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Trip Report Trip Report, Allegro A.I. / Pro Divers Cozumel Nov. 19-27

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Lee99

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Returned on Sunday from a laid back trip to the Allegro. This was our fifth time on the island, and first time doing the all-inclusive thing other than liveaboards here and there. We did the A.I. because we had scheduled a trip back in the Before Times through United Vacations, wanted to dive, and those funds would have expired shortly.

Pro Tip: Don't use United Vacations. This is not about them, but still.

We had two new junior divers (our kids) with us, so were depth-restricted. Cozumel is not the first place I would go when depth-restricted, but the trip we had scheduled to Bonaire last year was also canceled... so we rolled with Cozumel because we love the island. Of course, being at an A.I. we really did not see much of the island other than the A.I., but it was comforting to know that it was still there. We did venture into town one afternoon and evening and made our obligatory stop at the No-Name Bar's beach patio to watch a 6-person stand up paddleboard fight Norte chop in the dark over margaritas. Everybody made it to shore, so the expedition must have been successful.

On past Cozumel excursions we did 3 - 4 dives daily. This trip was more chill because we did not want to freak out the kids.

Staying on the south end of the island sounded great because we were just east of the San Francisco Wall (or so), which would have been really cool, except that part of the reef was closed in October & November per the new closure policy. Palancar was open, and we dove the shallower parts of that area a lot. I feel like I know Palancar Gardens and other shallower dives in that area really well now. To be clear, this is not a complaint. I love the Palancar area.

I had never associated Cozumel with beaches, except that I knew that they were down there because we had taken a lot of bumpy boat rides past them and wondered who visited them. Now I have hung out on one like a beached whale drying out in the sun drinking watered down Mai Tais while watching dive boats bounce past in Norte chop.

Pro Dive seems like a solid operation and I absolutely would have no problem diving with them again. We dove on the newbie boat because we had newbie offspring with us, so I can't comment on how the trip might have been had we been with more experienced divers on classic wall dives. Our DMs were Esteban, Haini, Yessi, Javi, and Koga. All were professional, knowledgeable, fun to dive with / converse with, and extremely patient with our newbies. Estaban has the patience of Job. Nobody ran out of air, missed a safety stop, exceeded no-decompression limits, got bent, failed to get picked up, or otherwise had any problems other than mild teenage drama by the end of the trip. Each of us made 16 dives in 8 days, except for one of us who made 15 dives because of said drama. Dives lasted 50 - 60 minutes each after said newbies figured out how to avoid wasting too much air by the end of the second day. Nitrox at no additional charge for divers holding a nitrox card was a pleasant surprise. Water was a consistent 84 F. I hate wetsuits and refuse to wear one on principle, so I was lucky there. I'd thought the water would have cooled off by now.

Pro Tip: If you were certified through SSI and have an old-school 6-digit number on all your cards from the early 2000's (not the massively long number that the new SSI cards have), bring your original C Card when you check in and sign your life away, because the SSI card that says "Nitrox Diver" doesn't actually say you are OW certified, and who knows! Maybe you were certified to dive nitrox, but never did get that OW certification. Thankfully, they were able to confirm our OW certifications via the Internets.

The dives were fun. We saw more large critters than I thought we would. I have never seen an octopus swimming around in daylight hours, so that was interesting, along with the usual assortment of nurse sharks, eels, turtles, and rays. We saw what I think was the same massive eagle ray twice on the north end of the Palancar Gardens area, and even saw a small (4' or so) black tip reef shark in shallower water. We did not see nearly as many lionfish as last time we were down in 2019. The coral looked reasonably healthy to my untrained eye, although some white band disease is evident here and there.

Food at the Allegro was okay. I don't like buffets generally, so I am a terrible critic for all things buffet. Picky teenagers ate mostly hamburgers and doughy pizza that appeared to have been frozen. Hibachi night was surprisingly good. Italian night was also good. Mexican night was less good. Breakfast at the Santa Rosa restaurant dedicated to divers was great. Breakfast in the main building had more options... but took way longer. Drinks were a little on the watered down side, but I don't drink much... so no problem. We walked up the beach one afternoon to Mr. Sancho's so teenagers could frolic on inflatables and bicker with each other. Their drinks were serious business.

Lodging was fine. The beds were comfy. The AC worked. The hammock was nice. One teenager was parked in it most of the time, so my hammock time was severely limited. We had a second floor patio. The shower worked and had hot water. I put my massive light to beneficial use by lighting up the closet because it was dark. Also, if you leave your door open while hanging out on the patio, Cozumel's native raccoons will attempt to sneak past you into your room to forage for food.

No photos because I did not really want to bring a camera underwater while diving with newbies to make sure I was present for them. Diving sans camera was way more fun.
 

drrich2

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Nice review! Any idea whether the Allegro had a kids' club, and if so what the kids thought of it? I imagine the A.I. resorts may appeal to people bringing along non-divers such as a spouse and/or kids, to keep them occupied in a safe environment where they're easy to keep up with.

Where those raccoons or coatimundis?
 

ggunn

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...if you leave your door open while hanging out on the patio, Cozumel's native raccoons will attempt to sneak past you into your room to forage for food.
Raccoons or coatimundis? Coatis look a lot like raccoons but they are skinnier and have longer snouts and tails. There are a lot of them on Cozumel.
 
OP
Lee99

Lee99

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Nice review! Any idea whether the Allegro had a kids' club, and if so what the kids thought of it? I imagine the A.I. resorts may appeal to people bringing along non-divers such as a spouse and/or kids, to keep them occupied in a safe environment where they're easy to keep up with.

Where those raccoons or coatimundis?
The critters were coatimundis. I'd meant to change that back when I wrote most of my notes on the return trip, but couldn't remember how to spell it and forgot.

There is a kids club that looked to be intended for kids younger than about 10. I did not walk that way too many times during the day, as we were staying closer to the beach, so did not see it in high demand. The water slide was not exciting enough for ours to be interested... but was disturbing after walking past it a few times when the place was empty at night: the superstructure appeared to be the enormous decapitated head of a pirate (resting on a similarly sized cutlass that presumably had been used to exact the sentence) looming over the kids club.
 

Jake 10

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thanks for the great report,
 
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