Santa Rosa Wall:
A popular wall dive, this reef starts at 15 metres/50 feet and plummets into the deep. Among the immense sponges, enormous hard coral formations, caves, overhangs, and swim-through tunnels, divers may see rope sponges, tentacle file clams, hermit crabs, gobies, blennies, barracuda, parrotfish, eagle rays, turtles, and large black grouper.
This deep reef is accessible only from May through September, but the clear visibility in those months allows divers to peer into the depths. Look for parrotfish, turtles, sharks, and eagle rays.
The tumultuous ocean conditions here attract large pelagics like schooling jacks, turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and even hammerhead sharks looking for converging currents. Be cautious of the strong current here that heads out to open sea.
San Juan Reef:
Noted for stunning corals and enormous barrel sponges (sculpted into odd shapes by the currents), this drift dive offers a plethora of reef fish, turtles, nurse sharks, schooling jacks, dolphins, and even hammerhead sharks when currents and conditions allow for a dive. Be cautious of strong currents.
Villa Blanca Shallows:
A great beach dive or night dive, this gentle slope offers abundant coral and reef fish, as well as squirrelfish, sea fans, green morays, and spotted golden-tail eels.
Actually a trio of reefs parallel to the shore, this site is accessible from the beach and enjoyable for both day and night dives. Look for octopus, crabs, lobsters, and the splendid toadfish (only found in Cozumel waters). The annual coral spawning here (under a full moon in August or September) is a spectacular night sight.
Punta Sur, Devil’s Throat:
Start with a coral swim-through and descend into a narrow tunnel at 27 metres/90 feet, which opens onto a sunlit wall at 40 metres/130 feet with a view overlooking the abyss below. Look for angelfish and butterflyfish, black coral, whip corals, small sea fans, devil’s sea whip, eagle rays and sharks.
Sculpted with buttresses, tunnels, and large caverns, this site features crabs, lobsters, brain coral, star coral, and sheet coral, as well as glimpses of eagle rays, turtles, and large grouper.
Offshore of Chankanaab National Park from a white-sand beach, this site is famous for its 3-metre/9-foot-tall underwater Christ statue. In calm, clear water, divers can see an array of corals and reef fish, including fan coral, trumpetfish, squid, sand rays, stonefish, scorpion fish, toadfish, triggerfish, tangs, crabs, horse-eye jacks, and the occasional barracuda. Night divers will likely see a profusion of lobsters, crabs, and octopus.
Although this 21-to-27-metre/70-to-90-foot site is referred to as the “shallows,” that designation is only in comparison to the reef of the same name that ranges from 27 to 29 metres/90 to 160 feet deep. Green and loggerhead turtles nest here from May through September, and divers may also spot barracuda and jacks along with the coral and reef fish.