Diving in Cancun or Cozumel

Nov 11th, 2003, 06:48 AM
  #1  
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Diving in Cancun or Cozumel

I am flying alone to Cancun on 2nd December and want to take a PADI open water diving course. I am a total beginner. Does anyone know of a good cheap course providers? Should I learn to dive in Cancun or Cozumel? Being a single traveller I will be staying at Hostels - I know there are a few in Cancun but are there any such accommodations on Cozumel? Also is Belize worth a visit for diving and cultural purposes? thanks, Paul, London
monsieur_houllier is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 08:50 AM
  #2  
 
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Without a doubt Coz. It's one of the top diving destinations in the world for a good reason!

As far as good and cheap, it's a vacation destination, and activities are very expensive.

Also, it will take several days, so you need to be staying where you are taking the class.

Cozumel has a lot of very nice, clean, safe and inexpensive hotels in the downtown area.

My recommendations would be:

1.) Take the bus to PDC and ferry over to Cozumel and stay there - unless you are a total party animal or shopaholic, Cozumel is much more laid back and relaxing than Cancun. OR

2.) Take the bus to PDC, stay there, dive with a small outfit there. The diving isn't nearly as good, but you can always ferry over to Coz once you have your shiny new C card in hand and see what diving is all about. OR

3.) Take the bus to Akumal and do the same as option 2. Diving is better, and you can find a small outfit to give you the "no pressure, no problem" Caribbean style of learning to dive.

Have a great time!
Diana is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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My vote is for going straight to Coz. If your best airfare deal is to cancun, not a problem. Walk out the air terminal at Cancun twoards the buses and taxis and do NOT buy your bus fare inside - it's pricier. Turn right when you get out the door past the bus and tour package desks. head down to the end of the terminal and there's an express bus available to Playa del Carmen - IIRC it's about $11 or $12 US per trip. Get the ferry from PDC to Coz. Skip the taxis in Coz - you can walk to the inexpensive hotels around downtown and you'll have plenty to choose from.

It's one of the best reefs in the world and it's just sooooo much better to dive in a good place even when doing the course - there's more to see when you're doing the skills training and most places will offer you a discount on subsequent drives for that trip if you take your class through the same dive service. I used Blue Angel and they were great but they're a bit of a hike from downtown. I dfo advise renting a bike in Coz - makes getting around so much easier. There are other good dive services but I was very happy with them.

I did my initial PADI cert in Belize two years ago and although it was a good experience, the diving is far better in Coz and the boat ride to reach the reef areas is shorter. Culturally, the cayes in Belize offer less than Coz but are very laid back and not as touristy. That said, there's enough to see in Coz if you get away from the main tourist joints. The back of the island (best reached by car or scooter rather than bike) is gorgeous and mostly undelveoped coastline. The town of San Miguel itself has some nice nieghborhoods and little local loncherias where the commida corrida (meal of the day) can be had for $4-$5. Plan on eating your main meal at 4 or 5 PM like the locals and you'll save big money. Also - try to be there on a Sunday and go to the plaza - the cruise ship crowds will eb gone and the locals come out for an evenign of live music and dancing. Lots of fun and a family oriented event.
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Nov 12th, 2003, 07:57 AM
  #4  
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Thanks Diana and Owen. I will try to arrange a PADI course on Cozumel to start my holiday plans thanks to your advice. I have yet to find any cheap accommodation on Cozumel for a single traveller but I guess that if I just turn up "on spec" there will be someone willing to give me a bed for 4 or 5 nights in early December?! I know there are hostels in PDC so thats a fall back. Not sure yet what I will do with the rest of my 14 day vacation though? I visited Yucatan 2 years ago and went to Chichen Izta, Tulum, Merida, Uxmal,Celestun, Valladolid. I think Coba will be worth a visit and maybe Chetumal. Or maybe I will just spend the whole time around Cozumel doing the full range of cave and wall dives although this may be too expensive.
monsieur_houllier is offline  
Nov 12th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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I really think you will have no problem finding inexpensive, clean downtown hotels in San Miguel - very safe also.

Be SURE to ferry over to Isla Mujeres and hcek out Akumal south of Playa. Look at locogringo.com if you want to at least see what the area south of Cancun looks like before you go and decide to spend time. I think you'd really like it.

I know there are oceanfront beach cabanas at Tulum and points all up and down the 307 corrider that go for super cheap - like $20 per night.

You may misunderstand... There is not a whole lot of cave diving around Cozumel, and you will not be certified for overhead environments anyway, so you may want to rethink that. The Santa Rosa wall and Palancar are my favorite don't miss sites there.

There are some pretty cool cenotes south of Cancun on 307 that are fun dives though. Go when there is NOT a huge tourbus full of gawkers there.

You'll have so much fun!
Diana is offline  
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