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Dive Review of Living Underwater/Fiesta Americana in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Mexico

Living Underwater/Fiesta Americana, Aug, 2009,

by William Ungerman, CA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 5016 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 84 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Stay in proximity to the dive guide (reasonable)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Not specifically catering to UWP but assists as necessary.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Based largely upon diver reports in the Chapbook, we opted to sign on with Living Underwater. The owner is Jeremy, a transplanted Minnesota native who has been in Cozumel for ten years, long enough that he speaks eloquent Spanish as well as having a Mexican accent when he speaks English (something he guffaws at when pointed out). Jeremy is a great guy. His boat is named the "Jew Fish." That's right. Not the "Goliath Grouper." Ask him how it got that name. It's a 35 foot runabout equipped with twin Yamaha 115 outboards, a DAN oxygen kit, radio communication and ample overhead cover. The dive staff includes great guys Mateo, Julio, Alphonso, and Ricardo. It's a backwards roll into the blue and a re-mount via an exceptionally nice ladder. BC's and fins are removed in the water and retrieved. Easy. The boat is fast, pick-up times relatively early and return by Noon for lunch. Long surface intervals are taken at either Palancar or Paradise Beach. You have your choice of 120 or 95 CF steel low pressure tanks. Nitrox was NOAA I (32%) and cost $10.00 per tank extra. Fruit, snacks, water, and soft drinks were liberally offered as well as towels and hooded parkas for the occasional thunder shower or apres dive chill. The latter is a nice touch not often seen. The crew keeps your gear, rinses, dries and remounts it. You never touch it except to put it on. Even though he could have put more people on his boat, Jeremy opted to rent another craft rather than place a new diver family with some of us "old salts" (just a term of art). Now that's class. The dives were never less than one hour and were sometimes almost an hour and a half on the shallower second dive. Remote sites? No problem for the most part except winds were gusting keeping us from Chunchakab and Maracaibo. Jeremy sometimes even dives El Islote. Tell me who else ventures there? In any case, for the first time in eight excursions to Cozumel we were taken to Barracuda and San Juan. Both were nice high speed drifts over varying U/W terrain. No excuses about "dangerous currents", "weather", "harbormaster permission" or "evil spirits." We just went and did it. We also dove "The Devil's Throat" at Punta Sur. Jeremy has captured (so far) 21 invasive Lion Fish and haunts the reef hunting the voracious critters. Marine life was prolific on the shallower reefs, not so much on Palancar, Santa Rosa, and the deeper reefs where the towering butresses of coral are phenomonal. A little coral damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005 is still visible but things are recovering nicely. Nurse sharks, huge groupers and parrot fish, three splendid toad fish, turtles everywhere and the usual reef suspects. A grand time was had by all. I give five stars to Jeremy only because there is no six.

Fiesta Americana. This used to be the old Holiday Inn about fifteen years ago. Great place. We stayed here in November 2008 and dove with the on-site operation, "Dive House." See that report in this issue of the Chapbook. The Fiesta Americana is far enough out of town to avoid the rush of cruise ship visitors that overun St. Miguel, which is looking like downtown Tijuana more and more. Going there means running an endless gauntlet of hawkers and aggressive vendors. The "all-inclusive" package at the FA is the best deal but not as good as last year. This year it does not include bottled beer or bottled water and there are restrictions on the menu. Otherwise, the food is splendid and varied, as good as a cruise ship (and that's saying something). Now here's a bit of hot info: Take notes here. The tip to the waiters is INCLUDED in the price of the meal, this despite the line on the bill that states "La Propina" (tip). This appears to be a common practice, not only here. Uninformed diners invariably add another 15-20% on top of the 12% already factored in to the cost. I added in something extra for exceptional service but did so with foreknowledge. A word to the wise. The FA is a good bet and our choice of Cozumel resorts.

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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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