The Original and Still One of the Best for Divers
Divers aren't your average hotel guest. They have the gear to stow, wetsuits to hang, and a boat to catch. They might walk through the lobby in damp bathing suits, and they usually come to lunch hungry after a morning spent underwater. The crew at Scuba Club Cozumel gets it. This water-centric resort's tagline is “designed by divers, for divers.” And as thousands of dive travelers can attest, the club lives up to this promise.
The Scuba Club was Cozumel's first dedicated diver's resort, dating back to the mid-1970s when the island was just getting on the dive travel map. This early adoption allowed the owners to secure a prime piece of waterfront, close to downtown and the ferry dock and overlooking a nearshore reef that provides one of the island's best opportunities for shore diving. The property's Spanish-Colonial buildings were designed to accommodate a mix of individuals, couples and groups, with single, double and triple room plans, and interiors finished in tile and stucco to accommodate wet divers. Each room has balconies or terraces, air conditioning, ceiling fans, hair dryers and a small refrigerator—basically all of the amenities a diver really truly needs, without paying extra for luxuries that don't mesh with the diving mission. These rooms have been well maintained and updated over the years, and today, the Club continues to provide divers with comfortable, functional and reasonably-priced resort-style accommodations. To satisfy the digitally demanding, there is high-speed Internet throughout the property.
Most packages at Scuba Club include three daily meals. A breakfast buffet ensures there are no delays before catching the morning boat, while lunches are served restaurant-style at the causal indoor and outdoor tables of the Fat Grouper Grill. Dinners are presented in the upstairs ocean-view dining space, with a variety of rotating entries and accompaniments that incorporate fresh local produce, meats and seafood. And yes, they can also accommodate vegetarians on request. Social areas include an ocean-view pool, a bar with televised sports, and a 24-hour fitness center. There's no need to hail a taxi for off-property excursions into town, as the shops and attractions of San Miguel are a ten-minute walk away along the waterfront.
Scuba Cozumel is the Club's on-site dive operation. It is a PADI Five-Star facility, with a training center that offers all levels of certification and numerous specialty courses. The full-service dive center is equipped with four compressor stations to ensure ample gas supplies, provides repair services, and stocks a full range of rental gear. There is also an affiliated retail shop directly across the road selling a wide range of equipment and accessories. Divers are provided with a dedicated gear rinse and storage area, with personal lockers set in an oceanfront courtyard.
The Club operates a fleet of seven diesel-powered inboard dive boats, ranging from 29 feet to 48 feet, each carrying from 10 to a maximum of 20 divers. All boats have covered seating areas, an enclosed bathroom, separate rinse tanks for masks and cameras, and wide dive platforms with substantial ladders. The larger boats provide dedicated camera tables, and all are equipped with VHF radios, first aid kits, oxygen and Coast Guard approved emergency equipment.
Divers are grouped on the boats by experience level, with a maximum of six to each divemaster. Guests dive with the same boat and crew each day, which allows the development of relationships that enhance the in-water experience. Another practice that ensures enjoyable dives is the staggering of entry times between each group to prevent a crowd scene on the reefs. Morning two-tank dive excursions depart the pier around 8:30 am, returning by 1:00 pm for lunch. A single-tank afternoon dive is offered around 3:00 pm each day, with the favorite destination being the nearby wreck of the Felipe Xicotencatl or Paradise Reef. Night dives are also scheduled throughout the week, based on demand.
The Scuba Club is also one of only a handful of Cozumel resorts that can offer shore diving, and tanks can be checked out for unlimited shore diving at no additional charge. Entries can be made at the base of the pier, and for easy exits, divers follow a short channel into a sheltered, waist-deep cove, where there is a set of handrail-equipped stairs. A series of small limestone ledges and crevices in depths of 15 to 25 feet provide habitat for a wide range of marine life, including juvenile reef fish, octopus, lobster and invertebrates. This area is a favorite with macro photographers, and night dives are especially memorable.