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Dive Review of Challenge Diving/Costa del Sol in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Challenge Diving/Costa del Sol: "Cozumel Bliss", Jan, 2017,

by Glen Madsen, UT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 9512.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I will start with lodging. We stayed in the Costa del Sol gated complex about 12 km south of town. What a lovely place. The grounds are immaculate and the pool and beach area are very nice. The best thing was having a private pier on the property. The dive boat picks you up steps from your villa. There are many rentals in the complex, all of which were very well kept.

Challenge Diving is a first class operation. I haven't seen many reports about them in undercurrent and it is too bad. Eric runs a clean and safe operation and his boat "sleeping shark" is a divers dream. Dive briefings were clear and detailed and in-water attention was great. We had 3 new divers and he helped them acclimate and they all felt very comfortable with Eric and Eric jr. There is plenty of room on the boat as he had the boat widened to better accommodate divers. He has non-slip padding on the floors and plenty of storage area overhead. They help you suit up and you do a back roll right from that same spot, no waddling around in fins!! Upon return, you hand up your weights and BC and climb the ladder unencumbered. You are greeted with a fresh towel and then treat you to fresh fruit and snacks AND change your tanks for you. We chartered them for a 3 dives per day so between dives 2 and 3 they would take us to a beach resort and then prepare lunch for us while we off gassed. This story sums up the experience with Eric, his son Eric jr, and Edward their captain. During our lunch on the first day we were talking about a particular restaurant that we were trying to get to but they only served lunch and by the time we could get there, it was closed. Without any request on our part, the next day at lunch time Eric jumped off the boat at the resort and was gone for about 15 minutes. We were kind of wondering where our lunch was when Eric came back to the boat carrying many bags. He started unloading the bags only to find out it was food from El Billy's, the very restaurant we were talking about the day before. The food was excellent, but it was the service that was so impressive. Eric had arranged for someone to pick up the food and drive is 20 km south of town and meet us at the resort! Eric did this one other day as well. He really goes out of his way for true concierge diving. They come to your villas when you arrive and gather your gear and then come back after the week of diving to settle up your account. We have been to Cozumel many times and tried many operators, but we will forever be returning to dive with Eric and his crew at Challenge Diving.

The reefs and fish of Cozumel have recovered dramatically after hurricane Wilma. We dove Cozumel a few months after that hurricane and hadn't been back until this trip. The recovery is amazing. The lionfish culling is working very well too. In 15 dives we only saw two juvenile fish that were quickly dispatched.

We did encounter something that none of us had ever seen before. We came upon a 9 to 10 foot wingspan spotted eagle ray that swooped down and grabbed a conch shell and began to chomp away, breaking it apart with pieces falling out as it chewed. Quite spectacular.

We avoid the all-inclusive resorts as a good share of the fun is wandering around the town and eating fabulous food. We like to get off the beaten path and found some real gems. Tacos Diaz 100% had amazing arrachera quesadillas. Diego's tacos is run by a young man and his mother and sister. It is near the airport and their shrimp tacos are divine. There is so much good food and good people to visit with. It is sometimes a toss up as to which is more fun, the diving, or the food and people.

A blissful trip, already planning for next time, and we won't change a thing.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Bahamas, Hawaii, Roatan
Closest Airport Cozumel Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-110 Ft/ 24-34 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We dove our profile but Eric was very watchful with new divers as part of the group. We were allowed to have separate (buddies together) ascends and safety stops to accommodate the light breathers.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments we are simple UWP folks. a couple GoPro's is about it.
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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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