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

March, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Craig Wood, PA, USA
Contributor   (16 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 2465 has 1 Helpful vote
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cayman, Bonaire, Florida Keys, Maui, Oahu
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 125    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No decompression, attempt to return with 500 PSI but always make safety
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
Having never been to Cozumel, we faced the daunting task of identifying an
operator. We chose Aldora Divers based on Undercurrent Chapbook reports, a
very informative website, and responsive email communications from Dave
Dillehay and Memo Mendoza. We made our reservations with Aldora via their
website and were ready to go. It pays to do your homework, Aldora was all
we expected and much more. Our trip got off to a rocky start when US
Airways left our 3 pieces of luggage in Philadelphia. We were met at the
airport and later at our hotel by Aldora employee and Villa Aldora manager,
Greg. He drove us into town, pointed out the Aldora shop and directed us to
where we could purchase the items needed to begin our vacation sans
luggage. Registration with operation manager, Memo, was quick and seamless
as our reservation papers were all on file. He set us up with rental gear
to use on the 1st day; good equipment, Dive Rite BCs and Oceanic regulators
and computers. Pick-up every morning was on time at 7:40-7:45 in one of the
5 Aldora boats we used during the week. The early start and fast boats
ensured that we were the 1st, often the only boat on site. Equipment was
set up before pick-up every day and changes were performed by the
divemaster on route or at the surface interval. All equipment other than
wetsuits were kept, rinsed clean and dried. Eliminating the need to
transport and care for gear daily was an incredible pleasure. Then there
were the 120 cu ft, high pressure steel cylinders. We have DIN regulators
but Aldora now also has some cylinders with yoke valves. We did 11 ocean
dives and 2 cenote dives during our visit. First dives were with air,
second dives and our single night dive were with 32% EAN. The nitrox
cylinders were first analyzed at the shop and labeled and were then
analyzed on the boat for diver verification. Average bottom time for 1st
dives was 1:08 and for 2nd dives it was 1:24 with 3 dives over an hour and
a half. Fleece lined long jackets were supplied on the boats and were very
much appreciated on several windy days even with the warm air temperatures.
Surface intervals were generally taken at the Playa Mia Resort. The average
surface interval time of just short of 2 hours proved most leisurely and
restful and contributed to the long bottom times of the second dives.
Though 1st dives were generally deeper than 2nd dives, the long surface
intervals allowed for deeper 2nd dives than are often offered. First dives
ranged in depth from 85-127 feet and 2nd dives ranged from 58-93 feet. The
food at Playa Mia was said to be expensive, we didn't eat there but chose
to bask in the sun, blow off nitrogen and drink the plentiful water
supplied by Aldora. Memo showed up at several surface intervals to ensure
that all diving was going smoothly and to plan for subsequent days of
diving. We dove with 2 great divemasters, Mario and Mateo. Both were
extremely skilled and experienced. Briefings were concise, informative and
accurate. The divemasters led the drift dives and deployed a surface marker
at about 45 minutes to facilitate boat pickup at the conclusion. We were
picked up promptly and smoothly at the end of each dive. We were always
placed on boats with other divers of our skill level and diving goals. We
dove with no more than 6 divers on the boat and often dove with 4. The
divemasters solicited site preferences and honored many of the requests;
occasionally offering an alternative they thought would be superior based
on conditions. The most memorable dives were Santa Rosa Wall, Columbia,
Punta Sur (Devil's Throat), Punta Tunich, Las Palmas night dive, and
Barracuda. Every diver's 1st experience at Devil's Throat must be a thrill
and the brisk current and gorgeous reefs at Punta Tunich and Barracuda were
incredible. Tormentos and San Juan were more damaged by hurricane Wilma and
will need more time to recover. There were turtles on nearly every dive and
Nurse Sharks, Green and Spotted Morays, Spiny Lobsters, Southern Stingrays,
Yellow Stingrays, Spotted Eaglerays, Scrawled and Whitespotted Filefish,
Sharpnose Puffers, Porcupinefish, Honeycomb and Scrawled Cowfish, Spotted
Drums, Queen and Ocean Triggerfish, Queen, Midnight, Blue and Stoplight
Parrotfish, Queen, Gray, and French Angelfish, Yellowhead Jawfish, and
Splendid Toadfish were all seen with great regularity. We spent 1 day
diving the Dos Ojos cenote with Mateo, an accomplished cave diver and
instructor. These cavern dives do not require cave certification and are an
opportunity that should not be passed up. We took an early morning ferry
from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen and then rode in an air conditioned van to
the cenote, located just south of Xel-Ha. The 76 degree fresh water was
crystal clear with nearly infinite visibility. The stalactites,
stalagmites, columns, and other formations have to be seen to be believed.
We surfaced once in a fantastic bat cave. The dives are done with 80 cu ft
aluminum cylinders and last just short of an hour. The 2 dives are on
different rope marked routes. Maximum depths were 25 and 32 feet. Besides
being a great adventure, the cenote excursion is a bargain with all
transportation, both guided dives, and lunch included. Checking out with
Aldora was as easy as checking in. An accurate itemized bill was ready when
we arrived and, to our surprise, Memo did not charge us for the rental gear
we needed on the 1st day. We were handed our clean, dry equipment and said
our fond farewells. From the soon after arrival until just before
departure, Gary, Memo, Mario, and Mateo did everything possible to make our
week of diving in Cozumel a memorable experience. Aldora Divers is the best
operation I have ever used; I'm scheming now to arrange a return trip. I
hope to try the east coast diving Aldora offers as Windward Adventures.
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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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