Darcie needed to learn to dive for her upcoming solo trip to Thailand, so we figured a dive class would be a great excuse to hop a quick flight to Cozumel.  I hadn’t been to Cozumel since 1990, and was looking forward to seeing if the diving was as good as I recalled.

Why not learn to dive in Colorado?

When you get live in Colorado, there are very few options if you want to learn to dive in the local lakes, none of which are much fun.  Sure, it’s possible to get certified in a local cold water reservoir, but what kind of crazy person would think that’s a good idea?    Luckily, instead of having to deal with a potential hypothermia, PADI offers the option to take your final open water testing in the tropical location of your choice.

Beware of where you stay!

Since this was a dive specific trip, we booked into the Iberostar Cozumel hotel that had an on-site dive shop, but once I realized that it was an all inclusive resort, I wished we’d done a little more research.   Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with an all inclusive place, but it’s not the style of travel either of us prefer.  The food was plentiful, and for the most part decent, but there were some odd rules about how you could eat at the buffets anytime, but to eat in their “specialty” theme restaurants, you only got one slot for every three days you stayed there.  We quickly realized that the specialty restaurants weren’t that great.  All it meant is that you got one style of food with table service instead of a self serve buffet. Our favorite part of the experience was having a pool with an open bar right outside the room.  I can’t recommend it as a way to spend time during your surface interval, but it is a whole lot of fun after the diving is done for the day!

Learn to dive with Dressel Divers

The diving was  as spectacular as I recalled; unfortunately the dive shop made Darcie spend an hour pool to prove her skills before they’d take her out in the ocean, so I got an extra couple of dives in before she was able to join.  Once she got out there though, she was a natural.  I tagged along on her final certification dive taking photos, and watching her really explore her surroundings underwater for the first time.  I’d been diving for years, but watching someone take their first steps in the hobby really made me remember the initial joy I felt when I was brand new.  It was great!  The dive shop was very well run, the instructors were friendly, and the rental equipment looked very well taken care of.  They even offered nitrox diving for me at no extra charge, and were able to look up my certification online since I hadn’t brought that particular card.

Beachside Restaurant!

We’d gotten tired of the bland resort food by the last evening, so we found a real restaurant next door on the beach.  The quality of the food at Alberto’s Beach bar was night and day difference from the resort.  The fish was fresh, the ceviche was delicious, and the ability to eat right on the beach in front of the setting sun instead of in a pavilion with screaming kids was fantastic.  Getting away from the buffet was so refreshing that we didn’t even mind that the prices were definitely higher than they would have been in Cozumel town itself.

Scooting around the island

On our last day before heading to the airport we rented a scooter and headed off to explore the south and eastern beaches.   This by far was one of the highlights of the week!  Wind in our hair, speeding down the highway watching both the jungle and beaches go by, I don’t think either of us stopped grinning the whole time we were out there.  After exploring a couple of deserted stretches of sand, we found a little tourist trap restaurant on a hill that was perfect spot for our last bottles of Dos Equis and bowl of ceviche.  We stretched out the day for as long as possible, but as all good things must come to an end, so did this vacation.  With full bellies and happy hearts we headed back to the airport with a new hobby for Darcie and a renewed appreciation of the Yucatan for me.




About The Author

Henry has spent three winters living in Antarctica which funded his early explorations and adventures around the world. Now he holds down a full time job in Denver, CO and continues to make travel a priority in his life, both internationally, and on weekend warrior type trips.

11 Responses

  1. Erica

    The first time I ever dove was in Cozumel! And, naturally, I fell in love with it. Now I’m certified! Great post and beautiful photos.

  2. soumna

    Cozumel looks like such an awesome place to go first time diving in. It is such a pain that these all inclusive resorts have such weird rules for buffets. I am also not a fan of them. Hopefully I will get to go diving for the first time soon.

  3. Diana Chen

    Cozumel looks like the perfect place to learn how to dive! Your photos are spectacular – gotta love GoPro! I definitely want to try diving at some point, hopefully soon.

  4. Nadine Cathleen

    These photos look amazing! Too bad I didn’t go scuba diving in Cozumel!! Next time! I can’t wait to finally do my Advanced Open Water 🙂 🙂

  5. Reshma

    I don’t think I would take up diving anytime soon due to my fear of deep waters, but your photos look convincing enough! Cozumel looks like a beautiful place. I had a similar weird experience for Buffet in one of the resorts in Bali as well.

  6. deafinitelywanderlust

    The ocean looks so blue and vibrant! I don’t blame you at all for choose to dive in Cozumel instead of Colorado. I haven’t learned to scuba dive yet but it’s on my wish list. It would be great to get certified in scuba diving so I can see all the sea animals. I am not a inclusive resort person either but glad you guys made the most of your trip though!

  7. Marge

    I learned to dive just recently, but it was just a discovery dive so I didn’t really receive any certification. It was such a memorable experience for me, not just because of the beauty of the underwater world but more so because I struggled a lot before I was finally able to do it. In short, I wasn’t a natural like Darcie lol. Nevertheless, I found diving to be such an incredible experience. My country has amazing diving sites as well. Have you by any chance, been here in the Philippines?

  8. Henry

    Hi Marge, Sadly no, I haven’t yet gotten to the Philippines. Diving over there is definitely on my bucket list though…I’ve heard nothing but great things about it!

  9. Johna

    What a beautiful place to learn to dive! I actually put learn to dive on my bucketlist after we went and saw the coral gardens in coron and the sunken ship! It was so stunning, you have to go and see it! 😀

  10. David

    Love scuba diving…lovely world down there. Cozumel looks wonderful.

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