As soon as I read about the incredible diving on the reefs around Cozumel island I knew I had to go. The last time (and only other time) I dived in Caribbean waters was during my backpacking trip around South America in 2013 when I took a plane and then a boat to Providencia island-a touch of authentic unspoilt paradise in the azure Caribbean seas. The dives I did there were incredible, I saw the majestic lion fish – I clearly remember this moment as the Dive instructor gestured to this absolutely beautiful colourful creature. I was amazed and so happy… until he took out his spear and literally killed it. Later I found out it does damage the coral reef but I was quite upset at the time, and a little concerned as to who I was following around with a spear!
As well as the lion fish I saw sharks, a wide variety of fish and sea turtles amongst other sea creatures. I can’t explain what diving is like- to be a part of this underwater world is an experience unlike any other. The coral reefs are teeming with fish and life. Incredible.
So I booked with 2 tank dive hostel who offer accomodation and diving. I didn’t read up much about it, I’m pretty sure there are more professional diving organisations on the island. I hadn’t dived since those three years back and I was worried about assembling my equipment so they recommended that I do a refresher dive. I’m happy I did this as I felt much more confident about booking my ‘proper dives’.
The hostel is simple, modern and clean. I booked a female dorm which can hold six people but currently there’s only me and two others. If you book a dive course such as PADI open water or advanced you get free accomodation in the mixed basic dorm. Not bad! The hostel provides some basic amenities (coffee, tea, small kitchen) but no breakfast unfortunately. It does have lockers, and wifi which works in the rooms and the common area. It’s set in a great location – a five minute walk from the ferry terminal so no taxis are required! Win win!
I have to be honest and say I haven’t really explored Cozumel island. There are beautiful beaches and some ruins but I’m here for the marine life. If I had longer I would explore more extensively. The beaches are on the other side of the island- it’s easy enough to hire scooters or cars to get around the island and unfortunately there isn’t a bus or any other form of public transport. It does get amazing sunsets so make sure you check them out.
So back to the diving… the instructors are mostly young (twenties) and gained their dive master on their travels. Some have only been diving for less than a year which did leave me a little concerned. However, the dives we went on were fairly straightforward. The instructors were all friendly enough and helped with checking equipment etc. The refresher dive we just went six metres down and it was a pleasant experience. Saw plenty of blue groupers, two stingrays and a variety of other fish. Nothing out of this world but a nice relaxing dive to get me back into it.
The next day was my two dives. This cost 85 usd. As I’m only doing one or two dives on my travels this wasn’t a huge issue but the costs would quickly eat into your budget if you were doing more. I think it’s much cheaper in Central America.
Anyway the first dive was a shipwreck!! This was a really cool experience for me as I’ve never dived a wreck and have always wanted to! You could dive through the windows amongst the coral and fish and through the rooms below deck. So cool! We saw a lobster, lots of huge groupers, huge shoals of tiny silver/blue fish (not sure what they were but there were thousands.) Some saw a barracuda but I missed that.
The next dive was a standard reef dive. It was pretty and nice to dive through the corals. I did have an issue with buoyancy at one point and as everyone dives through a hole in the reef I started to rise to the surface. I panicked a bit as thought oh god what if I just appear on the surface in the middle of the ocean- I didn’t know how far away from the boat we’d swam but we’d been under water about thirty minutes, and nobody realised I had gone. But luckily one of the instructors spotted me and plonked an extra weight in my jacket! The marine life we saw was solely fish and although sharks are found in the waters we weren’t fortunate enough to see one.
In terms of Cozumel island itself it’s really not my cup of tea at all. I walked off the ferry and was confronted with a Starbucks. God they get everywhere. I later found out it’s a destination for cruise ships so it caters to their demographic- older and richer! So it is very touristy. So I hoped to get round the island… however the taxi company and scooter/car hire companies appear to have something of a monopoly. There isn’t even a local bus! So I made the decision to move on the next day. I had briefly thought about completing my advanced open water here but as I say decided against it.
Last night I got chatting to an American girl who was travelling Mexico for six months! We went out for some food and ordered a margherita with our meal. Oh my goodness it was absolutely gorgeous but it was HUGE and must have been so strong even though it didn’t taste it. But I felt the effects after a third of the glass! We then went out to another bar by the sea front for a mojito and then returned to our hostel a little tipsy. Between bars we passed a transvestite competition on the main square!! Yes really. And the evening before there was some other dancing. I love that – random events or street acts.
So today I’m just having some breakfast, and then will move on to my next destination- Tulum!
Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.