England 05/12/2012- Cozumel dive sites are being discovered and visited by divers from across the world
Visiting Cozumel dive sites allows people to follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s diving heroes. Jacques Cousteau dove there in the 1960s. He said that the reefs off the islands were the best anywhere in the world.
The island is located just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is easily accessible by boat and plane. Controversially, the government allowed a deep-water pier to be built in the 1990s to allow cruise ships to dock there. The decision was controversial because it meant disturbing the reef to build it. Given that a pristine reef is vital to the local tourist trade this was seen by some as the wrong decision.
However, now the work is finished the reef is once again pristine and there is still plenty to see for divers. Ironically, nature has caused the most long-term damage to the reef. Hurricanes have damaged some of the shallower dive sites; however, the deep sites are all in good condition. Most of the best dive sites are located in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, which the Mexican government set up in 1996.
The fact that many of the sites are located in this Marine Park means no souvenirs can be taken from dives there. All plant and marine life living on the reef are protected, by law. However, most divers are very environmentally conscious, so do not want to disturb marine life anyway.
The most popular Cozumel dive sites
Currently, the most popular Cozumel dive sites are those located in deep water. There are two main reef systems, Colombia and Palancar. This means that there is plenty to see the marine life present varies across the two reef systems. The dive review team at Drift Blue recommends that people dive at both sites. Chankanaab Lagoon is the most popular site and it is also good for snorkeling. San Juan is a great fast drift dive, which includes the chance to see turtles.