The small island of Cozumel, a short distance off southeast Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is understandably touted as one of the world’s safest – and greatest – diving destinations. Cozumel is very reasonably priced, serene and uncompromisingly beautiful. The water is transparent – and calm: The waves are too lazy to lap up on the beach. Just remember, a passport is required.
On the ferry ( http://bit.ly/Urp198), sit near the back or near an open access on the choppy, 45-minute water jet to Cozumel. The fresh air will do you good, though you still may want to bring along some Dramamine to combat motion sickness.
This striking, all-inclusive property has a quiet, private feel to each building. You may want to familiarize yourself with the resort grounds or risk getting lost a time or two on the way to the pool or one of the many fine dining facilities.
Serious scuba divers tend to keep a tight schedule; you’ll appreciate the resort-provided dive coordinator, who will help keep you abreast of all the daily dive activities and resort happenings.
The Occidental Grand is considered by many to be the Cozumel’s most convenient location for diving: A majority of the island’s best dive sites are minutes from the property’s pier. (As an added foresight, there’s also an on-site paramedic in the event of any emergency.)
The thatched roofs lend the buildings a Mayan-esque feel for your island vacation. The spacious, somewhat dated rooms are comfortable, but lack the stylishness at the Occidental Grand, Cozumel.
Allegro Cozumel takes your diving experience to a whole new level. You’re granted access to the same proficient dive coordinator as the Occidental Grand’s, but their affordable scuba package is complete with deluxe rooms, posh divers-only lounge, free boat dives and even a private pool.
The fish have such distinctive personalities. There’s the clumsy puffer fish that seems to have trouble navigating the waters. There are beautiful yellow and purple fish that not even art can do justice. A sleeping nurse shark simply lies there, allowing for close scrutiny. Don’t forget the nefarious and menacing-looking barracudas that hang out over the sandy bottom flats. The way to experience these sights is through Pro Dive Mexico ( www.prodivemex.com), whose instructors are patient, understanding and come equipped with a wealth of knowledge.