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Cozumel Trip Report 7/18 - 7/23

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by nodecomon, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. nodecomon

    nodecomon Registered

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: charlotte, nc
    5
    0
    7/18/09 – Arrived around lunchtime and settled in Casa Phoenix at El Cantil, grabbed lunch at Margaritaville, hit the Chedraui (grocery) across the street for provisions and pastries, then off to Dive Paradise just down the street to warm up with a shore dive. I would not recommend Margaritaville due to the constant harassment to buy this or that while trying to eat plus a little pricey for what you get, but what do you expect for a place like this? Welcome to Mexico. Not much on the shore dive but we did not expect much, only to check our gear, adjust weight, and refresh our memory. One of our crew needed her open water dive to complete her certification. Dive Paradise handled that for us with a day and a half with an instructor. They were very thorough. Dinner at Prima on the roof of El Cantil was very good. The fare is Italian, service is excellent, and the atmosphere is a step or two nicer than most of what you will find around town. Prices are reasonable too.

    7/19/09 – Pastries and coffee for breakfast then down to the El Cantil pier for pick-up at 8AM by Dive Paradise. This is what I call convenient! I am on the boat with a group from Georgia who is on their second week in Cozumel and filling me in on their experiences. Eat here, be sure to dive there, etc. We ended up diving with the group throughout our trip. One thing I like about the diving community, we communicate for the betterment of others. The boat ride to the southern end of the island provided a great view of the shoreline and all of those other lodging options I studied on the internet. We made the right decision with Casa Phoenix. Staying close to town gives you convenience but a little hustle-bustle, however farther south gives you more seclusion but less convenience. Both are good, just depends on what you want. Back to the dive, we dropped in and passed a sea turtle on the way down to Columbia Pinnacles on Columbia Reef. Very cool dive with lots of swim-throughs and towering coral formations. Max depth on my computer read 92’. The second dive working our way back north was near Rock Point. Not sure of the site name. Max depth of 55’ along coral gardens and lots of fish. The Georgia crew handed out cold Sol beer on the boat ride back and the crew busted out homemade guacamole and chips. Great dive trip, for sure. After a dip in the pool we grabbed a late lunch on the town square at Palmeras. Open air facing the main street, good food, good service, fairly reasonable prices. We walked our way back to El Cantil declining many offers for “almost free” merchandise. A quick stop at the Mega store for more pastries and a nap by the pool soaking up the sun finished out the afternoon. Dinner at La Choza in town was awesome. The place is well decorated with great service and very good food. Be sure to try the cheese dip but have a margarita in front of you first to put out the fire. Fresh seafood and Mexican dishes were great. We took a cab to the place and walked home passing through the town square. Sunday night is when the locals cut loose. Live music and dancing by young and old filled the square. These people know how to have a good time.

    7/20/09 – Our (2) tank morning dive began on the wreck (C-53). We penetrated the ship at around 60’ and made our way through the wreck along a guide rope through the narrow passageways. There were some dark areas so a light was necessary. Upon exit, a barracuda was hanging our near the bottom at around 80’ and barely moving as the current moved over him while it carried us along at a moderately pace. The rest of the dive was a drift along a coral garden where an octopus was the highlight. The second dive was at Paradise Reef, a popular shallow site. We did not see anything too spectacular on this one. Lunch at prima (mainly for convenience and quality) and back to the pier for an afternoon dive back at Paradise Reef. I cannot seem to get away from this place. We spotted lobster, crab, eels, grouper, micro stuff, lots of other divers. Every diver in Cozumel must have been on that reef at once. Our boat had (14) and people were all over each other. On the reef, I saw our dive master arguing with another about crowding us. That was a first. I will be more cautious next time and check to see how many people are on the list before committing. Even with the chaos, the dive worked itself out and was fine. La Mission was our dinner choice, and a good one it was. We took a cab in and out as this place is located several blocks into town toward the airport.

    7/21/09 – Punta Delilah was the first stop this morning. There was a lot of life along the shallow reef offering good opportunity for photographers. I was drifting along looking under overhangs near the bottom when I found a nurse shark taking a nap. I inhaled about a half tank with one draw on the regulator at that moment. What a surprise. Then, I poked my head up with one hand making the shark sign on my forehead and waving the other. Once the rest of the group made it over, it looked like the paparazzi down there with flash bulbs. We found one more nurse shark later in the dive. The second dive was back at, you guessed it, Paradise Reef. I did not complain because you never know what you will see down there and I am happy just being underwater. The Georgia group informed me of tomorrow mornings dive site, Devils Throat. After checking into it, a couple of us decided to give it a shot and signed up. Dive Paradise had a few questions about our experience level and equipment before allowing us to sign up.

    We rented a jeep from Executive Car Rental and headed out to look around the island. Executive was recommended by El Cantil and turned out to be fine, plus we could drop it off at the airport upon departure. We headed south along the coast stopping along the way checking out some of the sights including the beaches near the southern tip of the island. Coconuts was a must stop. It does not get much more laid back than this place. Dinner was low key back at Casa Phoenix and rest-up for tomorrow morning.

    7/22/09 – We lucked out with a fast boat to carry us to Punta Sur and the Devil’s Throat. No one on the boat except the dive masters had been on this site, but we all knew this was sort of a right of passage for Cozumel diving. We dropped in and settled at around 80’ near the entrance to the Devil’s Throat. Once lined up, we entered following the dive master along a tunnel through the coral mound which drops at a steep angle and spits you out over the wall at around 130’. We turned back into another tunnel and worked our way back to our ascent point. Once the second dive master brought up the rear and all were accounted for, we began a slow ascent. The entire dive took (28) minutes by my computer but, the swim throughs only lasted about (15) minutes. We all were pumped and talking about our experience once on the surface, then on our way to Chankanaab Shallow for our second tank.

    Back on shore, we picked up take-out from Toro’s Place (downtown San Miguel) and feasted on really good Mexican food, then off to Chankanaab Park for the dolphin encounter and snorkeling. Word of caution, the fish in the snorkel park are very friendly. My wife was freaked out by them swarming around and bumping into her looking for food. She likes to experience ocean life from a comfortable distance. The hungry fish left us alone after we cleared the area close to shore. One encounter, video, pictures, and other memorabilia later, we hit the road and stopped by the Money Bar on the way back to Casa Phoenix. As luck would have it, we hit it during happy hour and took full advantage. Money Bar is a very nice open air bar / restaurant / beach club. It is worth a stop. Once again, we decided on take-out from Prima for dinner and soaked in the hot-tub located on our balcony to watch the awesome sun set.

    7/23/09 – Breakfast at Prima and packing for the flight home was our schedule for the day. Prima has a really good and plentiful breakfast for reasonable prices. Once at the airport, we decided on lunch at the only restaurant inside. I will not do that again. Prices were obviously set considering a supply and demand concept. $24 (U.S.) for two sandwiches with a small bag of chips and a canned soft drink. One lady paid over $2 (U.S.) for (1) can of Coke.

    We had a great trip back to Cozumel and will be back at some point down the road. Pics on Flikr. Search people - goosentonic1. Can't include a link because it is my first post on s/board.
     
  2. MMM

    MMM Moderator Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
    11,256
    4,259
    Thanks for the good report. I've always thought Devil's Throat is over-rated (have dived it many many times by those who haven't) but, as you say, it's touted as a must do. Georgia crew sounds like a fun group. Haven't heard of Toro's Place before. Where are they and what's the food about?
     
  3. flyfishscubadive

    flyfishscubadive ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Mansfield, TX
    66
    0
    Thanks for the GREAT report! I 'got my gills' in Cozumel two years ago, and I'm planning a trip back there in November. I have dived New Zealand, Croatia, and the Red Sea since learning in Coz, and when I compare the pictures, Coz has some of the most amazing colors of anywhere I have been (yet). I stayed at Hotel Cozumel & Resort, and afterward, found out that I could have gotten the dive package for about what I spent just on my accomodation. When I booked, I was not a certified diver, so I really didn't do much (any) research.

    I have been getting more and more excited about my trip in November, but after reading your report, I am just about to explode! Wooo hooo!!

    JR
     
  4. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    6,389
    2,182
    Thnx for the report and I dont like tunnels so Devils throat is a NO GO for me
     
  5. driftin' by

    driftin' by Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    1,427
    161
    Nice report... thanks for sharing. I have to agree with deeper thoughts and Marg about Devil's Throat. It sounds like y'all were pretty excited about the dive and that is all that really matters.
     
  6. FishOutUvH2O

    FishOutUvH2O Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    760
    0
    +1 - Nice report.

    I, like a few others, aren't necessarily fans of Devil's Throat. But I still think that if you don't mind a swim-through, it's a should do dive. I don't go through the Throat anymore, but I still like the area around Devil's Throat and love diving there.

    nodecomon- As a favor to my friends who rent-out their units, if you have any complaints, recommendations, or praise about your stay at El Cantil, please let El Cantil know. It doesn't matter what it is, better TV channels, Ramon or Claudia did a great job, whatever. I feel for them when they get blindsided by a scathing review and the reviewer never even had the common decency to talk to them about the issues first.
     
  7. 5615mike

    5615mike Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tulsa, OK
    1,826
    3
    Devils Throat the first time is definately an experience. You are no longer Coz newbies!!.....lol
     
  8. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    11,063
    4,227
    Great report! Next time you'll stay longer, I betcha!

    I've done the Throat a couple of times, and it's a nice dive, but I like the Cathedral section of Punta Sur quite a bit more.
     
  9. MMM

    MMM Moderator Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
    11,256
    4,259
    When I'm diving with steel tanks, I get to do both!
     
  10. nodecomon

    nodecomon Registered

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: charlotte, nc
    5
    0
    Toro's is on the main road in San Miguel (ocean front) upstairs and serves Mexican food. Search it on Trip Advisor for more info. We loved it. Sorry I can't give you a more specific location, it's all a blur now.
     

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