We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Basingstoke, United...
Level Contributor
52 posts
Save Topic
Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Hi All,

My wife and I are very avid PADI AOWD certified Scuba Divers. We will be - we hope - coming to Mexico from the UK in late April and are undecided on where to stay. Cancun, PDC or Cozumel, but, it's not clear to me how close they are.

To help narrow down the advice our requirments are:

1. Must be able to dive in Cozumel as it's always been on our list of must do diving. But, do not necessarily want a long haul to dive centres from hotel and then to dive sites. It's supposed to be relaxing after all !! lol

2. 4 or 5 star AI with SPA hotel for those non diving relaxation days.

3. Preferably beach and pool as part of the hotel complex.

4. Must be able to get out an experience night life / restauarants and other day time exursions.

5. We have been to Cancun before - Royal Solaris and Moon Palace - but do love it and the hotels. But, may have to avoid this time around if we really want to dive in Cozumel.

Many thanks for any help / advice you can provide.

Ady & Holly .....

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2,071 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

If you want to dive Cozumel I would stay in Cozumel. The best AI on Cozumel is probably the Cozumel Palace (only a man made beach though). It is close to town, the food is good and the service is great. Most dive ops will pick you up right at the pier at the hotel.

Katy Texas
Level Contributor
1,626 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

I second Zman's motion. Any nays?

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,445 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Stay in Cozumel, Best AI's are Palace or maybe the Aura (relying on reviews & comments for Aura)

Best beach with a decent AI is the Grand, but the Iberostar (next door more or less) has better food but smaller rooms, rockier beach below water line. Choose between them by price, but taxi fare to town gets expensive.

Photo tours & other info re Cozumel is here


Lees Summit, MO
Level Contributor
482 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Another vote for Cozumel Palace. Most dive ops will pick you up there and you are walking distance to town so you can also go experience nightlife. The resort is pretty quiet after 10pm so if you are looking for clubs they are close. They have a great spa too but keep in mind they only have a man made beach that does not have direct access to the water but there are several places that do have water access. The first time we went I thought I would miss the "beach" but didn't give it a second thought once we arrived. That was 3 yrs ago and we will be there for our 9th stay in March! I have heard good things about the others mentioned above but only have personal experience w/the Palace. Good luck on your decision, as others have said you will absolutley want to stay on the island, you won't regret it!!!

Level Contributor
2,099 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Definitely Cozumel. Cozumel Palace is a great choice. Does it HAVE to be AI? You might want to check out the El Presidente online.

Level Contributor
346 posts
115 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

if your primary objective is diving then definately stay on cozumel..if you want nightlife you should consider staying near pdc. the nightlife on cozumel is non-existent and if you will be staying a week or more you might be bored.

if you choose cozumel i would either stay at the cozumel palace or the iberostar...

the palace is fantastic and the nicest on the island. it is a 10 minute walk to town but does not have a beach. it sits right on the water and has fantastic views west for sunsets and boats passing. the food, facilities and service are outstanding. the only negative imo is the dive operator there is not good and it is a LONG boat ride to the best reefs.

the iberostar is the resort furthest south on the island and closest to the reefs. it is the best resort for diving and they have a great dive operator there, Dressel Divers. the quality of facilities and food are second to the palace imo. the only negative imo is that its about 25 minutes cab ride to town..it is very quiet..

a good alternative to staying on cozumel would be to stay at the Barcelo Maya Palace about 10 minutes south of pdc. this is a very high quality resort with a fantastic beach. Dressel Divers (the dive op at Iberostar) runs the dive shop here. they can arrange for dive trips to cozumel (all day ordeal) cenotes dives or dives from their dock. nightlife and evening shows are much better here than anywhere on cozumel and you can always take the short cab ride into pdc for more nightlife..

PDC sits approximately 12 miles from Cozumel and they run frequent ferrys

i dont think cancun is a good alternative for diving.

hope this helps...

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,445 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Staying at an Iberostar on the mainland & diving with Dressel at the Coz Iberostar isn't a very good idea for a serious diver. Due to the travel time & costs diving ends up costing almost double PLUS you basically do afternoon dives which from experience were all timed at roughly 30 minutes of bottom time to stay on schedule. That's very expensive bottom time compared to the costs that staying on the island will run.

Liverpool, New York
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

This is the Cozumel forum, so bear in mind that we are all a bit biaised. That said (!), definitely go to Cozumel. The only one of your requirements that could be better met elsewhere is the nightlife option. That doesn't mean that there isn't any on the island, far from it, although I'm no expert. I'm normally a night owl, but the minute I hit Cozumel, I'm up with the lark, and flat out by 10pm.

I keep seeing in the Scuba diving magazine that Cozumel ranks number 1 for night-life for divers. I'm sure some of the experts on here can expand on that, without giving away any secrets(!).

The town is lovely at night and there are plenty of bars and great restaurants. The people are wonderful and you'll feel like family before the first day is out. Sunday night there is music and dancing in the square.

I would go for Cozumel every time. It is a small island, so none of the dive sites are very far, and the ride is fabulous. We've seen dolphins on the way to diving plenty of times. PM me if you want a recommendation for dive operator/s.

Be warned, however, Cozumel is very addictive and you may be booking for next time before you've even finished this trip. Take it from one who knows!!!

Have a lovely time, wherever you choose.


Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
4,044 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Granted that most of the nightlife that divers would enjoy -- meaning that the places start hopping well before 10 or 11pm -- is concentrated on the weekends; however, there are more options for entertainment than ever before! The Money Bar's Friday evening happy hour with live music & dancing is well known & very popular.

Two new options are the 'Ohana bar & restaurant on Ave. 5 between 8 & 10 with live music Thurs.-Sat. from 8:30-11:30 (grand opening today) and the stage at Wet Wendy's which opened last week and, at this point, has a no definite show schedule as it depends on when (local & visiting) musicians want to jam. So far, WW's presented jazz, big band & folk rock on New Year's eve and hosted a blues jam session on Tuesday night.

Life is good!

Basingstoke, United...
Level Contributor
52 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Scuba Diving. Help needed on Cancun, PDC and Cozumel.

Thank you all for great advice.

We will certainly take a look at the hotels mentioned, especially the Cozumel Palace as it seems close enough to bars and restaurants. The extent of our night life we want I might add !! lol

One last question. I assume that being on the island it's still possible to go on day excursions to the majan ruins and others etc?

If so, any "must do" trips as we will be there for 14 / 15 days and will only dive for 5 or 6.

Many thanks

Ady ......