One of Cozumel’s most popular dive sites, Paradise Reef is famous for its clear water, diverse coral structures, and teeming schools of colorful fish. Here you can spot large sea species such as eels, rays, and nurse sharks in addition to smaller creatures such as seahorses, boxfish, and delicate pipefish.
Paradise Reef is an ideal spot for snorkelers and novice scuba divers, as well as advanced divers who want to experience the reef’s colorful atmosphere. Most cozumel snorkeling and diving tours include a visit to Paradise Reef along with Palancar Reef and El Cielo Marine Park. Some Cozumel-based tours include hotel pickup and drop-off, while other excursions include round-trip transportation from Cancun and Riviera Maya-area hotels.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Paradise Reef is a must-see attraction for nature and wildlife lovers.
- Remember to bring sun protection and water. It’s also a good idea to wear a wetsuit or rash guard to protect your skin from rough coral and jellyfish.
- Evidence of scuba diving certification is required for certified dives.
- Be careful not to touch or disturb the wildlife.
How to Get There
Paradise Reef is located off the island of Cozumel near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It lies south of the Puerta Maya Cruise Ship Pier and is one of the first dive sites in the Cozumel Marine Park. Experienced swimmers can do the dive from shore, but most choose not to fight the current and instead dive from a boat. You can opt for a private charter boat or a guided tour.
When to Get There
You can visit Paradise Reef year-round, but it’s busiest from December through April, when the weather tends to be sunny and warm. There are fewer crowds during hurricane season (May through October), but be sure to check the weather for storms.
Cozumel’s Coral Reefs
Cozumel is best known for its expansive coral reefs, some of the largest in the world. Paradise Reef and the Palancar Gardens are ideal spots for novice divers and snorkelers due to their shallow depth and offer a chance to glimpse sea turtles, colorful fish, towering coral spires, and gently waving sea fans. The Palancar Caves are probably the most famous dive site, with huge brain corals and swim-through tunnels. Palancar Horseshoe is another massive formation of corals.