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Dive Review of Sand Dollar Sports/Reef Club in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Sand Dollar Sports/Reef Club, Feb, 2003,

by James Reilly and Fran Klass, PA, USA . Report 371.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Nassau, Grand Cayman, Curacao, Dutch Springs and New Jersey (wreck diving)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Most dives were lead. Even those which were not drift dives. 130 feet max depth, but almost all dives 80 ft first dive and 60 feet second
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Traveled by US Airlines without incident and on time. The TSA staff is much quicker and nicer than the rent-a-cops who used to do the security work.

Our Junior Suites at Reef Club Resort were large, well appointed and comfortable. Each suite had a private bedroom, a living room/dining area (odd for an all-inclusive), a nice kitchenette, and a large bathroom. Our fridges were stocked with cold canned beer, soda, and bottled water. We also had large balconies with hot tubs, which were very refreshing after a hard day of diving. All of the rooms were new. One couple was unable to get into their room, due to a reservation error. The resort provided them with a standard room and a discount, and then got them into their room the next day. Housekeeping was well done, although getting extra towels proved challenging. It is evident that a lot of money has been invested in the Reef Club since our trip there in February 2002. Wooden walkways and stairwells have been replaced by concrete structures. There also are several new buildings, including a private dining facility and a private new swimming pool exclusinvely for timeshare owners and folks who rent suites. We remain impressed with how hard the Reef Club staff works to keep the resort spotless. However, the food is not the best, although it is plentiful. Breakfast is fine with fresh eggs made to order, pancakes, French toast, cold cereal, and various fruit, pastry and meat items. They serve early enough so that you can eat breakfast and catch the early dive boat (at 8:30). Lunch is buffet sit-down fare in one of the restaurants or burgers, hot dogs, fries, salsa, guacamole, and chips by the pool. We usually chose the poolside fare. Dinner is steam table food, and we found it bland, even in the “special” restaurants. While several members of our group chose to eat in the hotel, we ate most evening meals in San Miguel, where wonderful seafood dinners can be bought for under $20 in the lovely local places away from the cruise ship tourist area. Oddly, it is hard to find Mexican food at the town’s restaurants. Much of the food is grilled. Order the grilled chicken, which is just wonderful, as are the grilled garlic shrimp.

The diving was fine. There were lots of fish and very interesting reefs. Drift diving is a Cozumel specialty, which not all divers relish, but it is an experience. Sand Dollar has decent boats, most with heads, and was very accommodating. We easily arranged several special trips and secured our own boats with little advance notice (usually the afternoon before we wanted the dive). Almost all of the dives are led by a Sand Dollar divemaster. The typical profile is an 80-foot first dive along a wall and a 60-foot second dive drifting along a reef. All tanks are 80s with yoke connections. Some of our divers were able to rent HP twins and stage bottles with 50% Nitrox at shops in town. This gear was then delivered to the Reef Club pier. On our last day, we insisted on a deeper, freer dive than is normally allowed. The chief divemaster allowed us to do this (having watched our group dive all week), after a thorough discussion of our dive plans. Sand Dollar had their divemasters come with us, rather than lead these dives, an arrangement which worked well for everyone.

We had a great time.
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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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