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Dive Review of Aldora Divers in
Mexico (Western)/Cozumel

Aldora Divers: "'Adventure Dives' Worth the Trip to Cozumel", Nov, 2018,

by Michael Wood, WA, US (Contributor Contributor 19 reports with 11 Helpful votes). Report 10606 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I’ve dove Cozumel for 20 years because of its consistently good drift dives, it's cheap & easy to get to, its giant coral formations, swim-throughs, mini-walls, east-side diving during “Norte’s” (only dive shop offering), and the “Adventure Dive” way to the north in the blue only offered regularly by Aldora Divers.

First, the normal south end Cozumel stuff: The dive boat picks you up at Villa Aldora at 7:30am, or most piers along the way south (heard Iberostar won’t let you board off their pier; have to wade out to the boat). Takes 45 minutes to get to dive sites. I won’t go in to detail, but my favorite sites are: Columbia Deep (many fun swim-throughs), Palancar Caves, San Francisco and Tormentos. They are all drift dives, of course.

One big reason to dive with Aldora, besides their quality dive masters (there is always turnover in Cozumel, but co-owner/dive shop manager Memo seems to manage it well) but their “Adventure Dive” is another big reason. It’s 45 minutes north of Villa Aldora and reached only by GPS. Discovered by local fisherman “Mommia” who goes on every dive, it is an advanced, 3-tank dive for strong kickers who are good on air.

The first dive, I followed Mommia straight down to 111 ft. in about 1 minute on top of a ridge and waited for the others. I use long, Cressi free-diving fins so I was able to keep up with him. Then Mommia led us to a ledge/cave where there was a sleeping Caribbean Reef Shark, seemingly in a catatonic state. Mommia shined a light in his direction so I was able to get good video of this cool phenomenon.

The rest of the dive was along the reef at about 85 feet with loads of lobsters (in-season) & lion fish, successfully speared and de-spined by Mommia, two other divers and our DM Steve. This site produced some barracuda and sting rays here and there. It’s short due to avoiding deco time—40 minutes including 5 minute safety stop.

The second dive was very rich in many schools of barracuda, giant southern sting rays, a couple of Caribbean reef sharks tooling by, and 2 squadrons of Eagle Rays who circle around for a few minutes. Of course there were standard reef fish everywhere, as this is a little dove site.

Our surface interval consisted of lobster & lionfish ceviche, guacamole and chips all prepared by the crew and was astoundingly delicious. We also waded inland through a shallow salt slough to 800 year old Mayan temple ruins.

The third “Adventure Dive” was El Gato’s Reef, named after our captain, who discovered this one up north as well. This was a current-less dive of 50-60 feet, with corals and shelves, where I saw Tophats, Flamingo Tongues, parrotfish, Queen Angels, Grey Angels, French Angels, a giant parrotfish and other usual coral reef fishes. But the highlight was, during the last 15 minutes of the dive, 6 dolphins visited us and cavorted around us out of curiosity for a minute. Everyone was excited and jazzed about that, of course, since this is a rare occurrence—only the second time I’ve seen dolphins at depth in 20 years of diving Cozumel (other time was on the east side, during a Norte).

Staying at Villa Aldora is convenient and relatively economical. However, the only rooms with full kitchens are the 2 big two-bedroom suites, two one-room suites with 2 beds, and one room with one bed. The other 4 small rooms only have a microwave. The smaller/medium sized rooms are fairly priced, but the big Aldora and North Suites are over-priced for 4 people, compared to nearby VRBO/AirBNB properties from which you can walk to the Villa Aldora. We ate breakfast/lunch in the room, and out for dinner at night. Favorite places: La Cocay, Kondesa, La Perlita, Guidos, Sorrisi.

Aldora Divers is a consistently good operation, but you do pay a little more: $115 for 2 tank dives, but they are 80-90 minutes so worth it. You don't get back to the Villa Aldora until 1:30-2:00pm, so usually no afternoon dive possible. Can arrange for night dives.
Websites Aldora Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Indonesia, Maldives, PNG, GBR, Philippines, Hawai'i
Closest Airport Cozumel Getting There Easy-peasy, but often more expensive vs. Cancun. But hassle of bus/ferry from Cancun adds 2-3 hours; Maya Air Cancun-Cozumel is an option, but they tend to ding you over $100 for scuba bag of 30-50 lbs.

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Deep, long dives so you must monitor deco status; steel 120 cf nitrox tanks produce 80-90 min. dives
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments No rinse tanks on boats for big camera rigs. Bucket for GoPros. No camera room at Villa Aldora. They handle cameras well.
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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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