Paradise Reef is the first dive site you’ll pass when leaving the Cozumel Harbor by boat. Being relatively shallow (mostly 20’-35’) and flat, the site is suitable for divers of any experience level. Frequently, this will be the second of a two tank boat dive—or third if you will be doing three dives in a day.
In the water, you’ll find 2 to 3 coral ridges, depending on where the boat drop you off. In between, there’s a mixed sand and rocky bottom with seagrasses and other growth. The structure is mostly low.
At first, you may wonder why it is a dive site at all. It is right outside the harbor and nothing like the deep reef system you will have experienced at other Cozumel dive sites. However, that shallow, sandy reef is teaming with life! Here you’ll swim with schools of grunts, snappers, sergeant majors, abundant queen angelfish and pretty much every other fish that lives around the island.
Be sure to scan the crevasses for trunkfish, morel eels and lobster, but don’t ignore the sand! Here you find stingrays, peacock flounder and the occasional seahorse!
Like most dives in Cozumel, Paradise Reef is a drift dive. Currents range from nearly imperceptible to significant. If the current is raging, chances are you won’t be diving Paradise Reef that day. The only real hazard is the cruise ship pier. If you drift far enough, you’ll find a line of markings that you should not pass. If you do, you’ll be in proximity of the pier, which is both unsafe and illegal to dive.
Your divemaster will be well aware of pacing and distance to the pier, so it really won’t impact your dive.
From the surface, Paradise Reef is a sleeper—the kind of dive site dive boat staff uses as an easy stop at the end of a long day working. In reality, Paradise Reef is spectacular and full of life. It is a fun, easy dive with lots to see and photograph. The short boat ride back to the dock is a bonus!