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Dive Review of Dive Palancar/Occidental Grand in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Dive Palancar/Occidental Grand, Nov, 2013,

by Randall S Preissig, TX, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 35 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 7423.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Occidental Grand Cozumel has been sold to a German company and Dive Palancar will be replaced by the time you read this review. So I will limit comments to things that shouldn't change. This is a true luxury hotel, though it has scaled back somewhat in recent years. It is 5-10 minutes from the very best dive sites in Cozumel, verses much longer if you are staying in or near town or have a slow dive boat. Four dives are offered 7 days a week with night dives 2 or more times depending on demand. The price is reasonable and Cozumel is easy to get to. The weather is generally great(Mayan royalty vacationed here). The coral formations are world famous. The fish have improved since they made a national park years ago--you now see large grouper, crabs, turtles and even black coral on the popular dive sites that were rarely seen in "the old days". Lionfish have been controlled--unfortunately at the cost of most dives being led by a dive master who hunts lion fish rather than things to show the group. Even with this, the lion fish impact has been significant. There are less damsel fish, squirrel fish and small fish in general than in prior years.
I consider Cozumel superior to Grand Cayman or Belize, its main rivals for "best in the Caribbean" and often recommend it. I've dived here for over 35 years with over twenty trips and will continue to do so.
Websites Dive Palancar   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience over 1000 dives
Where else diving Raja Amphat, Komodo, Thailand, Burma, Sipadan, PNG, Palau, Truk, Fiji, Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Tahiti(including Ringora, Marquesas and others 0, Ponape, Hawaii, Socorro isles, Cocos, Red Sea, Bonaire, Cozumel, Caymans,
Belize, Bahamas, Belize, Virgin Islands, Fl. Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were guided and you were instructed to stay with the dive master at all times. Somewhat stricter than in prior years
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Only a rinse bucket "for cameras only" on the boat. Modest air conditioned "photo room" was mostly a hang-out for dive masters but if asked they were very willing to try to help, but there are very limited resources.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: Randall S Preissig in TX, US at Nov 20, 2013 20:32 EST  
The first line should read "over 1,000 dives"
By eagleray in , at Nov 20, 2013 20:58 EST  
By report author: Randall S Preissig in TX, US at Nov 20, 2013 21:15 EST  
By MayanDiveGod in , at Dec 01, 2014 05:04 EST  
The Occidental Grand has NOT been purchased by a German company. Dive Palancar has been replaced by a German-owned operator, ProDive, which uses rented overcrowded boats and for the most part inexperienced instructor/divemasters who do not know the reefs and do not provide the Mayan/Mexican experience Dive Palancar has provided for over 20 years. DP still in Cozumel and will pick up at all hotels,
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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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