If you are into diving, Cozumel is the place where you want to dive in Mexico, and in this post, I will tell you about some of the best diving shops for the most incredible diving experience.
Cozumel may be a small island, about 48 km (30 mi) long and 16 km (9.9 mi) wide, but is still the largest Caribbean Island.
But most of all, being part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef, Cozumel offers the best scuba experience where you can dive along dramatic walls, huge coral reefs formation like the famous Palancar Reefs, and among some of the most amazing underwater creatures.
But if you are reading this post, I am sure you know already. So let me tell you a little bit about the island before diving into the list of the best diving shops in Cozumel.
Located at only 30 minutes ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, on the Riviera Maya, the island of Cozumel is the preferred destination for many, not only divers but any traveler who loves the sea and a laid back relaxed vacation with outdoor adventures options.
In fact, despite being one of the top-notch places for scuba-diving in Mexico, the island of Cozumel offers so many things to do including, riding a scooter or bicycling along the coast, visiting the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, and enjoying some of the best boat tours available, among others.
However, most of all it is renowned as a major diving destination, both for new divers and more advanced for its crystal-clear water and the spectacular mesoamerican barrier reef which is the second biggest in the world.
The turquoise water of Cozumel is full of marine life. Tropical fishes, eagle rays, moray eels, nurse sharks, sea turtles can be seen. It also hosts an endemic species which is called the splendid toadfish.
Let yourself drift along the majestic pillars of Palancar reefs and enjoy a beautiful sunset ending with a night dive. There are so many diving sites of which I will talk about in a different post.
When it’s the best time to dive in Cozumel?
You will be happy to hear that the island of Cozumel has great diving all year round.
However, keep in mind that the high season is generally from mid-December to March/ April and from Mid-July to the end of August.
At this time of the year, the water temperatures are from 75 F in the winter months up to 85F in summer.
But let’s make another clarification here.
During the winter months, from November to April is when the spectacular eagle rays come flying around. You will most likely have the magical experience to see between 2 to 5 or 6 eagle rays at the same time.
Reef sharks and nurse sharks are also around.
During this season, you can also dive with bull sharks from Playa del Carmen.
From May to September, it is when sea turtles can be spotted. Keep in mind that in this time of the year it’s more likely to experience strong currents.
There are 3 different sea turtles’ species in Cozumel:
- the green turtle
- the hawksbill turtles
- the loggerhead turtle.
You can also see them on the beach on the other side of the island of Cozumel where they lay their eggs from May to September.
Cozumel is mainly drift diving and can have strong currents, especially in hurricane season like July to October.
The current gently pushes you from South to North. However, sometimes it decides otherwise.
which means discovering the beautiful coral reef from another perspective.
The best 9 dive shops in Cozumel
The island of Cozumel counts more than 300 dive shops, a lot compared to the size of the island.
But that gives you the chance to find dive operators corresponding to your aspiration and dive experience.
The list that I am sharing here is not actually based on the best Cozumel dive shops as it is always a personal choice.
However, since some Cozumel dive shop offers different possibilities, I will share what each of the most professional dive centers can offer, so you can decide which one to pick according to your needs.
I am a dive instructor and I have been living and working in Cozumel for a while now and here is my choice among all the dive shops in Cozumel.
Blue Magic Scuba
Calle 4 Nte 71, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
Blue Magic is the best choice especially for backpackers, young crowds who want to settle for a while and enjoy diving, or want to discover diving.
In fact, they offer accommodation in their hostel for free, for each diving day you do.
I wrote young crowds but of course, any generation is welcomed!
Blue Magic Scuba is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre (IDC), one of the very few in Cozumel. It is the best place to do the open water certification up to becoming a Dive Instructor.
The dive company is very well located in the heart of downtown Cozumel, just two blocks from the ferry pier. It is one of the best Cozumel dive shops for first-time divers to learn.
Scuba divers can choose their dive packages depending on how long they plan to stay on the island of Cozumel.
Besides being a PADI dive center, they offer two-tank dive boats and night dives with dive trips in the morning and the afternoon.
Their valet service is top-notch.
On your first day, you leave your own gear at the dive shop. You will find it prepared for you on the dive boat. They will take good care of your dive gear during your entire stay. Scuba divers can also rent the equipment from the dive shop.
The team is made of dive masters and dive instructors with years of experience. They have 3 fast boats for 8 to 10 divers.
The scuba divers groups are organized depending on the skill level.
The surface interval is a great time to speak with your dive guide and relax while eating fresh fruits and biscuits.
The team is trained in first aid emergencies and the dive boats are equipped with first aid kits and oxygen.
You will have fantastic dives and the best scuba memories.
Blue Angel Resort and Dive Shop
Carretera Costera Sur Km. 2.2, Zona Hotelera Nte., 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
If you are looking for a laidback place, when you wake up and open your door with a view on the crystal-clear water then, Blue Angel is your place. The hotel resort and dive shop are all on the same site.
You just have to finish your breakfast from their restaurant with an ocean view, jumping in your dive gear, and here you are, on their fast boat. You will have the best time of your vacations.
Blue Angel has two fast boats for small groups and a big dive boat for larger groups.
The small boats are fast, and their boat captain will drop you wherever you want.
Even on the big boat of 16 scuba divers, the dive will be organized in small groups of 6.
For new divers, Blue Angel offers both PADI and SSI certifications.
In addition, the scuba divers groups are organized by skill level when possible.
All the dive guides are dive instructors and will assure safe dives.
With a maximum of 6 divers per divemaster, they will show you all the best Cozumel dive sites. You will dive into the beautiful coral reefs, full of marine life, with tropical fishes everywhere.
If you are a certified scuba diver, and you stay at the hotel with the dive packages, you can take a tank and go shore diving for free, as many times as you like.
You can go with your dive buddy as the sun sets for a night dive. You may encounter moray eel, octopuses, splendid toadfish among others.
The dive operator offers 2-tank boat dives, morning trips, afternoon trips, and night dives from the dive boats.
They also offer dive trips for advanced divers to the North Side of Cozumel like San Juan reef or in the south to Punta Sur.
For a great experience and non-diver, you can go on a snorkeling trip to El Cielo, with crystal-clear water.
Ocean Nomads Underwater Photography
Ocean Nomads Underwater Photography is a small family Cozumel dive shop: They have 1 fast boat and offer small groups of scuba divers.
They are specialized in underwater photography. If you want to learn more about how to take the best picture underwater, you are at the best place.
They organize small groups and personalized dive trips. You can also rent the boat for a private charter.
Whether you are an advanced diver or not, they will teach you how to recognize marine life, how to capture the nurse sharks coming close to you, how to play with the light to take the best picture and have the best experience.
The divemaster will show you the green moray eel, the splendid toadfish hidden under the rock.
If you decide to come during the high season in the winter months of November / December, you will enjoy taking pictures of the eagle rays showing off their beautiful patterns.
Their boat is fast and their boat captain is very knowledgeable.
For more advanced divers, Ocean Nomads organizes special dive trips such as black water dives.
Blackwater dive is a specific night dive, away from the reef.
Big strobe lights are attached to a rope, which permits you to see and gives you an orientation line. During blackwater dives, you may encounter underwater creatures unspotted during the day.
C. 5 Sur #37, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
For the scuba divers fans of very long dives and discovering dive sites where not many go, Aldora Divers is a perfect choice.
A Padi dive center, since 1995, Aldora Divers prides itself in giving the best experience and personalized service while diving into the beautiful Cozumel dive sites.
They provide long dives by using high-capacity steel tanks which allow an average dive bottom time of over 70 minutes per tank.
They have 8 fast boats in total, of different sizes which offer a comfortable experience.
They offer different dive packages for scuba divers and open water dive certification. You can also ask for twilight light packages which include night dive.
If you do not have your own gear, you can easily rent the dive equipment from their dive operation located in downtown Cozumel.
After your first dive, you will be able to spend your surface interval on the beach, surrounded by crystal clear water.
The dive operator organizes special dive trips to the north of the island for advanced divers.
In the winter months, they provide a jacket for each diver. The water temperatures may still be at 75F but it feels cold once outside during the surface interval.
Their divemasters and dive instructors are very knowledgeable and will guide you inside the swim through of Palancar reefs, part of the Marine Park.
For advanced divers, you will discover the Punta Sur dive site with its huge coral formation.
If you like strong currents, you can discover different spots such as San Juan or Barracuda.
10a Avenida Sur 215, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
It is always great to learn a new aspect of diving and if you wish to become a technical diver, you can count on Deep Xposure. You will learn and intro to tech, decompression dives, trimix dives.
This dive shop will permit you to discover diving with a closed-circuit rebreather. The fishes, morays eels, sea turtles, sharks will come closer to you than ever before.
They have a small team that permits you to have personalized attention and safe dives.
Their boat is comfortable and fast. You will have new sensations and the divemaster will take good care of you.
They are NAUI, TDI, and PADI dive centers. You will be able to enjoy excellent scuba.
If you are a new diver, you can do your open water certification up to more experience certifications.
Punta Sur Divers
Marina Fonatur, 77600, San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
If you want flexibility and surprises, you can count on Punta Sur Divers.
It is a new dive company, created by 2 very experienced dive instructors Nacho and Jorge (El Cubano).
They are involved in Coral reef conservation and are advocates of the sea.
When they are not underwater, they can be spotted doing the iron man race.
The atmosphere on their fast boat Keiko, is friendly and relaxing. It is not crowded and as a scuba diver, you will appreciate being in a small group.
You can enjoy long surface intervals between dives, and you will never feel in a rush. It is the right dive operator if you want to discover another side of the Cozumel dive sites.
You can ask for very early dive trips while the sun rises or take their 3 dives packages to discover the north side of the island of Cozumel.
You may be lucky enough to encounter reef sharks, nurse sharks, and schools of eagle rays.
Carrefera Costerce sur k m Interior Marina Fonatur, Zona Hotelera Nte., 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
The 15-year dive shop Scuba Tony is one of the oldest and most popular in Cozumel. They do not have a storefront that you can walk into. All the business is done through their online reservation system.
They are not the cheapest, however, you can appreciate the quality they offer.
The dive company is well located in the Marina Fonatur and offers valet service
They are SSI and PADI dive centers. Whether it’s Open Water certification or Advanced, you can count on them to provide great training for you to have the best experience.
They have 2 small fast boats with very knowledgeable boat captains.
If it is your first time, or if you are coming from a cruise ship, it is the right dive operator.
They have years of scuba experience and offer small groups of scuba divers. From shallow dives to deeper dives, you will have an amazing diving adventure.
You are sure to see to have the best scuba with tropical fishes and sea turtles. During the surface interval, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the crystal-clear waters.
Marina Fonatur, Carr. Costera Sur km 6, Zona Hotelera Sur, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
The dive shop is located in the marina Fonatur. They are easy to find as the dive company is just at the entrance close to the parking lot.
They offer pick-up and drop-off on most hotel piers south of the Fonatur marina.
They are well known and offer small groups. They have also a great valet service and will take good care of your own gear.
Scuba Life has a small fast boat very well maintained, with amenities to give you the best experience. You will be in a group of dive-master.
They offer excursions for new divers and more advanced divers.
Scuba Life is committed to offering the best experience.
It is a PADI dive center and proposes from discovering diving to Open Water certification. Of course, if you want to extend your knowledge, you can also go with their instructor to do your advanced certification and rescue dive.
Maple Leaf Scuba
Av Lic Benito Juárez 273, Centro, 77600 San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R.
Open since 2016, Maple Leaf Scuba has been founded by a small team of 3 dives instructors offering a
multilanguage’s dive operations. With a mix of Spanish, English, French, and Italian dive instructors, that will make you feel right at home.
They have their own boat which will take you to the marine park of Cozumel.
You can also get your training and PADI certification from them. Aside from basic certifications, they also offer specialty diving courses, including Master Scuba and Nitrox.
If you want to have a special experience and do cenote diving as well, they will organize special dive trips.
In the winter months, this dive company can bring you to the bull shark diving in Playa del Carmen. It is for advanced divers. It is one of the best top-notch experiences.
Maple Leaf Scuba has partner hotels. You can book a dive/hotel package with them.
Guided dives with Maple Leaf Scuba start at $80. If you’re boat diving, the base price is $150, including a tank, weight belt, weights, and snacks. The rental gear can be found at their dive shop.
Frequently asked questions about diving in Cozumel
What are the best dive sites in Cozumel?
The most famous dive site is Santa Rosa with its dramatic wall. You may spot eagle rays in the shallower reefs during the winter months.
The different Palancars reefs and their coral formation makes diving fun. Floating among schools of tropical fishes, and colorful coral formations, you will have the best scuba.
You can dive from swim through to swim through or drift on the edge of the wall while admiring the immensity of the underwater world.
For the most advanced divers, there is also Punta Sur, known also as The Cathedral which is linked with Devil’s throat. Reefs sharks, eagle rays, and sea turtles can be spotted.
Is the diving good in Cozumel?
In Cozumel, you can find the best diving in Mexico. The best scuba on the island of Cozumel is inside th marine park which is open all year round.
And there is no bad time for diving in Cozumel. With its crystal-clear water, Cozumel diving offers incredible visibility. It has more than 20 dives sites for different skill levels.
From shallow reefs to dramatic walls, you will see an incredible variety of marine life.
On bad days, the visibility is around 30/40 feet away but, usually, you can see more than 70/80 feet.
The water temperatures are from 75 to 85 even in the winter months.
It is mainly drift diving, so sometimes there is a strong current, especially in hurricane season.
Remember you are diving in the Mesoamerican barrier reef where the coral formations are incredibly beautiful for excellent scuba diving.
How much does it cost to scuba dive in Cozumel?
It will depend on the service you are looking for. Here below I am sharing useful information about the costs of diving in Cozumel that you should know.
- The average price for 2 tank dives is around US$90 without rental gear.
- Taking dive packages will decrease the price.
- Most of the Cozumel dive shop offers rental gear if you do not have your own gear.
- Generally, full rental dive gear costs USD 20 per day. In some of the dive shops, the marine park fees are included in the dive packages.
- If you wish to dive in nitrox, then it will be maybe USD10 to USD20 more per tank.
- The cost for dive certifications varies. It depends on the organization: PADI, SSI, or NAUI.
- Most of the dive operators on the island of Cozumel are PADI dive centers.
- For the first time, you can do a discover scuba diving including 1 or 2 dives, depending on the dive company. The cost is around USD 90 (1 dive) to USD 190 (2 tanks dives)
- The Open Water certification is around USD 450 to 550
- The Advanced Open Water is around USD 300 to 400
Is Cozumel good for new divers?
Cozumel has shallow dives and easy dive sites for new divers.
It is possible to dive from the shore or the boat. There are also a lot of shallow dives in the marine park.
You can see sea turtles, stingrays, sometimes even eagle rays.
Because of the great visibility, you can most of the time see the bottom in the shallow reefs.
Most dive operators are committed to offering safe dives and an amazing experience.
What is the best month to dive in Cozumel?
It is difficult to say as it is warm all year round and the visibility is amazing almost all the time.
To see the eagle rays, the best months are in the winter months, from November to April. The water temperatures are around 75 to 82.4°F
However, it is high season, which means that the island is more crowded and hotels more expensive.
It is also the best season to dive with the bull sharks in Playa Del Carmen, located in the Riviera Maya.
It is low season in September and October. There are fewer people, and the hotel’s prices are lower.
But it is hurricane season.
From May to September, the water temperature is warm, around 80-85°F.
It is a middle-high season. More sea turtles can be spotted, and the whale sharks with mantas are present but close to Cancun.
Does Cozumel have sharks?
You can easily spot nurse sharks. Sometimes reef sharks such as blacktips come by.
I hope this post was helpful to choose the most suitable diving shop for your needs. For more information about Cozumel here below you can find more articles. Happy diving!
Meet the Author
Mylene is a passionate traveler and diver. After backpacking for a year and discovering scuba diving 10 years ago, she decided to leave France again almost 7 years ago. After 5 months of traveling in Central America, of course, diving in each country she decided to put her bags for rest in Mexico. She lived for 2 years in Playa del Carmen where she became a dive instructor which allowed her to guide scuba divers to the bull shark dives many times. She loved it but she could see across the sea Cozumel. And 3 she decided to take the ferry to the island and never left. She has been teaching and diving ever since from Cozumel but she’s now a “retired instructor” and enjoys the dives even more.