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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scuba Diving Palancar Reef - Cozumel, Mexico

Palancar- Cozumel Mexico

Just about every diver who makes the trip to the beautiful Island of Cozumel has the chance to dive the Palancar Reef.  The reef itself is quite a large reef and there are actually several separate but equally enjoyable Palancar dives. 

  You can take a charter from anyone of the numerous dive shops right on the island but also you can make the trip from the mainland right from Playa Del Carmen it’s just a longer boat ride.  Don’t let the boat ride scare you off because in one of my earlier blogs I shared the story of an unexpected encounter with a whale shark on this very boat ride.

  As I was saying the Palancar reef offers several different dives that cater to every level of diver.  Palancar Gardens is a shallow dive only 35’-67’ with great visibility and almost no current.  Here you will find hundreds of corals of every color imaginable and a large selection of sponges.  All the while you are courted by a multitude of colorful reef fishes.  A truly fantastic dive for a beginner or a good refresher but also enjoyable by the most seasoned divers. 

The Palancar Bricks is another popular dive however because it reaches depths of over 90’ it is usually reserved for advanced level divers.  Aside from the depth it is a relatively easy dive with incredible visibility over 100 feet and almost no current.  This site is also highlighted by the abundant healthy corrals to be found.  Huge coral formations erupt from the sandy bottom and this is a great place to spot eagle rays, turtles and often time reef sharks.  The coral continues to impress as you ascend. 

  Cleaning stations are a common site and it is always fun to watch the shrimp work their magic by removing parasites from turtles or rays.  A very enjoyable dive.  My favourite dive on Palancar by far has to be the Palancar Caves.  Huge coral formations create a vast array of caves, caverns and buttresses. Larger sea life is commonplace and this is a popular spot for photographers.

  Rays, Sharks, Turtles, eels, they are always here for your viewing pleasure.  It is a fairly deep dive again over 90’ but it still has little current and offers a diver some excellent visibility.  The coral is all very healthy and the local guides do a very good job educating divers on conservation.  Gloves are prohibited to discourage touching and buoys are permanently place to avoid anchor damage insuring that the great dive sites on Palancar reef will be available for years to come.

  You can easily dive 6-8 dives on this reef and not see it all.  I only had 3 dives and when I return I will be sure to explore the reef further.  Many a diver count Palancar among the top dives in the world and for very good reason.  I would recommend these dives to all.


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