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Cozumel FAQ's - Weather, Water temps, Dive ops & More

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Christi, May 4, 2007.

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  1. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX

    ** MOD POST: **

    The updated version for this post is located here: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/co...mps-dive-ops-more-updated-july-20-2010-a.html

    Q: The forecast says it's going to rain everyday, will I get to dive?

    Rain does not close the port or cancel diving - wind does - you're going to get wet anyway.
    • "Showers" is a very broad and SAFE prediction for the forecasters...they HAVE to make this prediction in the tropics. Like I said, it's a safe prediction.
    • The forecast of rain simply means it might rain at some point somewhere on the island. ie: It may be raining in town, but bright and sunny at the reefs or vice versa OR it could be a light rain for 5 minutes OR it could be a heavy downpour for 30 minutes...get my point?
    • If dives were cancelled everytime there is rain somewhere on the island, we would rarely dive

    Please pay no attention to the weather forecasts unless God forbid it says we have a hurricane headed straight for us...the rest of those forecasts are generic, unreliable and unpredictable and simply mean there is a CHANCE it might rain SOMEWHERE on the island at SOME point whether light or heavy.

    Q: What is the water temp in Cozumel?

    The YEAR ROUND water temperature in Cozumel is consistently in the 78 - 84 range.

    December - Feb: 78 - 80 +/-
    March - May: 80 - 82 +/-
    May - September: 82 - 84 +/- (occasionally can get in the 85/86 range...all computer variable anyway)
    October - November: 80 – 82

    Q: Anyone have recommendations for a good Dive op in Cozumel?

    There are 50ish dive ops on Cozumel. You're sure to find one to match YOUR needs. There's is no ONE BEST operator for everyone. Decide what your budget and needs are and seek out an operator that matches your needs. Specific questions should be directed to the dive ops you are considering as only they can answer questions re: their policies and procedures. Here are several threads on this topic over the past few months.
    Dive ops: (threads between Jan. 2007 and April 2007)

    Q: What are the best dive sites in Cozumel?
    (threads dated between Jan. 2007 & April 2007)

    Q: When is the best time of year to visit Cozumel?
    Diving in Cozumel is a year round activity. High season (ie: more people and higher hotel rates) is late November through May.

    Hurricane season is officially Late June through November.

    "Norte" season which is when we have the possibility of a day or two sometimes three day port closure due to high winds. There is no sense in trying to plan a trip around this as these weather conditions can be as unpredictable as rain. The high winds can make navigating the boats difficult as well as being dangerous for getting on and off the boats. The harbor aster makes this call and the dive ops have no control over his decision. They rarely last more than a day or two at a time.

    Q: What are your favorite restaurants in Cozumel?


    Hotel Reviews/Trip Reports: (all within the last few months):
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=189248 Reef Club
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=189117 Cozumel Palace
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=185942 El Cantil/BXTS
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=189582 Blue Angel & Caribe Blu
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=188985 various
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=188207 Presidente/various dive ops
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=188592 various
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=188064 various
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=185682 Park Royal
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=187797 Aldora & Villa Aldora
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=186497 Scuba Club Cozumel
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=184314 Vista del Mar/BXTS
    http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=183012 Allegro/Dive palancar

    How much should I tip?

    This is obviously a personal thing, but a good base rule of thumb is $5 to $8 per tank/per diver. In otherwords, if you do a 2-tank dive, an appropriate tip would be $10 to $15 for each diver. The crew pools the tips, so no need to tip them each individually, unless you want to give something extra to one of them. In that case, you should specify that it is only for them.

    Tipping daily or at the end of the week is also a personal preference. Sometimes you will be with the same crew all week, but sometimes this isn't possible due to crew off days, turnover in divers, crew illness, etc. This is a question best directed to your dive operator. Here is a discussion on tipping in Cozumel.

    Can I use my credit cards in Cozumel?
    Of course you can, but keep in mind that many places do not accept them, so make sure you have cash available or access to cash as well. No one (that I am aware of) on the island accepts Discover and very few accept AMEX, so do not be surprised. Establishments that DO accept credit cards will often apply a surcharge because the banks in Mexico charge outrageous merchant fees...this makes accepting credit cards for small businesses almost unrealistic. This is why you will find that many smaller restaurants and businesses just do not accept them.

    Should I use dollars or pesos?

    DO NOT convert dollars to pesos at the airport in the states before you get here...you will definitely get a lower exchange rate (i.e.: 9 pesos to the dollar vs. 10.7 pesos to the dollar). I do recommend changing some dollars to pesos once on the island however, as you will get a better exchange rate that way. Although everyone will take dollars, the exchange rate in most places is at a set rate, and it will always be higher then the banks and change house rates. For example, they will have a set rate of 10.5, when the real exchange rate is 10.35. On $100 that costs you an extra $1.50. While it may only be a few dollars here and there, that does add up over the week. So, it is always best to pay for your meals in pesos, hotel in pesos, and souvenirs in pesos. Most dive shops I know of, will give you the real exchange rate for whatever it is that day on the island.

    There are change houses ALL over the place and they are almost all owned by the same person, so no need to shop around for a change house with the best rate...they are all the same. The banks typically offer a slightly better rate than the change houses, but be prepared to stand in line forever. Still, the exchange rate is usually a point or two lower than the actual market rate on Wall Street.

    Is it safe to use my ATM card?
    There are also ATM machines ALL over the place and that is how you will actually get the best exchange rate, because it is YOUR bank setting the exchange rate, which will be the actual market rate for that day, again savings you a point or two on your dollar.

    Most ATM machines have a $3000 pesos (currently $287.25 USD) transaction limit, but there is no limit to how many transactions you can make. Some banks (Banamex , Santander Serfin and Banorte) have $5000 pesos (currently $458.71 USD) transaction limits, again no limit on how many transactions you can make. So your maximum daily withdrawal limit is set by your bank, not by the bank machine in Mexico. You can always request that they increase your daily withdrawal limit for your trip and then change it back when you get home if you want.

    One more thing about transaction fees for ATM's in Cozumel. Remember that they operate with pesos in mind and the $ sign is also the sign for pesos. So, when they ask you if you agree to the $7.50 transaction fee, that is 7.5 pesos, (78 cents). The most I have seen on any machine in Cozumel is $15 pesos ($1.56). YOUR bank in the US however may charge you an out of network transaction fee...for example Wells Fargo charge me $5.00 USD for every transaction. However, if I use my Bank of American ATM card at the Santander Serfin, I am only charged the $1.00 fee for the machine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2010
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