larger groups. You can do their six pack boat, but they need a minimum number to go out. Personally, I would never use them.

 

For places to stay, depends on how fancy you want. Hotel Mexicana is downtown, easy walk to restaurants, but no shore and far from dive sites. Hotel Barracuda is pretty basic, easy walk to town. Plaza Las Glorias is nicer just a bit further south, still an easy walk to town. Further south are Hotel Lorena (new name escapes me) El Cid/La Ceiba and Casa Del Mar. Too far to walk, but cheap taxi to town. Further south is Fiesta Americana (often with special rates), but a stiff taxi fee to town. Further south and well from town, but closer to reefs are all-inclusives like Iberostar and another one that escapes me.

 

Need to know how nice you want. Need a beach? Want close to town?

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I've stayed at the Fiesta Americana a couple times, going back again in Feb. Their onsite shop, Dive House is decent, but they use big, slow boats, and cater more to bigger groups and entry level to intermediate divers. The hotel is nice, has two pools, decent food. it's a bit of a ride into town, but not too bad.

 

If you're looking to do something different, try Dive Cozumel / Yellow Rose. I've heard good things about them and they do some more challenging dives if you're up for it.

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Ryan,

 

All these guys are right. Keep in mind that the farther south you are, the closer you are to the best sites such as Tormentos, Punta Sur, Punta Tunich, Maracaibo etc. A 15 minute ride on a slow boat with 6 other divers is much better than a 30 minute bouncy ride from hell on a fast boat with 24 divers and no room for a camera rinse bucket. The taxi ride into town is fine for a once or twice shopiing or dinning excursion but with an all-inclusive resort you can save alot of money on food by eating in. You should not expect to be able to get in the water and have the wall to yourself, Cozumel is not a sleepy little island any more and daily cruise ships and dozens if not hundreds of dive boats on the reef are the norm, not the exception. Make sure you are not sharing the dive boat with divers from a cruise ship!!!! You'll be stuck with the worst reefs and a boatload of beginner divers who haven't been in the water in 5-10 years and will kick every coral head and scare every fish within 100 feet.

 

If you stay at one of the southern resorts, use the in house dive operator, even though you can get picked up by other operators at your hotel dock, since some operations don't alway want to go that far south. Call the operator in advance and ask:

 

Max passengers on my boat?

Will I have the same Capt and DM all week?

Will you wash and store my dive gear for me and get it back on the boat for the next day?

Can you guarentee that I will get to dive sites x, y, and z etc

Do you separate beginner divers and or cruise ship divers from advanced divers on different boats and sites?

How many minutes from my dock to the sites you want to dive?

 

Not trying to scare you but I know all this from experience, having spent 8 1/2 years down there and diving nearly every day in Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Cancun.

 

Good Luck,

 

Doug

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Personally, I can't stand the cattle boats. I have been using an owner/operator called Manta Raya for the last 5 years. Fernando will lead you away from the other divers and show you swim thrus that you would never see from the cattle boats.

 

If you need a place to stay, Kelly at Paradise Properties can set you up at any level. I have rented from a 1 BR Villa to a 5 BR luxury home from her. The 5 BR was wonderful and reasonable for 10 people. It was also one of the few homes down south where the dive boat could pick you up minutes from the reefs.

 

Try not to stay north. It makes the diving much less convenient.

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