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Dive Review of Pepes Scuba/Hotel Fontan in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Pepes Scuba/Hotel Fontan, Apr, 2009,

by Mark Thorne, NC, USA (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 4750.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving North Carolina coast, Floride Keys, Grand, Brac, & Little Caymans, Belize, Bonaire, Grenada, St Lucia, BVI, Grand Turk, Grand Bahamas, Abacos, and Bimini.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Keep divemaster within sight.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

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 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Drift diving in moderate plus currents poses special challenges to any UWP. Being able to hang still to get that perfect shot is usually out of the question. Preplanning how you expect to shoot either pics or video in such current is advised.

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

Accommodations N/A Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments A group of 7 of us had a wonderful trip to Cozumel. What made it so good was a perfect blending of under water beauty/excitement and above water adventures in food and scenery at a very low cost. I had not been to Cozumel in 10 years and I will not let so much time elapse until my next visit.

Perfect Package Deal: Because of the financial uncertainty of these times, I worked hard to find a great location at a great priceI found it. Bottom-line is I was able to get great round trip air and hotel package (through a popular on-line website) for around $700/pp. Yes, you read it right, $700 for air & hotel! Additionally, the dive package through Pepes Scuba for 10 boat dives/5 days was under $300/pp. The total air, hotel, and dives for a week were just over $1000. Now this was a great deal! This low price was in part because I found a website with a $200 off promo code for the hotel/air package. By the way, as of April 23, 2009, I just got on-line and checked the same package for this fallthe total air/hotel package is now $480 (This is $680 minus the $200 promo code.)

Perfect Air: Besides the killer low cost, the best thing I liked about this package was the great air from Raleigh-Durham Airport to Cozumel. We left RDU at 6:15am and arrived in Cozumel via Houston at 10:30am. We had the whole days to play. Our return flight home did not leave until 3:30pm and arrived home by 10:00pm that night. Thus we had most of the day in Cozumel to be lazy instead of the mad dash home.

Accommodations: If you like a laid-back, small, non-touristy, and quiet hotel with a dream view of an unobstructed turquoise-painted Caribbean ocean with every roomthe Hotel Fontan is your place. I chose Hotel Fontan because of its location north of town, which is away from those monster cruise boats and crowds and because of the good reviews of the hotel. Additionally, this place is inexpensiveour daily room rate was a about $42 per night. Read the Tripadvisor.com reviews for the latest reviews of the place.

Be advised that this place does require some minor compromisesthe restaurant only serves breakfast (which is included in the price). This means you should probably make a trip to one the American sized grocery stores to get some snacks and drinks to keep you content between meals. Our group decided to eat one big meal a day around 4:00pm. For us this worked out ideal. Logistically, this worked out best because we did not return from diving until about 2:00 or so. After rinsing and hanging gear then showing, we were not ready for anything until about 3:00pm.

Diving: For my video of this trip go to "vimeo.com/4250359". We used Pepes Scuba. Although the name Pepes Scuba may not evoke confidence to the average American, we found Pepes Scuba, which is operated by a great ex-pat Texan named Frank, to be an outstanding dive operation. The dive boats were the fastest on the waterwe passed everyone on the way out which is relevant when you realize the dive sites are a first come/first serve deal. In this case the early bird gets the best dive site. The dive staff was fantastic too. They seem to have a genuine interest in meeting our groups needs. They shared personal stories of unusual and fascinating events on Cozumel. We really felt at home. Additionally, the boats care O2 and exits and entries could not be more easy and effortless.

Hotel Fontans Resident Dive Instructor: I thought it worth mentioning that there can be a bit of confusion regarding the dive operation when you first arrive at Hotel Fontan. Hotel Fontan has a resident on-site dive instructor/tour promoter named Pepe. This resident dive instructor Pepe is a totally separate business entity to Pepes Scuba which is located next door at the Coral Princess Resort. Pepes Scuba is a 200 foot walk from the Hotel Fontan grounds to the dive operation.


The Hotel Fontan Pepe runs a small dive boutique on the grounds with a large rinse tank and small-medium drying rack. You can use dive instructor Pepes facilities without charge. However, you must get you gear back to you hotel room by 5:00pm when Pepe goes home. Neither Pepes Scuba next door or Hotel Fontan has lockers to keep your dive gear in for the night.
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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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