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Dive Review of Living Underwater/InterContinental El Presidente in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Living Underwater/InterContinental El Presidente, Mar, 2014,

by David H Vickery-Suzanne Leeson, NJ, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7747.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The first eagle ray appeared 6 minutes into the dive. It stayed with us until the 10th minute, hovering gently in a mild current, feeding lazily as sea swept snacks came its way.

We've been to many sites named for creatures seen there once and not since: Hammerhead Hotel, Blacktip Boulevard, Manta Rock, etc., but January through March Eagle Ray Wall in Cozumel delivers. We dived the wall three times during our week in March and the rays appeared every time and stayed for long minutes on end. The 120 cube steel tanks offered by Living Underwater enabled bottom time ranging from 55-80 minutes.

Jeremy Anschel's boat, the Jew Fish, picked us up promptly at 8 AM at the El Presidente dock while newbies from the hotel clambered aboard their cattle boat. Jeremy's crew had set up our gear and analyzed our Nitrox (we still prefer to do it ourselves) so we checked our rigs while the speedy panga zipped past boats from other operations.

Jeremy always asked "Where do you want to go?" More often than not the divers came to an agreement and he took us to our choice of sites, arriving before other groups, allowing us to dive the reef in relative solitude. The best part of Columbia Deep occurs around 80-100 feet; you don't need to go way down to enjoy this dive. The reefs are generally in good shape, not too much algae or bleaching, little trash, although we did pick up a new polarized mask off the bottom. It fit Suzanne perfectly.

Our group of 6 got split up at Punta Sur. Three of us hung at 15 feet and put up a marker buoy. We didn't get to use our Nautilus lifelines because the boat picked us up quickly when we surfaced. We recommend bringing your own safety gear. Cozumel may be where a lot of folks take resort courses, but it ain't Bonaire. Currents can be dangerous, and Jeremy will take groups to super charged sites like Barracuda, so be prepared.

The El Presidente is still the best hotel on the island (hey, we ran into Nikki Sixx, so we guess it's where the R&F stay) but some of the service you expect at a 5 star resort is a little off. The staff at the beach bar is distant and slow, the maid skipped turn-down service, and once we returned at 3PM and the room hadnít been made up. We avoid all-inclusive properties because of the potential rowdiness, and the beach at the InterCon is great, but they really need to kick their game up a notch.

We enjoyed eating lunch at one of the couches facing the beach at the main restaurant. Whenever I wore my Grateful Dead board shorts and cave dive T-shirt with the silver skulls we had plenty of room to ourselves, as families with little children tended to move away. One of us enjoyed the Herradura Extra Anejo Edition Especial, a fine, soft sipping tequila with tones of caramel and vanilla. Another of us noted that at $60 a shot an afternoon job filling tanks might be advisable.

We also lunched on lion fish at the fishermen's cooperative. Jeremy no longer spears them during the dives. He uses an aquarium net to catch them and crushes their little heads with his fingers (!). He says he gets stung a lot.

We didn't eat dinner at the hotel often, as the food is just good but not great and also expensive. We tried two local taquerias, El Pique and Mr. Taco, and liked Mister Taco the best. They do not serve beer. We still liked Guido's in town for pizza.

Our last night we went to Buccanos, a beach club and restaurant on the grounds of a hotel destroyed in the last hurricane and never rebuilt. The food is Mexican-continental fusion and fabulous, although the dim lighting and darkened hulk of the ruined hotel made it a trifle macabre. The cabs will wait to take you back to your hotel after your meal.

We will probably return to Coz this spring, and will dive with Living Underwater. We have complained at length about the service to the folks at InterContinental and hope that the El Presidente has gotten its act together.

Websites Living Underwater   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Puerto Rico, U.S. & British Virgins, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, Bahamas, Hawaii, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Bikini Atoll, jeez isn't this enough?
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 79-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-125 Ft/ 23-38 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Due to the current, Jeremy asked the group to stay together, and take a 3 minute safety stop.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Dunk bucket on the boat. The staff will hand you your cameras after you back-roll in. No camera rentals available.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Sobhi A Nahhasin MI, US at Dec 28, 2014 22:15 EST  
Good info. Thanks. We also have been in many places with Cozumel being our annual pilgrimage place. If you don't mind: 1) Going up to 80 minutes at Columbia at 80-100 feet; didn't that require decompression? 2) Was Living Underwater expensive?
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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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