Palancar Gardens is a beautiful, moderate wall dive. The reef structure is dramatic with towering rock formations and several swim throughs. Here, you’ll find a range of colorful corals, as well as plentiful gorgonians and countless sponges.
The reef starts around 30’, sloping toward the wall, where you’ll experience Cozumel’s signature current and spectacular visibility. Like many Cozumel dive sites, Palancar Gardens offers numerous channels, canyons and rock cuts, so opportunities to duck out of the current are always close by.
All of Palancar Reef lies within the national park. As a result of being well-protected, reef species are abundant. Expect to see the usual inhabitants—grunts, angelfish and damsels, which can be quite territorial. This is also a great site for turtle lovers, which often graze while angels lurk nearby like jackals waiting to grab whatever the turtles miss.
Keep an eye out for large lobster, which are often plentiful due to their fortunate residence in the marina park.
Palancar Gardens is a great dive site for underwater photographers. The dramatic rock and coral structure, clear water and approachable marine life make this an ideal site for shooting wide angle.
Most sources describe Palancar Gardens as either an intermediate or advanced dive. Our assessment is more on the intermediate end of the scale. Any reasonably comfortable recreational diver will find the site well within their skill level. Still, this is a wall dive with great visibility, so it is easy to lose track of your depth.
If you are planning a week long dive vacation in Cozumel, chances are you’ll be diving Palancar Gardens. It is a spectacular site, with so much to see, Palancar Gardens is sure to be a highlight.