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COZUMEL REEFS

Explore Cozumel Reefs

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We have over 30 different dive sites surrounding Cozumel island, most of them located on the western coast and easily accessible by boat. Here are some of the popular ones:

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Splendid toadfish

Paradise Reef

Depth 9-12 m / 30-40 ft

Located south of the Puerta Maya cruise ship pier, it is the first reef as you enter the Marine Park. It consists of three long back-bone-like ridges running parallel to the shore. Currents normally run south to north. All three Paradise parts are filled with loads of marine life like sergeant majors, grunts, snappers, angelfish, along with sponges and gorgonians. Perfect for spotting lobsters and endemic splendid toadfish on night dives!

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Chankanaab Shallows

Depth 12 m / 35-40 ft

Located straight in front of Chankanaab Park, it is a shallow platform reef, with mild currents typically running north to south. There is a flat sandy bottom at one end where the king crabs, spiny lobsters and spotted moray eels tend to hang out. This site is also very popular for night dives because of the large numbers of octopus and reef squids. The word ‘Chankanaab’ means ‘Little Ocean’ in Mayan.

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C-53 Wreck

Depth 24 m / 78 ft

​C-53, or Felipe Xicoténcatl wreck is a 56 m/184 ft long former US Navy minesweeper, adopted by Mexicans after the WWII and used to patrol the bay for illegal drug trafficking. It was sunk on purpose in 2000 to serve as a dive site. The sides have been opened up to allow wreck divers to enter and exit safely. The reef here is home to sardines, lobsters, garden eels, angel fish and huge groupers. The wreck has also its own guardian: a huge green moray dwelling usually in the engine room.

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Chankanaab Bolones

Depth 18-24 m / 60-80 ft

​Picture a large area of flat sandy bottom with big blocks of coral scattered around. Currents are rather mild, usually running from north to south. Beautiful playground for spotting crabs, spiny lobsters, moray eels and, in the season, large schools of spotted eagle rays (November - March).

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Tormentos

Depth 15-18 m / 50-60 ft 

A shallow reef, rich in coral and with an abundance of marine life: giant parrotfish, pipefish, yellowhead jawfish, moray eels and lots of crustaceans, with splendid toadfish hiding in the sand. Great as a second dive, with mild currents running usually south to north.

Image by Diane Picchiottino

Yucab

Depth 15-18 m / 50-60 ft

A beautiful dive site with rather mild currents running south to north most of the year. Great spot for night dives: octopus, scorpion fish, lobsters, nurse sharks, sleeping turtles and, of course, the famous endemic splendid toadfish. Northern portion of the site is divided by sand channels that lead divers towards Tormentos reef.

Eagle ray & divers

Punta Tunich

Depth 12-24 m / 40-80 ft +

Translated from Mayan to ‘Pointed Rock’, this dive site has usually rather strong and turbulent currents and therefore good dive planning is recommended. The reef forms the ridge just at the edge of a wall that drops down into the big blue. It is known for nurse sharks, majestic eagle rays, turtles and barracudas gliding over the coral. Great spot for drift diving!

Nurse shark swimming

San Francisco Wall

Depth 12-21 m / 40-70 ft +

This wall dive site slopes gently down to 21 m, or 70 ft, before it drops off into the deep blue. It is frequented by turtles, eagle rays and nurse sharks, and sometimes even a black tip reef shark makes an appearance. In the northern area of the wall you can see green moray eels.

Scuba Diver

Santa Rosa Wall

Depth 12-30 m / 40-100 ft +

Santa Rosa offers amazing deep dives with spectacular views of the deep blue. As the currents might be unpredictable, the wall part is recommended for intermediate and advanced divers. The most common sights are spotted eagle rays, horse-eyed jacks, lobsters and huge groupers.

Santa Rosa has its shallow part where the current is usually much slower and spiny lobsters, moray eels, spotted eagle rays and turtles are often seen.

Image by David Clode

Paso de Cedral

Depth 10-30 m / 30-100 ft +

Named after a Mayan settlement inland from Cedral Beach, Paso has 2 valleys separated by a platform and a wall part dropping off into the deep blue. Currents are predominantly running north and can be very strong. There is a cavern area with incredible swim throughs on the shallower part. Barracudas, green morays, nurse sharks and large groupers are commonly seen in the area, as well as Hawksbill and green turtles sharing their meal with royal and French angelfish.

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La Francesa

Depth 10-18 m / 30-60 ft

It is a shallow dive site that commonly has pipefish, splendid toadfish, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays and Southern stingrays. The currents can be moderate to strong, predominantly running north, taking divers to the next dive site: Paso de Cedral.

Scuba Diver and Corals

Punta Dalila

Depth 12-20 m / 40-65 ft

Reef named after the Dalila Ranch located on the shore across from the reef. It is a shallow dive and is usually done as a second dive. The reef has a beautiful swim-through running through most of its ridge, with many ways in and out. You will find a variety of sponges and numerous Caribbean sea whips.

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Palancar Gardens

Depth 5-40 m / 15-130 ft +

The northernmost part of beautiful Palancar reef system, with slow currents and a shallow platform adjoining a gently dropping wall, it is an ideal place for a first-time ever wall dive. Lots of channels and swim throughs give you multiple ways to explore this dive site. You will admire huge coral formations with lots of parrotfish, filefish and angelfish swimming by. Arrow crabs, flamingo tongues and drumfish can be often spotted in the shallower platform part.

Diving with Fish

Palancar Horseshoe

Depth 24-30 m / 80-100 ft +

Probably the most breathtaking dive site in the Palancar system, with a name deriving from the shape of the coral reef. The marine life is represented by blue tangs, parrotfish, angelfish, filefish and many other typical reef species. There is an abundance of swim throughs and tunnels to explore, a real treat for advanced divers!

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Palancar Caves

Depth 24-30 m / 80-100 ft +

Another stunning dive site in the Palancar system. The pinnacles have grown to form tunnels and coral caverns with light beaming through so that it’s rather easy to navigate and the swim throughs are truly spectacular. Turtles are a common sight in this area, as well as eagle rays and nurse sharks.

Turtle in the Reef

Palancar Bricks

Depth 25-30 m / 80-100 ft +

The southernmost point of the four Palancar reefs, with its name coming from the barge that spilled red brick cargo when it capsized in the 1950’s. Mild currents running north. You can see here quite often Spanish hogfish, Hawksbill turtles, eagle rays and large groupers.

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Colombia Deep

Depth 30-40 m / 100-130 ft +

With unpredictable currents and walls dropping deep into the abyss, this dive site is a treat for more advanced divers. It has beautiful swim throughs and the reef loaded with soft corals and sponges beaming with colors. Frequent sights of passing pelagics, stingrays and turtles travelling into the deep blue.

Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri

Colombia Shallows

Depth 10 m / 30 ft

Located in the turquoise blue water opposite Colombia Lagoon, it is an easy shallow dive site, great for beginners. Marine life includes big schools of snappers and most species of tropical fish found in Cozumel.

Image by Marek Okon

Punta Sur

Depth 24-40 m / 80-130 ft +

Mainly known for Devil’s Throat dive site, due to the popular swim through lined with red sponges. Once you exit the swim through you enter a “Chamber” known as Little Cathedral where light beams across the sponge. The most common marine life at this site are the spotted eagle rays, reef and nurse sharks and Southern stingrays.

Southern stingray and a passenger

Chaun-Chacaab

Depth 18-24 m / 60-80 ft

A rather rarely visited dive site due to its remoteness and unpredictable currents, it has lots to offer to whoever ventures that far. The reef life is represented by numerous huge sea fans, bermuda chubs, snappers and Hawksbill turtles. On the sandy bottom of this site you could see southern stingrays as well as sea stars.