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Dive Review of Fantasea Dive in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Playa del Carmen

Fantasea Dive: "3 great days of diving off Playa del Carmen!", Dec, 2014,

by Darin Johaneson, BC, CA ( 1 report). Report 8068.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Jason, the owner of Fantasea Dive took excellent care of my son (13 years old) and I for our 3 days of boat diving. He takes a maximum of 4 divers each day, but all of our dives were just us and Jason. We laughed at other boats heading out with up to a dozen divers on a boat no bigger than ours! We were only a bit crowded on the first day because my wife and parents joined us to snorkel while we dove. Jason doesn't usually take both divers and snorkelers at the same time. He only did so in this case because we were all family and our first day's dive sites were also suitable for snorkeling.

Fantasea offers trips to Cozumel and the cenotes, but we chose to do all 3 days on the reefs off Playa del Carmen and we were not disappointed! We saw a huge variety of fish (my identification skills are weak), including a big school of about 30 barracuda! Several kinds of rays & moray eels were seen on each dive and we drifted past a large turtle just as we started our safety stop one day.

Jason and Antonio (the boat captain) were a great team and always knew what the other needed. Dive briefings were clear and easy to follow and buddy checks were never skipped. Jason kept a very close eye on us the first dive. He relaxed when he saw that my son and I are both comfortable and competent in the water, but he never took our safety for granted and I felt that he always knew where we were and how we were doing.

We brought our own equipment, but rental equipment was available. We aren't nitrox certified, so did not inquire about availability or cost. Tanks were loaded at the start of the day and were all aluminum 80's filled to 300psi--except one tank that was only 2500psi.

The boat is a simple fiberglass outboard with a removable ladder and no real dry storage. Water was provided, but other amenities just weren't needed as the dive sites were less than 30 minutes from the shop and we were back on the beach before noon each day after an 8:30 meeting time. Each dive started with a back roll off the sides, then a quick regroup as we drifted past the boat and then a group descent to the reef. All dives were drift dives and dive times were limited by our air consumption--except for one dive that we ended because we drifted past the end of the reef. On returning to the boat, gear was removed in the water and handed up to the captain before we climbed the sturdy ladder back into the boat.

Before the trip and again during the trip, Jason discussed what we were looking for on our dives and selected dive spots that perfectly suited our limitations due to my son's age and our limited experience (75 dives for me and 50 for my son). He was great about suggesting camera placement and angles for our Intova video camera and every shot he suggested came out great! Our other video...not so much :) We have lots to learn!

The only disappointment was that Jason was not available on our second day. He arranged for another divemaster to take us out for the day, and I did not do a good enough job explaining what we were hoping to see. Instead of staying close to the reef for the 'pretty fish', he took us out away from the reef to where we saw bigger fish, but far fewer of them. The dives were very well led with the same focus on our safety, but next time I will be more assertive about what I want to see.

We will certainly be booking with Jason and Fantasea Dive on our next trip to Playa and we have plans to explore the cenotes and the bull shark dive if we are there at the right time of year.
Websites Fantasea Dive   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Maui & Fiji, but mostly cold Canadian lakes!
Closest Airport Cancun Getting There Playa del Carmen is about 45 minutes south of Cancun by car, taxi or shuttle bus.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 82-82°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives must be guided dives due to Mexican regulations. No arbitrary limits were placed on depth or time. We dove the sites suggested by the owner/guide/instructor, but only surfaced when we ran out of air or reef.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments We are so new to underwater video and photography that I couldn't accurately rate the facilities, but Jason was quite helpful with tips and advice for us.
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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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