09Oct - 2010
Cozumel is one of the great scuba diving locations in the world.
Located just northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is Mexico's largest Caribbean island. Once known as the sacred grounds of Mayan Goddesses and a safe haven for pirates, Cozumel is now known for being home to the second largest barrier reef in the world and some of the best scuba diving to be found anywhere on the planet.
In fact, the natural resources of the reef are so abundant and valuable that the Mexican government dedicated a 25 mile tract of the reef as a National Park in 1996. It is in this park that most of the scuba diving takes place in Cozumel. In addition to viewing awe-inspiring and diverse wildlife, divers to this area also frequent many of the caves and wrecks to be found in the waters surrounding Cozumel.
Scuba diving in Cozumel can be enjoyed by novice and expert divers alike. There are three categories of dives ranging from the shallow, near shore coral dives for beginners; the coral pinnacles with labyrinths and tunnels for intermediate divers; and the vertical walls and dramatic drop offs for both intermediate and advanced divers. Here is a brief over of each:
The coral gardens are located near shore and are ideal for scuba diving novices. One of the most popular locations for beginner dives is the Paradise Reef North and South. The Paradise Reef in Cozumel consists of two reefs: North and South. The north reef is shallow, about 30 feet, and ideal for beginners of scuba diving because the currents here are extremely gentle. Paradise Reef South is a bit deeper but also a favorite of beginners. The clear waters of these reefs make Scuba diving a joy. Excursions to this area will reveal brain corals, sea fans, sponges, gorgonians, star corals, crabs, octopus, moray eels, and maybe even the Cozumel Splendid Toadfish. Nighttime dives are also extremely popular on the North and South Reefs.
The Palancar Horseshoe is perhaps the most popular dive spot for intermediate divers in Cozumel. Here labyrinths of coral heads range from 100 feet to 20 feet below the surface. Divers are delighted to snake their way through tunnels, caves, twists and turns to investigate everything that this top dive spot has to offer.
One of the most popular drop-off scuba diving locations in Cozumel is the Santa Rosa Wall. Starting at 50 ft. this location drops off into the deep abyss finally leveling out at around 100 ft. Strong currents in this area give divers the feel of flying along the great wall where they will spy huge sponges, great overhangs of stony coral, numerous caves and tunnels for exploring, and turtles and eagle rays.
And the excitement and beauty of Cozumel doesn't end with scuba diving. Cozumel is also home to numerous, majestic Mayan ruins where it is believed that goddesses have dwelt. So once you have put up your fins for the day, don't think that you will be bored in this awe-inspiring place. There is plenty to offer and something to please everyone.
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