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Why You Can’t Miss SCUBA Diving In Cozumel

While on my last cruise, I signed up to dive in Cozumel for a two tank dive. I paid for this myself, and I can’t recommend Cozumel SCUBA diving enough. Some links are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Cozumel scuba diving shark sighting

In Cozumel, I’ve done several activities in the past. One of my favorites is the Amazing Secret River that I’ve done and paid for twice. SCUBA is a passion, and traveling without my family or friends who need to be entertained meant I had a chance to dive.

I’ve heard for years that Cozumel SCUBA diving is one of the best in the world. I agree that you if you have your C Card, you definitely want to experience this.

We dove through The Dive Shop Cozumel in a two tank dive that left at midday. The first stop was Santa Rosa, an amazing coral wall with small caves, and the second Yucab a slightly shallower dive that provided plenty of fantastic sea life.

Still figuring out the rest of your cruise? Check out more tips and recommendations at the bottom of this article.

What You Need to do a two tank SCUBA dive in Cozumel

For any dive you need your C card. You do not need your physical card, but you must have the number and certification date, as well as your certification level. Like most dives, they divide you by experience and certification.

This shop provides your BCD, mask, and fins, as well as weights and a belt.

Ensure you have reviewed the standard dive medical questionnaire before you sign up. You have to fill out the medical information once you arrive. If you have any contraindications, you won’t be able to dive.

If you review ahead of time and get doctor signoff for any areas of concern, then you are fine.

As with most dive shops, feel free to bring your own equipment. At check in, you indicate what equipment you need to use, so if you have your own BCD, mask, etc., just don’t mark that.

No surprise, you need to provide your own towel. The dry area aboard the boat is fairly large, so your bag and other items are as safe as they can be on water.

Aside from that, make sure you have cash to tip the crew at the end of your dive, and have a charged up underwater camera if you enjoy taking photos.

The Day of your Cozumel SCUBA Diving Experience

The Dive Shop Cozumel meets you at the end of the pier near Fat Tuesday, the first bar you see. You fill out the waiver, provide C Card information, and fill out the medical waivers.

Most times, you have a bit of a wait – maybe 20 minutes – while they prep the boat at the dive shop with everything you need. You then walk a short distance to a smaller pier where the boat docks and takes you aboard.

Cozumel scuba diving boat

Once aboard, check all your equipment. While you estimate what size you need, different equipment fits differently. On our trip, we also had one person whose personal regulator didn’t fit on the BCD, so they swapped it out at the dive shop.

Once everyone has equipment that fits, they head to the first dive site and provide the briefing. The dive masters also provide you with a wristband showing you purchased a permit to dive in the underwater national park.

The boat itself has two stories, a covered area below and an open second story for those who want to experience more Mexican sun.

Unique The Dive Shop Cozumel Rules

All dive shops have their idiosyncrasies. I prefer to know about them ahead of time when possible, partly so I can plan what to bring to the dive.

To my surprise, at the dive shop, we picked up additional divers. It was not solely cruise ship passengers on the dive. This means the boat has 18-20 people diving, but it’s a large boat and doesn’t feel crowded.

I get that The Dive Shop Cozumel wants to maximize their revenue, but I didn’t expect more passengers. Fortunately the dive included four dive masters, so groups remain small.

Unlike when I dove in Belize, the cost for the marine park entrance is included in the fee you pay when you sign up for the dive. Leave the wristband on until after the second dive. Thankfully, no surprise costs there.

If you wish to use a shortie, it’s an extra $2.50 to rent it. I found that the water was plenty warm at the first site, although the second felt colder, and I could have used it.

Interestingly unlike any dive I’ve ever been on before, their masks do not include a snorkel. While the seas weren’t rough, personally I would have felt more comfortable using a mask with a snorkel.

I’ve never had a dive shop charge for lost weights. Granted, I’ve never had an issue with divers losing weights either. They charge $3 per pound of weight you lose, so make sure you have yours secure!

As each group entered the water a few minutes apart, you run into no crowding issues on the dive. You don’t see the other groups, which leads to a more peaceful and serene experience diving.

Lastly, The Dive Shop Cozumel asks that you leave your masks around your necks between dives v placing them on the tank with the rest of your equipment. My guess? They’ve had too many masks disappear overboard, as well.

Santa Rosa Cozumel SCUBA Diving

The first stop is Santa Rosa. The dive site is approximately a 10 minute boat ride from the dive shop. It encompasses a wall area coral formation that goes over 3,000 feet deep.

This dive is a max of 80 feet for 20 minutes for open water divers. This dive has a current, so the dive masters assess how strong it is before you descend to ensure you don’t get swept down the wall. Generally, this isn’t an issue, however.

The current on this dive is strong, one of the strongest I’ve had while diving – at least on the day we went. I rarely had to kick in fact, as the current pulled me along at speed.

Santa Rosa is a marine park, so you may not touch anything nor can you take anything. This includes holding onto  coral to take photos.

The most unique aspect of this dive was the opportunity to swim through holes in the wall to get to the other side a few times. Some divers swam past them, not realizing how strong the current is.

Cozumel scuba diving santa rosa

Just past each hole is a way to get around the wall, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or left behind.

At one hole, a diver became confused and inflated her BCD rather than deflating it. She became stuck on the roof of the hole.

The dive master had those of us through the hole wait on the sand while he helped the woman and the people behind her.

I appreciated how the dive master was constantly looking out for all members of our five person group. The same woman had buoyancy issues through the dive, and the dive master always quickly noticed and assisted her.

On our dive, we saw a plethora of sea life. No surprise, we saw most of the usual suspects on a Caribbean dive. Additionally, we spotted lobster, dog fish – something unique to Cozumel SCUBA diving, barracuda, and a reef shark that was content to hang around.

Cozumel reef shark

At the end of this dive, the dive masters use an inflatable buoy to signal the boat to pick up divers.

Cozumel SCUBA diving interval

Because each group enters the water at a different time, each group exits a few minutes apart, as well. This ensures there’s plenty of room and less chaos as you change out equipment for the second time and report your remaining pressure from the first dive.

The dive masters also serve watermelon during the interval, in addition to the usual water you enjoy to stay hydrated while diving.

The surface interval lasts about 25 minutes before the second dive. Between the wait in picking up all divers and then the short jaunt to the next site, it feels shorter than it normally does.

The dive masters provide the briefing for the second dive to finish off the surface interval. This minimizes the sit around and wait on the boat, which I appreciated.

Yucab Cozumel SCUBA Diving Site

The current at Yucab resembled nothing like what we experienced at Santa Rosa. This was not a drift dive at all.

Though Yucab is a shallower dive than Santa Rosa, the temperature feels somewhat cooler. On this dive, you also see plenty of sea life with good visibility of 75 plus feet.

Gorgeous fish when cozumel scuba diving

While you have some particulate in the water, it’s not bad at all. We saw squid and lots of huge lobster, plus more dogfish with their unique purple and yellow markings.

We also so a gigantic spotted moray eel weaving in and out of a coral formation, far less hidden than you usually see eels. In addition to large fish, we saw the typical tropical fish and some small gems like gorgeous snails on a sponge and jawfish dancing and heading back into their holes.

After the dive, the boat heads back first to the pier near the cruise ship to drop off cruise passengers and then to the dive shop. Dive masters are happy to sign your log book but don’t have the shop stamp on the boat.

Since the dives are early in the day and Cozumel tends to be a longer cruise stop, you can stay on the boat and head to the dive shop to get the stamp or purchase gear and souvenirs. It’s about a 5 minute walk back from the dive shop to the cruise port, so very doable.

Don’t forget to book your two tank Cozumel SCUBA diving trip!

How was your Cozumel SCUBA diving experience?

More great cruise tips:

Cozumel scuba diving excursion: Enjoy a fun two tank dive with great dive masters in Santa Rosa and Yucab. See dogfish, sharks, and swim through holes. One of the best SCUBA diving trips in the world.

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