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Dive Review of Dive Palancar/Grand Cozumel, Allegro Cozumel in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel South Reefs

March, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Shawn McDermott, FL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 6516
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
South Florida, Florida Keys, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Grand Bahama, Marsh
Harbour, San Salvador, St. Vincent, Bonaire, Curacao, Costa Rica Pacific. 
Training dives:  Red Granite Quarry, Oshkosh WI, Racine Quarry, Racine, WI,
and Lake Michigan with the late great Ralph Erickson, PADI OWSI#M-0
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
calm, choppy, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
72   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
150   to 20    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
90 max/40 minutes, 60 max/45 minutes, 35 max/60 minutes depending on dive
sites.  Ascend with buddy at 700 psi, 3 min/15' safety stop on all dives. 
NO obnoxious herding or berating about distance/depth from Divemaster. 
Maximum 8 divers per Divemaster.  Excellent dive briefings.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Cameras handed in and out.  Large designated camera bin.  I was able to
change batteries on my video rig between dives either at the dive shop or
in the small below deck cabin on all boats
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
I'm probably the most frequent-flier at the Allegro and was dismayed to
discover I couldn't be accomodated there and had to spend the first 9
nights of my 28 day trip at the Grand next door.  The Grand also costs me
50% more than the Allegro, and it's just not worth the extra money IMHO. 
They did move me to the Allegro after 9 nights, and Dive Palancar picks me
up by boat there at 8:30 to make the 9:00 dive.  Dive Palancar HQ is now at
the Grand, formerly at the Allegro as well, but were replaced at the
Allegro by a German-owned operation with rules, rules, rules in May 2010. 
I've never done a single dive with the new operation at the Allegro.  I'm
not wild about the Grand setup with having to walk across a bridge over the
mangroves to get to the beach and dive shop.  I requested a room in
Building 19, you can sneak around the back of the building and cut through
the bushes and you're right there at the dive shop.  This was ok.  I have
the Dive Palancar staff deal with my gear anyway so I don't have to drag it
back to my room.  The Grand is really not set up to hang/dry gear in the
room, they all have balconies/terraces but no way to string a clothesline
line there like you can at the Allegro.

The first couple weeks were awesome, water chilly at 77F (I hate wetsuits)
and some days so clear you felt you were looking through air.  The reefs
have made a healthy comeback since Wilma, lush soft and hard corals
(especially at Palacar Gardens) towering coral abuttresses.  Columbia was
NOT very impressive this trip, and it used to be one of my favorite dives. 
The AM deep dives are for scenery, the late-morning dives for critters. 
Turtles every dive, spotted eagle rays, huge groupers, three species of
giant parrotfish, seahorses, all species of huge angelfish, trunkfish,
cowfish, triggers, and spotted eels and the occasional green moray

Things got not so cool the final couple of weeks, one dive the water was
72F (!) and currents ripping.  I slowed down quite a bit during the last
part of my trip, I shoot video underwater and you just can't do that when
the current was up to 5 knots and there's so much sand in the water you
have to empty your BCD pockets after the dive.  It's nice to be able to
pick and choose your dive days when you're there for 4 weeks.  I did get 30
dives in.  Not going to comment about the cruise ship diver that was lost
on March 29 except to say the dive op who took them (who shall remain
unnamed) had no business whatsoever taking them to Santa Rosa wall, a
non-finite bottom dive with wicked lateral and vertical down currents.

Dive Palancar did their usual sterling job and it's always great to dive
with friends who have been diving those reefs thousands of times.  I'll be
back for 4 weeks in June and another 4 weeks in September--If you contact
Dive Palancar, tell 'em Chichibe sent you!
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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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