Cozumel Dive Sites

For the vast majority of us, diving on the various Cozumel dive sites is what attracts us most to Cozumel. Technically speaking, Cozumel dive sites belong to the Great Western Atlantic Reef Belt, or the Great Mayan Reef, a division of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Interestingly, Cozumel is classified as a plateau reef – not a barrier reef. The reef itself extends the entire coastline of Cozumel – more than 30 miles! This makes up a large portion of the mammoth 175 mile long reef system. 

Part of what Cozumel so famous is the ever present water current which washes over our dive sites. Although it is possible for no current to be present, this is rare, and more commonly we experience water speeds averaging 1.5 knots. On occasion, it is possible we can dive sites with over 3 knots of water current! This constant supply of water movement (read: food and oxygen for corals and fish) is thanks to the Yucatan Strait pushing water from south to north past Cozumel. The result is a bountiful collection of over 65 stony corals, 350 mollusks, and 500 fish! 

cozumel dive sites

But what Cozumel dive sites will we visit?

Salty Endeavors visits all the Cozumel dive sites located around the island. Most of these dive sites are easy to get to and ideal for new and advanced divers with their clear water, gentle soft currents, and abundance of fish. These sites include Villa Blanca wall south to San Francisco reef. the infamous Palancar reef and portions of Colombia are also ideal dive locations for all divers. However, some Cozumel dive sites are reserved only for expert divers. These sites include Santa Rosa Wall, portions of Colombia, such as Colombia Deep. Plus of course all of Punta Sur and Maracaibo. To the north, San Juan and all sites to the north of San Juan would also be reserved for advanced divers.

For particular dive locations, including Punta Sur, Maracaibo, and all dive sites north of Puerto Abrigo harbor, Salty Endeavors reserves the right to enforce a minimum number of two (2) or more dives with us prior to making diving at these more challenging locations. This is for the protection of both us and you. Please note some Cozumel dive sites may require a fuel surcharge and / or a weather contingency plan in additional to prior advance booking of a full charter boat for the day. These Cozumel dive sites include all sites to the east side of the island. Ultimately our boat captain has final say if the conditions are acceptable for navigating and diving. Your safety and enjoyment is our priority!

Which Cozumel dive sites are most popular?


Santa Rosa Wall
Depth: 15 meters / 45 feet – 40 meters / 130 feet
Currents: Moderate to Strong
Suitable For: Intermediate to Experienced Divers

This famous wall starts at around 15 meters / 45 feet and drops into the deep. The wall is at its vertical best here and dives at Santa Rosa Wall are always an exhilarating experience. Nurse Sharks, Eagle Rays and turtles are often seen here as well as giant moray eels. Occasionally divers have also spotted great hammerhead sharks cruising by. Spectacular large tunnels which completely cut through the reef crest allows divers to swim through them and the most northerly section has deeper tunnels, caves, overhangs and under hangs. If you are in Cozumel, Santa Rosa Wall is a “must dive” spot. This sea scape of the dive site makes it perfect for using Nitrox.


Palancar Gardens
Depth: 10 meters / 33 feet – 40 meters / 130 feet
Currents: Mild
Suitable For: Beginners to Experienced Divers

The dive site which made Cozumel famous across the world! A great site to start your diving adventures or getting back into it after a few years. The reef crest is a huge garden of colorful corals of spectacular variety home to all kind of tropical fishes. Orange and purple sponges frequent the reef adding more colors. A further 10 meters / 30 feet down, gigantic tunnels allow you to swim through them in awe! Eagle Rays frequent Palancar in winter months and Reef sharks are often spotted cruising around in the depths.

Check out our Palancar Reef blog for more details.


Depth: 12 meters / 40 feet – 18 meters / 60 feet
Currents: Mild to Moderate
Suitable For: Beginners to Experienced Divers

A photographer’s paradise, Yucab offers a spectacular variety of tropical reef fishes and colorful corals. Typically dived as the second dive of the morning or afternoon, this dive site is where the secretive but aptly named Splendid Toad Fishes are spotted regularly. The reef is flanked by sandy flats on both sides and home to numerous lobsters, king crabs, shrimps and even pipe fishes. Nurse Sharks, Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and even Loggerhead Turtles are often spotted feeding here.


Cantarell or Eagle Ray Wall
Depth: 12 meters / 40 feet – 30 meters / 100 feet
Currents: Strong to extremely strong
Suitable For: Advanced divers who are physically fit and experienced in currents 

Cantarell or Eagle Ray wall is located just North of downtown San Miguel de Cozumel. We dive this site in the winter months between November to March when schooling Eagle rays congregate in the northern parts of Cozumel. Our northern reefs and walls are prone to extremely strong currents with accompanied moving surface. Despite the challenges posed here, divers are regularly rewarded with sightings of Eagle Rays in schools of 15-20s.


Ship Wreck C-53
Depth: 15 meters / 50 feet – 25 meters / 80 feet
Conditions:  Moderate to Strong current
Suitable For: Advanced Divers 

Built in Tampa, Florida at the Wilson Marine Ship works in 1944. Measuring 56 meters / 184 feet long, 10 meters / 33 feet wide and 12 meters / 40 feet high from keel to the top of the super structure, this ship was put into service as mine sweeper for the US Navy as SCUFFLES. In 1962 she was sold to the Mexican Navy, converted to an Admiral Class gun boat, named and numbered FELIPE XICOTANCATL C-53. This wreck was sunk just off Chankanab Park in 1999 after being decommissioned and donated to Cozumel marine park. She has long since been overgrown with plenty of marine life and makes for a great Cozumel wreck dive site. The C53 wreck sits upright on the ocean floor and is home to of large groupers and green moray eels.


Paso del Cedral
Depth: 12 meters / 40 feet – 18 meters / 60 feet
Condition: Moderate to Strong Current
Suitable For: Intermediate Divers

A typical Cozumel drift dive site, Paso del Cedral is another fantastic spot for photographers. Schools of grunts and snappers abound here along with big moray eels and sting rays in the sandy patches. Nurse Sharks and turtles are also spotted regularly here. The corals are mostly low lying as the site is constantly washed with currents. Paso del Cedral is also a great place to spot the elusive splendid toad fish.


Columbia Deep
Depth: 18 meters / 60 feet to 40 meters / 130 feet
Condition: Strong currents which often unpredictable
Suitable For: Advanced Divers

Columbia Deep is probably the favorite deep dive site for Cozumel veterans and other experienced divers. You can even snorkel in the shallows if you don’t mind the surface swells, the visibility remains crystal clear despite the swells.

This site is littered with coral rubble and large coral blocks which become more pronounced coral buttresses as you swim further out to the edge of the wall. There are numerous large coral pinnacles made up of many different varieties of coral, interspersed with vividly colourful sponges. Here you will see large grouper, turtles and it has been reported that reef sharks cruise the deeper section of the wall.

Columbia Deep is flanked by enormous coral pinnacles rising up from the sandy bottoms with the wall tapering off into the abyss. The coral pinnacles are made up of many different varieties of hard and soft corals, with vividly colorful sponges sitting in between. Numerous swim throughs are there to be explored in the pinnacles while reef sharks patrol the depths of the wall. Large groupers, eagle rays, turtles and nurse sharks are regular visitors as well.

The seemingly infinite visibility in the water and the vivid colors makes Columbia Deep a cherished place for divers. It is often listed as one of the top dive sites in the world.


Devil’s Throat
Depth: 28 meters / 90 feet – 40 meters / 130 feet
Condition: Strong and unpredictable currents
Suitable For: Advanced divers who are physically fit and experienced in currents

Located at the southern tip of Cozumel, exposed to easterly winds, the boat ride to Devil’s Throat can be a rough one. Extremely strong and sometimes unpredictable midwater currents make it a dive site only for experienced divers who have exposure of diving in currents.

The famous “Devil’s Throat,” starts inside a deep coral swim through. You descend into the opening of a dark and  narrow tunnel at 28 meters / 90 feet and then exit into a sunlit opening at 40 meters / 130 feet on the wall overlooking the abyss. Eagle rays, bull and hammerhead sharks are occasionally spotted here.

Palancar Reef

Santa Rosa Wall

C-53 Wreck

Devil's Throat