lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel


In our latest Insider's Dive article, we speak to Chris Darakis about a great alternative to diving from busy boats in Cozumel.

Chris, 63, from Arizona, first visited Cozumel to dive in 1990 and has been back many times over the years since.

He's an experienced wildlife photographer and recreational diver, with a keen eye for underwater imagery.

His insider tip comes from a recent experience diving in Cozumel, when some particularly large groups arrived to his dive resort.

Rather than go out boat diving with a gaggle of people, Chris decided to explore the area right in front of his hotel, shore diving from the beach.

Although lacking large reefs or coral structures, Chris was delighted at the amount of sealife he found in a small area along the shore between the Scuba Club Cozumel and Hotel Cozumel.


Cozumel shore dive
Colorful sea anemones.

Among the plethora of submarine critters he saw and photographed on day and night dives were: Moray Eels, Lizard Fish, squid, Parrot Fish, sea anemones, seahorses, lobster, cuttlefish, Puffer Fish, octopus, Scorpion Fish, Sand Rays, Lion Fish and shrimp, all right there a stone's throw from the shoreline.

The experience made him realize that shore diving is perfect for people to hone their diving skills and explore the thousands of different organisms and creatures that make up the ecology of the oceans.

Shore diving in Cozumel
Octopus hiding.


"Seeing a shark or hawksbill turtle is a wonderful experience, but seeing a tiny hermit crab in a one inch shell struggling to make its way across the ocean floor to find a safe home is just as fascinating to me as all the sharks and eagle rays I have seen", he explains with heartfelt enthusiasm.

Chris stresses he doesn't suggest shore diving instead of boat diving, but that it makes a nice alternative to complement deeper dives.

And there are many other reasons he likes to dive in Cozumel too.

On the island, he says, "Everyone seems to want to be friendly and helpful. You don’t get the 'hustle' feeling you get in a lot of resort communities."


Cozumel beach diving
Cuttlefish at night.

That, along with the fact that he's made so many friends while diving in Cozumel, means Chris is sure to keep coming back.

A typical shore dive in front of the Scuba Cluba Cozumel would be at a depth of 17-20ft, with a bottom time of around an hour or more.

Minimum certification: PADI Openwater or equivalent, and experience of diving in currents.

Access via the resorts is only available to guests and customers of the dive shops there, but divers with experience of rocky entrances can also enter the water from the public beach just to the south. There are also many other areas suitable for Cozumel shore diving. Ask a local dive professional if you need advice.

Photos courtesy of Chris Darakis, you can find more of his great pictures in our Cozumel shore diving album on Facebook.

See more Insiders' Dives or visit our Scuba Diving section.