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Dive Review of Aldora Divers/Villa Aldora in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Aldora Divers/Villa Aldora, Nov, 2011,

by Jeff Hauser, CO, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 6349 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This report is a bit long, and long overdue. I found Aldora Divers and Villa Aldora through Undercurrent right after the Villa opened in 2004 and it has become my home away from home for diving. Make sure you read how Aldora Divers will spoil you for diving forever!

The Villa is north of downtown, away from all the hotels and the cruise ship docks along a strip of private homes...but only a 15 minute boat ride away from the most popular dive spots on the south end. Aldora Divers picks you up right at the Villa -- all of your gear is already on board and set up -- and at the end of the day drops you back off. Boats are small and fast, with dive groups no larger than six divers plus divemaster. Typically, the group ends up being smaller. Divers are grouped together by ability (and air mix); sometimes during slow seasons different small groups will share a boat but may have separate divemasters. The divemasters are all very knowledgable and safety oriented, and dive sites are chosen daily based on group ability, preferences and water conditions. The boat captains are extraordinary. You get dropped in exactly the right places...and picked up perfectly after some very very long dives.

And that is what makes Aldora so special for me. Their tanks, Instead of standard aluminum 80's, are steel 120's (sometimes 100's for the ladies). Having all that extra air allows much longer dives than most people have ever done ( may want to step up a thickness in wetsuits -- or wear one, if you don't normally; when you spend 90 minutes underwater on a single dive, your body starts reminding you of the difference between its core temperature and the 82-85 degree warm water temperature. Then, after Adora's usual two hour surface interval to off gas on the beach at Mr. Sancho's, back out for a second dive. And not necessarily a shallow one.

As I go back in my logbook, did 103 ft (51 ft average) for 76 minutes then a 2nd dive to 66 ft (average 49) with dive time of 92. Next day went to 99 ft (average 53) for 85 minutes, followed a 2:27 minute surface interval with a 2nd dive to 80 ft (49 ft average) for 91 minutes. So these two days of two tanks dives totaled bottom time of 168 minutes and 176 minutes. (BTW< Aldora provides computers for your use if you don't have your own.)

And at those times when weather is so knarly that they close the port and all the dive sites on the west side of the island are effectively shut down, Aldora Divers is the only operator to bring boats to the east side and dive over there.

Staying at the Villa is like visiting family. There are a couple of beautifully appointed two bedroom suites with full kitchens, living and dining rooms (and each of the bedrooms is a master bedroom); there are a host of various size studios with full kitchens, and a couple of smaller rooms with mini fridges, microwaves and coffee makers. The people who man the Villa have all become my friends...they take you to the grocery store upon arrival; point you to restaurants, or even take you there...the atmosphere at the Villa can be as private and intimate as you like, or you can visit with other divers from all over the world. Families come with non divers as there is fabulous snorkeling right in front of the Villa as well as a beautiful pool...but no, there is no bar or restaurant and you need to bring in your own supplies. They also have free wifi and internet phones which allow free calls (and a US number for people to call you) to the US and northern Europe (I believe).

I looked back and I did four trips to Cozumel last year with Aldora, staying at the Villa. I first stayed at the Villa within months of their opening, back in 2004. As you go back, you will be pleasantly surprised to hook up once again with others whom you have met before, and who (like you) would think of going nowhere else in this part of the world. I have never taken advantage of their hurricane insurance (basically, guarantees you will get value even if a storm hits), because I've always been lucky (including trips this year end of July, September and early November). I have never written about them before, because I am afraid that they will become so popular that I won't be able to book when I want. But being part of a community where I am always looking for good advice on operators and places to stay in places unknown--and having been disappointed that there aren't a lot of current reports in Undercurrent on a lot of dive locales I am interested in visiting--I decided I better do my party and contribute to the Undercurrent community,

So cmon people. Please do reader reports and share the good operators and good places...maybe it will make the others step up and do the right thing(s)!!!

See you at the Villa!

Websites Aldora Divers   Villa Aldora

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Florida Keys, Caymans, Aruba, CA, Cancun
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 82-°F / 28-°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Tough to dive your own profile when you are doing deep drift dives with groups of divers using steel 120's (some nitrox). Divemasters superb at planning great multi-level that fit experience levels of group. If mixed group with some using nitrox, profile created for that.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 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 N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Not particularly set up for UWP, although divemasters and boat captains very accommodating with equipment.
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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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