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Ultimate Guide to Cozumel Scuba Diving

If you’re a diving nut like me, you’ll love this guide to Cozumel scuba diving packages and experiences. Of everywhere you can go scuba diving in the Riviera Maya, Cozumel diving is the best.

I’ve also gone diving in Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Morelos, and Cancun!

In this post, I’m sharing everything about scuba diving in Cozumel.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Cozumel ToursClick here to check out the top Cozumel tours
Best Cozumel Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Cozumel
Best Cozumel Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Cozumel

Where is Isla Cozumel?

Are you wondering where Cozumel is located? Don’t worry—I never heard of it before arriving in Playa del Carmen. Cozumel is an island near Playa Del Carmen in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. It’s easy to visit from anywhere in the Riviera Maya (read this) and has an international airport you can fly directly into.

Cozumel is best known for two things:

  1. Being a large cruise ship port
  2. Amazing scuba diving

Cozumel diving packages are world-class and worth adding to your Scuba Diving Bucket List.

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

How to Get to Cozumel

Traveling to Cozumel is easy—if you travel to Mexico exclusively for a scuba diving Cozumel vacation, I recommend flying directly into Cozumel. The convenience is worth the extra cost. I have details about how to get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen. If you travel from anywhere else in Mexico, the easiest method is to travel to Playa Del Carmen and take the ferry. I have a detailed guide about getting to Cozumel, which you can read here.

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

Flying Directly to the Cozumel Airport

This is the best option if you can find a reasonably priced flight. Flying into Cancun requires a bus, ferry, and taxi ride. You can take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, which should cost around 400 pesos. Check Cozumel taxi rates online here.

Cancun Airport to Cozumel

You must take an ADO bus from the Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen. When you arrive in Playa, exit the bus station, where you will be greeted by a barrage of people shouting “Cozumel.” You can book online with GuateGo here.

Read my blog post on how to get from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen here.

Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel

There are two companies currently operating ferries to Cozumel. I always go with Ultramar—the prices are fixed, and both charge the same, with ferries leaving simultaneously.

Buy your ticket from one of the official sellers on your way to the ferry. You can’t go wrong, so don’t panic about getting ripped off.

The ferry point is at the bottom of town, near the ADO station. It’s difficult to miss because people everywhere sell tickets and shout “Cozumel.”

Note: I was able to take my bike on the ferry free of charge. If you have a bike, bring it to save money on taxis.

The ferry takes about 40 minutes, and once you get to the other side, you can take a taxi or walk to your accommodations. Be warned: taxis in Cozumel aren’t cheap. I recommend hiring a bike on the island, the most affordable and eco-friendly option.

You can also fly directly from Cancun or Playa del Carmen with Fly Cozumel. I did this recently—honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever retake the ferry!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Why Cozumel Scuba Diving is the Best

Cozumel diving is next-level compared to other local dive spots. Look at these pictures the pro diving photographer took on one of my Cozumel scuba diving trips.

Don’t get me wrong, Tulum is amazing for cenote diving, and there is an excellent reef and some wrecks to dive in Puerto Morelos. After diving to several sites throughout Playa, Tulum, and Puerto, Cozumel always comes out on top. The only time I dive in Playa del Carmen is bull shark season!

There is drift diving in Cozumel, plus colorful reefs and marine life. I also saw sharks and turtles on almost all of my Cozumel diving packages. I spent three days scuba diving Cozumel and visited six dive sites, all of which were uniquely beautiful.

Cozumel is also perfect for snorkeling!

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

Diving Packages Cozumel: Best Companies

When planning your Cozumel diving vacation, the first thing is to find the best diving in Cozumel companies. There are many choices, so deciding which company to book through is vital. Trust me: you don’t want to choose the cheapest or the first company that approaches you when you get off the ferry.

My advice is to do research in advance. You want to find the best diving in Cozumel center for your needs. While many Cozumel dive operators have good reviews, the only company I dive with is ScubaTony Cozumel.

Whoever you go scuba diving in Cozumel with, there are several things to factor in:

In my experience, ScubaTony delivers on all of this and more.

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

Do You Need a Certification for Diving Packages Cozumel?

If you are new to diving, you may wonder if you must be certified to book Cozumel scuba diving packages. The answer is yes and no. You must be certified to dive for safety reasons, as there are things you must know to stay safe underwater. For your safety, you must receive some instruction before diving Cozumel.

There are several certification levels—the most common is an open water certification. With this certificate, I have dived worldwide, including in cenotes. The course takes two to five days and costs around $200-400, depending on your location. I highly recommend doing your open water certification in Cozumel with ScubaTony. I had the best time!

diving in cozumel,cozumel,dive,Cozumel scuba diving

A Discovery Dive is a good option if you don’t want to commit multiple vacation days learning to dive or are unsure whether you’ll like it. This experience lasts 2-3 hours—after receiving instruction, you’ll practice diving in shallow waters near the resorts.

I suggest getting your scuba certification in Cozumel because the crystal clear Caribbean water is the perfect training ground.

Best Diving in Cozumel: Can’t-Miss Spots

Cozumel scuba diving is exceptional—regardless of how often I return to a dive site, I’m always impressed by the beauty I see at these Cozumel dive sites.

Cozumel has 27 dive sites ranging from 15 feet for Shallow Columbia to 120 feet for Chun Cha Kab.

Paradise Reef (Max 45’)

This is a series of three small reefs running parallel to the shoreline. This is where you can spot the Splendid Toadfish, a native Cozumel fish species.

Chankanaab Reef (Max 55’)

Chankanaab Reef is ideal for beginner divers, with mild currents and clear waters. You can find many marine animals living here.

Yucab Reef (Max 60’)

Yucab Reef is one of the longest in the Americas, with a swift current and much color. Yucab was one of my favorites and my first drift diving experience, which Cozumel is famous for. It took me a moment to get used to it, but I loved drifting along the reef once I had it.

Santa Rosa Wall (Min 50’)

This is one of the best diving in Cozumel sites with fantastic drift diving and marine life. There are many swim-throughs and caves. I spotted a turtle there—if you’re lucky, you might see nurse sharks.

Palancar Caves (Best 60-90’)

The Palancar Caves offer an intermediate dive with swim-throughs. This dive was fun and challenging.

For more detailed information about all the best areas for diving in Cozumel, check out Reefs of Cozumel.

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

Prices for Cozumel Diving Packages

Prices for scuba diving in Cozumel are pretty reasonable. Expect to pay around $60 for a 1-tank dive trip and $90 for a 2-tank trip.

Most places offer a discounted rate for multiple diving days. ScubaTony has one of the best Cozumel diving packages—a 5-day deal where if you book ten dives or more, you get the 2-tank dives for the discounted price of $85. This works out to 10 dives over five days, costing $425 per person.

Rental equipment costs extra. If you bring your own, they will care for it during the trip. I have the equipment, but it’s unnecessary as theirs is well-maintained. I recommend investing in a good dive computer. If you’re a beginner and need one, check out my review of the best dive computers for beginner divers here.

Visit the ScubaTony website here to book Cozumel scuba diving packages with them.

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

Quick Tip: View my full Cozumel packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Cozumel Essentials shopping list here.

Where to Stay for Cozumel Scuba Diving

Resorts in Cozumel can be pricey—these are my recommendations for the best resorts and hotels on the beach in Cozumel. I’ve written a detailed guide and review of my favorite Cozumel accommodations here. Check out these options:

High Budget

The Landmark Resort of Cozumel
Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa
Ventanas al Mar Beach Front Cozumel

Mid Budget

Casa del Solar Centro Cozumel
Hotel Villas Las Anclas
Caribo Cozumel

Tight Budget

You’re lucky if you are on a tight budget—I found a fantastic hostel for divers in central Cozumel called Amigos Hostel. It was close to Dive Paradise and had a pool, hot water, a huge kitchen, and plenty of space to hang your wet clothes. As most people there were diving, everyone was up in the morning, so no worries about waking people up. Click here to check the prices.

Best Places to Eat in Cozumel

A great local hangout for lunch and local beer is Punta Sur Cervecerīa—they have unique locally brewed beer, and it’s a favorite among locals. They brew on-site and have the best pizza in Cozumel. If you purchase their Eagle Ray Stout, they will donate to the conservation of spotted eagle rays. If that isn’t a good excuse to make you drink more beer, I don’t know what is!

For tacos, check out El Pique or Los Serás. Love quesadillas? Head to Chilangos.

Buccanos serves the best food in Cozumel—the best meal I’ve eaten in Mexico, and the service is out of this world. Just go: trust me, you will not regret it!

If you want to escape for the afternoon/evening, take a taxi to the Money Bar. They serve delicious food—you can jump into the sea to cool off if you get too hot.

What to Pack for Diving Cozumel

Cozumel is a Caribbean Island off the coast of Mexico. It’s generally hot and humid, so you must pack accordingly—shorts, shirts, and anything else that will keep you cool. For my complete Mexico packing list, click here.

If you have dive gear, bring it. A shortie wetsuit is preferable as the water is a warm, pleasant temperature—I used it for my three days there. Many people didn’t dive wearing a wetsuit at all.

Since the water is so blue, you’ll need a red filter for your camera or GoPro.

I strongly recommend investing in a dive computer. As a new diver, I wish I had this piece of equipment. Since I was using my air much faster than others, I needed to surface 5-10 minutes before the rest of the group. I had to guess my depth and time when stopping on the way up. A dive computer would have been so helpful! Read my dive computer review here.

Other things I suggest new divers purchase:

While you can get them online, you’ll want to try the mask in person. There are several good Cozumel dive shops, but you will pay a high price because it is an island.

Pro Dive is the largest dive shop in Cozumel, although it can be expensive—check the smaller ones first.

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in Cozumel | Cozumel dive sites, companies & accommodation

Quick Tip: View my full Scuba Dive Equipment List here. And check out my Scuba Diving Essentials shopping list here.

Other Things to Do in Cozumel

My top pick for cultural activities in Cozumel include:

Visiting the San Gervasio Ruins

Taking a do-it-yourself tour of the Mural for Oceans on a bike

Touring the Mayan Cacao Museum

Exploring the Pueblo de Maíz

Learning about sustainable pearl farming at the Cozumel Pearl Farm

Cozumel Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Cozumel?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Cozumel which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Cozumel on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Cozumel?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Cozumel?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a  lot of options available!

If you are traveling from Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

🤿 What is the best diving operator in Cozumel?

I strongly recommend ScubaTony on the island as they are hands down the best dive operator there!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 


Cozumel Scuba Diving: Final Thoughts

That was my ultimate guide to scuba diving in Cozumel. I hope it’s been helpful as you plan a Cozumel diving trip.

Need to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?

Whenever I’m in Playa or Tulum, I always rent a car through the Turismo Channel, as they include everything in the quoted price. Car rental companies in Mexico are notoriously tricky to deal with, and nine times out of 10, they will quote you a low cost, but then when you get there, they add on all kinds of insurance and won’t give the car to you unless you pay up. It can also take weeks or even months to refund your deposit. I wrote a blog post here, which you can read for more information. If you want a quote to rent a car with the Turismo Channel, click here to complete the form.

Mexico travel guide to Cozumel scuba diving packages in the beautiful island of Cozumel.

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

B

Monday 20th of November 2023

"ScubaTony have a 5 day deal where if you book 10 dives or more you get your 2 tank dives for the discounted price of $80. That works out at 10 dives over 5 days costing a total of $800 USD per person."

Since it is $80 for 2 dives, wouldn't 10 dives be $400 per person instead?

Claire Summers

Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

That's right, I have updated it. Thanks!

Derek Ethier

Sunday 15th of January 2023

Hi, have to totally disagree with you on ScubaTony.

We are relatively new divers (20 or so dives) and after diving with our regular guy in Playa, we tried ScubaTony.

Nice guys, but they send up divers & their buddy alone to the safety stop and to surface and continue on with the dive with the other divers who have more air. 30 boats all around you and know idea who’s is yours. This is a horrible experience for a nervous diver!

Claire Summers

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

Hi Derek,

I'm so sorry you didn't have a good experience with them. But it's totally normal for divers and buddies to surface early and the dive master to stay down. I've dived all of the world and ST is the best I've found for health and. safety stuff. There are some real cowboy operations out there that hardly give and safety brief!

When I first started diving with ST I was surfacing after 30 minutes as I was using a lot of air. There is no way they could have ended the dive for the whole group after 30 minutes as I'm inexperienced. as a more advanced diver now I'd be super pissed quite frankly after paying my money and only getting half a dive.

What I loved about Scuba Tony is that I always felt safe ending my dives early. They gave me a good brief, their boats had their website on the side so I could see it. and they always told me the boat and captain's names. When I needed to go up the DM sent up the boye to the captain could see someone was surfacing and then I did my safety stop holding on the the rope. when I came up the captain was always there waiting for me.

Because I was so awful at controlling my air consumption one of the ST team spent a lot of time with me during surface time helping me with boyancy and breathing and be the end of 3 days with them I was down to 8kg of weight (I started on 12kg!) and my dives went from 30 minutes to 50.

I'm not sure why you needed to surface early, or how long you were down for. But my guess it was air consumption.

I'd advise you to do some dives with a private instructor to help you with that and who can also surface early with you if you are nervous about ending your dive early without a DM surfacing with you. That was you will feel safer and get more experience. If you can't stay down for the full dive and arent happy surfacing without a DM then hiring a private instructor really is the only way to go.Make sure you are super clear next time you go diving with a group that you are nervous and don't feel comfortable surfacing alone and they will be able to take better care of you.

Happy diving!

Gwen

Monday 13th of December 2021

Hi ! And thank you soooo much for a very detailed introduction to Cozumel. I am a dive instructor so I really wanted to hear from someone who is experienced;) I contacted scubatony, and will probably dive with them. But I will land in Cancun and wanted to also dive the cenotes. Have you dived there ? Do you have any recommendations ? I did a cavern dive in the domican republic last year and it was truly amazing… Gwen

jay

Saturday 15th of December 2018

Dear, Auther thanks for this relevant information. I tell something more about weather of Cozumel, Cozumel can be dived year-round, however, December - April is considered the high season. Tourists create the high season, so prices will be highest this time of year. On the other hand, non-dive activities are in full swing. Water temps hover around 75-85F and winter winds occasionally create choppy surface conditions. May - September is considered the rainy season but the water begins to warm up. Late summer and fall is the low season due to occasional hurricanes, but water temperatures are warmest - up to around 85F. The typical currents can also be stronger during the transition between seasons, however, this also can bring more sharks and eagle rays.