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Dive Review of Sand Dollar Sports/Reef Club in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

February, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by James Reilly and Fran Klass, PA, USA
Report Number 371
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Nassau, Grand Cayman, Curacao, Dutch Springs and New Jersey (wreck diving)
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Most dives were lead. Even those which were not drift dives. 130 feet max
depth, but almost all dives 80 ft first dive and 60 feet second  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
Traveled by US Airlines without incident and on time. The TSA staff is much
quicker and nicer than the rent-a-cops who used to do the security work.  

Our Junior Suites at Reef Club Resort were large, well appointed and
comfortable. Each suite had a private bedroom, a living room/dining area
(odd for an all-inclusive), a nice kitchenette, and a large bathroom. Our
fridges were stocked with cold canned beer, soda, and bottled water. We
also had large balconies with hot tubs, which were very refreshing after a
hard day of diving. All of the rooms were new. One couple was unable to get
into their room, due to a reservation error. The resort provided them with
a standard room and a discount, and then got them into their room the next
day. Housekeeping was well done, although getting extra towels proved
challenging. It is evident that a lot of money has been invested in the
Reef Club since our trip there in February 2002. Wooden walkways and
stairwells have been replaced by concrete structures. There also are
several new buildings, including a private dining facility and a private
new swimming pool exclusinvely for timeshare owners and folks who rent
suites. We remain impressed with how hard the Reef Club staff works to keep
the resort spotless. However, the food is not the best, although it is
plentiful. Breakfast is fine with fresh eggs made to order, pancakes,
French toast, cold cereal, and various fruit, pastry and meat items. They
serve early enough so that you can eat breakfast and catch the early dive
boat (at 8:30). Lunch is buffet sit-down fare in one of the restaurants or
burgers, hot dogs, fries, salsa, guacamole, and chips by the pool. We
usually chose the poolside fare. Dinner is steam table food, and we found
it bland, even in the “special” restaurants. While
several members of our group chose to eat in the hotel, we ate most evening
meals in San Miguel, where wonderful seafood dinners can be bought for
under $20 in the lovely local places away from the cruise ship tourist
area. Oddly, it is hard to find Mexican food at the town’s
restaurants. Much of the food is grilled. Order the grilled chicken, which
is just wonderful, as are the grilled garlic shrimp.

The diving was fine. There were lots of fish and very interesting reefs.
Drift diving is a Cozumel specialty, which not all divers relish, but it is
an experience. Sand Dollar has decent boats, most with heads, and was very
accommodating. We easily arranged several special trips and secured our own
boats with little advance notice (usually the afternoon before we wanted
the dive). Almost all of the dives are led by a Sand Dollar divemaster. The
typical profile is an 80-foot first dive along a wall and a 60-foot second
dive drifting along a reef. All tanks are 80s with yoke connections. Some
of our divers were able to rent HP twins and stage bottles with 50% Nitrox
at shops in town. This gear was then delivered to the Reef Club pier. On
our last day, we insisted on a deeper, freer dive than is normally allowed.
 The chief divemaster allowed us to do this (having watched our group dive
all week), after a thorough discussion of our dive plans. Sand Dollar had
their divemasters come with us, rather than lead these dives, an
arrangement which worked well for everyone. 

We had a great time.
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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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