6 Perfect Reefs for Scuba Diving in Cozumel That Jacques Cousteau Loved

Below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, around the island of Cozumel are some natural treasures that call for a mask and an oxygen tank to be explored. Wouldn’t you like to dive around reefs described by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as the best in the world for scuba diving?


The sea is blue, verging on green, the sand white, and instead of burning, the sun caresses. Yet, while the picture postcard Cozumel provides visitors is lovely, one of its greatest treasures awaits many feet under the sea.

Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau spotlighted these wonders when, in the 1950s, he said the coral reefs around the island were the best for scuba diving. In fact, in 1961, the Frenchman took his crew on the Calypso to film a documentary about the depths around Cozumel. That very same underwater wealth is available to everyone.

You up for scuba diving in Cozumel? We let you know which places are the best, as well as their level of difficulty.


1. Paraíso Reef

Complexity: beginners

It is divided into two zones: north (less deep) and south. It’s common for loads of colorful fish to swim right around you, and the water is so clear, you see them easily. Species living in this zone include huge sponges, schools of angel fish, squirrelfish and sea cucumbers.

Colorful fish and corals, a joyful sight. arrecife-bestfon


2. Yucab Reef

Complexity: beginners, intermediates and advanced

It is one of the longest reefs in the Americas. Scuba diving is done off a boat. During the dive, you can let the current take you, but there are refuges. Expect to find sponges and parrotfish.

You can swim amidst schools of fish, letting the current lead the way. aquaworld


3. San Francisco Reef

Complexity: beginners, intermediates and advanced

Scuba diving is done off a boat, and currents are unpredictable. There are sand ramps, brain coral, sea fans and, in the deepest zones, sharks may even be found.


4. Santa Rosa Reef

Complexity: advanced

Since it is the home of hawksbill sea turtles, visitors arrive daily. The currents are deceptive, so not everyone is skilled enough to explore it.

Sharks are sometimes seen around the San Francisco reef. scubaverse


5. Palancar Reef

Complexity: beginners, intermediates and advanced.

Also referred to as Palancar Gardens, it is an experience not to pass up. Normally the current is not strong, and standouts among its attractions are colorful sponges and an assortment of tropical fish.


6. Chankanaab Reef

Complexity: beginners, intermediates and advanced

It is a strip of reef with tunnels and crevices. Excellent for nighttime scuba diving, where you may get to see lobsters, octopi and a species endemic to  Cozumel: the striking toadfish.

Jacques Cousteau explored Cozumel’s coral reefs. youtube


A Bonus: Buzo del Oro Underwater Museum

An underwater visit to see sculptures of men and women who have left their legacy in scuba diving history in Mexico. It can be a deep dive or simply snorkeling, and of course there’s a bronze bust of Jacques Cousteau.

Ready to take the plunge?

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