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Recommended dive operation for a week

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by terramar, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. terramar

    terramar Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Los Angeles
    Looking at Cozumel in January, for a week of 8 days with my two kids (19 and 21) - both certified OW or AOW, both strong divers.

    Our last few trips were to Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, and we loved the all-service diving and rolling out of bed and trundling down to the boat after breakfast to find everything set up and waiting for us.

    Are there any comparable options in Cozumel with a good reputation?

    Or, if not the all-in-one solution, how about some suggestions for simply great dive operations?

  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Let the cheer leading begin...!!

    There are dozens of great Ops on the island and fierce competition usually drives out the losers quickly. There are many who will rinse & store your gear for you, have it on the boat when you board, and set it up for you on the way. Many posters here have their favorites, and some will suggest those without giving reason.

    Where are you staying? Some don't pick up north of the southern resort zone, but taking a taxi to the marina is easy, fast, and cheap for three.
    ibj40 likes this.
  3. NDL_Diver

    NDL_Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wichita
    You need to decide what is important. Here are a few things you need to consider when selecting a dive operation. Cost- Obviously, but don't forget you often get what you pay for. There are other things that are more inportant to consider besides price.

    1. Tank Size. You may want to pay for getting a bigger tank. The standard tank size is 80cf, other tank sizes used by dive ops are 90, 100 and 120 cf. I know of three dive operations that use Steel 120cf as their standard tank size. Aldora, Living Underwater, and Liquid blue . Other dive ops have 80cf tanks and offer 100cf as an extra charge. Diving with 120cf will give you a 50% more gas making a longer dive. We normally get 80-90 min dive when we dive with 120cf tank.

    2. Speed/size of boat(s), number of divers on board....and if the op has more than 1 boat. The smaller fast boats get you to the Southern sites quickly (unless you are staying at one of the three Southern Hotels). Big slow boats usually mean larger number of divers on board and a looong day.

    Cozumel limits 8 divers to 1 Dive Master (DM). However larger "cattle" boats put 2 or or more DM in the water depending on boat size and number of divers on the boat. Some of the cattle boats can have 16 or more divers in the water. They even advertise "No more than 8 divers per group", but they don't say how many groups per boat. They often put a DM in front and one or two on back with a swarm of divers in the middle.

    Some intermediate size boats (still fast) will have 2 DM and 10 divers.

    Some dive ops have multiple dive boats they can group the move advanced divers together so you are not mixed with new divers who suck their air and force the group to surface. (Not an insult but new divers but they often do no it have proper buoyancy control, seem to like swimming at high speed, and want to be everywhere and see everything).

    Most of the boutique dive shops limit 6 - 8 divers per boat, one DM and a boat Capitan. I prefer fast 6 packs or 8 packs because I like to get to the reefs fast and small dive size.

    3. Surface interval and location. Beach, beach club, or boat and what snacks and drinks are provided.

    4. Departure location and time. What time does the dive op departs and from where? Do they depart from the downtown dock, pick up at your resort dock, , leave from dive shop, pick up at your hotel? Depart 7:30, 8:00, 9:00 and as late as 10:00. I be leary of the after 9:00 depart because that may be a Red flag indicating you may be with Cruise ship passengers (they tend to be newer divers). I like leaving early so I get back in my condo by 1.

    5. Boutique (Full service or not). Do they keep, clean, store and setup your gear if you are diving multiple days?

    6. Other: Some dive ops offer fleece Jackets during Ride after dive. Some offer WiFi on board. Do they go to the most Southern reefs or just drop you off at a closer reef to save time and fuel? Do you have input on what site to visit?

    So who should I dive with? There are over 80 dive companies on Cozumel. There are dozens of really great dive ops and a dozens more that are ok. I don't believe there are really bad dives ops on Cozumel, they would not last long with all the competition. All I can tell you is a list companies I would dive because what is best for me based upon my preferences and offer boutique experience. They are, in alphabetical order (# boats - divers per boat):

    Aldora (5-6 and 1-12), Blue XTSea (2-6), Tres Pelicanos (2-10), Living Underwater (1-8)

    Other highly rated dive Ops that offer service and are often highly mentioned as having quailty fast boats and staff are:

    Dive with Martin, Dive with Allison, Liquid Blue, Scuba Tony

    If you dive with any of The above dive ops, you should have a great experience.

    One last note, I tend to stay away from resort dive ops. They tend to be larger cattle boats and often has a set scheduled of dive sites and do not choose sites based upon group ability. Also, all resort except Scuba Club allow other Dive Ops to pickup at there pier.

    Now I'll watch the cheerleading!

  4. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Tha's a nice collection of facts and suggestions, I guess you never dived with Salty Endeavors? His Op is newer than those, but certainly gives them great competition - with his shop at the northern marina, he picks up anywhere.
  5. mcpowell

    mcpowell Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Georgia
    You could also search the “Put month here + roll call” in the Cozumel forum. You will see the dive ops most used and also where the person listed is staying. This may help you as all ops do not pick up at all sites i.e. every dive op does not travel as far North as some.

    I really prefer to be picked up at the condo’s pier & only haul my gear the first and last day I dive.
    Divingblueberry likes this.
  6. mediumone

    mediumone Manta Ray

    I think Blue Magic, Blue Angel, and Deep Blue, and Scuba Mau should be included in this conversation.
  7. Streydog

    Streydog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: DFW, TX
    What op has WIFI on their boat?
  8. cozcharlie

    cozcharlie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Cozumel, MX and Houston TX area
    Since we are naming favorite dive shops, I have always been partial to Pelagic Ventures Scuba. I have been diving with them for 15 years.

    Fast boats , excellent dive masters and good service. They do store/rinse/set up your dive gear if you are diving multiple days (As original poster was seeking ).

    Actually dove with them this weekend. We saw green moray and nurse shark next to each other under same ledge at Cedar Pass yesterday, which is always nice. Big Eagle ray on first dive, lots of turtles. Didn’t take a camera unfortunately.
  9. BoundForElsewhere

    BoundForElsewhere Ah-Muzen-Cab ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New York, New York
    I second Charlie. Pelagic Ventures, hands down.

    I'm glad I decided to read some prior posts. I was about to repeat it verbatim.
  10. GameChanger

    GameChanger Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Frisco, TX USA
    I recently had the same desire for my September 2019 Coz trip. After a ton of really great advice here, I opted for Blue Angel Resort & their dive op of the same name. The hotel is small and right on the water. The AC's work great and it's walking distance to Chedraui (WalMart-like grocery store). It is not expensive at all and an awesome breakfast is included. The on-site restaurant is top-notch and very inexpensive. I think I ate every meal there except for one on my 8-day trip! Blue Angel has their own dock and my routine was to go have breakfast and coffee and look out to the dock and when the Blue Angel boats pulled up I would meander down and check-in for my dive. The DM's are awesome and they were really good at making sure everything "worked" and that everyone's skill levels were suitable for the dive plan. I opted for the 100 Nx tanks. They didn't charge me extra either. Not sure if it was an oversite, but I would have gladly paid. I even mentioned it on my first day and they didn't seem to care. They have fast boats and they do SI's with fresh fruit and pastries. I am a huge 3P's fan but I opted for Blue Angel for the convenience of a short stroll to and from the boat dock with the option for valet service. (I like to take care of my own gear). The folks who took advantage of the valet service really loved it though.

    I love Grand Cayman too and I rotate between the Caymans and Coz. There is a difference IMHO. I find some dive ops in GC a bit "snobby" while Coz dive ops have all been really friendly down-to-earth folks.

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