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Dive Review of Dive Palancar/Grand Cozumel, Allegro Cozumel in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel South Reefs

Dive Palancar/Grand Cozumel, Allegro Cozumel , Mar, 2012,

by Shawn McDermott, FL, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6516.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving South Florida, Florida Keys, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbour, San Salvador, St. Vincent, Bonaire, Curacao, Costa Rica Pacific. Training dives: Red Granite Quarry, Oshkosh WI, Racine Quarry, Racine, WI, and Lake Michigan with the late great Ralph Erickson, PADI OWSI#M-0
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 72 to 77 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 150 to 20 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 90 max/40 minutes, 60 max/45 minutes, 35 max/60 minutes depending on dive sites. Ascend with buddy at 700 psi, 3 min/15' safety stop on all dives. NO obnoxious herding or berating about distance/depth from Divemaster. Maximum 8 divers per Divemaster. Excellent dive briefings.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Cameras handed in and out. Large designated camera bin. I was able to change batteries on my video rig between dives either at the dive shop or in the small below deck cabin on all boats

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I'm probably the most frequent-flier at the Allegro and was dismayed to discover I couldn't be accomodated there and had to spend the first 9 nights of my 28 day trip at the Grand next door. The Grand also costs me 50% more than the Allegro, and it's just not worth the extra money IMHO. They did move me to the Allegro after 9 nights, and Dive Palancar picks me up by boat there at 8:30 to make the 9:00 dive. Dive Palancar HQ is now at the Grand, formerly at the Allegro as well, but were replaced at the Allegro by a German-owned operation with rules, rules, rules in May 2010. I've never done a single dive with the new operation at the Allegro. I'm not wild about the Grand setup with having to walk across a bridge over the mangroves to get to the beach and dive shop. I requested a room in Building 19, you can sneak around the back of the building and cut through the bushes and you're right there at the dive shop. This was ok. I have the Dive Palancar staff deal with my gear anyway so I don't have to drag it back to my room. The Grand is really not set up to hang/dry gear in the room, they all have balconies/terraces but no way to string a clothesline line there like you can at the Allegro.

The first couple weeks were awesome, water chilly at 77F (I hate wetsuits) and some days so clear you felt you were looking through air. The reefs have made a healthy comeback since Wilma, lush soft and hard corals (especially at Palacar Gardens) towering coral abuttresses. Columbia was NOT very impressive this trip, and it used to be one of my favorite dives. The AM deep dives are for scenery, the late-morning dives for critters. Turtles every dive, spotted eagle rays, huge groupers, three species of giant parrotfish, seahorses, all species of huge angelfish, trunkfish, cowfish, triggers, and spotted eels and the occasional green moray free-swimming.

Things got not so cool the final couple of weeks, one dive the water was 72F (!) and currents ripping. I slowed down quite a bit during the last part of my trip, I shoot video underwater and you just can't do that when the current was up to 5 knots and there's so much sand in the water you have to empty your BCD pockets after the dive. It's nice to be able to pick and choose your dive days when you're there for 4 weeks. I did get 30 dives in. Not going to comment about the cruise ship diver that was lost on March 29 except to say the dive op who took them (who shall remain unnamed) had no business whatsoever taking them to Santa Rosa wall, a non-finite bottom dive with wicked lateral and vertical down currents.

Dive Palancar did their usual sterling job and it's always great to dive with friends who have been diving those reefs thousands of times. I'll be back for 4 weeks in June and another 4 weeks in September--If you contact Dive Palancar, tell 'em Chichibe sent you!
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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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