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Dive Review of Dive Balam/Royal Haciendas in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Playa Del Carmen

Dive Balam/Royal Haciendas, Apr, 2012,

by Ms Lynda Durfee, VA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 42 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 6529.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving all over the Caribbean, Hawaii, Palau, Lake Tahoe
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 76 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Stick with group, no deco
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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 small boats; no rinse buckets or camera shelf

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
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 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Two small (10-15) passenger boats; none full. Neither has head. Canopy to protect from sun. Smaller boat (most dives), back roll; then return hang on line, remove BCD, etc. and hand to crew. No one could get back on board until crew had changed over the tanks between dives or break down gear after 2nd dive. Very uncomfortable bobbing on the line in the wind. If you need to "check the props" you have to speak up or they'll zoom to the next stop or return to the shop. No dock; wade through shallow water to/from boat. Trip on bigger boat to Cozumel ran three times that week; need to reserve in advance because all three filled up. Very professional crew; will store your gear overnight, but no lock on door! I took off my computer before storing my gear. Hot showers and restroom (clean!) next to show, and outdoor showers nearby to rinse your wetsuits. Saw lots of fish; Cozumel dives were the best, but local PDC area pretty nice; one day was a fast drift. Some days, both dives were only to 45 feet, so this was boring for the experienced divers. The resort is isolated (as are the others in the area) on the beach, so you're limited to restaurants onsite unless you take a cab into town. Nothing to do in the pm; even the fitness center closes at 8 pm (opens at 7 am) and is closed all day Saturday. Good security (noticeable on beach and by pool); rooms cleaned daily; I was in a studio on a timeshare exchange. I wanted to dive the cenotes, but they need a minimum of 3 dives, and the other two cancelled the day before; bummer, because that's what I came to PDC to cross off my bucker list. For am dives, meet at shop at 8:30, leave abt 9 and return between 12 and 1 (except 2 pm for Cozumel trip). I would dive with Dive Balam again, but would book maximum number of Cozumel trips in advance. Another bummer, I couldn't book the tours to the Mayan ruins on my non-diving days (Sun & Fri) because the tours weren't running! Having said this, RH owners seem to really like the resort and often stay for 3-4 weeks at a time, diving only a few days a week and sightseeing or relaxing on other days. Rumor is that RH will go "all inclusive" next year; I can't eat and drink enough to make it worthwhile.
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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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