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Dive Review of Aldora/Villa Aldora in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Aldora/Villa Aldora, Jul, 2006,

by Jill Rain, WA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 2583.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Fiji, PNG, Australia, Hawaii, Caribbean, Baja
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 85 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Fourth return visit to Cozumel. Went Aldora: not cheap but good value. First stay at Villa Aldora, a mile and half north of town center (cab, or walk half hour). Villa has 9 units, on the water, quiet, homey, sunsets and lounging, easy pick-up by Aldora boats and dealing with dive logistics. All units have cooking facilities, AC, good plumbing, and free phone/wireless internet access. Management gracious and helpful, very friendly atmosphere. Bring cash/traveler's checks - can't pay with credit card. Good snorkeling out front. Repairs from hurricane damage almost complete - fully operational.
Town: fully up and running, but pretty empty except for cruisies during the day (ships anchor offshore now, docks sunk); good deals at restaurants.
Aldora dive operation: still consistently good (3rd time with them). Fast boats, early departure, 6 divers per boat max, usually less. Rarely saw other divers underwater. Aldora has scratched certain sites off their list since hurricane Wilma due to damage on shallower reefs. Palancar/Columbia/Punta Sur still excellent, second dives often at Santa Rosa/San Francisco also in great shape. Fragile corals and sponges thrashed and littering the bottom, lots of new sand drifts - but that's most of the damage. Some fish dependent on those have declined (like trumpetfish), others have proliferated (algae/coral munchers). Far more juveniles than usual of many species (esp. angelfish, drum, trunkfish, damselfish). MANY more turtles. Some sharks and eagle rays. Diversity and numbers of fish overall is about the same, surprisingly. Still the largest at depth. Signs of recovery everywhere (inch high purple sea fans, etc). I've drifted Cozumel reefs for 10 years now and it was fascinating to see the dynamics of disaster natural sucession at work. And these reefs still have the most dramatic and intricate deep formations anywhere.
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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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