Diving in Cozumel
We can make arrangements for your diving as a convenience to you or, even better, you can contact the dive operators directly. If you need help making a choice between operators, please ask us to give you our insight in the decision. We make no booking commission on diving, but please tell them you are staying at "Villa Dzul-Ha". It is a good idea to schedule and reserve the diving well before the trip to make sure you can dive with who you want to, when you want to. The prices listed below are subject to changes.
There are many competent dive shops and independent operators in Cozumel, but we can only recommend the ones we know very well. A bad choice of dive operators can ruin your vacation as well as put you in serious jeopardy. Over the years, these have proven to be the most professional, reliable, and dedicated to providing the best diving in the world.
Ricardo Madrigal is the dive guide and owner of the 35 foot, twin diesel dive boat "Careyitos". Cost may be slightly higher than some of the lower priced dive shops, but the service, safety, and diving experience is excellent and worth the few extra bucks you spend. Ricardo has been in Cozumel longer, and is the most experienced dive guide on the island,
Although his boat is capable of taking up to 20 divers, he never takes more than 12, and this is rare.
He prefers experienced divers in small groups of 6 to
8. On the other hand, the "Careyitos" team is well capable of taking novice
divers, the assistant dive guides both being certified PADI instructors. Tony and Cielo are his assistant dive guides. Their job is to help keep the group organized and together during the dive, while Ricardo does his job of leading the group to the most interesting parts of the reef and sea life. Plan
to meet the boat at the "Caleta," which is the marina just north of
the Hotel Presidente (half mile north of Villa Dzul-Ha). Take a look at the web
for prices and more complete information. Look for
the contact information on that website for current e-mail addresses and phone
You must have a SCUBA certification card with you to dive in Cozumel. The dive shops and operators are very strict with this because of severe criticism in the past. If you want to take SCUBA instructions, you have several choices:
1) Resort Course. This is least effort, least cost, but also least rewarding. You will not be qualified to make other dives later, without a full certification course. We have always questioned the safety of these courses in general, because of the minimal instruction and diving within a short span of time. However, we have to defer to the expertise, experience, and judgment of the local instructors that they can do this safely and effectively. You will usually complete this course by making a boat dive on a shallow reef, probably no more than 30 feet. This will either encourage you to take a full certification course or turn you off from diving forever, because you were not properly conditioned, mentally and physically. But, if this is all you can or want to do, we recommend this as opposed to doing nothing.
2) Full SCUBA certification class in Cozumel. This is a good choice if you are short of time at home or do not have a good SCUBA training facility nearby. The cost is higher, but it only takes four days to complete. Classes are small (most likely one on one) and instruction quality is excellent. We recommend Careyitos Advanced Divers at http://www.advanceddivers.com .
3) Full SCUBA certification class at home. Certification at home is likely to be cheaper, but take longer. It may take several weeks, or at least two long weekends. Also, the open water checkout is usually a hassle. The really good part of this is that it gives you maximum time in Cozumel to do some "real" diving.
4) Combination of 2) and 3) A combination of taking your basic SCUBA course at home, and the open water checkout in Cozumel can usually be arranged. Check with Tony at Careyitos Advanced Divers for details and compatibility of your SCUBA course with their instructors certifications. This takes two days in Cozumel, which gives you more days for "regular dives".
5) Regardless how you get certified, you may want to schedule your initial dives after certification with Ricardo, Tony, and Cielo. They are obviously a good choice to make sure you learned all your lessons, as well as being excellent dive guides for both novice and advanced divers.
Before your trip, we recommend you join DAN (Divers Alert Network) and subscribe to their insurance plan. In case of an accident, you will be fully covered for medical treatment both at your diving location, or back home. DAN can provide air ambulance transportation (Lear Jet) if your condition can not be properly treated by the local facilities. We like their Preferred Plan, which provides coverage for accidents, dive related or not, as well as trip cancellation or interruption insurance due to accidents or illnesses. Click on http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/
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