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

Aldora Divers/Aura Hotel, Mar, 2011,

by James Castanino, DC, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 6083.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Utila, Bonaire, Belize, Cozumel, Yucatan, St. Lucia, BVI, Bermuda, US Northeast.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent 5 days with Aldora during our recent visit to Cozumel, which was the second visit in the past 12 months (last time I went with Palancar Divers out of the Occidental). I am an experienced diver but this was my girlfriend's first dive trip; she did her check-out dives with Aldora and then we dove together for a day. Overall I think Aldora runs a good operation, with experienced, safety conscious staff, friendly management and emphasis on spending time underwater. They charge a premium but in the end it is worth it if you want to visit the best sites and get the bottom time.

I spent a lot of time researching dive operators before this trip and decided on Aldora primarily due to their good reputation and emphasis on bottom time (this had been a real disappointment with Palancar, dives averaged 45 mins and DM's seemed in a rush). Overall I was not disappointed and would dive with Aldora again.

Best aspects of the operation:
-Bottom time. We were never rushed and every dive last more than an hour. Aldora uses massive tanks which negated the need to wear any weight (I usu wear 8 pounds with a 3 mil).
-DMs were generally excellent. Good attitude, friendly and safety-oriented. I had three different DMs and they were all excellent.
-Small groups. Average group was 4-6. Boats were fast and generally comfortable.
-Good service. We left our gear on the boat every day and it arrived ready to go the next morning.
-Dive sites. I had requested dives on the southern tip of the island before arriving in Cozumel and Aldora made it happen. Most operators don't like to go there because of the fuel costs, time, etc. but these guys had no problem going there and the dives were great.

We had two logistics issues with Aldora: First, which was more annoying than the second, was a scheduling issue. The instructor told my girlfriend that the boat would pick her up at the dock on day 2 and they never showed up (I was on a different boat with experienced divers). She missed a day of diving as a result of this. On another day, one of the Aldora boats broke down and they arrived 90 mins late. In this second instance (unlike the first) the dive shop called us ahead of time to let us know. Boats break down and they had another boat there fairly quickly so we didn't miss diving.

Management was apologetic about both of these issues and gave us two free golf shirts at the end of our visit. Not as good as a discount, but a nice gesture.

One thing to keep in mind; Aldora surface intervals are done at a beach club near the reef. This was nice (instead of sitting on the boat) and allowed you to order food or a cold drink. However, I though the surface intervals were longer than necessary and had the impression that the primary reason was so the captains and DMs could eat lunch. We were there for almost 90 minutes on a couple days, which is a certainly a good safety margin but in my view not the best use of time.

Aldora does charge more than just about anyone else, but in my opinion it is generally worth the extra cost. I would dive with them 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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