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

Dive Palancar/Occidental Grand, Nov, 2013,

by Bill Fletcher, QC, CA ( 2 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 7382.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Occidental Grand is an all-inclusive resort. The facilities, rooms, pool, beach were excellent and in very good shape. Staff was very friendly and eager to please. The food was completely acceptable, more Mexican than American, which was fine for us. We are not fans of buffet dinners (nothing wrong with the food, we just like sit-down service) and we ate 4 of 7 dinners at the 2 service restaurants that offer about 150 places per evening. You have to reserve places in advance and they have a limited number of seats on the half hour from 6:00 thru 8:00 or 8:30 - so if we were late in reserving, we got later seating. Again, that's fine -- the buffet dinner alternative was always there with good quality dinners.
We did 20 boat dives over 6 days including 3 night dives. Shore diving was available but we did not do any.
The hotel is right at Santa Rosa Wall, 10 minutes from Delilah and El Cedral, 15 minutes from Palancar and we really appreciated the short boat trips, having stayed up in St Miguel on previous vacations. Being down south, we were also able to dive Punta Sur as part of the everyday diving which we hadn't been able to do before.
My 14 year old niece is a new diver and the crew/divemasters took great care of her on the boat and underwater.
The diving was standard Cozumel -- great drift dives, lots of small fish and turtles. Policy is for dive masters to start the ascent at 40 or 45 minutes. Knowing this in advance, we came prepared to shift to an alternate dive company but in fact shortish dives were not a serious aggravation. we were out with between 50 and 60 minutes of dive time on our computers and were typically riding the deco line on the second dive anyway. We never came back with less than 1000 psi
Dive Palancar runs 4 regular dives per day from the Occidental Grand plus 3 night dives per week. Morning dives are deep then shallow as are the afternoon dives with boats often coming back to the dock between dives. We found this really convenient. We like to do 3-4 dives a day and were able to do 2 morning dives and come back at 3:00PM to do the second (shallow) afternoon dive. There is more life on the shallow dives & leaving the dock at 3:30, you catch the reef just waking up for the evening/night shift.
We bought blocks of dives which cost $35 each if bought in quantities of less-than-10. If you buy 10 dives or more, you pay $31 each and can share the dives within the group - so our group of 4 bought at least 12 dives per day and paid the low rate.
Divemasters were all competent and a couple were incredible at finding the local attractions .
The dive shop staff will, if asked, take full care of your equipment - so it was valet service on and off the boat. They rinsed all the equipment (in soap !) after every dive, stored it overnight and had it at the appropriate boat whenever we went out. I don't know how they kept track of all our wetsuits, vests, jackets and booties, but there were no mix-ups. The day we left, everything had been rinsed and aired and was dry and ready to pack. There was no official charge for the service and we left a substantial tip for the pleasant hard-working crew.
All in all, a very satisfactory dive vacation.
Websites Dive Palancar   Occidental Grand

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caymans - Curacao - Bonaire - Roatan - Saba - Egypt - Philippines- Australia - St Lawrence River/Great Lakes
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82-82°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Dive Master set depth & time limits at briefing. Typically 80 foot first dive, 60 foot second and times 40 to 45 minutes to start of ascent.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Camera buckets on boats. Some boats have a dry table.Crew helps into and out of the water. No onshore support facilities for charging, editing etc.
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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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