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Dive Review of Dive Palancar in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Randall S Preissig, TX, US
Sr. Contributor   (29 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6358
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Galapagos, Cocos, Tahiti, Fiji, Palau, Sipidan, Thailand, Burma, Australia,
Red Sea, Hawaii, Truk, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
All dives were group dives with the buddy system. Usually an 80 foot limit
but some were up to 120 feet. Usually 40-50 minutes dive time.  700 pounds
of air ends your dive. Always a 3 minute safety stop.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Each dive originated at the Occidental Grand dock.  It was 15 minutes to
the farthest dive sites. 4 dives are offered during every day and night
dives MWF. This allowed you to use your room as your photo center.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
I have dived Cozumel many times over the last 35 years. It is one of the
few places that is actually getting better as a dive location.  Before they
established Palancar as a national park, you rarely saw a turtle or large
fish.  You now see them virtually every dive.  The coral is
spectacular--world famous for it's huge formations.  Visibility can be the
best I've ever experienced, and is always good. Wilma damaged some of the
shallow reefs, but they are recovering rapidly.  The dive operations, which
were infamously dangerous 30 years ago(Undercurrent gained my and others'
respect by reporting this--unlike "Dive Mags" that took
advertising money) are now state of the art, with oxygen on our day boats,
good dive briefings by professional divemasters, etc.
As far as sightings, this was probably my best trip ever to Cozumel(out of
15-20). I was able to follow a GIANT spotted eagle ray feeding in shallow
water for 5 minutes--close enough to touch if I'd wanted to.  On the same
dive, we were within touching distance of the largest turtle I've ever
seen(and I've been to Sipadan)--a 6 foot loggerhead that was busy crushing
conch shells for the hermit crabs within. Toadfish were seen anytime you
asked, turtles on most dives, and a pair of seahorses on one dive. Small
schools of Barracuda and Jacks, a large pompano feeding in the sand, huge
groupers and parrot fish, multiple nurse sharks, an assortment of filefish,
tiny shrimp in the anenomies, and much, much more. Night dives (3) always
had several octipi in the open and too many lobsters(some HUGE) and king
crabs to count.  Stingrays were seen day and night.
The Occidental Grand is great.  It is working its way back to the 6 star
resort it was prior to Hurricane Wilma and it's location minutes from the
very best dive sites in Cozumel make it the optimal choice for divers and
their families--and at a bargain price considering the quality of both.
Packages of dives were $30 each, and tips were routine and usually
The large number of cruise ships have changed the town forever, but they
have had little effect on the reefs and distant resorts. Congratulations to
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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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