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COZUMEL SCUBA DIVING
COZUMEL, MEXICO
DIVING IN COZUMEL
 


COZUMEL REEFS
NATIONAL MARINE PARK

The Reefs of Cozumel
Marine Park Rules
Introduction to Coral
What are coral reefs?
What's the hype?
Coral Reef Animals
Destruction of Coral Reefs
What can one individual do?

The Reefs of Cozumel

Cozumel is part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world, the Meso-American reef system, which spans almost 175 miles (280 km) of ocean between the Gulf of Mexico and Honduras. Cozumel's spectacular reef formations, effortless drift diving and exceptionally clear waters make this island one of the world's most popular divingScuba Diving Cozumel - Cozumel is home to over 500 fish species and 26 classes of coral! destinations.

Most of diving sites in Cozumel are located within the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park (Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel), a protected underwater environment covering 29,000+ acres. A voluntary $2.00 US donation/fee from divers was implemented to fund the conservation program.

These natural habitats support 26 classes of coral (higher than any other Yucatan coastal zone) and over 500 fish species, some of which are endemic only to Cozumel.

The financing of the parks programs is shared by the federal government and the civil environmental groups; represented by COPRENAT, and the dive operators through ANOAAT.

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Marine Park Rules

The Mexican government declared a National Marine park on July 19, 1996; covering an area of more than 11 thousand hectares including the beaches and waters between Paradise Reef and Chiqueros point. The environmental, natural resource and fishing Secretariat SEMARNAP, administers the park.

Do your share to preserve the flora and fauna for future generations.

  • Corals are fragile.
  • Kicking, touching, dragging your gear causes damage, buoyancy control is your key to healthy coral.
  • Photographers in particular, take pictures without causing damage.
  • Marine organisms are protected by law.
  • Fishing, feeding the fauna and taking souvenirs is against the law. Refrain from extracting or annoying the marine flora and fauna.
  • Help us prevent pollution.
  • Report fuel, oil, sewage and garbage spills to the National Park office.
  • Pressure your dive operator to instruct novice divers and divers without adequate buoyancy control, and to refuse service to destructive divers.
  • If you use gloves, do not grab the corals.
  • If you carry a knife, keep it in the sheath.
  • Use biodegradable sunblock products.

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Introduction to Coral

Coral is often mistaken for a rock or a plant. However, it is composed of tiny, fragile living organisms called coral polyps. The coral polyps take calcium carbonate or limestone from the sea and build protective structures around themselves. These protective limestone structures are known as coral. So when we say "coral" we are referring to coral polyps and the skeletons that they leave behind when they die.

What are coral reefs?

As coral polyps die, new generations of coral polyps then grow on top of the coral and coral reefs are formed.

What's the Hype?

Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the planet's surface but are homes to over 25% of all marine life (over 4,000 different species of fish, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plants and animals). Coral reefs are among the world's most fragile and endangered ecosystems. "In the last few decades, mankind has destroyed over 35 million acres of coral reefs. Reefs off of 93 countries have been damaged by human activity. If the present rate of destruction continues, 70% of the world's coral reefs will be killed within our lifetimes." (The Coral Reef Alliance.)

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Coral Reef Animals:
  • Sponges provide shelter for fishes, shrimps, crabs, and other small animals.
  • Sea anemones are close relatives of corals.
  • Bryozoans encrust the reef.
  • Variety of worms, including both flatworms and polychaetes, Christmas tree worms, feather duster worms, bristleworms.
  • Sea stars, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins.
  • Shrimps, crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans find protection from predators in crevices or between coral branches.
  • Octopuses, squids, clams, scallops, marine snails, and nudibranchs are all molluscs that live on or near the reef.
  • Both schooling and solitary fishes are essential residents of the reef ecosystem.
  • Some species of sharks, skates, and rays live on or near the reef.
  • Parrotfish use chisel-like teeth to nibble on hard corals.
  • Wrasses comprise a large group of colorful cigar-shaped fishes.
  • Eels are one of the reef's top predators.
  • Other fishes found on the reefs include angelfishes, butterfly fishes, damselfishes, triggerfishes, seahorses, snappers, squirrelfishes, grunts, pufferfishes, groupers, barracudas, and scorpionfishes.
  • Sea turtles frequent reef areas.
  • Sea snakes.

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A variety of human activities are driving the destruction of coral reefs:
  • growing coastal populations
  • shoreline and inland development
  • pollution from sewage, fertilizers, chemicals and sediment runoff
  • over-fishing and over-use
  • Destructive fishing practices including poisons and explosives, and
  • ship groundings and anchor damage.

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What can one individual do?

All Travelers

  • Don't buy coral souvenirs.
  • Support marine protected areas.
  • Don't order turtle, shark fin or other restaurant dishes made from threatened wildlife.
  • Avoid "live-fish" restaurants where the fish may have been captured using cyanide.

Divers & Snorkelers

  • Maintain control of fins, gauges and other equipment so they do not bump against the reef.
  • Practice diving in a pool or sandy area before diving near reefs.
  • Get trained by experts so that you can understand and enjoy your dives more.
  • Follow the marine park rules.
  • Educate others not aware of marine park rules when the opportunity arises.

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Dive Shops & Operators

Here are our recommended scuba diving professionals & dive shops to book your next Cozumel, Mexico scuba diving trip.

Blue XT Sea Diving
Deep Exposure Dive Center
Scuba Tony
Scuba With Alison
Techs-Mex Divers
Blue Magic Scuba

Click here for a complete list of Cozumel Dive Shops.

Coral Reefs & Dive Sites

Bajo de Molas
Barracuda
Cantarell
Cardona
Chankanaab Park
Chankanaab Reef
Chankanaab (Shallow)
Chankanaab Caves
Chen Rio
Chun Chancaab
Colombia (Deep)
Colombia (Shallow)
El Islote
El Mirador
La Francesa
Las Palmas
Los Atolones
Maracaibo (Punta)
Maracaibo (Shallow)
Molas (Sand Bank)
Palancar (Caves)
Palancar (Gardens)
Palancar (Horseshoe)
Paraiso
Paso del Cedral (Shallow)
Playa Bosh
Punta Dalila
Punta Morena
Punta Sur (Deep)
Punta Sur (Shallow)
San Juan
Tormentos
Tunich (Rock) Wall
Villa Blanca Wall
Yucab

Hotel Cozumel
Hotels in Cozumel are listed below. Cozumel hotels include resorts.

Allegro Cozumel *
Aura Cozumel Grand Resort
Bahia Cozumel
Barracuda Hotel
Blue Angel Resort
Blue Caribe Resort
Casa Del Mar *
Casa Mexicana Cozumel
Caribe Blu Hotel
Colonial Cozumel
Coral Princess Hotel
Costa Brava
Cozumel Palace *
El Cid La Ceiba Cozumel
El Cozumeleno Beach Resort
Fiesta Americana Cozumel *
Hacienda San Miguel
Hotel Cozumel & Resort *
Iberostar Cozumel *
Occidental Grand Cozumel *
Melia Cozumel *
Park Royal *
Playa Azul Golf and Beach Hotel
Plaza Las Glorias
Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel
Sabor Resort & Spa *
Scuba Club Cozumel

Vista Del Mar

* = All Inclusive Only or Available

B & B, Condos, Villas
& Home Rentals

At Home In Cozumel
Las Lunas Inn

Caribbean Beach Properties
Casa Tropical
Cozumel Beach House
Cozumel Casa Martillo Condo
Cozumel Condos
Cozumel House Rentals
Cozumel Seaside Retreats
Cozumel Vacation Rentals
Cozumel Villas
Paraiso Azul
Vacation Rentals
Villa Amigos
Villas Costa del Sol
Villa Diamond K
Cozumel Vacation Rentals
Villa Debra
Rentals Your Way

Car Rentals & Transportation

Car Rental
Bike Rental
Ferry Schedule
Taxi Service
Cancun to Cozumel Ferry

Cancun Transfers to Playa del Carmen

Restaurants, Bars & Cafes

All Sports Bar Cozumel
Carlos N' Charlies

Casa Denis
Casa Mission
Costa Brava Restaurant
Fat Tuesday
French Quarter
Guidos Restaurant
Hard Rock Cafe
La Cocay
Las Tortugas
La Veranda
Mezcalito's
Pancho's Backyard
Parilla Mission
Prima Trattoria
Tony Rome's

Land Attractions

EXCURSIONS

Chankanaab Park
Chichen Itza

San Gervasio Ruins
Tulum Ruins
Cobá

Real Estate Sale or Rental

Ampi Cozumel
Baja123 Real Estate

Cedral Caribe Realtors

Cozumel Capital
Cozumel Living

Cozumel Mexico Homes
Investment Properties
Paradise Properties

Remax
Solutions Abroad
Top Mexico Real Estate

Cozumel Events

Cozumel Events

Weddings & Wedding Planning

Cozumel Wedding Planner
Mayaland Weddings
Something Special
SunMex Wedding

Important Phone Numbers

Cozumel Important Numbers

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