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Dive Review of Advanced Divers/Casa Mexicana in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

August, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jack Gibson, TX, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 2627
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Belize,
Providenciales T&C, Grand Turk, Bonaire, BVI, Walkers Cay, various
Florida Keys, Palau, Truk, Galapagos, PNG.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
None. They arent strict about the buddy system, but expect everyone to
stay with the group for the drift dive. Virtually no restriction on depth
or dive time (except your air supply). Just tell the dive master if you
want to go deep.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Cozumel subject matter is as good as anywhere in the Caribbean, but drift
diving in strong currents can make it more challenging. Advanced Divers'
boat has no special facilities for U/W cameras but will plan on setting up
a rinse tank if you ask for it in advance.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Cozumel is still a great Caribbean dive destination in spite of Wilmas
attempt to ravage the reefs last year. We have made two short trips there
this year, one in February and one in August. Doc Vikingos April 2006
report pretty well summed up what we saw in February: sand covered reefs
and still bewildered fish. . By August, Im happy to report that much of
the sand has blown off the reefs and they seem to be getting back to
normal. On our first day at Palancar caves we saw all the usual suspects
(gray, queen, and French angels, butterflies, grunts, and puffers) though
maybe not in quite the abundance of the recent past. We dove Chankanab for
our second dive, and it was in much better condition than I expected. Yes,
some past residents are MIA-- but there is still a great abundance of color
and life. Our second  and last  day we enjoyed  Punta Surs four caverns
on our first dive, starting our deco stop after devils throat. It is just
as spectacular as ever from the school of Jacks at the beginning of the
dive to the views of angels silhouetted against the deep blue seen from
within the caverns to the nurse shark spotted during our deco stop. 

Our last dive was at Puerta Maya  the controversial pier that destroyed
part of Paradise reef has been converted into an artificial reef by Wilma.
What great irony! I was skeptical about this dive, but it was interesting
to see the dramatic results of Wilmas wrath on this huge concrete
structure (now completely submerged). It is a writhing mass of iron rebar
and concrete rocks, blocks, boulders and beams that is being taken back by
the sea. Arrow crabs were common in the debris, trunkfish were numerous,
and a spotted moray was hunting among the rocks. We also saw a mantas
shrimp and some nudibranchs there.

Admittedly four dives is far from a scientific sampling, but based on what
weve seen I suspect any rumors of the death of Cozumel diving are
exagerated. Due to its convenience to Dallas, we like it for long weekends,
saving our vacations for more remote locations. But if I lived further
away, I wouldnt hesitate to book a week vacation in Cozumel, giving due
consideration to hurricane season. If you are close enough for a short
duration visit, watch the long term weather forecast and take advantage of
one of the deals available from the tour charter groups for a last minute
trip during hurricane season. You may find air and hotel for three nights
for a little less than $500 from Dallas. 

And when you go, consider diving with Advanced Divers. Weve been diving
with Ricardo Madrigal and his team for over a decade, and these guys take
care of you. In the water they are unobtrusive and there only when you need
them to point out an interesting creature or navigate the currents. After
the first dive, they switch your gear to fresh tanks and take it all down
for you at the end of the day. Between dives you enjoy a lunch of ham
sandwiches, fresh fruit, and tostadas with absolutely the best fresh
guacamole youve ever had followed by a leisurely siesta for our hour and
half surface interval.

Ricardos boat, the Careyitos, is a 12 ft wide, 38 ft. long Bertram.
Generally there will be no more than 10 divers on board. She doesnt zip
out to the reef and back but gives a comfortable and relaxing ride with a
large sun deck above and shaded deck below. I always smile to myself when
the fast boats zip by us, pounding and soaking their passengers. 

Crowded sites are avoided, and they go out of their way to honor their
guests requests. Your bottom time is limited only by your air supply and
computer. If you have good air consumption, expect all of your dives to be
60 minutes or more. If you dont have good consumption, ask Tony to coach
you on his safe and effective breathing techniques. Youll be glad you did.

On both of this years trips we stayed at Casa Mexicana and really liked
it. Conveniently located in town on the main boulevard by the sea, it is
new and clean with nice rooms and great service. An excellent breakfast
buffet is included with the room. We will stay there again.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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