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Dive Review of Aldora Divers/Hotel Barracuda in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

February, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Karen Gordon, Alaska, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 3210
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Yap, Fiji, Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei,
Rota, Samoa, Caymans, Honduras, Belize, Alaska, Turks and Caicos.... and
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
90   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
When diving in extreme current (3-4 knots) we were asked to stay at the
same depth to keep together because the current varies in speed through the
water column and it would be easy to get separated in current that fast.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The compromise for having a fast boat that only holds 6 people is that
there is comfortable room for the divers, but no room for a rinse bucket. 
I imagine that if requested, Aldora would provide a bucket for cameras. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
I love Aldora Divers - personal attention, fast boats, no more than 6 on a
boat, early departure schedules to minimize divesite crowding, they rinse
and store gear (not wetsuits/skins), they use big 100 or 120 cubic foot
tanks to assure no air hog limits your dive, staff consists of educated and
articulate divemasters (our hero is Mateo), and they are willing to dive
the site YOU want. Computers are mandatory, and we dived them exclusively.
With long bottom times, doing so was compulsory. If you don't have one,
they will provide one free of charge for your use.

The staff, whether it was the boat captain, divemaster, or the staff in the
office, were always helpful, kind, patient, and knowledgable. Memo Mendoza,
one of the owners, was generous beyond the call of duty and a genuinely
wonderful man with a fine sense of humor. We enjoyed him greatly. Likewise,
our divemaster Mateo was a perfect joy and an intellectual to boot. He
enhanced our whole dive experience by discussing the natural history of the
area and the reefs as well as giving a fantastic dive briefing on the
cenotes. Mateo has been cave diving for many years and has even done some
research on the cenotes of Cozumel. 

We wanted to go cenote diving, and it was arranged. Mateo and Mostro were
our divemasters, and we dove Kukulkan and Chak Mool which had less
stalagtites and stalagmites than Dos Ojos, but somehow exhibited more
dramatic and huge rooms with lots of crystals that I don't recall having
seen at Dos Ojos (which I dived on a previous visit to Cozumel). It was
worth spending a day exploring something different than "normal"
Caribbean diving.

Sitting on my balcony after my dives, watching the bovine boats come unload
their herds on the hotel dock, I was so thankful to have been diving with
Aldora.  Aldora's rates are not cheap at $87 a day for 2 tanks. You can get
much cheaper, along the lines of $65 or so, depending on the operator, and
with that you get 80 cu.ft. aluminum tanks, shorter bottom times, and
spending your dive with 15 other people.

Having said that, I admit that some people like diving with a crowd. I
don't. If you like a crowd, don't go with Aldora. If you prefer short
dives, don't go with Aldora. If you must dive a table, don't go with
Aldora. If you want to make a long day of diving two tanks, don't go with
Aldora. Check out the Aldora difference [---] and see for yourself the
unique qualities sets this operation apart from the crowds.

I wanted a room on the water with a balcony like that of Caribe Blu where I
stayed last Christmas. I would have stayed at Caribe Blu, but their hotel
was full. Still, at the Barracuda, which provided a balcony for every room,
I got the very best deal through at $85 per night plus
tax. The hotel's rate is $99. I really appreciate the help and information
Jidan provided on the front end! Thanks, Jidan!  We stayed there two

The Barracuda Pros:
The room was basic but clean. Dive boats can pick you up right at the
Barracuda Hotel dock. The swimming pool is attractive and has a swim-up
bar. The rooms are a good value. Where else can you get a view room on the
water for $85 in San Miguel? It is close to Chedraui, the local
supermarket. And being so close to town, is a $2-3 cab ride to most of the
best restaurants. Our room's balcony was wonderful, providing a 180 degree
perspective of activity on that exquisite azure Cozumel ocean, including
the transit of cruise ships daily except Sundays. Wireless internet was
available at the No Name bar that sits between the hotel and the ocean next
to the pool, allowing us to keep in touch with family, friends and work. 

The Barracuda Cons:
The shower had almost no water pressure, but was scalding hot and difficult
to control the hot/cold ratio that dribbled out, but hey, we did fine just
the same, it just took longer to shower. The Barracuda has those famous
rock hard beds we read so much about in Cozumel. It was only slightly
better than sleeping on the floor. The noise from the bar floats up to the
rooms during the day, but seems to carry worse at night. The bar generally
shut down by about 11:00pm or so, so for those who were getting up for a
7:30 dive boat pickup, the bar music and the loud voices could be
bothersome. But for me the balcony view was worth the bar chatter. I
suggest simply taking ear plugs if you must go to bed before 9pm and noise
is a problem. To some degree the air conditioner helped muffle some of the

General Cozumel Comments:
One of the very best things about Cozumel is the wide variety of food
choices, both in price and in culinary styles. From roadside taco vendors
to elegant fine dining was offered. Unless you want to hole up in some all
inclusive and never go anywhere but your resort, an all inclusive is fine,
though questionably worth the hefty add-on for the generally mandatory all
inclusive fee. With all that Cozumel offers in terms of food, however, it
is almost a crime to use an all inclusive on Cozumel, especially if one
either is on a budget or enjoys trying new food.

Rock-n-Java, has coffee drinks, sandwiches, HUGE salads, a fantastic peanut
butter milkshake, and a great trading library. They also are a
"front" for the Cozumel Humane Society, and appreciate folks who
bring books or good clothes to donate so they can raise money to help fund
the animal shelter - a very worthy cause worth supporting, so bring extra
books and clean clothes to donate if you are going to Cozumel.  Fill that
empty space with souvenirs going home.
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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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