Scuba Diving Cozumel

Scuba Diving Cozumel: Everything You Need To Know

The island of Cozumel is a small piece of paradise you’ll find a stone’s throw from Cancun, Mexico. Perfect for those looking to take in some of Mexico’s finest sights, Cozumel offers a variety of nature reserves and landmarks.

Situated only a short ferry ride away from Cancun, Cozumel is a small island bordered by the beautiful turquoise blue water of the Caribbean Sea. Great visibility and ideal water temperatures make for unmissable water activities for the more adventurous traveler.

Its prime location in the Caribbean Sea also makes it a great choice for scuba divers! Scuba diving Cozumel promises some of the world’s best diving, featuring great marine diversity and enviable water conditions.

Scuba Diving Cozumel

What’s Good About Cozumel Diving?

It’s not hard to imagine why the sunny island of Cozumel makes for great diving just by looking at its location. Easy to get to from Cancun and featuring easy access to some of the Caribbean Sea’s best diving. Here are some of our favorite things about diving in Cozumel.

Unrivalled Water Conditions

Located just a short ferry ride from Cancun, Cozumel offers easy access to the best diving the Caribbean Sea has to offer. The island is surrounded by enticing warm crystal-clear turquoise waters just waiting to welcome you.

The Caribbean waters offer great visibility and warm waters year-round making it great for first-timers. There are also some more varied conditions such as rapid drift dives for the more capable divers.

Diverse Marine Life

Diving in Mexico gives you an excellent opportunity to experience the underwater world in all of its glory and discover all of the beautiful marine life that inhabits it.

From whale shark encounters, to patrolling dolphins, to an array of colorful reef fish. The Caribbean water surrounding Mexico offers a multitude of opportunities for the marine biology geeks among us!

Variety in Dive Sites

Mexico holds some prime real estate when it comes to diving. Beneath the surface, you’ll find a plethora of unique sites including reefs, tunnels, and wrecks offering something for divers of all abilities.

What’s more, Mexico offers some brilliant cenote diving and an underwater museum. The likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world!

Cozumel Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

There’s no requirement to be certified to dive the waters of Mexico. Moreover, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for a first-time diver. Thanks to the favorable conditions that the Caribbean waters offer, there are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Cozumel as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging cenotes and wrecks.

If you’re looking to get scuba certified during your Cozumel vacation, there are plenty of diving schools available to choose from to complete your open water certification. Check out our recommended course below!

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Cozumel Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Mexico doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. Though, there is a 16% levy on all diving activities in Mexico. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of the Caribbean, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Diving Sites on Cozumel

Easily accessible, affordable, and with enough variety to suit all levels of divers, Cozumel offers some of the best diving sites in the world. You’ll find much in the way of diversity, with both marine life and underwater landscapes! Here are some of our favorite dive sites around the island of Cozumel.

Chankanaab Marine Park

Vibrant Coral

With a wealth of coral and marine life, Chankanaab is part of the world’s second-largest reef barrier. It is a fantastic group of dive sites within protected waters that appeal to certified and non-certified divers.

A vast array of sea life inhabits the marine park, and you can dive it directly from the shore. Water depths vary between six and 12 metres.

At the southern end are the Chankanaab Caves. The mix of cold freshwater atop a layer of warm salt water attracts a variety of sea creatures. Not least the large tarpon that congregates around the entrances to the caves.

Meanwhile, Chankanaab Reef, due to its distinct currents, means you have to dive it north to south. It’s perfect for beginner divers.

Chankanaab Shallow is home to shellfish like lobster and crab, as well as diverse coral species.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!

Cozumel National Marine Park

Cozumel Dive

The island of Cozumel lies 11 miles off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a welcome relief from the big tourist and increasingly popular in recent years with divers thanks to its underwater paradise.

The warm waters of its two shallow reefs are a safe harbor for an entire marine ecosystem. But there is plenty of deep diving available too for more experienced divers.

Particularly popular is the 90 metre-deep Punta Sur, said to be one of the world’s most beautiful dives. The southern end features a jaw-dropping chamber nicknamed The Cathedral. It is bursting with marine life, from manta rays to barracuda and toadfish.

At the northern end, experienced will want to dive the Devil’s Throat, a fantastic cave system not to be missed. However, due to the depth here and the strong currents, it is recommended only for very experienced divers.

Palancar Gardens Reef


Of all the reefs within the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, Palancar Gardens Reef has arguably the broadest appeal for divers of all levels.

Located off the southwest coast of Cozumel island, Palancar Gardens Reef enjoys a relatively modest current. It ranges in depth to a maximum depth of 34 metres and is unquestionably the Number One spot for coral formations. The brightly-colored corals are breathtaking in variety and scale, towering majestically above the ocean floor.

As well as sharks, octopus, angelfish, and parrotfish, Palancar Gardens is also famed for its numerous swim-throughs and caves.

Palancar Gardens is just one of five diving spots in the area you should check out for that amazing diving experience you have promised yourself.

Check out our recommended experience below for more details.

Best Time to go Diving on Cozumel

There’s no bad time to dive the Caribbean, boasting warm water with great conditions year-round. Mexico has something to offer every diver no matter what the time of year. Around Cozumel, you’ll find water temperatures between 78 and 82ºF.

The most popular time to visit Mexico is December to April. This is high season so it’s important to book early to ensure you don’t miss out.

If you’re looking something specific, conditions for cenote diving are best between May and September. On the other hand, June-September is best for spotting whale sharks.

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost on Cozumel?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Cancun, you’ll find prices between $50-$200. The prices generally include gear rental and levys so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $550, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear on Cozumel

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in the tourist hotspot of Cancun as well as the island of Cozumel as its diving scene is growing in popularity. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

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