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

Dive Palancar/Occidental Grand, Nov, 2007,

by Randall S. Preissig, TX, United States (Top Contributor Top Contributor 30 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 3729.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Palau, PNG, Sipadan, Truk, Hawaii, Bonaire, Belize, Caymans, Tahiti, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 74 to 77 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions we always dove as a group, always 40 min. on the first deep dive and 45 min. on the second shallow dive. Punta Sur was the exception.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Not geared for photographers, but I have done many times with very good results.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments As everyone knows, Cozumel was "skinned" by hurricane Wilma. The Occidental Grande has recovered very well, but is now only excellent rather than "one of the best ever" all inclusive resorts. It's minutes from all the great dive sites, and dive Palancar services its quests well. "Hard core" divers can request Punta Sur and other challenging dives and night dives are scheduled three times a week. Other dive operations routinely pick up divers on the pier, so you're not locked in.
The shallower dive sites were scalped by Wilma, and many of the deeper dives have lots of sand on them. However, the fish life is little changed--giant grouper and giant parrotfish, nurse sharks, turtles on most dives, occasional schools of jacks,parrotfish or barracuda, toadfish, dolphins seen behind the boat, green and spotted morays, tons of all types of angelfish, octopi(eight on one night dive), etc. You won't be disappointed in the fish life by Caribean standards.
The cruise ships have brought prosperity to Cozumel and the overall quality of lodging, dive operations, eating, etc. has risen. Cozumel is no longer a dangerous place to dive (as it was 25 years ago). But avoid town and the cruise ship areas, unless you like that sort of stuff.
It is impossible to beat Cozumel on the combination of ease of getting to, quality of diving and price. I've been 20 times and have seen a lot of changes--mostly for the better.
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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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