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.

Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Which Cozumel hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Erin, Canada
Level Contributor
411 posts
45 reviews
Save Topic
Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

I have planned a quick four day trip to Cozumel for the first time mid April and while in Orlando this week suddenly got the urge to consider getting scuba certified at 40 years old. I am average only in fitness level...cam someone explain what options I would have down there and the associated costs to start diving/lessons?

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
27,737 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Go to any dive shop website and check their training options. One such site with the info you need is here


Also consider doing the class and pool work at home and the four cert dives in Cozumel. Check with a local dive shop at home on costs.

Davie, Florida
Level Contributor
11,187 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

there is a course component and a practical component. the course component can be done online or on your vaca. most PADI divs shops can certify you for the practical component but many do it at home to get a leg up on their vacation. google PADI and you can review the specifics. there are other outfits that certify scuba but they tend to certify special function divers. visit a local dive shop and discuss what they offer.

Level Contributor
359 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Go to PADI.com perhaps the world's largest certification organization. Many dive shops are associated with PADI and follow there guidelines.

Myself 45 , my wife 49and my two boys (aged 12 and 13 at the time) just got certified two years ago. Certainly we aren't in more than average shape. As long as you can swim for 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes you can get certified.

If you are only going for 4 days, perhaps consider doing all of your class work and pool work at your local dive shop, leaving only your open water classes on your vacation. A little more expensive, but it leaves a lot more time for diving rather than learning while on vacation.

Edited: 28 March 2011, 00:31
Cozumel, Mexico
Level Contributor
377 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Here's a few threads with the information you're looking for:




If you want to try diving before committing to a full certification, here's some info about "resort courses"


Cost will vary depending on how you do your certification (all on vacation, some at home, some on vacation) and the type of shop you choose (small vs. large, private instructor vs. group). Fitness level is not a huge consideration for dive certification.

Presho, South Dakota
Level Contributor
1,300 posts
187 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

You are not too old! I learned at 50. I would say my fitness level is definitely average (or worse).

Generally in Cozumel, diving is not real strenuous. It is drift diving so the current does most of the work. (For me the hardest part is getting into the water with the tank, the weights & fins!)

IMO the most important thing is to be comfortable in the water. You are jumping out of boats into the ocean. That is not as bad as it sounds. Your BC (the jacket which holds your tank) inflates & deflates so it acts somewhat like a life jacket. (Usually you can also see the shore off in the distance which reassures me!)

Keep in mind, to be certified there is a swimming test that is required. But it was very doable. (after all I passed...)

Scuba diving is a wonderful sport. Be prepared to be addicted!

Level Contributor
926 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

I dove for about 3 years just doing the resort course diving(includes an instructor who holds your hand if you need it). Enjoyed it so much I finally got certified in my mid 40's. If you've never dove, you might try the resort courses 1st to see how much you like it, but if you've done it before and just want to get certified, the above advice is tops. I did my pool & book work in Ohio, got the open water in Cozumel, very doable. Get bubbles!!! Mo

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,436 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Information about the resort course can be found here


PLEASE NOTE the link to the medical form, which you should use because there are risks which can't be ignored.

Ruston, LA
Level Contributor
668 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

It normally takes two weekends. In order to accomplish this you need to read Chapters 1-5 in the PADI Open Water workbook and watch the video. You have two options:

Go through your local dive shop or do the e-learning on the PADI website.

If you go through a local dive shop this is the basics of what you can except.

On a Saturday and Sunday I spend half a day in the classroom reviewing the materials that the divers read and watched in the video plus take a written final exam.

On the afternoons I have students in the pool learning the fundamentals, getting comfortable with gear, learning how to breathe. How to recover the regulator, clear their mask, take their mask off and replace it plus about two dozen other skills.

After successful classroom and pool sessions we go to an open body of water and perform four dives over two days. On each of these dives the divers do a series of skills exactly like they watched in the video and did in the pool.

As one of the other posters said you can do what's called a referral. That is, you complete all the academics and confined water portions of the training then the instrucutor will give you a referral form with everything you need to take with you to Cozumel.

Either you, your dive shop or PADI e-learning can refer you to a shop in Cozumel to complete your open water dives. Understand that you will have to pay the instructor for this training and he will be the one that signs your application and issues you your temporary certification.

After you send in the application you will receive a hard card that looks a lot like a drivers license with your picture on the back.

You can do the whole thing in three or four days just walking in the door but you had better be prepared to do a good bit of homework insteading of seeing a bunch of nightlife.

How this helps.

Level Contributor
4,682 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

Age has nothing to do with it. If you have any serious health issues, I wouldn't chance it.

I do have a very bad back and many times, my divemaster takes my gear in the water and I jump in and quickly put it on...piece of cake.

Good info from the above posters. I personally thinkl you should just do the resort course and you can see if diving is really for you. Then you can do a beach dive. You'll love it and want to get certified for your next trip.

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
2,867 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Can you provide the basics on how to get scuba certified?

On a quick 4 day trip, I think you are asking a lot to get certified.... I'd probably stick with a resort course this time - most dive ops will allow you to do a boat dive after the resort course the next day provided you pay for hte private DM.

That is probably the best plan.

Save the certification for a longer trip and for once you know you love it.