Home to white sandy beaches, towering corals and friendly locals, the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park is a great all-around holiday destination.
Cozumel includes approximately 30 dive sites. Most of these are within the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park and are located to the south and the west of the island. Because of the permit system regulating the national park, you’ll need to dive from the boat of a local operator.
The marine park works to protect the world’s second largest barrier reef, namely the Meso-American reef system. This area hosts a remarkable 500 fish species and 26 types of coral. You’re sure to be astounding by this colorful environment.
When to Dive Cozumel
Cozumel is a year-round diving destination. No single month is better than another for diving. Just keep in mind that August is peak hurricane season.
March to September is considered the rainy season in Cozumel. This has little to no impact on visibility or any other conditions under the water. However, if you have any activities you’d like to partake in above the surface, rainy season may have a slightly negative impact.
Do keep in mind that August and September are the months with the highest chance of hurricanes. Should a hurricane be forecasted to hit Cozumel during your vacation, it’s advisable to cancel or postpone your trip.
October to February is the dry season in Cozumel. The water is warm and clear, and you’ll only need a thin wetsuit to feel comfortable in the water.
These months are also popular for bull shark diving in Playa del Carmen. Many local operators will make a day trip to the mainland for the event.
October to February is also high season for tourism on the island. You should book your dive trip as far in advance as possible if you wish to visit during these months.
Where to Dive in Cozumel
Beginners will want to stay to the south and the west of Cozumel. Advanced divers should search out the current-heavy sites off the northern point.
Dive Sites in Cozumel
There are approximately 30 dive sites near Cozumel. Most of these sites are located within the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Reserve.
The Devil’s Throat and Palancar Garden are both appropriate for novice divers. Huge sponges and sea whips accommodate a large number of tropical species. Advanced divers can further explore the depths and caverns at both sites.
For exciting drifts, advanced divers can look to Santa Rosa Wall and Columbia Wall. Visitors regularly report eagle rays and other pelagic species in the area.
Finally, certified cave divers may wish to explore Punta Sur Reef where a sand chute leads to gorgeous coral tunnels.
Snorkeling in Cozume
Cozumel is especially accommodating to snorkelers. The water is warm and clear, making much of the Meso-American reef system accessible to surface spotters. The sites along the far southern coast are the best for snorkeling. Consult with a local operator for a full day trip or simply rent some snorkeling gear and head out from the beach.
What to See in Cozumel
Since 1996, these waters have been protected. As such, the Meso-American reef system has become home to over 500 fish species and 26 types of coral with over 100 subspecies. The crown jewel of the fish found here is the Cozumel Splendid Toadfish, an endemic species. You’ll also be able to find grunts, snapper, amberjacks, spotted drums, hogfish, butterflyfish, damselfish, parrotfish, wrasse, trumpet fish, lobster, octopus and longsnout seahorses. Barracuda stalk their prey among the gorgonian sea fans and sea whips, and sea turtles are also found everywhere along the reef. On the larger side of things, you might be lucky to see eagle rays and nurse sharks.