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Dive Review of Aqua Safari/the Bel Mar Hotel in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Aqua Safari/the Bel Mar Hotel, Mar, 2006,

by Cindy Naiditch, NH, USA . Report 2488.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 0-25 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 72 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Stick with group, safety stops, depth.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I did not have any photo-gear. I did not notice any separate tables for camera gear, although freshwater buckets were provided --however other divers did use them for mask rinsing. The crew did appear to handle cameras with respect.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments As new divers (7 dives for me, 25 for my partner), I was nervous about my first boat dive, my first salt water experience, and, later, my first night dive. The staff and crew of Aqua Safari couldn't be beat for consideration, helpful hints, and keeping a close eye on my partner and I, while at the same time, allowing more experienced divers to dive their own computer/profiles. We were asked to notify the divemaster when we reached 700psi in our tanks, a precaution that may have annoyed more experienced divers, but gave us "newbies" a more comfortable safety zone for surfacing. Assistance in getting back on the boat was greatly appreciated. While we were always the first to surface, we were never made to feel like we had messed up the other divers' diving experience--they came up based on own profiles. Aqua Safari has their own pier, right across the street from the shop, making it an easy on/off process. All gear was rinsed and stored in their facilities, reducing the hassle of hauling it to the room.

Our hotel--the Bel Mar-- was right next door to the shop, making it extremely convenient. The hotel was clean, the staff was courteous, and the continental breakfast appreciated. The hotel had both a safe (small but adequate for wallets) and a small refrigerator, allowing us to store snacks and lunch food.

Coming after the big hurricane(s) we were concerned about damage and accomodations. Not to worry! The island has recoverd in the tourist/town area amazingly fast. Signs of significant damage elsewhere however was quite evident. The reefs took a bit of battering and sand in and on the coral was evident. The continual "invitations" to come into the shops became extremely irritating after a while, causing us to walk along the water side of the street rather than brave the shopkeepers' assaults. But overall, well worth the trip. Already making plans to go back, and will dive with Aqua Safari 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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