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Dive Review of Dreamtime Dive Resort in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Dreamtime Dive Resort: "Chinchorro Bank by Land", Oct, 2017,

by Randy Kettering, IL, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 10330.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The adventure began on March 4, 2011. Divers from Chicago, Philadelphia, and Denver, converged in Cancun for an overnight stay. Eight of us stayed at my time share, the Club Regina, located next to the Westin Regina. After a good night's sleep, we met our driver Miguel Cortes (Yucatan Traveling He was driving a van that easily accommodated the 11 of us along with our luggage and dive gear.
We departed the hotel around 9:00 AM and approximately 2 hours later we arrived in Tulum to take a travel break and tour the Mayan ruins and hang out on the beach for those so inclined.
After a guided tour of the ruins, we re-boarded the van and proceeded to downtown Tulum to have a leisurely lunch at Don Cafeto La Marca Del Café located right along highway 370. The food was out of this world (!), particularly the mole sauce. The habaneros were tasty, service was attentive and the cerveza very cold.
We continued toward our destination at very leisurely pace punctuating the trip with multiple bathroom stops along the way. Nine hours after commencing the trip, we arrived at Majahual/Mahahual. We checked into our hotel, 40 Canones, located along the south end of the Malecon.
The rooms were pretty basic and I refer you to for a closer view. All rooms had air conditioning but only two (the family suite and junior suite) had televisions. The satellite service provider offered a host of English speaking channels and premium movie channels. None of the rooms had a bathtub. There was adequate hot water for showering, but occasionally had to wait as long as five minutes for it to appear. The rooms were clean but some of the light fixtures did not have working light bulbs. All personnel were very friendly and responsive to guest requests. The hotel did have a common upstairs open area where dive gear could be hung to dry but no other diver friendly amenities.
Free (satellite) internet service was offered but it was really unreliable and slow. Our dive group liaison did lend us a wireless internet USB fob so that my wife could stay in touch with her office, however uploading and downloading files was prohibitively expensive. She had received 3 big RFP’s just before we left and much of her week was spent at the local internet café that had just installed a hard wired service (aka reliable and fast).
That evening we met with the Dreamtime Dive Resort manager, Hugo Loto, our topside activity liaison, Becky Loto and Ed. We had arranged for unlimited boat dives there is no shore diving available because of the reef structure. We anticipated doing some night dives and all were committed to taking the 19 mile trip to Chinchorro Bank weather permitting (the real purpose of the trip). The tongue and groove reef formation would be the staple of our week.
Our overall experience with DreamTime Diving was very good. DreamTime Divers is a cruise ship scuba contractor offering excursions to the day diver/snorkeler and generally the dive shop’s transportation needs are provided by the cruise ships. They did not provide transportation to the dive shop, we had to take taxis and lug our gear. Thereafter, they did obtagot permission from the harbor master to pick us up on the beach by boat in front of the hotel , no small feat because of the numerous waders that had to be avoided by the boat captain.
Their fleet of boats are clean, equipped with oxygen and have the appearance of being very well maintained. The boats required a synchronized back roll entry. Returning handed off cameras, weights, BC’s and fins in that order as we clung to the rope on the return.
Majahual is not a common destination for a large group of divers and so dive operation seamlessness is still an aspiration for DreamTime Divers. Breakfast service at the hotel “usually” began at 7 am with painfully slow service and food orders usually arriving ten minutes before our departure time. DreamTime’s solution was to depart 30 minutes later rather than arrange for a more efficient breakfast schedule (of course this cut into time that we otherwise might be doing multiple dives). The lunch routine was equally slow so we found nearby restaurants with fabulous fare and more efficient service. DreamTime Divers once had their own ‘hotel’ for dive guests enabling them to better integrate the dive and land experience but it was destroyed by hurricane Hugo. It had not yet been rebuilt and thus reliance on other hoteliers was necessary.
DreamTime primarily caters to cruiseship divers. We had no secure space to store dive gear at the hotel and no lockers at the dive shop. We kept our dive computers and left everything else to be taken back to the dive shop. There was no rinse tank but the dive staff took care of all equiment. Importantly, our boat appeared every day on time with wetsuits, booties and masks generally correctly sorted, fairly dry and waiting by our BC’s being correctly setup. They did have a ‘cracker-jack’ technician on staff, Jim, who was at ease in fixing environmentally sealed regs and other equipment problems encountered through the week. The co-owner, Toni Brooks, on down to the DM, Zoe Osborn communicatd that they were dedicated to making our our stay a successful and enjoyable. They succeeded.
Our trip had two objectives. The first, have a “Lionfish safari” with the “catch” prepared and consumed at a local restaurant. The second was to make a trip to Chinchorro Bank. We did conduct a Lionfish safari for three days. The first day was led exclusively by the DM outfitted with a spear and glove. On the third day, we divers were entrusted with three spears and took turns shooting and killing prey. We probably bagged between eight and ten.
In keeping with our first agenda item, Toni brooks had made arrangements with the nearby restaurant, Nohoch Kay , to prepare the fish for us and had even obtained a copy of the REEF publication “The Lionfish Cookbook”, for our gastronomic delight. On the last dive day we learned that the restaurant owner believed we were departing a day later and was preparing to cook our catch the next evening. We additiona learned that that night was festival night and all businesses were closed and no other arrangements were possible!
The only lionfish we saw that night was a float elaborately decorated as a Lionfish in the parade
The restaurants we frequented all had delicious, extensive and inexpensive menus. Nohoch Kay and Fernandos offered very good food at reasonable prices. FWIW, a six pack of beer is only $1 one block inland across from Fernando’s restaurant.
Chinchorro Bank

On the last day possible, the weather gods smiled on us (or was that a smirk?). The sky was clear and the sea appeared glassy. We were successfully scheduled to make the 19 mile trip in a small boat owned by . Many of us downed Dramamine because underwater sea sickness had struck the day before. We all donned our wetsuits and were prepared for the trip…….or so we thought.

We started the trip to the Bank talking, laughing, watching the lighthouse slowly disappear on the horizon. However, the sea glassiness soon disappeared and we were greeted with waves at least 5’ to 6’ in height. Those sitting on the leeward side of the boat would occasionally point and gasp as a huge wave approached behind those sitting on the windward side. Those divers eventually asked us to stop pointing because it was unnerving them. With time, the talking didn’t stop but the laughter became a little more nervous in nature. The captain stood at the helm, bare chested getting occasionally drenched with salt water spray. It was quite a ride taking us 1 ½ hours to cross and make our first dive.

As soon as you arrive at Chinchorro Bank, you understand why this world famous Marine Park is top of every diver’s ‘must do’ list. The ocean color changes to turquoise blue (see the map above) as the depth reduces to 30mts/100ft or less, even though you are 20 miles off the Costa Mayan coast. Pristine forest of Black and Red Corals bustling with marine life. Regrettably, the most beautiful coral outcroppings were inhabited by huge and numerous Lionfish, unfortunately also protected within the confines of the marine park. After we surfaced, we learned that the weather forecast had changed and we would not do the second dive. Perhaps because of the “adventurous” ride out, NO ONE complained or even attempted to second guess the captain or DM. We continued east toward Cayo Centro where we ate a light lunch and rehydrated. We explored the island and found a brackish lagoon with a submerged cayman and other inhabitants.

It felt a little bit like we had arrived on Gilligan’s Island after our “little boat was tossed” on the open ocean. That feeling was underscored when we happened across a boat that had been filled with refugees from CUBA had had grounded there three years before. Given the trip out (and the soon to be experienced return trip) I can empathize with the feelings experienced by the Cuban refugees who “shipwrecked” on this tiny atoll.
Our trip back to the mainland started off serenely leaving the protection of the little harbor. However, it quickly became quite scary. I will guestimate that the waves were at least 8-10’ with one rogue wave that frightened the hell out of us threatening to capsize the boat. Our boat captain was incredibly skilled and handled it with aplomb. He had to wear a scuba mask in order to see and pilot the boat. There was no overhead protection and no wind screen on the boat. Everyone was wearing wetsuits which blunted the force from the hard driving spray but also functioned as an evaporative heat sink draining everyone’s core body temperature. It was miserable! Only two of us had outer protective windproof jackets …thank G-d I was one! There was little talking or laughter like on the way out, we were all hunkered down, enduring the ordeal. It took us over two hours to return home. My lips were parched by the end of the trip and swollen for the next two days by being submerged above the ocean surface for two hours in the wind and ocean spray. As we arrived back to the mainland and finally beached the boat, two of the group jumped off the boat and kissed the sand. Would I do it again, you bet! It makes a great story in hindsight. I only wish we could have made a second dive that day.
The last night in town was spent completely in the dark as the whole town experienced a power blackout. Nonetheless, we were treated to a parade and a carnival of sorts
Our return trip to the airport was efficient (including “pitstops”) with our driver delivering us to the Cancun airport in time for all of us to make our respective flights home.
Websites Dreamtime Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Philippines, Grand Cayman, St Vincent, Bequia, Mayreau, Roatan, Utila, Bonaire, Curacao, Majahual MX (Chinchorro Bank), Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo, Cozumel, Cancun, Dominica, Key West, Oahu, Maui
Closest Airport CUN Getting There See the report

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 81-81°F / 27-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-80 Ft/ 9-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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