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Dive Review of Dive Paradise/Hotel Cozumel in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

December, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Paul Schmieder, TX, United States
Report Number 3199
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Virgin Islands, Flower Gardens, Little Cayman, Belize,Great Barrier Reef in
Australia, New Zealand, Channel Islands and Monterrey in California, Bahama
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
Water Temp
81   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Mainly that at 700 lbs air it was time to ascend for the safety stop at
15-20 feet.  Otherwise, dives were guided to depth and followed a
pre-defined profile.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Using Al Bay of Bay Adventures, who has never failed to give excellent,
attentive service, we chose Hotel Cozumel because it offered a very good
room and dive plan in conjunction with Dive Paradise.  Having read past
reviews of Hotel Cozumel, however, we opted to forego the all-inclusive
meal and drink plan and were instead offered a Euro-plan, which provides
breakfasts only.  This worked out well since Hotel Cozumel allows an easy
walk to town and we enjoy trying different restaurants for the sake of
variety.  In fact, another diver recommended to us a restaurant we had
never tried, Casa Mission, which was outstanding for food and ambiance and
is only a short cab ride away.

Topside, the trees took a beating after the October 2005 thrashing by
Hurricane Wilma and I noted a submerged palm while doing the check-out dive
aside Hotel Cozumels pier but, otherwise, the vegetation is returning and
should be as lush as it once was.  

Wanting to hone our dive skills and following our arrival check-out dive,
we began our week by engaging dive instructor Ramon Flores Guerrero of Dive
Paradise for a one-day, two-dive Peak Buoyancy Performance certification. 
This proved to be a valuable decision, well taught and spent mostly
underwater with refinement of breathing and weight balance techniques. 
After the course I was able to drop 2 pounds of weight and I highly
recommend this course for any diver seeking to improve their underwater

With Dive Paradise, our diving experience was generally good even though
the weather was a bit unstable with patchy clouds, wind and a few rain
squalls that seemed to undermine Cozumels usual high degree of clarity so
that we experienced a visibility range of 60 to 80 feet.  Unsure what to
expect of the diving conditions after the by Hurricane Wilma, we found the
dive sites to be in relatively good shape, though perhaps a bit
reconfigured.  We were told that a chuck of Palancar Caves had fallen over
the edge, but I couldnt really tell and this was by 6th trip to Cozumel. 
In fact, the swim-throughs along Palancar Reef were delightful and the
regular dive sites along the main wall remain consistent favorites.  The
most notable change seemed to be that there was an abundance of sand
coating the tops of the reefs and shallower second-dive sites such as
Tormentos, Villa Blanca, Yucab and Paradise Reefs.  Other than the sand,
the fish life appeared healthy and, 14 months after the fact, unaffected by
Wilmas onslaught.  

There were relatively fewer divers here in mid-December than I had
encountered in past trips to Cozumel.  Perhaps this was due to the
impending holidays or to an insecurity over island recovery from Wilma but,
because the dive boats were sparsely filled, our dive masters were forced
to group experienced with inexperienced divers.  Even so, the DMs did a
nice job of sending the heavy breathers to the surface once they reached
the minimum, low air reading on their gauges and so allowed those with
ample air to continue diving according to the pre-dive briefing profiles. 
With this consideration, I found that my dive times averaged 50+ minutes. 
Overall, Hotel Cozumel and Dive Paradise offer a fine package at a good
value.  So much so that I plan to return in early March.  

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