I took two separate trips to Cozumel during my time in Mexico. It was a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, maybe 45 mins, for about $15 round trip. The island had a really cool vibe the moment we stepped off the ferry. I wouldn't have minded an extended stay there. We took a long walk along the shore line to a park and marina the first day there. It was beautiful and had a friendly, local feel to it. Even the touristy part of the island, which was small park surrounded by hotels and restaurants just outside of the ferry terminal, wasn't over the top. There just seemed to be a laid-back vibe to the whole island. Each of the times we went we stayed in a hostel called Hostelito, which was within walking distance of the ferry port, and next door to a killer burger place- YUM! It had both shared accommodation with about 20 beds, which we stayed in the first time, and private rooms where we stayed the second time. The dorm was nice, it was just a bit noisy from a bar across the street. The private rooms were a bit quieter, and with 4 of us sharing a room with 2 double beds it was more than fair priced. The hostel also had a killer roof top with loungers and hammocks, and the wifi worked great. But, we weren't just there for the burgers and accommodations, we had heard great things about the diving on the island and we wanted to give it a go.
Awesome diving fountain along the shore line
In true fashion, Ida, from Norway, was off immediately to find us the best diving deal. Unfortunately, on the first go around her choice ended up not so great. We went with a group called Cosumal (cant remember but it was a weird spelling on Cozumel) Divers. Our DM was crazy and definitely was far from following safe diving protocols. Our rental equipment was in such poor condition that one of our group decided not to even go on our 2nd dive because he didn't feel safe. The first dive was to a wreck, and it went pretty well, except that we penetrated the wreck even though no one aside from myself were trained to do so. The DM insisted that there were enough openings to get out so it wasn't an issue. I knew better so I stayed behind the group to make sure everyone got out safely. There was definitely a point when the back half of the group got lost and had to backtrack out of the wreck. The next dive was meant to be a drift dive at a wall. The DM knew that we had two inexperienced divers in our group, they had just finished their advanced open water and had about 10 dives under their belts. He gets in the water and immediately drops down to 30m, leaving the two newbies (one was having equalization issues) drifting near the top. I saw what was happening so I pretty much stayed with them, but by the time we got down we were far ahead of the rest of the group. I also watched everyones no deco time and was telling them when to ascend. The wall was more of a gentle slope and aside from some sponges, completely bare and devoid of color or life. The drift lasted for about 10 mins and then we spent another 10 over a sandy bottom with slabs of concrete and very little signs of life. Needless to say, the two dives didn't come close to living up to the tales we had heard of gorgeous reefs teeming with life and turtles everywhere.
Not a penetration dive my ass...complete overhead environment in places and tons of snagging and entanglment risks
Cool shot of our dive boat at the surface from 20+ meters below inside of the wreck
Our group coming back up the decent line after the wreck dive...im at the bottom
Trying to make the best out of our shitty "wall" dive. This is the only pic I will post from it because it's just not worth the upload time.
So, we decided several weeks later to give the island and it's diving one more go. This time we planned our dives with two different reputable companies, slightly more expensive, but worth every penny. The first night in town we planned a night dive with Blue Magic Scuba. We weren't allowed to night dive at Pez Maya, so it had been a while and I was really excited - I love night diving! Cozumel did not disappoint this time around. The night dive was filled with free swimming eels, sting rays, lobster, and my very first octopus! Several octopus in fact :) I'm disappointed that I didn't bring my camera. The next day we did two more day dives with Dive Bros Unlimited. They were another great company, lots of fun, and they took us to a couple of killer dive sites with lots to see:Turtles, seahorse, barracuda, rainbow parrot fish and more. The DM's on all 3 of our dives this time around were amazing, responsible and fun. I'm glad that we gave the island and it's diving another chance, it was definitely worth it.
Now that is a healthy reef...and a beautiful rainbow parrot fish