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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Isla Cozumel

About a dozen miles east of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea sits Cozumel, Mexico's third largest island. It is the destination of many popular cruises, tourists and vacationers. They go there to enjoy the subtropical beaches, sport fishing, parasailing and kite surfing. For many people, though, the greatest appeal is the dive sites for snorkeling and scuba diving. Cozumel is long on beauty when it comes to reefs and there are enough of them along the eastern and western coasts to keep a diver busy for months of constant activity.

The Cozumel Marine Park on the west coast has nearly 30 thousand acres of coastline and water alone. For more experienced and physically fit divers, the east coast also offers many interesting dive sites. In addition to being home to a seemingly unlimited number of reefs, the area offers great diving adventure around airplane and shipwreck sites. The interesting shipwrecks include vessels that have cannons and other wartime equipment. One such wreck is the Felipe Xicotencatl C-53, a ship that the United States donated to Mexico. Its functions included cadet training, drug patrol, minesweeping and search and rescue. Another, which is near the Vista Del Mar Hotel, is a barge wreck. It is a great night dive that is popular with photographers. The airplane wreck, a DC3 Convair airliner, is near El Cid La Ceiba and Casa del Mar hotels. A Mexican movie studio sunk it as an effect for a disaster film. It is a bit scattered throughout the surrounding water, but divers can still enter it and see fascinating sea creatures ranging from sharks to octopuses. In addition to all of the normal reefs, there is good diving to be experienced around walls of reefs. These wall dives are for divers who are more experienced at diving deep, controlling their buoyancy and dealing with challenging upward and downward currents. The walls are usually off reef edges and they run vertically with a sudden drop off into deep water. It is very hard for a diver to determine their depth along one of these walls. For those who are able, the payoff is the abundance and varieties of fish and coral that grows at remarkable angles. The scenery and the marine life change as a diver descends the wall, which makes it a fascinating exploration and photography opportunity. Popular sites include the Cedral, Palancar Horseshoe, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Villa Blanca and the Yucab walls. While the Villa Blanca Wall is not a good dive site for beginners, the Villa Blanca Shallows is. It has a sloping beach entry that leads to plenty of corals and marine life that are good subjects for beginner photographers as well. Other good sites for beginners include Cardona, a shallow reef with mild currents, the Chankanaab, another shallow reef with mild currents and the Chankanaab Bolones (which is deeper than the Chankanaab), Paradise Reef, a dive site with coral heads and many fissures and projections that are home to considerable marine life and the Santa Rosa Shallows, which consist of a ridge and sand flats.

If you like what you see here, you may consider a trip to Cozumel soon. When you go, it is possible you would fly into Cancun. There is good news if you are from the USA, Canada, Australia and several other countries. The Cancun Airport Immigration does not require visitors from those countries to have a visa to go into Mexico. If you are from the U.S., you don`t even have to have a passport. This makes taking a trip to one of the popular Cozumel dive sites easy. You don't even have to take your own gear because there are plenty of scuba diving operators and dive shops that can provide gear and help you plan your trip. They also provide transportation to the sites on their boats.

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