Are you looking for the best diving location in the world? We've got it right here in Cozumel

DIVE SITES

Proclaimed as one of the top dive locations of the world, the Island of Cozumel offers a large variety reefs to explore in its breath taking turquoise waters.

Cozumel is known as the Drift Diving Capital of the world with a variety of currents to explore no matter your skill level.  


Our team at Barefoot has listed the most popular dive locations waiting to be explored!  We try our best to fulfill our customer location requests for each dive and choose dive sites based on daily weather conditions and location requests to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Explore our list of Cozumel dive sites and let our team know which ones you would like to explore.  We’ll do our best to get you there!

Barefroot map Cozumel Mexico | Barefoot Dive Center : best diving in the world

Chankanaab Bolones

This reef is located directly in front of Chakanaab Park. The richness of aquatic life makes this a fun dive for divers of all skill levels.
The current will generally flow from north to south, occasionally picking up cool fresh water from the Chakanaab lagoon.

 Visibility is not as good as it is at other dive sites. It’s sandy and has little coral heads.
Spiny lobsters, crabs, Spotted Moray eels, Grunts and Snappers, Sting rays, Peacock flounder, urchins, and maybe a sea horse can be found in the sand.
In Mayan, ‘Chankanaab’ means ‘Little Ocean’.

Difficulty:

3/5

Depth: 60-80 ft / 18-24m

Cozumel Tiki-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Chankanaab Shallows

This reef is located directly in front of Chakanaab Park and is suitable for beginners due to the mild currents and shallow depth.
The current generally flows from north to south, occasionally picking up cool fresh water from the Chakanaab lagoon. Visibility is not as good as it is at other dive sites.

 It’s sandy and has little coral heads.
Spiny lobsters, crabs, Spotted Moray eels, Grunts and Snappers, Sting rays, Peacock flounder, urchins, and the occasional sea horse can be found.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 35-40 ft / 10-12m

Dive center Cozumel

Chun Chacaab

Due to its remoteness and unpredictable currents, this dive location is rarely visited, yet it has a lot to offer anyone who travels that far. Numerous big sea fans, Bermuda chubs, snappers, and Hawksbill turtles can be found there. This site’s sandy bottom is home to southern stingrays and starfish.

This reef is distinct from the others in Cozumel. It’s composed of vast fields of Sea Plums, Sea Rods, and Sea Fans. The dive begins at around 70 feet (21m) and remains at that depth for almost the entire dive.
Nitrox 32 is recommended for this dive.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 60-80 ft / 18-24m

Ocean Dive center Cozumel - Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Columbia Deep

This is a stunning wall dive. The current might be erratic at times. The coral formations are in excellent condition. 

You will discover coral towers formed on the bones of old coral that have accumulated over millions of years. It boasts lovely swim-throughs and a reef teeming with soft corals and colorful sponges.

Here, there are more fish and animals than in Palancar. You might spot an eagle ray (during the season between December & April) skimming the dunes or the depths if you’re lucky.

Difficulty:

3/5

Depth:100-130 ft + / 30-40m +

Ocean Water

Columbia Shallows

These shallow coral heads stand between 10 and 30 feet (3 and 9m) above the sandy ocean floor. This region, which is located near Colombia Lagoon, occasionally receives chilly fresh water from the lagoon.

Big schools of snappers and most tropical fish species found in Cozumel, as well as turtles that have remained largely undisturbed, are among the marine fauna.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth:30-50 ft / 10-15m

Beach - Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

La Francesca

This moderately shallow dive location is ideal for all levels of divers and is a fantastic choice for a colorful dive. Descending to the reef crest, you’ll see a flourishing coral ecosystem teeming with Splendid Toadfish, Pipe Horses, and the occasional Nurse Shark.

Eagle Rays (between December and April) and Sting Rays graze on morsels hidden in the sand on the reef’s edges.

La Francesa is a beautiful dive with moderate currents and a rich marine environment, making it an ideal site for a photographer to frame that perfect snap.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 30-60 ft / 10-18m

La-Francesa-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Maracaibo

Maracaibo has a spectacular wall dive. This is the most southern reef, located quite near the Punta Celerain Lighthouse.

When entering the water, there are frequently big ocean surges. The wall’s border is roughly 90 feet (27m) down… This dive is typically completed by passing through the arch at 115 feet (35m).

You’ll enter the arch from the bottom and swim up, following the fissure that formed the arch.

Difficulty:

3/5

Depth: 70-150 ft + / 21-45m +

Maracaibo-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Palancar Bricks

This dive is identical to the others in Palancar. The red bricks dropped into the area by a capsized barge in the 1950s gave rise to the name Palancar Bricks.

It is not continuous and is made up of different tower and cliff areas separated by sandy areas.

The coral and sponges are the main attraction here.

There are frequently some turtles here. Look for huge Southern Stingrays joined by a Bar Jack in the sandy areas. Look under the ledges near the sand for a Nurse Shark or a huge Green Moray Eel.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 80-100 ft + / 24-30 m +

palancar bricks-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Palancar Caves

Another spectacular dive spot in the Palancar system. 

The pinnacles have grown to form tunnels and coral caverns with light streaming through, making navigation quite easy, and the swim-throughs are simply magnificent.

There are several caverns and canyons throughout this length of the reef, and even after repeated dives, you will never be able to see them all. 

Turtles, eagle rays (between December & April), and nurse sharks are typical sightings in this area.
The coral and sponges are the main attraction here.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 80-100 ft + / 24-30 m +

Palancar caves

Palancar Gardens

Normally, the current is moderate. Usually done as the first dive of the day.
It’s a fantastic wall dive with swim-throughs available for divers with good buoyancy skills.

While the fish life in this location isn’t as abundant as it is at other reefs like Paso de Cedral, the tall coral formations and the plants and fauna that live on them make this a fascinating dive.

As you swim above the coral heads at around 30 feet (10m), you’ll start to see more fish as you finish the dive in shallower water.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 15-130 ft + / 5-40m +

palancar-gardens

Palancar Horseshoe

This can be an advanced dive if you decide to do a deep dive.
This dive is identical to the others in Palancar.

The name Palancar Horseshoe comes from the shape of its vast, natural u-shaped amphitheater that can be viewed from the surface.

Although this is a deep dive, it is typically done as a multi-level drift dive that ends around 25 feet (7m) deep on the top of the reef.
The coral and sponges are the main attraction here.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 80-100 ft + / 24-30 m +

Palancar-Horseshoe

Paraiso

Normally, the current flows from south to north. You’ll start across from the Caleta’s entrance and work your way north. There are a couple of coral ridges that run parallel to the shoreline.

There will be schools of Grunts, Snappers, and Sergeant Majors, as well as numerous Queen Angelfish. There are several excellent coral heads that stick out from the sandy bottom and range in height from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6m).

Clinging to the coral heads are anemones and a variety of lovely sponges. Almost every type of fish known in the area can be found here. Barracuda and grouper are two of the larger animals.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 30-40 ft / 9-12m

Paraiso

Pasa Del Cedral

The photographer’s dream!  

With moderate to strong currents and a variety of reef fish that live in spectacular swim-throughs and coral mounds with various overhangs.  Great Barracudas, huge Groupers, and Green Moray Eels are common.

Divers with more experience may want to dive the wall, where there are stronger currents and a spectacular coral garden at 60 feet (18m) that drops off into the depths.

This dive can be done in a variety of ways. The most popular is diving through The Mounds of Cedral, also known as the Mounds of Delila, three large hills covered in life.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 30-100 ft + / 10-30m +

Paso-del-Cedral

Punta Dalila

This dive site takes its name from the nearby Dalila Ranch. This moderately shallow dive location is lovely and aesthetically interesting for all divers.

Enjoy a wide range of marine animals, including Spiny Lobsters, King Crabs, Spanish Lobsters, and Nurse Sharks.

 A colorful rainbow is created by fantastic coral growth and numerous tube sponges.

The reef includes a lovely swim-through that runs over the majority of its ridge, with numerous ways in and out.

Mild currents and a diverse array of marine life provide photographers with numerous opportunities to get the right snap.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 40-65 ft / 12-20m

Whale-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Punta Sur (The Devil's Throat)

Punta Sur is divided into two dive sites.

 To the south, the Punta Sur reef has some great swim-throughs and a beautiful chamber called the Cathedral. The notorious Devil’s Throat is in the northern part of Punta Sur. You will normally do one or the other.
When you’re out over the wall, the currents can be rather strong. This dive should only be attempted by experienced divers due to the depth, strong currents, and extensive swim-throughs.
Devil’s throat is a narrow swim-through that begins at about 90 feet (27m) depth. There are several options. One route will take you to 115 feet (35m).
The most mind-blowing part of Devil’s Throat is where the tunnel narrows to roughly 5 feet (1,5m) wide and dips about 15 feet (4,5m) before reopening. It can get almost completely dark. Make sure to bring a flashlight.

Difficulty:

4/5

Depth: 80-100 ft + / 24-30 m +

Ocean-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Punta Tunich

This stunning wall is renowned for its powerful and turbulent currents and is only suitable for experienced divers.

The dive begins on a large sandy area at 60 to 80 feet (18-24m) that borders a near-vertical drop-off. Moving closer to the edge of the wall, the coral growth reaches a height of roughly 60 feet (18m).

Eagle Rays and Barracuda can be seen gliding through the strong currents and the occasional Nurse Shark patrolling the area.  This reef can be an exhilarating high-speed drift dive for those who seek adrenaline.

Difficulty:

4/5

Depth: 40-80 ft + / 12-24m +

Fish IN Punta Tunich -Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

San Clemente

This reef is rarely frequented by diving organizations since it is not as fascinating as the nearby Yucab and Tormentos reefs. However, the shallow depth allows for good air consumption, making it a wonderful site for beginners to obtain a decent long dive.

The reef heads are not particularly large. You will encounter the same creatures as in Yucab and Tormentos.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 20-30 ft / 6-9m

best dive shops cozumel-Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

San Francisco

This beautiful wall gradually descends between 40 and 70 feet (12/21m) deep before dropping almost vertically into the abyss. A coral ridge forms a wall at the edge, providing schools of fish with protection from the currents.

The dive begins on a sandy patch inside the wall, which is covered in colorful sponges and sea fans. Turtles, Eagle Rays, Nurse Sharks, and even a Black Tip Reef Shark can be seen cruising along the wall.

San Francisco is sometimes overshadowed by Cozumel’s other famous wall dives, but it is still a fantastic dive.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 40-70 ft + / 12-21m +

Cozumel diving

Santa Rosa

One of the Island’s most popular dives, The famous Santa Rosa Wall.  

Towering coral columns, generate canyons that slope to a nearly vertical drop-off into the abyss.

Cruising at 80 feet (24m), you will discover the crevices, overhangs, and tunnels that cut through the reef crest, making this dive so spectacular. As you drift north, the coral growth becomes taller and denser, until you hit the near-vertical, drop-off, giving you the incredible sensation of flying over the abyss.

Large Lobsters can be seen snuggled in the wall cracks, and Black Grouper can be found hanging below.
Santa Rosa may be a beautiful multilevel dive.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 40-100 ft + / 12-30m +

Beautiful Sea View - Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Tikila

The reefs begin at a depth of 6 m/18 ft and continue till a small ‘drop’ to a depth of 10 m/33 ft. 

Due to the close proximity of the coral, easy access, and primarily slow currents, this dive location is ideal for discovering scuba diving experience as well as for divers wishing to renew their skills after a long absence from the water.

The coral is thriving with life, including filefish, angelfish, parrotfish, needlefish, barracudas, sea slugs, stingrays, and crabs, as well as spotted eagle rays, who commonly visit during the winter season (December – April).

This dive site is also the best place for our night dives as it becomes even more alive at nightfall.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 18-33 ft / 6-10m

Open Water Diving

Tormentos

A healthy reef is frequently subjected to strong currents. 

The reef heads stand 20-30 feet (6-9m) tall and are flanked by sandy areas. There are some beautiful tunnels and overhangs with enormous schools of French Grunts and snappers.

Nurse Sharks, Black Grouper, Turtles, and Angelfish can be found. Lobster, Splendid Toadfish, and the Spotted Moray eel can be found under ledges and in holes. You may see barracudas cruising the reef in search of their next meal.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 50-60 ft / 15-18m

Ocean Open Water Diver Course

Yucab

A lovely diving spot with modest currents that travel south to north most of the year. The current promotes healthy coral growth.

It’s a great place to see scorpion fish, lobsters, nurse sharks, sleeping turtles, and, of course, the endemic Splendid Toadfish.

During the season (December-April), Spotted Eagle Rays can also be found in this area. The site’s northern section is split by sand canals that carry divers to Tormentos.

Difficulty:

1/5

Depth: 50-60 ft / 15-18m

Barefoot Dive Center Cozumel

Wreck C53

The C-53 (also known as the Felipe Xicoténcatl wreck) is a minesweeper of the Mexican Navy that was sunk in June 2000 to create an artificial reef.  

The entire shipwreck is fully visible and in good condition.  A line leads you to the bow of the wreck to ease the descent. 

There are various exits along the way used to get out of the wreck.  Divers should have prior diving experience. Light is strongly advised.  A massive Green Moray Eel may be found inside. 

Glassy Sweepers can also be found in gloomy tunnels. Sponges and coral are forming dense colonies on the wreck’s metal.

Difficulty:

2/5

Depth: 78 ft / 24m

Wide Underwater Photography

NO MATTER YOUR SKILL LEVEL

WE GOT YOU COVER

Discover the Best Diving in the World with Barefoot Dive Center

Are you an avid diver, adventure seeker, or travel enthusiast on the lookout for the best scuba diving in the world? Look no further! Barefoot Dive Center invites you to embark on an unforgettable underwater journey in the heart of Cozumel, where we aim to make this destination and other extraordinary places the top diving spots on the globe. Let’s delve into what makes a diving spot truly exceptional.

Where is the Best Diving in the World?

When it comes to underwater diving, one question often arises: “Where is the best scuba diving in the world?” The answer, without a doubt, lies in the azure waters surrounding Cozumel. This Mexican gem has earned its reputation as a mecca for divers and adventure enthusiasts worldwide. With crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and an astonishing variety of marine life, Cozumel offers an unparalleled diving experience that keeps divers coming back for more.

What are the most popular Cozumel dive sites for seeing coral reefs?

  • Palancar Reef: Known for its extensive coral formations and vibrant marine life, Palancar Reef offers divers a variety of dive experiences, from shallow dives to deep drops.
  • Santa Rosa Wall: This site is famous for its stunning drop-off that is covered with colorful coral and frequented by large marine animals.
  • Columbia Reef: Renowned for its massive coral pinnacles and deep drop-offs, Columbia Reef is a haven for experienced divers looking to explore vibrant underwater ecosystems.

What are family-friendly Cozumel dive sites?

  • Paradise Reef: Perfect for beginners and snorkelers, this site is accessible and offers calm waters with plenty of fish and coral formations close to the shore.
  • Chankanaab Reef: This site is part of a marine park that has shallow waters ideal for beginners and children. It also features an underwater statue garden that is interesting for all ages.
  • Dzul Ha Reef: Known for its shallow depth and gentle currents, Dzul Ha is another excellent choice for families and novice divers.

How do I choose the right Cozumel dive sites for my skill level?

  • Beginners should look for dive sites with shallow depths and minimal currents, such as Paradise Reef and Chankanaab Reef. These sites offer easy conditions where new divers can comfortably practice and enjoy their experience without strong underwater currents.
  • Intermediate divers can explore sites like Palancar Gardens and Tormentos Reef, which offer slightly more challenging conditions with moderate currents and depths, providing an opportunity to see more varied marine life.
  • Advanced divers might prefer the challenge of deeper and more current-prone sites such as Santa Rosa Wall and Punta Sur, known for their thrilling drift dives and deeper waters.

What unique features do the Cozumel dive sites offer compared to other diving destinations?

  • Cozumel is particularly famous for its drift diving. The island’s location on a current-swept coast provides an effortless glide over reefs, allowing divers to cover more area without much effort.
  • The clarity of the water is another standout feature, with visibility often exceeding 100 feet, making it excellent for underwater photography.
  • The diversity of dive sites is also a key feature, ranging from shallow, easy reefs ideal for beginners, to dramatic walls and thrilling currents suited for the most adventurous divers.

What are the typical water temperatures at Cozumel dive sites throughout the year?

Water temperatures in Cozumel are generally warm year-round, making it a comfortable diving destination in any season. During the winter months (December to February), temperatures range from about 77 to 80°F (25 to 27°C). In the summer months (June to August), temperatures can rise to between 82 and 85°F (28 to 29°C). This warm water temperature makes it possible for divers to use minimal wetsuit protection, often just a skin or a thin shorty.

How do I get to the Cozumel dive sites from the mainland?

  • Getting to Cozumel dive sites typically starts with reaching Cozumel Island. From the mainland of Mexico, particularly from places like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you can take a ferry across to Cozumel. The ferry ride from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel takes about 45 minutes.
  • Once on the island, most dive sites are accessible via dive boats that you can book through numerous dive shops and resorts located around the island. These shops offer a range of services, from equipment rental to guided dive tours, catering to both novice and experienced divers.
  • Some dive sites closer to the shore can even be reached by shore dives, particularly those near the western coast of the island where the main town and resorts are located.
  1.  
  • Palancar Reef: Known for its stunning coral formations and clear waters, Palancar Reef often offers visibility exceeding 100 feet, making it ideal for photographers and those who appreciate detailed views of marine life.
  • Columbia Deep: This site is another favorite for those seeking clear water. Its deeper waters are remarkably transparent, providing excellent visibility that allows divers to take in its impressive coral pinnacles and abundant fish life.
  • Santa Rosa Wall: Famous for its dramatic drop-offs, Santa Rosa Wall also benefits from the clear Caribbean waters, offering divers the chance to see far along the wall and spot marine life from a distance.

Yes, many dive shops in Cozumel offer night diving trips, especially at popular sites like Paradise Reef and Chankanaab, where you can observe nocturnal marine life.

Basic open water certification is sufficient for most dive sites in Cozumel, but some advanced sites may require additional certifications like Advanced Open Water or Deep Diver.

Cozumel has several hyperbaric chambers and medical facilities equipped to handle diving-related emergencies, ensuring diver safety.