When we checked in at the dive centre, we booked the first day’s diving as 2 afternoon dives, have a little lay in, a late long brekkie rather than rushed a lunch, and it worked perfectly… by 2pm, we were on the boat and about 20 mins away from our first dive of the trip, a very gentle drift on Palancar Reef, which didn’t disappoint - excellent vis, great marine life, healthy coral, much more colourful than I had expected. I was beginning to think I had underestimated what the waters around Cozumel actually had to offer, and I had.
Over the course of our dive package, we alternated between morning and afternoon dives, so we could fit in the holiday part - it worked really, really well - don’t get me wrong, you can take 4 dives a day if you wanted, and there were certainly enough good sites for the 9 days. Palancar Caves I have to say I think was my favourite - it was almost theatrical, lots of swim throughs and overhangs, beautiful natural light, eagle rays, a couple of turtles, and as you move up the reef, its teeming with reef fish and a mix of hard and soft corals. Sadly I didn’t find the splendid toadfish that can be found in Cozumel only, but others seemed to be more eagle-eyed than me.
Santa Rosa Wall is another must! This one started at around 30m, slowly working your way up, kind of reminded me of Elphinstone, water was stunningly clear, and as you looked down you just stared into a deep blue abyss. We had a very gentle drift, although I was told that some days the current can be pretty exciting, we did 2 dives on the wall that morning at different depths (started next at 20m and took it real slow).
Another reef that really sticks in my mind is Paseo El Cedral, and the morning we hit it, we got some great current and a few sharks! It’s not a deep dive, we dropped in at 18m maybe, but we certainly covered a lot of ground in our 60 minutes. As well as the nurse sharks, we had a few good-sized moray, and a couple of turtles - I was told it’s also great for the small stuff, but we were moving just a bit too quick to catch it, this was a superb chilled out lazy drift.
There is plenty of wildlife on the island too, it’s not all underwater, including in resort! They have beautiful birds, including a tiny bright green hummingbird that’s so fast you can struggle to catch a glimpse unless it’s feeding. Plenty of lizards too, some of the biggest iguanas I’ve seen, a few tortoises, and they also have resident coati (pronounced quati) that are super cheeky racoon-like animals - harmless and hilarious. Not on resort, but certainly on the island, you get good old-fashioned racoons too, proper little cheeky trash pandas.