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

Aldora Divers/Hotel Cozumel & Resort, Mar, 2006,

by Craig Wood, PA, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2465 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cayman, Bonaire, Florida Keys, Maui, Oahu
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75 to 125 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No decompression, attempt to return with 500 PSI but always make safety stop.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 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 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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