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

Aldora/Aldora Villa, Oct, 2003,

by Robert White, CO, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 1431.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Tahiti, Hawaii, Indonesia, Galapagos Islands, Washington State, Bonaire, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Utah, Colorado
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 130 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Usual precautions when drift diving - 1:30 min. surface intervals.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Aldora continues to be a first class dive operator. We spent a week diving with them. I'm a PADI DM, my sister is a PADI AI and my nephew has just a few dives under his belt since his OW certification. I felt that Aldora kept us very happy with a nice variety of dives suitable for our little group - not too simple and not too difficult, and always nice and long with 100cf tanks. Be sure to check in advance whether your regulator will work with the DIN adapters on Aldora's tanks. Apparently high pressure tank rules are changing so you will need to check with them beforehand to avoid disappointment. Devil's Throat is always a thrill. Mateo is everything a good divemaster should be - he pays absolute attention to details. We went diving with him a few years back and he still delivers the highest level of customer service - weights remembered and tucked into the BC, insightful briefings, concise instructions, lucid explanations, and excellent English.
One criticism about surface interval activities: the Aldora folks tend not to mix with customers during the surface interval, though one of the owners - Memo - came around several times during the week to chat for a moment to see how we were doing. I think Aldora is missing an obvious opportunity to build relationships with customers. Several customers commented that the lack of interaction made the customers feel unnecessarily like outsiders.

The crew has their surface interval meals paid for at Playa del Sol and one other place, so we always return to the same one or two mediocre places for surface intervals. These on-the-beach facilities offer expensive food. I suggest seasoned divers make a trip to the island grocery store Chedraui and bring their own snacks and bottled water or be prepared to spend a minimum of $12 per person per day for a drink and a snack. For our group of three it became a considerable sum, though you are not obligated to purchase anything. Still, after a dive everyone was generally hungry and thirsty.

We stayed at the new Villa Aldora which is promoted on the Aldora web site. We were upgraded to the owner Dave's suite which consisted of a bed upstairs and a bed downstairs on two separate floors. After a brief mixup where Aldora thought my sister and I were married and would sleep in the same bed, we were offered an additional room at no extra fee. If you read Aldora's web site you get the impression that Villa Aldora is centrally located. In truth it is located a mile or two north of town near Puerto Abrigo. It is also right across the street from the airport runways / jungle - and consequently I experienced dead cockroaches in my room as well as a constant assault from mosquitos. This is not something I had experienced before in Cozumel. The Internet phone and Internet connections were non-functioning much to our disappointment. We had to bother the manager to make even the most basic phone calls for us such as for a taxi. The management claims they are not empowered by Aldora to solve fairly simple customer problems such as accommodating guests in an air conditioned room to catch a late flight out. Also, conditions at the Villa Aldora dock sometimes prevented the dive boat from picking us up - supposedly this happens whenever the north wind blows - common we are told in late fall and winter. We were able to save money cooking our own food, but the long and expensive taxi rides back and forth to the supermarket make this option more expensive than we had expected it to be based on the web site description. Think long and hard before booking the villa over one of the amazingly cheap hotel deals on Cozumel. I do believe the experience at the Villa will improve over time as they work the bugs out, with the Internet connectivity being a big draw.

Finally, be sure to get careful confirmation of all taxes and charges you will be assessed by Aldora both for diving and for these accommodations. We found errors in the paperwork which Aldora did gladly correct, but left undiscovered it would have cost us a couple hundred dollars extra.


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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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