reef-guide-1Cozumel Reefs

The west coast of Cozumel island has the second largest reef structure in the Caribbean (the first one is in Belize). Crystal clear waters with visibility over 200 feet at times (even at deeper dives) has made Cozumel a world wide premier scuba diving destination.

The reef area on the west side along with portions of the eastern coast of the island are now a part of the Mexican Underwater National Park program, and therefore protected by Mexican law. This means NO TOUCHING please.

The newest addition is the C-53 shipwreck. With proper experience, Albatros Charters will take all those that desire through the well marked wreck. Again, please do your part to preserve these beautiful sights.


Please take only pictures and leave only your bubbles behind!


Scuba diving in Cozumel is done primarily off the boats due to the currents and the locations of the reefs. All boat dives are drift dives – one of the easiest.

While diving please pay extra attention to your buoyancy, if you are new to the sport and have not mastered this skill try to stay at least 3 feet above the reef and be aware of what your fins are doing.  Follow correct diving techniques and please secure your instrument console and your safe second to your BCD.

Remember, with one careless kick you can destroy years of coral growth (the coral grows about one inch in diameter per year).



reef-guide-2 PARADISE REEF is formed of three separate shallow reefs that run parallel and close to the shore about 150 to 200 yards and one of the only reefs that is accessible for beach dives. The maximum depth is around 45 feet with abundant marine life including crabs, lobsters, eels, angel fish and Cozumel’s splendid Toadfish. Paradise reef is also a popular and excellent site for snorkeling and night diving. It’s just about guaranteed you’ll see Octopus at night! (Novice)
reef-guide-2 CHANKANAAB SHALLOWS is about a 30 foot coral formation that runs far and yon. Maximum depths around 50 feet. Once again the abundance of marine life not only provides excellent opportunity for photos, but combined with the shallow depths and length provide another good location for night diving. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 BALONES OF CHANKANAAB is a series of balloon shaped coral heads dotted here and there just outside of Chankanaab. They are very colorful with a variety of marine life, especially lobsters and crabs. Also, if located right, you might see the submarine coming down or going up. You’ll most likely hear it at any rate. The depths range from 60 to 80 feet. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 FELIPE XICOTENCATL (C-53 Shipwreck) is the latest addition to diving in the Mexican Underwater National Park. In fact, it’s the only dive that is NOT a drift dive. It is a C-53 about 180 feet in length. The keel is at about 75 feet and the main decks start about 45 feet. The crow’s nest at 22 feet is a perfect place to hang out while off gassing, unless of course there’s a current at the time of your dive. Then it’s better to head back over to the buoy line that your boat is tied to. The years since 2000 has allowed an amazing growth of individual eco systems overtaking separate rooms. Also, this ship is becoming more rusted with each passing day. An excellent control of buoyancy is recommended for your safety. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 TORMENTOS REEF is another series of colorful coral heads teeming with marine life that are separated by sand valleys. The coral heads are populated by big moray eels and angelfish and lie 40 to 70 feet below the surface. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 YUCAB REEF is a series of low profile, dense groups of coral structures that are separated by sand valleys. This reef is populated by groupers, moray eels and barracudas with depths to 60 feet and swift currents. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PUNTA TUNICH is a wall dive with best sights to be found between 60 and 80 feet where you can find friendly groupers while drifting along this vibrant colorful reef. Be careful, as this wall will drop almost vertical at about 80 feet in depth and it’s easy to lose track of your depth.  The current can also be quite swift. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 SAN FRANCISCO REEF is the shallowest wall dive in Cozumel excellent in 40 to 50 feet and still exceptional down to 80 feet. This is one dive that is very exciting and can be classified as NOT-TO-BE-MISSED and loaded with a variety of colorful marine life. It is known for sightings of sharks, eagle rays and eels. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 SANTA ROSA is where THE WALL starts at 50 feet.  There are impressive sponges among colorful and huge overhangs and lots of tunnels that your divemaster will guide you through. This dive provides amazing sights both on top of the wall at 50 feet and down the wall. Most of the dive is done between 65 to 80 feet which covers many pass throughs. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 PASO DE CEDRAL is where you’ll find spectacular caverns and tunnels to swim through and later watch your own bubbles come through the coral. This is one of our favorite spots. The floor here is around 55 feet and you can expect a very swift current. If lucky you can spot sharks and some nice sized drum fish. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 CEDRAL WALL is a flat but colorful wall that starts around 50 feet and goes down from there. You can cover a lot of ground in this dive due to the usually strong currents. Be sure to stay with your dive leader! (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 LITTLE CAVES is a labyrinth of colorful, winding canyons, deep ravines and narrow crevices best observed between 50 and 70 feet. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 LA FRANCESA is a shallow reef with a maximum depth of only about 60 feet. There is a generous amount of marine life here. Photographers be ready! (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PUNTA DALILA is another shallow reef with a depth of about 45 feet. The abundance in marine life combined with the usually mild currents offers a great opportunity for photographers to get some great shots. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PALANCAR GARDENS is a wonderful dive with lots of color and relatively shallow at 40 to 70 feet. There are large caverns and underwater highways that divers can glide along to provide a gentle, easily navigated dive experience. Be careful though and watch for other divers. This is a very popular spot. One of the great things about this spot is that you can get out into some nice depths and pass through the large corals. Then, on you’re safety stop, you won’t even realize how much hang time you’ve spent because at 20 feet the marine life is so abundant you’ll want to dive it a second time for your shallow dive. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PALANCAR HORSESHOE is a natural horseshoe-shaped formation packed with series of giant coral heads that drop to 90 feet and come within about 35 feet of the surface. If you dove this site before 1996 you may know that this was the former home of the Christ statue which now stands in the Chankanaab Park. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 PALANCAR CAVES is yet another beautiful sight between 40 to 90 feet with large caves, tunnels and caverns that are alive with abundant marine life. Again, another favorite because you will not be bored during your safety stop hang time. (Intermediate because of depths, otherwise (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PALANCAR BRICKS is the last or Southernmost of the Palancar reef.  The main section of the dive ranges from 40 to 100 feet.  It is formed such that divers have tremendous variety at which depth to dive. Bricks has some pass thrus and tunnels to entertain intermediate as well as advanced divers. A common spot for sighting turtles, but please do not touch or chase them. (Intermediate because of depths, otherwise (Novice)
reef-guide-2 COLUMBIA DEEP is an impressive drop-off with huge towering coral pinnacles which will make anyone feel small. Large marine life is common in this area while hovering around 80 feet. (Advanced)
reef-guide-2 COLUMBIA SHALLOWS is a great shallow dive area where the coral gardens never seem to end. The depths do not go below 35 feet and around every comer and inside every crevice you’ll find different forms of marine life that bring lots of OOHS and AHHS. (Novice)
reef-guide-2 PUNTA SUR is the home of the widely acclaimed DEVIL’S THROAT, LITTLE CATHEDRAL and CATHEDRAL with incredible topography and huge caverns. The entrance to the Caves is at about 80 feet and exits at 135 feet (Devil’s Throat) or vice-a-versa, depending on which way you head in first. Bring a dive light for this one and expect a long safety stop. (Advanced)
reef-guide-2 CHUN CHACACAAB is a change of pace. It’s quite a bit South, and if diving in Cozumel for quite a few days, worth the choice. It almost looks like grassy, hilly fields that just grew underwater. Reminiscent of the dives to the North. Average depth is about 60 feet. Deepest is 80. (Intermediate)
reef-guide-2 MARACAIBO REEF, also known as LIGHTHOUSE REEF, is a decompression dive area due to the depths that are in excess of 120 feet. It is spectacular with lush and huge heads of coral populated with gray and black tipped reef sharks along with large groupers. (Advanced)
reef-guide-2 CANTERELL is a prime spot for sighting schools of spotted eagle rays and more. Unfortunately, this dive is not year around, but from early December through March or mid April, dependent upon the water temperatures as well as the migration of the rays. The wall starts around 65 feet and goes down with swift currents which tend to die down at the primary viewing location (sand chute). This dive requires some deeper diving down to 100+ feet. It is not a dive for the faint hearted and may require decompression depending on time spent at the wall, as the top drops to 80 feet. (Advanced)
reef-guide-2 BARRACUDA WALL is another prime dive location that starts about a mile off shore and goes out to sea. The wall undulates from 70 to 90 feet with breathtaking drop offs and very swift currents that can push you down or up. Lots of virgin (almost) territory where you will not hear the familiar tank banging noise from others, but you will hear yourself breathing hard. Some of our customers have called this the ‘flying’ dive or the ‘ride of a lifetime!’ The sea life on Barracuda is abundant with turtles, schools of jacks, ocean triggers and rainbow fish. This dive can become a decompression dive depending on the dive profile. Advanced certifications as well as reservations are necessary, as special permits are required from the captain of the port to do this dive. (Advanced)
reef-guide-2 SAN JUAN has two separate dives spots. The wall is an extension of Canterell at 80 feet + with turtles, jacks, big groupers and sharks, as well as strong currents. If going deep for long, it can easily become a decompression dive. There is also a magnificent shallow section to San Juan. It starts around 40 feet and stays about the same throughout. The down part is the swift currents, but on the plus side, you do cover a lot of ground with an excellent opportunity to spot turtles, schools of barracudas, jacks and probably the biggest school of Bermuda Chubs as well as unfriendly groupers and snappers!! Advanced certifications as well as reservations are necessary, as special permits are required from the captain of the port to do this dive. (Advanced)

We’ve also got a great little secret spot that’s not listed.  We’d love to show you, just ask!