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Dive Review of Aldora/N/A in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

January, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Ian Kennedy, California, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 1586
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Australia, California, US virgin Islands, Florida, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Enter with guide, stay with group and exit together after safety stop.
Dictated by strong currents and drift diving. max depths were about 100 ft
and dive times up to 80 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 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  
2 stars  
No rinse bucket on boat
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
5 stars    
We booked our travel via the internet at the Aldora Divers site. We found
that Aldora operates its own accommodations at the Aldora Villa which is
about 1 mile north of the center of San Miguel, the main town. We walked
into town several times. The taxi is $5 each way. We emailed the owner,
Dave, in search of a room with 2 bedrooms for myself, wife and 2 adult
children. He did not have a 2 bedroom villa for the first 3 nights of our
stay so we occupied the lower level apartment. It was very clean,
comfortable and had a kitchen so that we could prepare simple meals. As
people left, we were moved to the top floor apartment with a great view of
the sea from the balcony. This room had two separate sleeping areas. Once
again, the room was spotless and comfortable. The small sand area adjacent
to the wharf was great for relaxing and for catching some sun. Ladders
permit entry into the water where good snorkeling along the wall can be
found. In Daves absence, the property is managed by Kay and Greg, his
friends. They made us feel very welcome. Greg met us at the airport and
organized our travel to the villa. Once there, they went out of their way
to make us at home. They helped us negotiate our first taxi trip to town.
The villa provides free snorkeling gear for you to use while you are there.

The Aldora dive boats come by at about 8am each morning to pick up divers
who are staying at the villa. Their wharf is just a few short steps
downstairs from the apartments. The boats then pick up a few other
customers at hotels along the way as they head south to the reefs. Aldora
boats are small and fast and accommodate no more than 6 divers each, making
for a very personalized service. The boats (the smallest in particular) can
be a little uncomfortable in swells with a lot of banging up and down 
getting soaked was part of the experience. 

The dive masters were all very competent and speak excellent English.
Mateo, for example, is a graduate in biochemistry who managed to find a
variety of almost invisible creatures for us to examine. My son and I were
the two divers of the family and we felt very safe and comfortable with the
crew on each of our dives. When we arrived in Cozumel, I was somewhat
congested and my son had not dived for over a year. The dive shop manager,
Memo (short for Guillermo), suggested that we go out with a private dive
master so that our special needs could be taken care of. As it turned out,
they paired us with a young couple on the boat who did not have a lot of
experience so that we did an easy dive. That took care of our initial
problems. Following that, Aldora did a good job of putting us with
experienced divers who matched our skills and interests well. Memo was also
very obliging in taking my wife and daughter by car to meet us at the beach
resort where we did our 1½ hour surface intervals. You buy your own
lunch and drinks at the resort.

The dives were very well led by the dive masters. They were typically multi
level dives, starting deep at up to 100 feet and working up from there.
Aldora uses steel 120 tanks filled to almost 4000 psi so air is not usually
the limiting factor. Our dives were generally 70 to over 80 minutes long,
even the deep ones. The reefs were beautiful and there was a lot see as we
drifted along, especially at the shallower depths. The dives were slow  at
least as much as the current would permit  which allowed us time for
photography and poking around looking for animals. We found the Splendid
Toad fish ( a Cozumel native) several times for example. We went to most of
the famous reefs, including Palancar, Tormentos, San Francisco, El Cedral,
Yucab, and Tunich  all of them beautiful and a great experience.

During our time on land, we rented a cheap VW off Alamo and traveled around
the island. I recommend a day at Chankanaab resort for relaxing,
snorkeling, and unwinding after a few days diving. We found the best eating
at Casa Denis in town, near the main square (ask Kay and Greg if you are at
Aldora Villas). If you go there, be sure to look for the waiter Balthazar.
He is a character and if he gets to know you after a day or two, you might
find that the quality of the margaritas noticeably improves. Ask him for a
Conejo tequila and you will get quite a laugh if he remembers us. My
daughter was on a quest for a particular brand of tequila and asked
Balthazar for a Conejo. This is Spanish for rabbit. It gave Balthazar quite
a kick.

All of the people involved with Aldora were wonderful to us. Kay and Greg
made us feel part of the family. Memo is a great character and Mateo is a
first class dive master. I would go back to Aldora tomorrow if I could.
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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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