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Just got back from Coz/ heres the real deal

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Rooster1, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Rooster1

    Rooster1 Loggerhead Turtle

    This post goes out to those here that want a real honest assessment of the Island and the diving conditions. Too many ask questions and you get answers all over the place. Before I start all you Coz lovers who can’t bear to hear a negatative word about Cozumel (you can step away from the computer now or go to another forum). Like wise those who only want to hear Coz bashing you too can leave because this is not what this post is about. I decided to write this post for those who have not been back to Coz since Wilma and want the real truth of the condition of the island and make an informed decision and not a biased one either way. I went through the same thing not knowing what was or wasn’t for a few months before I went. So now that the folks who cannot handle the truth have left the forum or have stepped away from the computer here is the unarguable truth without an ounce of bias for the needy souls who want to go or are going so you will know what the current condition of Coz is like.

    On the Surface (the negative…)
    The Island you will see even before you land that there is/and has been a lot of damage to the jungle. Lots of salt damage. Many parts of the jungle are not green. (coz needs lots of rain right now)!
    Some of the water front hotels are rebuilding their water fronts (beaches/break walls/ dive shops etc.)
    The big cruise ship piers are not open due to damage (lots of damage to the piers/sections of the piers are at the bottom of the ocean.) I have heard not til sometime in 2007 before they will be open.
    Not as many shops in town are open as last year.
    Dune buggy tour is not running on the road besides mescalitos right now. (I was told to much damage that the dune buggies couldn’t get through. They are doing their tour through El Cedral village.
    Chankanaab park was destroyed by Wilma.
    More traffic then I have ever seen on the island (I don’t know where all the cars are
    coming from)!
    Road on the other side of the Island where there has been repairs is narrower (be very careful of your speed)
    On locals day (Sunday) the other side of the Island is so packed that it was difficult to get through at some points because they park on the road because a lot of the little spots off the side of the road are gone now since they have fixed the road.
    Coz seems to be getting more and more costly every year.
    The snorkelling will take a while to come back as much was wiped out.

    On the surface (the positive…)
    The jungle is coming back! The 11 days we were there we seen progress in the jungle. The wild side of the Island is in much better shape then hotel side. Many stretches of the jungle on the west side looked the same as before with lots of green ( you wouldn’t know the difference.) If you can get towards the middle of the Jungle (jeep/horse) it is in really good shape.

    The town looks great! No signs of a hurricane. Very colorful and bustling with action. Street venders, artists and the like all doing their thing. (very nice to walk around town).
    Many of the hotels are in excellent shape with finishing touches being done to their waterfronts. The ones that got hit really badly are being redone.
    The rebuilding is at a feverish speed. (lots of work and progress we seen in a short time)
    Atlantis sub opened the day before we left.

    Chankanaab park is coming back fast. We saw them working from the dive boat daily and we can see lots and lots of progress (it will be better then before)
    Less cruisers which can be nice for those who stay on the island.
    When the Island heals it will be even nicer then before.

    Diving (the negative…)
    It is true what you have read or heard and do not let anyone mislead you by only telling you good stories or only showing the “nice pictures”.
    (it seams to be a lot of misleading going on)! Even some of the locals told us that a lot of tourists who arrived shortly after Wilma were lied to about the condition of the island.
    The reefs are not in the same condition as before! There is a lot of sand on the coral on some of the reefs. Lots of coral is coated with sand. Some reefs have more sand then others. A lot of color is missing from the reefs. (understandable after a hurricane of Wilma’s magnitude).
    Here is a real myth buster (the deeper reefs weren’t damaged) NONSENSE!
    We did 3 dives from 120ft to 135ft and 3 other deep dives from 141ft to 174 ft and there was sand down there that had dropped down.
    Another myth buster (the shallow reefs were badly damaged)NONSENSE!
    Paradise reef , which is fairly shallow, was in very good condition considering the nasty hurricane.
    Columbia shallows only 20 ft (you can just snorkel this one) was my best dive (it was beautiful with so many fish and lots of color) .

    Diving (the positive…)
    In light of all the negative UNBIASED TRUTH I just posted, the diving is still excellent! That’s right even with less color and sand that is where it shouldn’t be (slowly going away) the diving is still excellent!
    Many parts of the reefs from north to south are not damaged.
    Some of what is damaged is already coming back.
    The best of all and I am not a marine biologist, so I cannot explain but I have never seen more marine life in all the years of diving in Cozumel.
    Turtles on almost every dive. Eagle rays more then I have ever seen. Some reefs fish galore. Great feeling gliding through a schools of beautiful fish.
    Lobster, Crab, Eels, Sea Snakes, more Barracuda then I have ever seen, Octopus, the marine life was abundant.
    From shore I dove and saw 4 eagle rays in less then 25 feet of water, star fish, trumpet fish and countless others.

    So to borrow a phrase “ I report you decide”
  2. ManitouDan

    ManitouDan Angel Fish

    Hey Rooster -- I'm going in 3 weeks , to the casa del mar, where did you do your shore diving ?? I was in Coz 2 years ago , looking foward to return visit. Thanks for the report. ManitouDan
  3. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    That was fair...thank you!

    FWIW, I posted pictures of some damage and sand on the reefs as well as pretty ones. There's good parts and bad parts of the reef...but like you said, it's coming back and the marine life is great and the diving is still great!

    I think we've had some of the best visibility the last several days than I have seen in a very long time here...at least on the dives I've done.

    Glad you had a good trip!
  4. Rooster1

    Rooster1 Loggerhead Turtle


    You are in luck because that is where I stayed. The hotel is in great condition. Their new dive shop is almost built but they are still running right across the street from their new dive shop. you can get a tank either there next door at scuba shack. You will not see much near shore other then collapsed pillars and rubble. Casa del mars pier is also at the bottom now. However this can be a good dive. Head towards the international pier at about 30 feet of water in front of La Ceiba hotel where the edge of the restaurant is you will see whats left of the plane but what is new and exciting, keeping heading south another 50 yards towards the pier and there is a catamaran that sunk down there now. Also near shore maybe 50 yards off shore in front of the park Royal (the one being redone) there is a hole in the ground (small cavern opening). I didn't get a chance to go in because I didn't have my light on that dive and it was a little dark for my taste and besides the fish coming out were good size and I wasn't armed for battle. Dive master told me since the hurricane alot of new caverns and holes have opened up that are unexplored.
  5. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    Actually, there are very few of either ilk in here, despite accusations that fly about occasionally. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

    Is that what you meant to say? The "wild side" is the east coast, not the west. The west side is the hotel side, where most of the salt contamination is.
  6. scubawife

    scubawife Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY
    I was in Cozumel in Dec and Feb and I'm planning another trip at the end of May. Anyone who tries to tell you there is no sand or damage is lying. There is, but like you've said, there is still lots of great diving and we also thought that there was an abundance of marine life. Even with the damage Coz is still better diving then most of the Caribbean. We did see improvements between Dec and Feb. Hopefully even more by late May!

    After being cancelled the past two trips it looks like I'll finally get to try Casa del Mar this time. They told me today that they expect to have all the beach side repairs completed by May 1, so that sounds good. Hopefully the pier too.

    Did you eat or drink at the hotel? How was it? Did you use their beach club (Nachi Cocum)? I understand that although not open to the public it is open to hotel guests and they are providing shuttle service.
  7. Rooster1

    Rooster1 Loggerhead Turtle

    you are correct
  8. Rooster1

    Rooster1 Loggerhead Turtle

    The beach should be done by may1 as there was only one piece of break wall to put up and it would be done minus some clean up and new hammocks. I would not hold my breath for a new pier yet. The hotel dive business (del mar aquatics) is sharing the pier with atlantis sub right in front of the hotel. So if you dive with them you won't have to travel.

    The restauant is actually really good. I had stayed there a few times in the past but never really ate there other then breakfast, but I have to admit the food was really good and much cheaper then town.

    I did not go to Nachi Cocum but they do have free shuttle service for the hotel guests to and from the hotel/beach club
  9. spacemanspiff1974

    spacemanspiff1974 Regular of the Pub

    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Cruise ships dumping off tourists to buy t-shirts and get drunk at Sr. Frogs should never be near a diver's paradise. In fact, the only cruise ships near a dive site should be cruise ships which are a dive site.

    Sorry for my rant.

    So how is Santa Rosa? I dove it on my open water and every visit since. Please don't tell me that it is trashed.
  10. Diver Mike

    Diver Mike Instructor, Scuba

    I am off to Cozumel in APril (20 - 25). I dov ethere in December and am looking forward to seeing the differences from then until now.

    Thank you for the fair report.


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