Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Quintana Roo
Caribe Blu (formerly La Lorena) hotel
Coral Princess Hotel
The Coral Princess provides an excellent set of concrete steps for entering, and their dive shop, Pepe Scuba, will leave tanks out for you day or night, which makes this quite an attractive spot, especially for night diving. It is possible to dive all the way out to the reef a football field away, but the current generally renders this plan futile. It's better just to follow the iron shore south or north, staying shallow, admiring the schools of fish and the excellent sponge growth. There are lots of crevices, small bays, a couple swimthroughs to hide lobster, octopus, moray and little things like Christmas tree worms and juvenile angels constantly take center stage. A very worthwhile dive or snorkel. From the center of San Miguel de Cozumel, head north on the main highway two miles to the Coral Princess hotel, located right on the shore.
Considered one of the best dive sites in Cozumel, Punta Sur is characterized by an impressive deep wall on the southern end of the island, reaching down to 165ft/ 50m. Remarkable swim-troughs will take you down to the Devil´s Throat, a narrow tunnel lined with red sponges, located inside this area´s largest coral mound. Once you enter a large cave that leads to a smaller cavern, the narrow opening of the “throat” becomes visible. The swim through lasts a few seconds only, but creates unforgettable memories! Once outside, numerous other exciting tunnels take you through a labyrinth of corals until you ascend over a sandy slope up to 30ft/ 10m depth, accompanied by sting rays, turtles, nurse sharks and eagle rays. Due to narrow penetrations and depth, this dive is recommended for very advanced divers only, since it can be dangerous if lacking excellent buoyancy and air consumption.
Mexico, Cancun, Caribbean
Snorkel from shore on great Maya barrier that extends from the Mexican Caribe through costal Belize to the Honduran Bay Islands. Lodge in beach cabana ($25 per night) with 20m walk across white sand beach to shore. Sleep 'til you wake, snorkel, eat, drink and repeat. Nirvana. Fly to Cancun, QR, Mexico, rent a car and drive south to Mahahual.
Scuba Club Cozumel
Once inside the property, a nice, shallow shore dive can be had with tons of juvies. Great spot for a night dive on this little strip/patch reef. Nothing compared to Bonaire shore diving but pretty good for critter spotting close to shore in Cozumel. Just down the road from Caribe Blu hotel (closer to town) is the popular all inclusive dive resort called Scuba Club Cozumel.
Palancar Beach, one of the best all-around beach spots on Cozumel, is especially acclaimed for its water sports, including kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and diving. You can rent a dive charter and also grab some grub at the nearby restaurants and bars. Travelers especially recommend Palancar Beach and Palancar Reef for cruise patrons looking to escape a pre-planned excursion for a more authentic experience. Travelers also described the just-offshore Palancar Gardens as an excellent spot for divers of all skill levels. Even if you're an experienced diver, it's recommended you rent a charter to avoid the hassle of permits or licensing. All diving companies must have a license to operate, and while swimmers are allowed to dive on their own, we recommend that you hire local experts who are familiar with the diving terrain. Others say it's a must-do even if you're planning just to skim the surface snorkeling the Palancar Shallows.
Chankanaab State Park
Great novice dive - very easy entry & exit, very shallow waters. You can rent anything you need from beachside dive operators who will provide a guide for your group as well as all equipment for around $50 - $60 per person. Be wary of some of the uncertified operators: while you won't get bad air, the equipment maintenance is sketchy and they don't seem to care if you bleed your tank dry or whether you wanted to see the submerged crucifix (a good 20m against current over barren sand to see a pretty mediocre statue, underwater or no, burning air that you would rather spend looking at the small but lush reef closer to shore). Pay the extra $5 to go to the PADI operator next door and you'll get better quality of equipment and a better guide A state park about 9 km south of San Miguel on the island of Cozumel, Mexico. You can catch a cab from any hotel, the airport or cruise ship for about $5/head. No mystery here about finding the place - Cozumel's too small! -- Suzanne D'Aunoy
Casa del Mar
Sloping wall with huge sponges and gargonians, varied marine life. Wall stars at 35 feet , then slopes into the abyss. Dive usually done between the two piers. Second dive after Barracuda.
Near La Ceiba Hotel. Also known as Airplane Flats. The plane remains are on the bottom upside down, and there is not much of it there. It was put there by La Ceiba after it was used in a movie, and then removed, but the hotel supposedly had it put back. It is not that far north of the international pier, which is about 2.5 miles south of the ferry pier you would have arrived at. If memory serves me right La Ceiba has both a tall tower, and a 2 or 3 story section similar to a motel, and I think they have their own in house dive shop. Aqua World (another dive shop) is a bit north, about 100 to 200 yards.