Diving + Snorkeling, Cozumel
Concierge.com's insider take:
With easy access to the second-longest barrier reef on the planet (the Maya Reef, which extends south along the Riviera Maya all the way to Honduras) and many of the most popular dive sites in the western hemisphere, Cozumel means serious submersion—of both the snorkel and scuba varieties. Wilma did some damage to the portions of the reef near Cozumel, but most of the best dive sites here were deep enough to escape harm. At some of these sites, such as the famous Santa Rosa Wall, divers can see the same Hawksbill turtles and eagle rays that they always did. Even the shallower spots like Yucab and Palancar have made an almost complete recovery; beginners hovering just 20 feet below sea level will find themselves surrounded by gardens of sponges and swarms of tropical fish.
Several levels of scuba certification are offered by dozens of dive shops, and most hotels offer some form of resort course that allows first-timers to hover around coral formations 15 feet underwater. Top dive shops include Aqua Safari (Cozumel Palace Resort and 429 Av. Rafael Melgar; 52-987-872-0101; www.aquasafari.com), Blue Angel (Caribe Blu Hotel, Carretera Costera Sur, Km 2.2; 52-987-872-1631; www.blueangel-scuba.com), and Scuba Du (Presidente InterContinental Resort, Carretera a Chankanaab, Km 6.5; 52-987-872-9505).