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

Dive Paradise/Barracuda Hotel, Apr, 2007,

by David Sifre, NY, USA ( 1 report). Report 3277.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Belize, Hawaii, Jamaica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 175 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Generally told to stick close to the guides and were advised, "First dive 80 feet for 30 minutes" but dives always lasted at least 45 minutes (we did not remain at 80 feet the whole dive).
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 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments All of the boats (I was on a total of 4 or 5) had a camera bucket. Sometimes it was literally a bucket not large enough for anything but point and shoots without external flashes, and once it was an actual plastic garbage can which was plenty big (ironically, only point and shoots made it into that bucket). Crew was helpful in terms of handing gear to divers after giant stride entries, and was quick to take the camera upon exiting water-- they almost always placed camera in the bucket). Unfortunately, defog (soap only it appeared) was tied above camera and mask buckets and both buckets were full of suds by the time the first dive started). No camera tables.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Previously dived with Aldora Divers in 2005. Dived with Paradise Divers because my dive buddy was certified with them a year ago, and had a very positive experience. Unfortunately, the dive operation was, on average, mediocre. One or two divemasters were truly excellent, and appeared to love their job, eager to point things out and make sure everybody was okay. The rest gave the impression they were working for a living and not particularly interested in making the dive pleasurable.

The "slow" boats literally take an hour to get to the first dive destination. On our first day, the boat did not return from the second dive until 2:15 -- the afternoon dive was scheduled for 3pm. The second day we made it clear we did not want to get back so late and were told, "Relax, its your vacation" as if taking a dive vacation meant we ought not be concerned about missing the third dive of the day! Finally, since 7 of the 14 people on the boat had a 3pm dive, the crew did not go as far as it had originally intended. No idea why they schedule people doing afternoon dives with those who are not scheduled, but they do. And they really don't care if you miss your afternoon dive -- in fact, maybe thats why they scheduled things that way, in the hope that people will cancel their pre-paid third dive rather than get their gear off the boat, get food, and get their gear onto a second boat within 45 minutes.

Dive Shop discouraged my buddy from renting a dive computer saying it was not necessary. I insisted. They suggested sharing my computer. I said no. Finally they relented. They advised others that a dive computer was not necessary as well.

The rental gear was not well-maintained. Gauges did not work for one person on 3 occasions. My buddy's first stage was "popping" at the surface before they replaced it.

They set your gear up for you if you rent. And they set it up between dives. But they don't do a great job of it. One crew member was advised a tank had 1500 psi when they were supposed to be at 3000 psi. They swapped the BC, left the tank and shortly thereafter put somebody else's tank on the half empty tank. She was a new diver. She discovered the problem only after her family jumped off the boat. The crew acted very quickly to swap out her tank but we were very far from the divers by the time it was accomplished due to the current. Then we left her in the water to get to the second drop off for the rest of the divers. She had a hell of a time but was eventually linked up with the divemaster and reunited with her family on the dive.

Person next to me did not have the air turned on and only noticed it because the pressure guage read low (no excuse for his failure to turn the valve himself before putting his bc on, as he was an experienced diver).

My buddy's tank slipped off the bc at the beginning of the dive. Fortunately she was able to get my attention, convey the problem and I was able to slip the strap and tighten it for her.

Essentially, buddy checks were very difficult to do. And it was VERY rushed. Despite the hours ride out to the dive site, once they told us to "suit up" they practically threw everybody off the boat, making errors and mistakes common.

This is a mediocre dive operation for an experienced diver. A poor operation for a beginner. Very little hand-holding and support. Only one divemaster required people to "shut up" during the dive briefing.

There is an option to pay an extra 6 dollars to get on a "fast boat" which has no sun protection and no head. I have no idea whether those divemasters were any 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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